Real Ale

Assumes carbonation of flat beer is done using a forced or gradual injection of CO2.
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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

I remember seeing that thread, I think that's why a lot of us are home brewers - to fill in that nostalgic hole.

And that's why I love it. I grew up in pubs as my parents ran several around the North West over the years. It wasn't until my wife and I moved abroad that I realised how deep the connection to British pub life/culture was to me.

Makes me sad to hear of so many pubs closing due to various reasons but then on the flip side 'Cask Ale' has seen a real resurgence over in the UK over the last few years.

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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

BrewBagMan wrote:It wasn't until my wife and I moved abroad that I realised how deep the connection to British pub life/culture was to me.
Yes! Well put. Me too.


BrewBagMan wrote:
I'm watching this at the moment (the documentary mentioned on the podcst)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-IF4xx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... ults_video

and it's bringing a tear to my eye ;')
Great find! :thumbs:



Another thought. You could wash out your polypins with "1 Step", It doesn’t need rinsing and apparently it sanitises as well. I ordered 5lbs of it a few days ago (it’s just become available in Canada again) for my kegs. I think it is going to save me a lot of work. http://www.biabrewer.info/viewtopic.php ... 2o2#p26149

I just bought a 5 gallon collapsible water container, a bit like yours, but it was not as soft, it was harder and crinkly. I tested it with water at the sink, and not suitable as it started pulling in air when it got down to about 1/3 full. I think you need the soft version. The one I got was cheap, $7, about the price of a good pint around here. Would you keep us updated please? Did you have to let much/any pressure off? I was wondering how long you fermented before putting into the bags for your trial run. Thanks
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Last edited by GuingesRock on 10 Apr 2013, 07:33, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

GuingesRock wrote: Another thought. You could wash out your polypins with "1 Step", It doesn’t need rinsing and apparently it sanitises as well. I ordered 5lbs of it a few days ago (it’s just become available in Canada again) for my kegs. I think it is going to save me a lot of work. http://www.biabrewer.info/viewtopic.php ... 2o2#p26149
Hey Guinges! I just use PBW and Starsan - to be honest it doesn't seem like that much effort for peace of mind. I didn't think there was a product that both cleaned and sanitized? I'll keep an eye out for it over here though.
GuingesRock wrote: I just bought a 5 gallon collapsible water container, a bit like yours, but it was not as soft, it was harder and crinkly. I tested it with water at the sink, and not suitable as it started pulling in air when it got down to about 1/3 full. I think you need the soft version. The one I got was cheap, $7, about the price of a good pint around here. Would you keep us updated please? Did you have to let much/any pressure off? I was wondering how long you fermented before putting into the bags for your trial run. Thanks
The ones I managed to pick up are very soft but weren't expensive - 5 bucks each. http://www.supercheapauto.com.au/online" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... 8857#Cross for the 10 ltr size.

But I'm gonna try to get hold of one of these to see what they're like;

http://www.bcf.com.au/online-store/prod" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... 4174#Cross.

There don't appear to be any leaks on the ones I'm using, so I'm happy with that.

As for an update...

I havn't seen any activity in terms of carbonation due to the following;

1. the beer had completely fermented in the primary. Had I known that I was going to put this batch in the bags I would have attempted to rack a couple of gravity points shy of the expected FG (wish I'd listened to that podcast before jumping in headfirst) :whistle:
2. Due to over excitement I clearly did not add sufficient priming sugar. So yesterday I added more and brought the bag indoors where it's a little warmer.

I'll keep you posted. I have the Tribute ale fermenting away and will be splitting the batch 1/2 into a bag and the other 1/2 into bottles and hopefully doing a better job at 'cask conditioning' and keeping the beer ALIVE :pray:

Let me know how your search for a decent bag goes. I know that you can get them shipped from the UK fairly cheaply.

Lee :salute:
Last edited by BrewBagMan on 12 Apr 2013, 06:01, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

Hi Lee, I think the polypins might be something that needs to be acquired from the UK. At least in Canada I can’t seem to find anything. Did you find a link for them in the UK?

I am kegging my Tribute today, after one week fermenting. I will put the CO2 on the keg as low as I can and still pour and see how it goes. With polypins and if I may coin a term “Low Pressure Real Ale Kegging” (probably won’t get away with that one :) ) you can draw off beer at any time and really get to know it, and learn all of its different characters as it matures.

