Setting up a Beer Engine

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Equipment Discussion' started by CX500T, Dec 10, 2017.

Help Support The Homebrew Forum UK by donating using the link above.
  1. Dec 10, 2017 #1

    CX500T

    CX500T

    CX500T

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    NULL
    I have been brewing Cask Ale for about a year now, in addition to my Kegged beers. The cask has been set up for Gravity Dispense, and I have a LPG Regulator Cask "Breather".

    Last Spring, my wife got me an Angram CQ 1/4 Pint Beer Engine from Ebay, it came from England. It has a water cooled cylinder.
    http://www.ukbrewing.com/Angram_Beer_Engine_CQ_1_4_Pt_Single_WaterJacketed_p/23114.htm

    Cask Side, I have 4.5 Imperial Gallon Pin Cask. Stainless Steel, set up with a Cask Breather (homemade from LPG regulator) that feeds off my keg CO2 Supply.

    Tap wise, in addition to my Gravity Dispense tap, I bought a 3/4 Thread Tap.
    http://www.ukbrewing.com/Cask_Tap_sngl_3_4_thread_p/12025.htm

    When I got the Beer Engine, it had a check valve in the box with it.
    http://www.ukbrewing.com/Check_Valve_p/40040.htm

    That's what I have for supplies.

    Here is how I would like to set it up.
    My "Cellar" is my attached garage that is about 3 feet lower than the floor level in the house. Sitting on it's stand, my Cask sits close to the house's floor level.

    For parties, I'd like to clamp the Beer Engine onto my mantel by the fireplace. (fireplace isn't used anymore). That is about 5 feet above the floor give or take a couple inches. Plan is to run the beer line, and the cooling lines for the cylinder from the garage on the backside of the chimney cleanout, up through the bottom of the hearth, and through the fireplace to the beer engine.

    Total vertical rise, 5-6 feet (2m) max, and maybe a 10ft (3m) total line length tap to engine.

    Being that beer engine setups aren't exactly common in Virginia, and none of my cask ale books really address how to set up a beer engine properly, it's more the brewing and conditioning than the setup of the beer engine.

    From being an engineer, I would think the biggest diameter line that fits my fittings, (3/8 ID or 1/2 ID) would be the size to go with.

    Should the Check Valve go closer to the engine, or closer to the tap.

    Temp wise, in winter my garage is usually 50F or so. I was thinking of the cooling lines just running from a cooler with a small pump, and to and from the cylinder. I would have the cooling lines and beer line taped together, and have some split pipe insulation over them where it runs inside the house.


    Does this sound like it's workable, or is there something with beer engine setup I'm missing?
     
  2. Dec 10, 2017 #2

    Fil

    Fil

    Fil

    Regular. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Messages:
    4,102
    Likes Received:
    962
    Fwiw im not an engine owner just a wanabe :)

    That setup should be fine 1/2" pvc tube is very commonly used in pubs with hand pulled beer engines. and the 2m lift should be well within the capacity of the pump to pull. the 'traditional' set up is to draw beer up from a cooler cellar. tho it could provide you with some exercise pulling the beer up to start with ( keep at it it will come if all pipe connections are sealed well ..) ..

    the beer in the pump however isnt going to stay fresh for very long, so a 3way valve allowing you to switch the pumps pull to a bucket of water to flush out the cylinder between sessions may be worth considering. (could be better than leaving beer to oxidise and leave a residual taint in the workings..)

    Sorry im under 70 and dont do Victorian measurement scales, but 11-13c ( 3 shillings and sixpence?) is the traditional range for serving cask ales, if your brewing more the US style with that extra level of condition you may appreciate a lower serving temp, its basically the same as your kegs, cooler more condition can be contained.

    Yuo will probably want to run the cooling to and from the jacket with the beerline inside insulation to help keep the beer at optimum condition along its length (python), warming along the feed will probably lead to co2 escaping from the beer :(and a messy pour


    Dont expect a wasteful head of air on top of the beer unless you employ a sparkler on the end of your spout, without a sparkler you should pour a grand full pint upto the brim with just enough foam atop to perhaps float an island but more crucially to lace the glass as you quaff

    i would probably sit the check valve on the cask end.

    pull a pint for me when its all set up..
     
    CX500T likes this.
  3. Dec 10, 2017 #3

    CX500T

    CX500T

    CX500T

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    NULL
    It's funny, I often see Metric measurements, and have to convert in my head to what they are in "Imperial/Customary/whatever we call it now" but the pre decimalization money (in old books) drives me batty.

