Carbonating / priming Ale in a corny keg for a Beer engine.

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Jimbo77

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Just acquired a cheap beer engine off FB, i plan on making a Malt extract kit such as wherry and serving
through a Beer engine.
Whats the best way of priming / carbonating the corny keg without over Carbonating as i don’t want a glass
Of foam which can be problem. I’m not in rush to condition as usually have other beer on the go.
Currently have a 2 keg Kegerator that. Use main for Ipa / pale ales which i normally have at 10 psi and 10 - 12C.
This is sometimes hit and miss Re foaming issues.
I also bought demand valve and a Kegland secondary Reg and pipe work for the setup which i’ve yet to connect.
Thanks.
 

peebee

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Hmm, I'm not very certain what you might be after. But you can browse through my essay on the subject (linked in signature below). My solution is a bit more "adaptive" than some of the harder core solutions I see, but I'm not sure if it's not still outside your intentions?

To give you a guide: 1/2 - 3/4 grams priming sugar per litre (10-15g per 20L Corny - that may still generate enough carbonation to need "venting" for some occasions) and that Kegland regulator wont hold a setting anything like low enough (I would normally suggest a 50-150mbar LPG regulator).
 

Buffers brewery

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From what I’ve read on this forum about beer engines and serving cask beers the impression I get is that you want to keep the pressure in the keg as close to atmospheric as possible while drawing beer from the keg. So, to preserve your beer you need to allow CO2 into the keg but maintain the pressure at atmospheric. Low pressure regulators as suggested by @peebee will do this. But to quote the old saying about skinning cats asad. there could be another way…
When I prepare to transfer my beer to a keg I fill the keg with water, close it off and attach a brewloon full of fermentation gas to the gas post and a primed (with water) syphon tube to the beer post. As the water flows out the fermentation gas is sucked in to the keg. Two brewloons (22inch diameter) are required for one keg. During fermentation I collect 5 brewloons of fermentation gas. One for cold crashing, two for keg flushing and two spares (just in case wink... ).
Could be an alternative approach that doesn’t require a gas cylinder, regulator and the gas is free. You do have to pay for the brewloons though ashock1

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I am in the process of setting my beer engine up too, and have gone for a 50-150mb regulator and a couple of whatever-the-bsp-thread-size-is to 3/8 john guest fittings, both of which are in the courier network as we speak.
One thing I plan to do is to is to add some sort of cutoff tap between cylinder and swan neck to reduce spoilage between sessions.
 

Jimbo77

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Hmm, I'm not very certain what you might be after. But you can browse through my essay on the subject (linked in signature below). My solution is a bit more "adaptive" than some of the harder core solutions I see, but I'm not sure if it's not still outside your intentions?

To give you a guide: 1/2 - 3/4 grams priming sugar per litre (10-15g per 20L Corny - that may still generate enough carbonation to need "venting" for some occasions) and that Kegland regulator wont hold a setting anything like low enough (I would normally suggest a 50-150mbar LPG regulator).
Thanks for the very helpful reply’s.
I’ve Just poured a bottle of Golden stag into a jug to knock the Co2 out then pulled it thru a the beer engine. Amazing mouthfeel, creamy head head and great lacing on the glass, that’s exactly what I’m after from my setup. Far superior to the Stag from my kegerator.
Disappointing to learn that my 2nd Regulator won’t be suitable.
I May invest in the Reg 50-150 mb mentioned if not happy with the kegland.
Could I not prime at 15-20g of sugar, then turn Co2 on via manifold using the lowest setting on secondary Reg, just when I dispense beer thru my beer engine. Then turn manifold off when
when I’ve finished serving?
Apologies for stupid question. But why may I need to vent? Will i have excessive carbonation / foaming caused by kegland Reg.
I am in the process of setting my beer engine up too, and have gone for a 50-150mb regulator and a couple of whatever-the-bsp-thread-size-is to 3/8 john guest fittings, both of which are in the courier network as we speak.
One thing I plan to do is to is to add some sort of cutoff tap between cylinder and swan neck to reduce spoilage between sessions.
I plan on installing a y peace 3 way connector between beer engine and corny with a tap so I can flush beer engine with cleaner without disconnecting, just seen a video on YouTube regarding this by @Dudesbrews.
 
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I plan on installing a y peace 3 way connector between beer engine and corny with a tap so I can flush beer engine with cleaner without disconnecting, just seen a video on YouTube regarding this by @Dudesbrews.
Decent video that, yes. I had seen that, but I am too lazy to doo all that after a session :laugh8:
 

peebee

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... Could I not prime at 15-20g of sugar, then turn Co2 on via manifold using the lowest setting on secondary Reg, just when I dispense beer thru my beer engine. Then turn manifold off when
when I’ve finished serving?
Apologies for stupid question. But why may I need to vent? Will i have excessive carbonation / foaming caused by kegland Reg. ...
I never keep the CO2 turned on when not serving - it's set up to turn itself off after a few minutes. No technical reason for this, I'm just paranoid that I'll lose all my gas to a leak. I lost all my gas overnight once (new 6kg cylinder too), hence the paranoia. I also keep two tanks ready in case I lose one. But most of my beer is served "cask-conditioned" style so a 6kg cylinder will last years (I'll change after one or two years anyway because its not supposed to be advisable to keep CO2 for food use for years on end - but don't ask me why!).