Thanks
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Post by nik » 4 years ago

I have 5 liter kegs (http://www.brupaks.com/images/products/ ... %20KIT.jpg) and I use this tap http://www.fass-frisch.de/english/produkte/beerking.htm .
When making real ales the only drawback of this system is that if you open the keg after 3-4 motnths you get can taste also you get a lot of foam with that dispenser (probably the beer line is too short)but for personal use, the beer will not stall because CO2 is used to push the beer out .I have in mind to try the cheaper one http://www.fass-frisch.de/english/produkte/multitap.htm which is probably more close to real ale standards but you have to finish the beer within a week or less .
The polypins are interesting idea also.

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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

They look good NIK, although from what I've seen they're pretty expensive here. Are thru difficult to clean?

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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

Last edited by GuingesRock on 15 Apr 2013, 07:53, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by nik » 4 years ago

BrewBagMan wrote:They look good NIK, although from what I've seen they're pretty expensive here. Are thru difficult to clean?
They are not difficult to clean if after you empty them you give them a good rinse with plenty of water but it is difficult to dry them .Other than the price and the can taste after a long time I believe is a good solution not perfect but still good.
Also I found here some intresting discusions...
http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/view" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... =6&t=58647
http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/view" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... =6&t=52281
Also commercial devices like this might work http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC7eG-ArwXI" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YDVTl0MQVg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by nik on 15 Apr 2013, 13:41, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

Hey nik,

I've looked into both the 'Rotokeg' and the 'Keg King' both of which are not sold here and due to their size would be hellish pricey to ship to Oz. We have a trip back to the UK planned for next year so I'm planning to bring a Keg King barrel back. I reckon they'd be pretty good. They're common as muck back in the UK, I've read many positive reviews on them.

Are you bottling or do you use a keg?

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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

Very interesting stuff nik. I wonder if there might be a way to attach a Corny gas post to the cheap jerry keg (using some king of bulkhead fitting like in the picture below), rather than using a tire valve to inject the CO2. Would have to take care that it didn’t come unattached and become a projectile.

These things look like they would be easier to clean/sanitise than kegs which need to be taken apart (cleaning kegs is a bit of a pita). Put the cleaner/sanitiser/rinse water in, shake and drain (I presume the taps come off).

Another thing I have discovered using the low pressure real ale Corny keg idea is you have to keep the gas on the keg, otherwise they start to develop negative pressure, even if you are not pouring them, and they will suck air in to the keg, through the lid seal, poppet valve etc. I tried pouring from such a keg and it sucked air back down the line when I opened the tap. A plastic container would simply collapse a bit instead. I like the way you can see when the plastic thing is under pressure. The one below looks like she’s just going to blow though. :argh:
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Post by nik » 4 years ago

BrewBagMan wrote:Hey nik,

I've looked into both the 'Rotokeg' and the 'Keg King' both of which are not sold here and due to their size would be hellish pricey to ship to Oz. We have a trip back to the UK planned for next year so I'm planning to bring a Keg King barrel back. I reckon they'd be pretty good. They're common as muck back in the UK, I've read many positive reviews on them.

Are you bottling or do you use a keg?
When I brew Low abv English styles or Stouts I use the 5 liter kegs because they can't handle much preasure ( they can deformed or blow?according the user manual) so for styles with low carbonation (1-1.5 volumes CO2) are good option and the volume is drinkable in a week margin even with the air pump .
Any other style I brew I bottle ...IS PITA I know but I don't have space for a real kegging system in my small apartment.
For larger quantities and brewing english styles probably the best cheap solution is the King kegs ,rotokegs ,whatever.
Last edited by nik on 15 Apr 2013, 19:19, edited 2 times in total.


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Post by nik » 4 years ago

GuingesRock wrote:Very interesting stuff nik. I wonder if there might be a way to attach a Corny gas post to the cheap jerry keg (using some king of bulkhead fitting like in the picture below), rather than using a tire valve to inject the CO2. Would have to take care that it didn’t come unattached and become a projectile.

These things look like they would be easier to clean/sanitise than kegs which need to be taken apart (cleaning kegs is a bit of a pita). Put the cleaner/sanitiser/rinse water in, shake and drain (I presume the taps come off).

