Real Ale

Assumes carbonation of flat beer is done using a forced or gradual injection of CO2.
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Real Ale

Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

I went to the local brewshop yesterday simply to collect some grain and came away with my first keg complete with all the bits and bobs needed to serve up my own brews. I did have some explaining to do to the wife but sold her on the "but there will be no more bottles lying around" line.

My plans were to prime in the keg and use one of those nifty handheld CO2 dispensers to give my lightly carbonated ale a helping hand to reach the glass.

Then I remembered seeing some vids on making a Real Ale beer engine like the ones below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea3ZeUoQGEo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnqvDLxwk3w

Wondering if anyone has tried this or can think of an alternative.

I understand that some of you may not think this is a big deal but for a English man living in exile this is my beer nirvana :pray:

Cheers,

Lee :salute:

p.s. tried to include a pic of racking off into my new keg. indulge my excitement :party:
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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

That looks really interesting. I understand where you are coming from.
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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago


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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

BrewBagMan wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnqvDLxwk3w" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I just had time to watch that with my early morning tea, before the others get up.

WOW! That is exciting. I didn’t know you can use a Corny as a real ale “cask” with a beer engine, and simply purge the air out after serving, with CO2, or use a CO2 breather.

Thanks for posting that!

What I don’t understand about CO2 breathers, is why not simply use a CO2 tank instead with the regulator set really low (maybe 1 – 2 psi)?

Ps. For those who haven’t experienced it; if you expose the beer to air (and don’t purge with CO2), it will go rotten and smell really putrid within a day or two. I gave a keg to my father-in-law, with one of those “nifty handheld CO2 dispensers” that you mentioned. He ran out of CO2 and took the damn lid off. It was me that had to clean the stinky rotten beer out of that keg, after he had given himself a stomach upset and decided to stop drinking it. I’d read about that, but there’s nothing like experience!
Last edited by GuingesRock on 05 Apr 2013, 17:20, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

BewBagMan, Thinking more about your notion of CO2 to help the beer along its way to the beer engine. “helping hand to reach the glass”. I wonder if a setup like this might work for beer that would be close to real ale, even though it might not meet the CAMRA specifications.

If the keg and CO2 tank were in the basement/cellar, and the beer engine was on the main floor, then the shutoff valve might not be required, since the pressure of CO2 could be adjusted to be sufficiently low that there was enough to replace beer drawn out of the keg by the beer engine, but not enough pressure to push the beer to the floor above and cause the beer engine to continually drain beer.

Whatever happens, now you have a keg, you’re going to have to splash out on a CO2 tank and regulator, and then another keg (or two), but you are approaching it wisely by doing it piecemeal and explaining it step by step to your wife. I sped the process up with my wife and did it all in one day, including a freezer and a temperature controller to put the kegs in. But! I had two things in my favour…1) it was my birthday and I took back an expensive sweater that was the wrong size, so I had some money there (I pretended of course that I was upset about the sleeves being a bit short on the sweater, but secretly I was gleefully thinking about the possibility of kegs) 2) she is really keen on the beer I make and the lady in the brew shop said with kegs you have no idea how much beer is being consumed as there are no empty bottles for evidence. :lol: The lady at the brew shop did such a good job of demonstrating the advantages of kegs to my wife also. It might be a good idea to take your wife to the brew shop next time and then involve her in the decision. Let the professionals do the selling and explaining. A defenceless brewing husband attempting such a feat single handed doesn’t stand much of a chance.

Ps. You don’t seem to have any kangaroos and gum trees in your yard. I thought you were in Australia.
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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

Hey Guinges,


To be honest, when I posted this yesterday I think i did a pretty good job of confusing myself.


when i bought the keg i was thinking of priming in the keg,hooking up a regular hand held tap and using the small CO2 pump to give a little pressure. I'm going to give this a shot when thebeer in the keg has carbonated and just experiment to see what results i get.


BUT... since watching these videos and doing some reading i think it looks pretty easy to achieve hand pulled real ale from a keg. The only thing is that ecen adding the smallest amount of CO2 voids the claim of real ale. Well as a paid up international CAMRA member i can live with that :)


Did you see the second video where he cuts and modifies the dip tube and creates a breathing pocket by tilting the "cask"?