I don't actually vent all my beers, most pumps can handle 4-5 psi before complaining (groaning and creaking) and serving beer will cause the pressure to eventually fall back to set (regulated) low serving pressure (up to 2 psi say). Venting is the "traditional" way of losing over-pressure, and you will certainly need a means of dealing with beer that feels "prickly" or even "fizzy" (or in extreme cases appearing as a glass of froth).

Hang on to the seemingly redundant regulator! Some less frequently drunk beers do seem to benefit being served at 5-6 psi from free-flow taps rather than hand-pumps (as I'm beginning to find with "strong" - 6 or 7% ABV dark - beers and stouts). These beers seem to "stale" (in the modern sense) if left too long in a hand-pump, even if sealing it between sessions, and flushing the pump by chucking the first couple of pulls seems so wasteful.

Sealing the pump is so much better than flushing it out after every session. That policy always seems to result in drinking watered down beer.

[EDIT: The amount of carbonation is dictated by the amount of CO2 pressure applied. 150mbar (about 2PSI) of CO2 retains about 1.1 "volumes" of CO2 dissolved in the beer. It does take time for dissolved CO2 to reach equilibrium with the PSI of CO2 it is stored under. Important: The amount of CO2 retained depends on the pressure of CO2 applied - not any other gas (laws of "partial pressure").]
 
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peebee

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... Could be an alternative approach that doesn’t require a gas cylinder, regulator and the gas is free. You do have to pay for the brewloons though ...
I'm jealous of these "hard-core" (zero psi) systems. My system has its advantages, but having to rely on CO2 cylinders to "emulate" beer served without extra CO2 is annoying at times if the gas runs out unexpectedly (in the middle of a supply crisis too!).

But Corny kegs can be hopeless without any pressure (can't seal). And not everyone finds all beer types that has dropped much below 1.1 "volumes" of CO2 very palatable (hence I coined “perceived as flat” in that linked "treatise" of mine). Zero psi* only retains about 0.9 volumes at cool room temperature, although if you have a decent throughput it may stay above that level for 2 or 3 weeks.

For those wanting to retain very low levels of carbonation I speculated on using "mixed gas" in the "treatise" (but without the frigid temperatures often associated with it, like with Guinness so-called "stout" and so on).

[*That's PSIG if anyone starts arguing - instead they can explain the "G"!]
 

Buffers brewery

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I must confess, it wasn't my idea. @CD uses a mylar "Noddy" balloon with his pressure barrels of ale. As I have been using a similar method to gas purge my own PBs before filling I thought it might be worth putting the approach out there for others to consider.
I take your point about beer going "flat" over time. I guess this is the dilemma, emulating cask ale drawn by a hand pump in a pub, the cask would be consumed in days and not suffer "flat" beer whereas the homebrewer would not "normally" consume their beer fast enough.
 

phettebs

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It's probably in the archives here somewhere but when I set out to do that a decade ago, I was instructed that polypins were the way to go.

I primed them with sugar before filling and let them naturally carbonate. I didn't need to keep CO2 on them because they'd just collapse in on themselves as intended without introducing any oxygen. It worked very well for me. I mounted the beer engine to the front of my keezer and away I went.
 
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It's probably in the archives here somewhere but when I set out to do that a decade ago, I was instructed that polypins were the way to go.

I primed them with sugar before filling and let them naturally carbonate. I didn't need to keep CO2 on them because they'd just collapse in on themselves as intended without introducing any oxygen. It worked very well for me. I mounted the beer engine to the front of my keezer and away I went.
I thought I read somewhere that polypins qould need to be consumed within 2-3 days too - is that not the case?
Also, how do you connect polypin to beer engine?
 

Jimbo77

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Thanks for the comprehensive answers regarding beer engines and corny kegs.
I did briefly consider going down the route of beer in a-bag or polypin however the thought of
having to burp the bags during priming when they begin to expand put me off.
However there’s great brewery nearby Consett ale works and they sometimes do
beer bag in a box. Their Red Dust Ruby red Ale is amazing, will treating myself the next time
they’re available again.
Another corny and remainder of pipe fittings arrive tomorrow from BKT
will have time to find time to assemble beer engine setup.
I thought I read somewhere that polypins qould need to be consumed within 2-3 days too - is that not the case?
Also, how do you connect polypin to beer engine?
The Partridge Beer kit reviews on youtube have video on how to connect beer engines
To polypins which may be of interest. There’s a special connector that fits over the tap.
 

peebee

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Results from polypins can be good. I've not bothered with them recently because my new brewery churns out 45-65 litres. Polypins impart a "use-by" of about 3-4 weeks and I can't drink it that quick. The beer by then has leaked out much of the CO2 and allowed the beer to oxidise. Unfortunately polythene isn't much of a barrier to various gases.

