Home Draught Beer System

Discussion in 'General Home Brew Equipment Discussion' started by Thomas Muat, Apr 23, 2019.

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  1. Apr 23, 2019 #1

    Thomas Muat

    Thomas Muat

    Thomas Muat

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    Afternoon All,

    Whilst not directly about brewing, I am in the process of setting up a home draught beer system. I am by no means an expert so wanted to post what I have set up and get any feedback/suggestions to help improve my set up.

    So below is pictures of my current set up:
    I am using 60/40 gas running through the below regulator.
    [​IMG]
    Into my keg and going into a maxi cooler.
    [​IMG]
    I have it set to recirculate through twice (I will add another keg and line once I know its all working). From here I am running it through a short run of python through a flow regulator to the tap.
    [​IMG]

    I made the mistake of not adjusting the psi level when I initially connected my keg and pressurised too much. I now have it back down to 14 psi.

    I have a few questions, I don't feel the maxi is dropping the temperature of the beer that much. When double looping I assumed it would be very cold. Does anyone use glycol or have any advice on this? Is there a better way to drop it in temp?

    Would it be worth me buying a cheap fridge and drilling a hole in the top to store the keg? Does that defeat the need for the maxi chiller?

    I find the head on the beer regularly goes away very quickly, is this to do with the psi or maybe the flow rate?

    Any general bits of advice for maintenance etc?

    Many thanks for your help,
    Tom
     
  2. Apr 23, 2019 #2

    LeeH

    LeeH

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    You are much better off storing your keg in a fridge controlled by a inkbird or STC 1000 as then you can control the 2 variables you need for carbonation.

    Your head woes could be down low volumes of CO2, dirty glassware or your recipe.

    I presume you are pouring cream-flow/smooth-flow beers with your odd choice of gas?

    Normally it’s a 70/30 N/CO2 mix or 100 CO2.

    Regarding your chiller, is it actually working correctly? Can you see an ice bath? Glycol conversions are for beers like extra cold Guinness etc.

    In a nutshell, throw the maxi, check your gas type and mount your tap directly onto a fridge.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  3. Apr 23, 2019 #3

    Thomas Muat

    Thomas Muat

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    Hi Lee,

    In regards to the gas, I was mistaken and it is 60/40.

    I am just pouring regular lager, I haven’t brewed myself. I’m currently on a keg of Amstel.

    I’ll have a look at the maxi again, I don’t leave it on all the time but if I plan to use it I normally turn it on the day before. I’ll turn it on today and see what happens with it. Where will I see the actual ice bath on the maxi?

    The main reason for using the maxi was simply as I was given it for free.

    Thanks for your feedback and help
     
  4. Apr 23, 2019 #4

    Thomas Muat

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    I’ve made the same mistake, it’s 70/30.
     
  5. Apr 23, 2019 #5

    LeeH

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    You need 100 percent CO2 or your severing pressure is going to be very high. You have the wrong gas mixture.

    The ice bath is inside where the water is and builds up over time but isn’t necessary for low throughput. But it will prove the chiller.
     
  6. Apr 24, 2019 #6

    parpot

    parpot

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    As Lee says check the ice formation but Just as important is the correct water level in the cooler, check through the round cover on the top, also only C02 for Lagers in a Keg.
     
  7. Apr 24, 2019 #7

    BarnBrian

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    Have you filled the water bath, I can’t see a cap on the water overflow, that’s the black stub just below the two vacant pipes. Top up with water through the lid until it overflows and then put the cap on. If you don’t have a cap you’ll need to fabricate a bung or a cap to stop water overflow during operation.
    Make sure you top up the tank after you’ve run the pump for half a minute or so as the initial run needs to fill the cobra.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  8. Apr 24, 2019 #8

    LeeH

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    ^^^^Good spot! You have no water!

    Still sell it, buy a fridge and the correct gas.
     
  9. Apr 24, 2019 #9

    Thomas Muat

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    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the advice, I will look to sell the maxi but for the meantime will top up the water and plug the overflow hole.

    The reason I went for that gas is below:

    PURE CELLAR GASES
    Carbon Dioxide - Supplied in a black cylinder and is generally used for highly carbonated lagers, ciders and post mix drinks

    Nitrogen - Used in conjunction with CO2 on systems where a blending panel is available. The blending panel mixes CO2 and Nitrogen to create the mixed gas in the correct proportions

    MIXED CELLAR GASES
    Mixed gases are a premixed blend of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. As Nitrogen is not absorbed into the liquid, mixes which contain a higher percentage of Nitrogen offer smoother characteristics to stouts, bitters and ales. The mixed gas range consists of;

    70/30 (the green cylinder) - a blend of 70% nitrogen and 30% CO2, used primarily for dispensing smooth/creamy stouts and ales.