And if the keg is below the pump, surely you wouldn't need a shut off valve would you?

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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

Hi BrewBagMan, I did see the other video, I watched all the links out of interest. Although that guy’s project was interestingly divisive, I thought it was a complete waste of time. Modifying the keg and building a special contraption to keep the keg flat and lying at a certain angle, seemed ridiculous to me.

With a normal upright keg, at worst, the first half a pint or so will be a bit cloudy, and real ale is supposed to be a bit cloudy any way (I think) it always was when I had it in England any way. Even if you prime the corny keg (I first read about that idea in your post by the way, and thought it was an interesting idea) I still think you will not have a problem. If you try it and you are not happy, you could cut an inch off the bottom of the dip tube as Lylo does. Don’t go cutting up your new keg please yet! You’re going to love that thing.

Using the hand held CO2 charger, you are going to have fun, as there is no way of regulating the pressure. You’ll have to deliver a short sharp burst on an as required basis. Too much and the beer will continue pouring through the beer engine like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, until you release the pressure from the pressure valve. It will become an art, getting it just right, and it will need constant attention and adjustment as the beer is poured. A CO2 tank with an automatic pressure regulator would need no frigging around with. Those little CO2 cartridges end up being expensive, especially if you want to purge the keg with CO2 before filling, and purge the air from the head space at the top after filling. The latter I think is essential.

I don’t think the shutoff valve would be needed if the keg is below the tap, providing the pressure in the keg is kept low enough.

If you didn’t want the beer to be carbonated, it could simply be stored in one of those collapsible heavy duty plastic bags (contained in a cardboard box) that they often use for wine. The bag would collapse as the beer was pumped from it with the beer engine. There would be no CO2, no air would get in, and the ale would be CAMRA compliant. A “sparkler” on the swan neck of the beer engine would produce a bit of head/foam.

Interesting discussion, thanks! I love real ale!
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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

Guinges, I understand what you're saying about keeping the keg upright. Although it kind of made sense the way he positioned the small beer tube so that the yeast would settle below it. I think he's trying to replicate how a real cask conditioned ale is produced/handled. I hadn't thought about trimming the length of the upright dip tube. Makes more sense?

Check out the links below if still interested;

I've thought about using the UK style polypin beer bags or even the 20ltr water bags that you can get from camping stores. Read lots of reviews where brewers are very happy with this setup.

I'm interested to see how the keg priming turns out.

http://aussiehomebrewer.com/topic/70212 ... s-arrived/

http://aussiehomebrewer.com/topic/70212 ... ved/page-2

http://byo.com/stories/issue/item/345-b ... eer-engine

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BG ... PDKIKX0DER

Lee

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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

BrewBagMan, Thanks for all the great information.

Regarding using something like the collapsible water bag in the picture below; do you know how much advantage there would be to hooking up a beer engine to such a bag versus just using the supplied tap that is already on the bag? Specifically I’m wondering about the pour, using a pump and sparkler versus letting the beer spray into the glass from the standard plastic tap on the bag.

They have cheap 7L disposable plastic bags with taps on for wine in the LHBS, they fit inside a plastic box (see below). Would need no sterilising or cleaning! Do you think those would work for real ale?
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Post by joshua » 4 years ago

GR, down here in America, we have "Soda Fountains" that dispense "Brand Name" colas from that style of Bag, via pump and mix it with carbonated water.

If we could make a thick, sweet, beer, we could use soda machines to dispense beer like those Wine Bag/Boxes and soft drink machines at 7-11.
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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

joshua wrote:If we could make a thick, sweet, beer, we could use soda machines to dispense beer like those Wine Bag/Boxes and soft drink machines at 7-11.
Good Day/Weekend Joshua,

I think I just made some of that using up my extract. My father-in-law just went off with a keg of it and a grin on his face. It’s 9.5% ABV, heavily late hopped, and flat as a pancake. I told him it was “barley wine”. It’s actually quite nice. I wonder if it could be diluted 50/50 with soda…kind of a barley wine spritzer.

