Newby pressure barrel questions

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stringman

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Hi all,

I have just started on some "sort of cider" and will be starting some dark fruits TC for my son soon.

A kindly chap has donated me 2 pressure barrels when he heard of my exploits.

I have been reading up on them and they seem a mixed bag. The ones I have got will be the cheaper £25 a go ones.
I would like a sparling but not fizzy cider.

Before i invest too much in replacement parts etc Can i ask a few questions.

Do you secondary ferment in the barrels with sugar and then top up the with CO2 as you "pour" the pints or do you just use Co2 to fizz the drink?

Even more stupid question could you do the same with wine to make a sparkling WOW?

final question.
The barrel has a small tube in the cap at the moment as the guy was using these as primary fermentation vessels is this an acceptable process ( have always used airlocks myself)

Many thanks in advance
 

terrym

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I have been reading up on them and they seem a mixed bag. The ones I have got will be the cheaper £25 a go ones.
I would like a sparling but not fizzy cider.

Before i invest too much in replacement parts etc Can i ask a few questions.

Do you secondary ferment in the barrels with sugar and then top up the with CO2 as you "pour" the pints or do you just use Co2 to fizz the drink?

Even more stupid question could you do the same with wine to make a sparkling WOW?

final question.
The barrel has a small tube in the cap at the moment as the guy was using these as primary fermentation vessels is this an acceptable process ( have always used airlocks myself)

Many thanks in advance
You can either use priming sugar (which ferments to produce a little alcohol and CO2) to carbonate the contents of a PB, assuming there is a little yeast present and its warm enough, or you can use CO2 usually injected from one shot bulbs or more controlled from a larger cylinder, or a combination of both. If you use CO2 injection the cap must be fitted with the appropriate injection valves. PBs are fine for low carb drinks but because of their pressure limits are not suitable for highly carbed drinks . I recommend no more than 90g table sugar fro a 25 litre PB.
And if the cap has been modified for an airlock it will need to be replaced by whatever injection system is needed or at least something with a basic relief valve.
More on PBs here
And if you decide to proceed with renovating your PBs I have some new and used parts here which might be suitable
 

Obadiah Boondoggle

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I would suggest secondary ferment in the barrels with sugar, this should create enough carbonation to create a fizzy drink - however, the amount of sugar will determine the level of fizz. You need to check a recipe for this. If once you start taking drink off it loses carbonation that would be the point to inject some more CO2

Seems a bit strange to ferment in a pressure barrel - how can you close the hole sufficiently to allow pressure build up (and hence fizziness) during secondary fermentation?
 

stringman

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Many thanks for the replies
The chap who gave me the barrels had 4 more that he was keeping.
He only makes IPA from kits. what he has is a few lids with pressure relief valves and a few more with the gas valves attatched. I think he was just sold a whole batch of the stuff.

As I have two FV and now two PB i wonder if i should have a bash at storing my big ( 20l plus) sort of cider in the PB?

Is there a benefit in using sugar for the secondary fermentation over CO2?
It does seem the whole CO2 is quite expensive, you need new lids, valves and gas.
Maybe just using 1 and 2 l pet bottle is more viable?

Thanks for all your help and the advice is much appreciated
 

Obadiah Boondoggle

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Many thanks for the replies
The chap who gave me the barrels had 4 more that he was keeping.
He only makes IPA from kits. what he has is a few lids with pressure relief valves and a few more with the gas valves attatched. I think he was just sold a whole batch of the stuff.

As I have two FV and now two PB i wonder if i should have a bash at storing my big ( 20l plus) sort of cider in the PB?

Is there a benefit in using sugar for the secondary fermentation over CO2?
It does seem the whole CO2 is quite expensive, you need new lids, valves and gas.
Maybe just using 1 and 2 l pet bottle is more viable?

Thanks for all your help and the advice is much appreciated
Yes - there is a lot of benefit from using sugar as your secondary fermentation

It's a lot cheaper than using CO2

Sorry if you know this but the by product when yeast ferments sugars into alcohol is CO2 - which is why an airlock is needed in your fv, in the bottle this CO2 becomes the fizz, hence artificially introduced CO2 is not needed
 

stringman

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Yes - there is a lot of benefit from using sugar as your secondary fermentation

It's a lot cheaper than using CO2

Sorry if you know this but the by product when yeast ferments sugars into alcohol is CO2 - which is why an airlock is needed in your fv, in the bottle this CO2 becomes the fizz, hence artificially introduced CO2 is not needed
I was aware of that ( please dont say sorry- best way to learn is to be told)
So If i do a secondary ferment in the barrel to get the sparkle would i need to inject co2 as i pour out the cider? ( thus needing a s 30 type cap) or do i just leave it and have a cap with no holes or valves?
 

terrym

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So If i do a secondary ferment in the barrel to get the sparkle would i need to inject co2 as i pour out the cider? ( thus needing a s 30 type cap) or do i just leave it and have a cap with no holes or valves?
As I said above you either pressurise a PB by CO2 produced from priming sugar or from a bulb or a cylinder. Its the same gas just from a different source. Some of that CO2 goes into solution, some stays in the gas space. The more CO2 in the PB overall the higher the pressure until the relief valve vents*. When you draw off beer the internal pressure forces beer out through the tap. As you progressively take more from the PB dissolved CO2 comes out of solution to fill the void made by the beer taken out, and the pressure progressively drops until there is not enough CO2 either in solution or in the gas space to force out the beer. So you need more CO2 to repressurise and get more beer out until the PB is empty. If you have an S30 type cylinder you can maintain the pressure by adding a little CO2 from time to time. Otherwise a reprime or a bulb is required,
*If you intend to pressurise a PB whichever type of cap you fit with or without CO2 injection, it should have a relief device usually a rubber band somewhere but these are widely available. You should not fit a blank cap to a PB since there is no provision to vent any excess CO2 should this be needed.
PBs are normally safe to operate but should be treated with respect, since they are, after all, pressure vessels and can contain much stored energy.
Finally I used to operate basic PBs by just priming alone. Sometimes I could get down to the bottom of the PB without repriming, sometimes not, so a reprime was needed. However most peolpe seem to use CO2 injection. But there is no right or wrong way it's what suits you best
 