    50/50 (the purple cylinder) - an equal blend of both nitrogen and CO2, generally used for dispensing ales and lagers

    60/40 (the white cylinder) - a blend of 60% CO2 and 40% nitrogen, used for dispensing the majority of lagers and ciders

    60/40 showed up as being for the majority of lagers but I will now go for for 100% CO2.

    Thanks
     
  10. Apr 24, 2019 #10

    simon12

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    The maxi should chill the beer very cold with 1 pass or theres something wrong. Most pubs use 60/40 at 35 psi to dispense just about everything as its a good 1 size fits all for the general line length they have (and tends to just work without any knowledge of exact balance for the line length and pressure) while home setups have short lines so CO2 at 10-15 psi usually works better (60/40 at this pressure will result in flat beer over time).
     
  11. Apr 24, 2019 #11

    Thomas Muat

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    Thanks guys. I’m in the process of getting some 100 CO2.

    Which leads me on to this question... can I simply change the gas halfway through a keg?
     
  12. Apr 24, 2019 #12

    Thomas Muat

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    Also, can my current regulator be adapted for the CO2 tank?
     
  13. Apr 24, 2019 #13

    LeeH

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    Yes you can change no problem, unfortunately your reg won’t fit.

    But it’s worth keeping to serve stouts cream-flow style.
     
  14. Apr 29, 2019 #14

    Thomas Muat

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    UPDATE.

    Hi Guys,

    Just an update, I have my new 100 CO2 and I have put it in with the keg. I currently have it at 10 psi but will adjust as I go.

    With regards to the maxi, I have topped it up but it didn’t come with a bung for the overflow. Is it an essential piece?

    Tom
     
  15. May 1, 2019 #15

    parpot

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    No its not essential but water will come out of it but you can bung it up with anything!
     
  16. May 1, 2019 #16

    Bex Brew

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    Sorry to jump in on your thread. I've been thinking about a system for keeping my kegs cool. I've thought about refurbing a fridge and adding taps, lines, gas, regs etc. But I've been swaying towards getting a 2 product chiller instead like the maxi 210 or 310 as I'm a bit short on space. I do like the idea of having nice fonts and taps. I see from the posts above you recommend the fridge over the chiller. What are the pros and cons of each set up? I intend to be brewing a variety of lagers, ciders and real ales. I may even try a cream flow at a later date (I know I'll need a different reg and gas mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide) but I. Thinking further down the line with that. I've done them before with the smaller bulbs and had some success with the creaminess of a darker ale.
     
  17. May 1, 2019 #17

    simon12

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    A fridge likely makes sense for most home brewers as you can always find a second hand one very cheap while a used maxi will be £100-200, a maxi makes an annoying amount of noise if its in a living room, a fridge keeps all the lines cool so should be easier to get it pouring well. Down sides of a fridge are its hard to find one a good size for 2 cormies while a maxi could have up to 4 chilling lines and is easier to move if you need to.
     
    Bex Brew likes this.
  18. May 1, 2019 #18

    Bex Brew

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    Thank you Simon for that information, it is very helpful. I'd have many lines and kegs, a bar, optics, everything, haha, like a pub if I had the room and budget. :laugh8: I have seen a few larder fridges that could possibly hold 2 cornies. Not all have warranties though, so taking a gamble with the longevity of the fridge. I thought a chiller might take up less space and have better after sales service, unless I purchase a new fridge (although drilling for adding taps might void the warranty).
    It will be in another room off my kitchen, do chillers create a lot of noise, are glycol chillers any better? Can you run either chiller at select times (i.e) not 24 hours a day to save energy etc as I wont be pulling beer all day, every day?
     
  19. May 1, 2019 #19

    Druncan

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    I have a Brandels Bar1mcen glycol or water with a 7day dfx controller. It can go into hold mode on a time basis then chill down for opening time. It took ages to find, 300w and not that noisy. I also plan to somehow use it for cooling my FV's? Also just got a cornie ale python for the real ale casks that should work from the chiller @ 12-14*C with jackets,,,, That I have yet to make:rolleyes:Just not sure how to design a liquid circulating insulated jacket,,, But I will get there:tinhat:
     
  20. May 1, 2019 #20

    Bex Brew

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    Hi Druncan, that sounds interesting. Is that Brandels just for 1 line?
     

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