Gotto go now. Brewing up my Tribute. It's snowing outside here, if you can believe it!
Last edited by GuingesRock on 06 Apr 2013, 22:12, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by joshua » 4 years ago

GR, that Barley wine could be made at 75%/25% with Seltzer water!

Down here it will be a cool day at 65F/18C, If you can believe that!
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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

BrewBagMan, You maybe interested in this:

My latest brew, I didn’t artificially carbonate, but kept the CO2 on it as low as I could, just enough to enable the keg to pour. I poured the glass of beer from the picnic tap from a height (about 2 ft) which produced a head, and also the beer had bubbles rising and clinging to the side of the glass. I think pouring from a height might have a similar effect to using a sparkler on a beer engine. Also I have the beer keg freezer thingy set at 10C. It has been in the keg for 4 days after a 10 day ferment.

The beer is smooth and delicious. It is beautiful. We were just sitting outside in the sun and my wife on her first few sips (she wasn’t drunk :) ) said “not only is this the best beer you’ve made, it’s the best beer I have ever had” I was inclined to agree with her.

The BIABacus is posted here
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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

That looks lovely Guinges and high praise indeed from Mrs Guinges! That's one of the benefits of low carbed beer, you get an enhanced taste profile.

I've been reading up a fair bit on using the polypin bags to eliminate contact with oxygen. will post some links soon, I'm off work today so I'm going to take a trip to the local camping shop to see if I can pick one up
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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

Please keep us posted. I think you might be on to something, otherwise why would CAMRA exist? I’d rather CAMRA than American Mega-Swill (as Joshua calls it) any day.
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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

GuingesRock wrote:BrewBagMan, Thanks for all the great information.

Regarding using something like the collapsible water bag in the picture below; do you know how much advantage there would be to hooking up a beer engine to such a bag versus just using the supplied tap that is already on the bag? Specifically I’m wondering about the pour, using a pump and sparkler versus letting the beer spray into the glass from the standard plastic tap on the bag.

They have cheap 7L disposable plastic bags with taps on for wine in the LHBS, they fit inside a plastic box (see below). Would need no sterilising or cleaning! Do you think those would work for real ale?
Well Guinges, looks like I'm all bagged out (brewing in a bag and serving from a bag)!
2013-04-08 12.18.04.jpg
From what I've read it look like the "polypin" method is a brilliant way to serve up Real Ale with a handpump. Handpump is next on my list. Many folk just pour straight from the bag with good results. Some people prime in the bags for a little carbonation and conditioning. I bought 2 x 10ltr bags this morning and split a batch of English Pale Ale that was ready. I've primed in one and left the other.

There's a really informative thread here from Jim's for anyone who's interested;

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/view" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... 0&start=75

So it looks like I might have made a mistake buying the Keg?? Although I have high hopes for the 'priming in the keg and using only a little CO2' method. This homebrewing lark certainly keeps you busy :think:
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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

Looks really interesting. I was worried for a minute that was air in the bags, but think you probably squeezed all the air out of both of them, and it’s CO2. You said you primed one of them. Will you need to keep releasing pressure? I’ll have to read the thread you posted and find out. Thanks for the info and pictures.

I think they are made of HDPE? I wonder if they can be used as no-chill cubes also?

I suppose if you are not drinking those right away they will need to be kept out of the light too.

From here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 00312.html
Only recently (in 2001) did we figure out how light causes skunkiness. Chemists at the University of North Carolina and Ghent University in Belgium found that when exposed to light, the alpha acids in hops break down into free radicals that then react with sulfur-containing proteins to make a chemical called 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol, which is virtually identical to the principal constituent of skunk juice. Any time you see "thiol" in the name of a chemical, you can bet it's going to stink. Humans can detect this particular thiol at concentrations as low as one-billionth of a gram per 12-ounce bottle of beer. Apparently, skunks really know their chemistry.

So if skunkiness is caused by light acting on chemicals in hops, and if virtually all beers contain hops, how does Miller get away with using colorless bottles for its Genuine Draft, which has replaced its High Life? (It's the same recipe, but Genuine Draft is cold filtered instead of being pasteurized, as High Life was.)

