General metal cask\barrel questions?

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Dave 666

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After my initial testing of the Wilko pressure barrel has been positive and I see no reason to move away from that where it suits the type of ale etc. Saying that, i'm now also starting to look ahead to the metal barrels where I want something more pressure resistant for full carbonation etc.

I'm not necessarily referring to the corny kegs that many rave about as such but more any metal type of barrel that holds pressure. So for the home brewer, is there any reason to use something like a corny keg that most home brew companies sell over sourcing a used or new pub beer cask?. Are the corny kegs more popular more down to their slimmer build over a traditional pub beer cask (therefore use less space) or are there other reasons such as available fittings etc?.

Ideally I'm looking at a 2 keg setup with proper beer pumps (on a home made bar) as ex pub pumps can be bought quite cheap by the looks of things. So what do other members use cask wise?.
 

Justin Dean

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I think most people like the conry type as they are narrow and fit in multi kegerators easier. Something to think about if you want to do kegerator
 

Leon103

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Pub kegs belong to the brewery so you shouldn't be able to get those second hand
 

simon12

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I thought the main bonus with cornies is you can open the lid for cleaning, filling and checking or fixing and 19l is closer to a normal batch compared to 30 or 50l kegs.
 

Graz

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As above really, not sure I'd ever trust that a pub type keg was fully clean before putting my beer in it. Dead easy to see with cornies. I guess one of those endoscope things could be used with a keg to check it but seems a lot of hassle.

As a recent cornie keg convert I'm never going back to plastic barrels. Only problem is that I need more of them!
 

Dave 666

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Thanks for the replies, yes being able to ensure the things are clean is vital, hence why I bought a wide neck plastic pressure barrel for ease of access. But in fairness, aside from being able to visually check any such keg is clean I do have a pressure washer which unless there is a reason not to use, should I'd have thought be more than enough to clean these kegs?

But with the pub style ones (which it seems can be bought new legitimately) that was more a capacity thing thinking as I'm not fully liking the idea of being restricted to just 19 litres when many kits are 23 litres and 2 standard kits could easily fit into a standard pub style keg. And with the pub style ones available new with about double the capacity of the corny kegs for similar prices it still has to be a question worth asking.

Well that and if buying used kegs (corny or otherwise) is worth it or not?.
 

Drunkula

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Well that and if buying used kegs (corny or otherwise) is worth it or not?.
They seal without being pressurised meaning if you wanted to you can keg condition with sugar easily. To clean them you have to put them upside down, blast water through the spear and let it drain through the gas side, then you can put in cleaner, even recirculate if you've got a pump, leave it, rinse then sanitise.

Of course once they're full a 50 litre one is a nightmare to move into a brew fridge compared to cornies. If you have one of the chest freezer types you're much better off filling it once it's in there.

You can also get plastic kegs, like Petainers. If you're lucky enough to find a pub that occasionally uses them you might be able to get them free as they're one way and just crushed. They can be reused repeatedly.
 

Leon103

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Thanks for the replies, yes being able to ensure the things are clean is vital, hence why I bought a wide neck plastic pressure barrel for ease of access. But in fairness, aside from being able to visually check any such keg is clean I do have a pressure washer which unless there is a reason not to use, should I'd have thought be more than enough to clean these kegs?

But with the pub style ones (which it seems can be bought new legitimately) that was more a capacity thing thinking as I'm not fully liking the idea of being restricted to just 19 litres when many kits are 23 litres and 2 standard kits could easily fit into a standard pub style keg. And with the pub style ones available new with about double the capacity of the corny kegs for similar prices it still has to be a question worth asking.

Well that and if buying used kegs (corny or otherwise) is worth it or not?.
I guess the size puts a lot off, double brew days, plus moving whilst full. How would you chill?
 

Justin Dean

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Not just size, cleaning convenience and weight are the another 3 things.
 

Dave 666

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OK, in thinking more smaller 19 litre corny style kegs might be more practical for now, if only to help keep the beer fresher in smaller batches than a single 40+ litre batch that would likely go off quicker once I start consuming it. Besides, an under counter fridge will becoming available in the new year, well as soon as we get the new fridge anyway (I'll call it "recycling" as far as the other half is concerned). So using corny kegs would be far more practical for now.

Now my next line of thought, building a proper pub style worktop with bar pump\tap. As I've been looking on eBay & quite a few used pub pumps (not had pull) like kronenberg, fosters, Carling etc going for quite a cheap price. Not sure if these are compatible, hopefully they are as that's the sort of thing I'd prefer for a home bar. Any advice on this aspect such as fittings, ease of use etc as I'd much sooner use a pub pump. If compatible I'm assuming they simply free flow under relatively low co2 pressure once the tap is pulled?.
 

lancon

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In a traditional cask the beer will go off after not many days as you have to allow air in to the cask to allow the beer to flow. 3-4 days for a pale ale/bitter and possibly 5/6 days for a dark beer seems to be the time. You can get 20L casks, (a pin as opposed to a 40L firkin) which seem to be coming quite popular these days. They're good for a party as you will be sure of emptying it in a short time and it will stay good.
 

foxy

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Beer engines are simple easy to use pours a better beer without much cost, best way to do it is to use a cube, and very little carbonation required. Instead of letting air in attach it to a co2 gas bottle set to atmospheric pressure to take up the vacuum when you pump the beer out. If you go down the commercial keg route to use this as a cask you will need a coupler, mine are 'A' type. If you are a party animal and can down a 40 to 50 litre batch in a night (with help) just get a picnic pump and pump air in to take up the vacuum.
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When you let the air in it is a far better pour almost 80% nitrogen so a real smooth drink, with fine carbonation.
You can also gravity pour and get a decent beer but needs more carbonation much like the pressure barrels you have in the UK.
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002.JPG
 

Dave 666

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Thanks for the replies guys, I didn't realise the options available when looking at getting kegs\casks.

I think in the first instance I'm going to go down the corny keg route, might get 2 used ones at the same time as opposed to a single new one.

Iancon, I kind of get that from working at beer festivals where first got me back into brewing again after many years. And the way the hand pumps work using air to draw instead of pressurised co2 kind of made realise a hand pull pump wouldn't be a good idea seeing as I'd possibly never get through a 19 litre corny keg in 4 days. This was why I was thinking more like a pub carling\fosters pump\tap as clearly the keg would be co2 pressurised for carbonation and that pressure dispenses the beer once the tap is pulled down. So these pumps\taps I assume would allow a much greater shelf life for the beer as your never really allowing air in and it all operates under co2?.

In this instance would used pub pumps\taps be compatible with a corny keg for dispensing lightly to fully carbed beers & lagers and if so are the fittings easily available?.
 
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