Bag-in-a-box systems fix the gas permeability but have their own "issues". It is mentioned in that linked "essay".


Fixing a hand-pump to a polypin is fairly easy if you want to take that route.
 

peebee

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The low-pressure regulators I recommend: 50-150 mbar Clesse Propane Gas Regulator - Brooder

It is not possible to maintain such low pressures with "ordinary" regulators or manually. They do need 2 or 3 connectors (to connect 1/4" and 3/8" BSPP threads to gas line but they should cost <£5). These are effectively "secondary" regulators for CO2, don't connect them to an unregulated CO2 cylinder (they still need the usual regulator to step the pressure down to less than 16BAR or 235PSI - I use a regulator set to 4 or 5BAR, or 60-75PSI).

You can get the regulators with a 20-300mbar range if you look hard, but you don't need them.
 

Spratt

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I never keep the CO2 turned on when not serving - it's set up to turn itself off after a few minutes. No technical reason for this, I'm just paranoid that I'll lose all my gas to a leak. I lost all my gas overnight once (new 6kg cylinder too), hence the paranoia.
I'm intrigued by this, as I once had exactly the same experience and lost a whole gas bottle overnight. How do you get it to turn itself off?
 

ScrumpyRam

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This is what you need to fit over the polypin tap


Thanks for the comprehensive answers regarding beer engines and corny kegs.
I did briefly consider going down the route of beer in a-bag or polypin however the thought of
having to burp the bags during priming when they begin to expand put me off.
However there’s great brewery nearby Consett ale works and they sometimes do
beer bag in a box. Their Red Dust Ruby red Ale is amazing, will treating myself the next time
they’re available again.
Another corny and remainder of pipe fittings arrive tomorrow from BKT
will have time to find time to assemble beer engine setup.

The Partridge Beer kit reviews on youtube have video on how to connect beer engines
To polypins which may be of interest. There’s a special connector that fits over the tap.
 

peebee

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I'm intrigued by this, as I once had exactly the same experience and lost a whole gas bottle overnight. How do you get it to turn itself off?
I use a simply (and tiny) cylinder regulator with a built-in solenoid switch and a timer switch to activate it. It has a fixed 5bar output (75psi) so must be used with secondary regulators. But you can get stand-alone solenoid switches to work with any regulator output.

The same timer switch (it turns off after 1-30 minutes) operates liquid solenoid switches to isolate individual kegs and taps.

Did I mention "paranoia"?
 

Spratt

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I use a simply (and tiny) cylinder regulator with a built-in solenoid switch and a timer switch to activate it. It has a fixed 5bar output (75psi) so must be used with secondary regulators. But you can get stand-alone solenoid switches to work with any regulator output.

The same timer switch (it turns off after 1-30 minutes) operates liquid solenoid switches to isolate individual kegs and taps.

Did I mention "paranoia"?
Very neat. And much simpler than I expected - it might even be within my capabilities! Thanks a lot for that.
 

Jimbo77

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The low-pressure regulators I recommend: 50-150 mbar Clesse Propane Gas Regulator - Brooder

It is not possible to maintain such low pressures with "ordinary" regulators or manually. They do need 2 or 3 connectors (to connect 1/4" and 3/8" BSPP threads to gas line but they should cost <£5). These are effectively "secondary" regulators for CO2, don't connect them to an unregulated CO2 cylinder (they still need the usual regulator to step the pressure down to less than 16BAR or 235PSI - I use a regulator set to 4 or 5BAR, or 60-75PSI).

You can get the regulators with a 20-300mbar range if you look hard, but you don't need them.
Is it this one?

Can you post a link to the connector needed to 3/8 pipe to the propane regulator. I spotted 2 very similar jg fittings one has a long thread and other has a shorter thread with a rubber seal on the shoulder.
I can’t get my Kegland 2 regulator 2 work. It’s reading the same as main reg on Co2 bottle when adjuster is screwed in.
 

ceborame

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I got my Angram up and running about 4 month's ago, I prime a corny with around 30g of table sugar. I don't do the fancy low pressure co2 idea, and I find I get 2 weekends drinking out of a corny keg, in fact I have yet to encounter deterioration from oxygen as yet. I vent the built up co2 through the PRV and pour away, this gets closed after ever session (usually the following morning). I bought the one way demand valve and had nowt but trouble with it, I took it off, and I've only encountered dripping once so I took the quick release off the corny. My beer of choice is best bitter, I've yet to try a highly hopped beer and that might get oxidation issues.

I would try the easy method first before buying any more kit
 

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