Chemical trickery, that's how. Instead of using actual hops for bittering the beer, Miller uses a chemically modified form of hops' alpha acids known by several brand names, among them Tetrahop Gold. It does not produce 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol when struck by light, but according to the Ghent chemists, it can still produce rotten-egg odors. Uncolored bottles are cheaper than colored ones, however, so Miller's fiscal folks apparently prevailed over their flavor mavens.
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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

Guinges,

Right after I took the pic I remembered to give them a good squeeze :idiot:

When they expand I'll give them a little purge. The experts from the link I posted suggest not letting too much CO2 out, otherwise the beer is super flat. I'm looking forward to a little trial and error.

Think I'm going to give them a week in the garage under a towel,then I'll pop them in the fridge where it'll be cool and dark (apparently).

BTW brewed up my Tribute today :party: which will no doubt be destined for the bag a la cask ale :)
And check out some of the ales on offer here;

http://www.beerbarrels2u.co.uk/party-barrels.asp

Lee

Skunky beer... yum!

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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

Thought I'd post a picture from the link You just posted. Looks like just the thing! They also sell Tribute!
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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

This 'Brewing Network' podcast is really worth a listen to for anyone interested in Cask Ale. Takes a bit to get going but good once Paul Pendyck comes on.

http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/898

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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

Half way through that BrewBagMan. Did you come across advice on how long to ferment before putting real ale into the cask? Would a week in a single stage fermentor do it, or would 10 days be better? Real ale is supposed to be "still alive" in the cask.

My notion is to have a kid of a hybrid, using Corny kegs with CO2 set at just high enough to pour (very low), and the keezer set at 52F. I seem to be having success at it. I had it in the fermentor for 10 days. The beer is smooth and beautiful and the bubbles in it look fine like champagne bubbles, and it tastes a bit like champagne. The original IPA was likened to champagne.

I don’t see why it should be necessary to be in one camp or the other. Why not take the best from both worlds, if it's possible to do that?
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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

GuingesRock wrote:Half way through that BrewBagMan. Did you come across advice on how long to ferment before putting real ale into the cask? Would a week in a single stage fermentor do it, or would 10 days be better? Real ale is supposed to be "still alive" in the cask.
I found that part very interesting Guinges. I like the idea of really "knowing" your beer. If you know where your beer should finish (he works on 75% attenuation) then you can rack it to your cask/keg/bag/bottle a couple of points shy of finishing primary fermentation and achieve cask conditioning without the need to prime.
GuingesRock wrote: My notion is to have a kid of a hybrid, using Corny kegs with CO2 set at just high enough to pour (very low), and the keezer set at 52F. I seem to be having success at it. I had it in the fermentor for 10 days. The beer is smooth and beautiful and the bubbles in it look fine like champagne bubbles, and it tastes a bit like champagne. The original IPA was likened to champagne.
That sounds great. Have you always served like this? Those smaller bubbles really make a difference don't they. The stout that I put into my first keg should be ready by the weekend so I'm looking forward to seeing how priming in the keg turned out.
GuingesRock wrote:
I don’t see why it should be necessary to be in one camp or the other. Why not take the best from both worlds, if it's possible to do that?
I agree!! One of the co-hosts from the podcast summed it up well for me. He talked about the challenge in home brewing of replication. Whether that be a particular style of beer or in this case the delivery of a beer. That's what I'm enjoying the most.

Lee :salute:
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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

You got me more keen on that track BrewBagMan with your posts and links :). I had already turned the keezer temp up though and the CO2 down, just within the last month. Your thread and the info gave me more confidence.
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Post by BrewBagMan » 4 years ago

Ha ha good man!

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-IF4xx ... ults_video

and it's bringing a tear to my eye ;')

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Post by GuingesRock » 4 years ago

One of my February posts:
GuingesRock wrote:When I was at college in the UK, we would frequently have weekend parties, and we would order real ale from the local real ale brewery. You would have to order it about 10 days in advance. When the time came you would pick up this 5 gallon plastic barrel with a spigot on the bottom, full of murky, flattish, room temperature, and most delicious real ale. I believe it was fermented right in the plastic barrel as there was at least an inch of trub on the bottom (the spigot was just above the trub level). It was the most delicious stuff. We used to get so excited about it.
On this thread: http://www.biabrewer.info/viewtopic.php ... le+brewery
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