Another thing I have discovered using the low pressure real ale Corny keg idea is you have to keep the gas on the keg, otherwise they start to develop negative pressure, even if you are not pouring them, and they will suck air in to the keg, through the lid seal, poppet valve etc. I tried pouring from such a keg and it sucked air back down the line when I opened the tap. A plastic container would simply collapse a bit instead. I like the way you can see when the plastic thing is under pressure. The one below looks like she’s just going to blow though. :argh:
You can do that I supose if you have allready a normal kegging system .Probably you are gonna need a type of relief valve as precaution (like this maybe ...http://www.brouwland.com/setframes/?l=&" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... 4&shwlnk=0) In this manner you will fill your vessel with beer purge some CO2 ,the excesive will escape from the relief valve and when you draw some beer you will purge again when you need some for pushing out the beer .The trick is to find a strudy vessel for this to work .
Also there is a more expensive but profesional way to do this .Is called Cask Breather and does exactly what you intend to do...
http://www.ukbrewing.com/Cask_Breather_p/40030.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by nik on 15 Apr 2013, 19:39, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

Thanks nik. That all makes sense to me.

I have some questions that I wanted to see if anyone knows the answers.

With cask ale, if you let air in the beer goes off after a few days? Maybe longer in a fridge. I think that is mostly bacteria. So why not let air into the cask/jerry can/vessel with tap of your choice, but attach the air inlet to a microbial filter?

Next worry is the oxygen. How long does it take to oxidise beer? There is probably a CO2 blanket on top of the beer that might protect the beer for a while. Isn’t the worst that could happen that the beer would start tasting like cardboard? I had craft beer that tasted like cardboard in a pub once and turned up my nose at it, but everyone else seemed to be drinking it merrily. I believe that is acceptable in some beer styles.

Finally if it is possible to remove microbes from the air prior to it entering the cask, might there also be a practical way to remove the oxygen from the air?

Sounds weird, but if you blew into a cask through a microbial filter, the air you exhaled would be lower in oxygen and higher in CO2 than normal air. Probably not enough difference to make it worthwhile though.
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Post by nik » 4 years ago

GuingesRock wrote:Thanks nik. That all makes sense to me.

I have some questions that I wanted to see if anyone knows the answers.

With cask ale, if you let air in the beer goes off after a few days? Maybe longer in a fridge. I think that is mostly bacteria. So why not let air into the cask/jerry can/vessel with tap of your choice, but attach the air inlet to a microbial filter?

Next worry is the oxygen. How long does it take to oxidise beer? There is probably a CO2 blanket on top of the beer that might protect the beer for a while. Isn’t the worst that could happen that the beer would start tasting like cardboard? I had craft beer that tasted like cardboard in a pub once and turned up my nose at it, but everyone else seemed to be drinking it merrily. I believe that is acceptable in some beer styles.

Finally if it is possible to remove microbes from the air prior to it entering the cask, might there also be a practical way to remove the oxygen from the air?

Sounds weird, but if you blew into a cask through a microbial filter, the air you exhaled would be lower in oxygen and higher in CO2 than normal air. Probably not enough difference to make it worthwhile though.
The basic concept behind real ale or better cask ale is that the beer is served at cellar temperature (12C) using gravity(by means of a simple tap attached to the barrel) or a hand pulled pump.So if we draw some pints from the cask eventualy air fills the gap a filter as you describe is a good solution but I don't believe adds something because I believe in the most real ale pubs, their cellar doesn't meet hospital standards same as our kitchen ,fridge,basement and so on but you can apply a filter as such for psycological reasons probably I will do it also.
The real problem is stalled beer...
It supposed from what I have read that a pub must serve the low alchohol beers in 3-4 days max and about a week the stronger ones.
So at household use it's somehow imposible under normal circumstances to empty a 20 liter cask in 3-4 days so in that case we need a CO2 device to protect our beer from stalling .Probably smaller kegs or polypins or whatever (e.g. 5 liters)kept in the fridge is the soloution for the "real ale" way at home .
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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

Thanks nik!

I came up with a real ale cask idea today and started preliminary water tests.

The problem with polypins is the bags are expensive and thus not disposable and need to be cleaned and sanitised, and since they are relatively thin and contained only in a cardboard box, they won’t withstand any pressure.

My idea is to have a really thin simple bag (garbage bag style, but food grade) and put it inside a heavy duty water barrel that would take a fair amount of pressure. These thin food grade bags are available for a few cents apiece from places like this: http://al-pack.com/Bags.php. Because of the manufacturing process, I do not believe that the inside of the bags would need sanitising.