    Dumb question. Working with Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, I often hear them give distances in miles, and weights in pounds.

    Is that from being around us Americans too long, or is some degree of mixed units still in common use in the UK? Besides pints anyways.
     
  4. Dec 10, 2017 #4

    sdt7618

    sdt7618

    sdt7618

    Regular. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2016
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    241
    Pint, pounds and mile are all pretty much still standard. However don't tell our mates over in Europe......
     
  5. Dec 11, 2017 #5

    peebee

    peebee

    peebee

    Out of Control

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
    Messages:
    852
    Likes Received:
    311
    Location:
    North Wales
    Wrote a bit on "cask" beer a little while back, including a section on beer engines, which you might find informative:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwzEv5tRM-5EQUhZbDNPdmV1bWc

    Wasn't keen on procedures to flush the hand-pump because they were near impossible to dry out afterwards, resulting in often getting a glass of watered down beer. So went about solving the problem of beer spoiling in the cylinder between sessions. As you have a CQ pump you might consider this (there isn't room inside the CO designs):
    <picture attached>
    Sealing the pump's nozzle between sessions allows me to have the pump attached all the while to the cask. The beer in the cylinder will still degas but wont go off for a couple of days. As you are using a 1/4 pint cylinder you are not wasting too much if the beer does get left too long in the pump.

    Where to position the check-valve? (Try not to call it a check-valve which actually means something else - it's a demand-valve). Fil says near the cask, many vendors say near the pump, but I can't see what difference it makes.

    You are right sticking with larger diameter tubing (3/8 or 1/2). Any smaller and it becomes very difficult to operate the pump.

    20161022_182229_WEB.jpg
     
    CX500T and Lowcliff like this.
  6. Dec 11, 2017 #6

    CX500T

    CX500T

    CX500T

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    NULL
    Thank you very much!

    That article is the best thing I have read on Cask Ale on a Homebrew Scale!

    Especially pointing out which methods are not "Real Ale" per CAMRA but preserve the taste. I currently have a fixed 37mbar LPG regulator, but will pick up an adjustable one based on reading the article.

    I don't get home from the current trip for three more weeks, but that gives me time to brew up my next batch of ESB and get the Beer Engine setup completed.

    Thank you again for the help. I'll post pictures when I'm done.
     
    peebee likes this.
  7. Dec 11, 2017 #7

    peebee

    peebee

    peebee

    Out of Control

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
    Messages:
    852
    Likes Received:
    311
    Location:
    North Wales
    Because of the length of tubing between your pump and cask you may have to be careful what tubing you use. In pubs it is not a problem because beer doesn't stay still in the tube very long, and any left in the tubing overnight is often purged before serving. But home-brewers?

    The usual tubing is 3/8 medium density polyethylene (MDPE). It's probably okay (?) as it's not too permeable to oxygen. However in the States they have something called "beverage tubing" (pictured) which has much reduced permeability to oxygen (and CO2 etc.). The one to AVOID (and it often gets sold as suitable tubing) is SILICONE TUBING as it has a permeability to oxygen many tens of times greater than any other tubing. I found out because my beer repeatedly turned to vinegar in the tube!

    beverage-tubing.png
     
  8. Dec 11, 2017 #8

    Fil

    Fil

    Fil

    Regular. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Messages:
    4,102
    Likes Received:
    962
    Naw its just being a typical Brit, having a dig at the colonials, of course its perfectly reasonable to buy Petrol (gas by definition isnt a liquid) by the gallon and sandwich meat or drugs by the 1/4 while using a metric scale for temperature measurement :whistle: after all we only voted for brexit not Fart for president :doh::thumb:
    (edit .. tho i suspect If nuclear annihilation is avoided for the next 3 years, Brexit will probably be more damaging to the UK in the long run )
     
  9. Feb 4, 2018 #9

    CX500T

    CX500T

    CX500T

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    NULL
    Here is what I have. Beer engine is set up. Cask is Spiled and Fobbing a bit, and hopefully it's on good condition for tomorrow night's Football. (Okay, Hand-Egg, as this is a British forum)
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Feb 8, 2018 #10

    CX500T

    CX500T

    CX500T

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    NULL
    Here is a the only pic I apparently took during the game. BestBitter.jpg
     

Share This Page