stringman

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Terry
thank you so much for that detailed reply. I understand now. I can also see why some people prefer bottles and others PBs.
Just a quick question or two
when you say reprime do you just add some more sugar to reprime.
finally to pour the drink you need gas to fill the "void " by the drink ( the CO2) but if there is only a little bit left could you just losen the lid?
Actually I think i have the answer but can you confirm? Yes that would work but if left too long it would oxidize the cider. If thats the case could i then transfer the last of the cider to a PET bottle.

Thanks to all of you for all your welcoming help
 

terrym

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when you say reprime do you just add some more sugar to reprime.
finally to pour the drink you need gas to fill the "void " by the drink ( the CO2) but if there is only a little bit left could you just losen the lid?
Actually I think i have the answer but can you confirm? Yes that would work but if left too long it would oxidize the cider. If thats the case could i then transfer the last of the cider to a PET bottle.

Thanks to all of you for all your welcoming help
A reprime involves adding more sugar either as it comes or as a solution. To do this you have to remove the cap and then replace it. The quantity of sugar really depends on how much is left in the PB. If there are only a few pints its best to loosen the lid and allow a little air in each time and drink it all within a few days. As soon as increasing amounts of air get into the PB the the beer/cider starts spoil. However removing the cap to reprime doesn't seem to do this from my experience.
What you don't want to happen however is to allow the PB inside pressure to get so low so that when you draw off some beer /cider the inside pressure needs to be balanced with the outside pressure, and so air is drawn through the tap (theres no other way in) and it glugs through the contents of the PB.
 

private4587

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i am about to undertake pressure fermentation using my soon tone fermzilla allrounder, i will ferment in this and also force carbonate in it. my idea if its possible is to fit a couple(gas & liquid) posts to a lid of a king keg barrel. I would also serve from the liquid post thus allowing no air into the system. Do you think this is feasible
 

terrym

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i am about to undertake pressure fermentation using my soon tone fermzilla allrounder, i will ferment in this and also force carbonate in it. my idea if its possible is to fit a couple(gas & liquid) posts to a lid of a king keg barrel. I would also serve from the liquid post thus allowing no air into the system. Do you think this is feasible
Why not start a new thread specific to your question.
If you mention King Keg in the title you will attract more attention wink...
 

stringman

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UPDATE
So I put in about 20L of cider and primed it with sugar.
I left it for 2 weeks but needed room in the fermenting fridge. Before i took it out i used a throwaway CO2 cartridge. It obviously was already gassed as the valve released the excess CO2.
I then moved it out to the cold shed.
Yesterday I thought i would give it a test. After pulling 2 pints the flow all but stopped.
I used another cartridge and left it 20min. I opened the tap and it almost exploded out.
Today I managed about another 2 pints before it stopped flowing.
This surely can be correct can it?
Any ideas?
 

Buffers brewery

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I guess this is the problem with CO2 capsules, although I must confess to never using them. In the past I used S30 Brewgas cylinders. It works out cheaper than capsules but more importantly you can control how much gas you inject. Include a pressure gauge in the cap and you’ll be able to keep the barrel pressure at the best level for serving IMO.
 

stringman

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Getting hold of the S30 cylinders is a bit of a problem at the moment.
Its more the problem of only being able to draw 2 pints before the pressure runs out. That doesnt seem right to me (but what do I know?)
 

Drunkula

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Yes - there is a lot of benefit from using sugar as your secondary fermentation

It's a lot cheaper than using CO2
If you're using little bulbs, yeah.

For anyone considering a move away from the plastic terror : If you've got a pub bottle then carbing 23 litres to 2.3 volumes costs 19.4p, the sugar to do the same job 7.4p. So by paying 15p more you've got beer that you don't then have to possibly un-cold crash, leave to condition, and then have the bonus layer of yeast sludge wasting some of it.

Then serving needs 104g of gas - for a pub cylinder that's 31p. For little co2 bulbs.... gulp... £6.41.

Wehhh, wehh - what about the setup costs? They're nowhere near as bad as people make out if you don't buy one of those pre-made bundles.

Stringman, if your friend has sold stuff, kept stuff for himself but given you something does that mean he couldn't sell it and didn't want to keep it? Seriously think about throwing those barrels away. They're rubbish and will just bring you despair. 1 and 2 litre pop bottles are a much safer route and you can carbonate to levels those awful plastic barrels just can't handle. Just use them for collecting water on your brewday or throw them off a bridge onto the back of a lorry going to Serbia or something. Have you seen Night of the Demon? You've just been passed a curse that you need to move on.
 

Buffers brewery

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Asking obvious question....have you looked for leaks around the cap? A soapy water spray around the valve after you’ve charged it with gas should show any leaks (most common problem).
 

stringman

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thanks for the replies.
the guy actually gave me the barrels. I had to force some money on him. the pressure lid is new and the seals were greased prior to use.
I wonder if by putting in the bulb during the secondary I over pressured it but it let too much gas out. then I took it out the warming fridge too soon.
I will try another bottle and leave it for a while to be absorbed. should 1 bulb be enough?
maybe I should buy a soda stream?
 
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