The tap/lid unit of the water barrel then screws on to seal the bag and seal off the beer. The tap/lid is the only thing I think would need washing and dunking in Starsan. The water barrel in the picture is very strong and cost $17.

The small air inlet plug at the top of the water container (see picture) lets air in when required to enable the beer to be poured, but that air has no contact with the beer since the beer is contained within a plastic membrane inside the barrel.

Preliminary water tests just using a garbage bag (says do not use for food storage on box) are promising. It hadn't leaked after 1 hour. Probably should trim off the excess plastic bag.

Any thoughts/feedback/improvements?
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Post by mally » 4 years ago

There could be some mileage doing that GR. Let us know if it works ok (if you try it for real).

Another idea would be to hook up some positive pressure to that inlet line (CO2, or even cheaper/easier mains water (like in an RO unit)).
That way your beer could be forced out if necessary (last dregs etc.)

Just a thought.

I guess the only other thing is oxygen permeability of the disposable bag, but it would be better than none at all I guess.
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Post by Yeasty » 4 years ago

mally wrote:I guess the only other thing is oxygen permeability of the disposable bag, but it would be better than none at all I guess.
You can always double bag.

GR. What carbonation levels are you looking at with this system. If you could fit a valve to the vent hole I recon you could pump the vessel up to 4-6psi no problem.
Last edited by Yeasty on 18 Apr 2013, 05:01, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

Thanks Mally, Yeasty. I think it is for real-ale so it is going to be drunk pretty quickly, so I’m not concerned too much about O2 permeability. I think the idea is to put the ale in there before it has finished fermenting, for those soft smooth tiny bubbles, but on the whole “flatish”. Don’t ever say that real-ale is “flat” though or CAMRA will send their hit men around.

I was on the phone to the bag company in the link and they are sending me a quote for suitable 24” x 24” food grade bags, probably 0.9 Mil plastic. I’m slightly concerned that pressure will leak out around the bag at the lid. I think it will work providing the bags are really thin and the lid is screwed on really tightly. It’s been three hours with my garbage/rubbish bag which is 1.5 Mil plastic with no leaks, but there is no pressure in there. I suppose it could be stored upright so if there were a leak it would be CO2 and not beer. If the beer is in the last throws of fermentation that might be a way of purging any air space in there with CO2 any way. On the other hand if it is laying flat, liquid will be less likely to leak than CO2 because of its greater viscosity.

Interesting thought though to pressurise with an air pump through the vent hole, with maybe a tire valve, providing the lid seal would hold. At the very least that would be a good way of expressing any air from the bag and eliminating any head space in the bag through the tap, with the barrel in the upright position.
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Post by nik » 4 years ago

Hi GR again...
There is a commercial soloution like yours which is called KEYKEG http://www.keykeg.com/en/brewery/ .It's the new kid on the block for commercial purposes and many european well known breweries use them .
It uses the same idea as yours (serch their site for more inspiration) .
You can use a tire valve on the outer conteiner to adapt a cheap electric tire inflator in a manner to push from the inner bag all the content out without any contact with the beer .
The only thing you have to consider is to find a suitable type of bag if you haven't so far and you have your personal key keg ready on the cheap .

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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

Thanks very much Nik, nothing new under the sun eh!

I love re-inventing the wheel, keeps me occupied any way.

The ideal bag would be elastic, something like a large water balloon, or a condom. I wonder if there is such a thing in food grade? they have flavoured condoms so they can't be that toxic :)
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Post by nik » 4 years ago

Probably you have bought the right bag if it is food grade may be a thicker bag is better or a allumium coated plastic bag (food grade) can handle more preasure probably at keykeg they use something like that .
At the following link they have some info http://www.keykeg.com/en/support-brewery/
Also youtube it to get an idea of the real think.


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Post by nik » 4 years ago

:idea: :idea: Probably the bags used for vacum packaging will do the job, they are somehow cheap ,they are strudy and there are some fancy aluminum coated ones like the small bags of hops we get from our LHBS .
Something like this... http://wfmeijie.en.alibaba.com/product/ ... _bags.html

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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

Nice work Guinges, suppose the question is... when are you gonna put some ale in there? I tried pouring from my 'bag' last night and was disappointed with the nozzle/pressure within the bag as there wasn't much of a flow. I think the key is getting a fair amount of carbonation happening inside the bag. the guys who successfully use polypins mention that they have to "vent" off the pressure a couple of time before their beer is conditioned enough to serve.

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