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Cask and Hand-pump

Discussion in 'Gear and Equipment' started by Jason_brews_beer, 1/2/14.

 

  1. Jason_brews_beer

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    Posted 1/2/14
    Hi guys,

    I'm interested in getting casks and hand-pumps for my home bar. Does anyone know how available these are and where i could get them. Had a quick google and not much comes up.

    Also if anyone knows where i can go drink cask ale in Brisbane please let me know!! I missing it pretty badly since leaving
    London last year.

    Cheers!
     
  2. S.E

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    Posted 1/2/14
    Cask ales and hand pumps are really simple and my favourite beer dispensing method but unfortunately cause a lot of controversy and disapproval here with some of the mainly keg orientated AHB members. I can possibly help with getting cask ale to your home bar but be prepared for an avalanche of disapproval.

    What did you want to know?

    Cheers
    Sean
     
  3. sp0rk

    Mayor of Pooptown

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    Posted 1/2/14
    A beer engine is your easiest and most expensive option, shipping from the UK will set you back between $80-$150 depending on the seller
    Ebay has some every now and then, but the price has seemed to be climbing as of late
    Otherwise if you know someone who's in the UK or visting there, you can get them to send/bring one back for you
    The cheapest and slightly more involved way is making an engine using a toggle pump from a caravan/RV
    Like this http://byo.com/porter/item/346-build-a-beer-engine-projects
    the Valterra RP800 pump in that project plus a spare piston/seal kit will set you back around $50 shipped from the US on amazon
    A lot of guys on here are using collapsible water containers such as http://www.bcf.com.au/online-store/products/Collapsible-Water-Container-20L.aspx?pid=114174&menuFrom=571633#Cross
    The benefit of the collapsible container is there is little to no oxygen contact, so you don't need to drink the ale quickly like you would have to in a proper cask (unless you're using a respirator, and then it's not real ale afaik)

    *edit*
    I forgot to mention, the cheapest I've seen one for in Australia is about $200 used but in decent condition
     
  4. sp0rk

    Mayor of Pooptown

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    Posted 1/2/14
    Examples?
    I haven't seen any disapproval of them in the beer engine discussions we've had here in the past...
    Excluding the exploding cube thing, that wasn't centred around hand pumping, more opinions on what a cube can withstand pressure wise (I have no opinion either way on that subject)
     
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  5. Bribie G

    Adjunct Professor

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    Posted 1/2/14
    When I was in New Zealand a couple of years ago the hand pumped beer I saw in the bars were run off polypins. These are unavailable in Australia but the collapsible water containers make a brilliant substitute.
    Similarly to Sp0rk I'm at a loss about "disapproval", quite a few members here have gone to beer engines and hopefully they will chip into this thread.

    I love real ales but find that my cornie setup does a fairly faithful job on very low top pressure served at an appropriate temperature.

    Edit: Ross at Bacchus Brewing (aka CraftBrewer at the top of the page) uses casks from time to time and has his own personal beer engine. Might pay to give them a ring about what's happening in Brisbane.
     
  6. Jason_brews_beer

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    Posted 1/2/14
    Cheers Sean, Happy to brew my own. Just wanted to know where to source the equipment.

    Thanks sp0rk, Had a look at links. I like the collapsable idea. similar to keykeg. Will def help with keeping it from going stale longer in the stillage. I'll keep it in mind but do want to get traditional pumps.

    As it so happens i have a few contacts in a couple breweries in London and they guys at my old job will send stuff over for me too. Also have a friend returning home in the next 2 months as well so will sort something out. They are not small though :unsure: and heavy... She may not want to bring them back (bit of a princess, will have to sweet-talk her!!) haha

    I found an aussie place to get plastic casks in Sydney. Any info on where to get metal ones? Or should i just organise a pallet from the UK...
     
  7. angus_grant

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    Posted 1/2/14
    I'd say Sean is talking about his thread dispensing ales from a cube. And not about dispensing ale from casks with a beer engine.
     
  8. S.E

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    Posted 1/2/14
    Cubes/casks same principal but I’ve already been hit with pm's of disapproval so will leave the subject for now as I’m off to bed anyway.

    Cheers
    Sean
     
  9. spog

    The Odd Drop Brewery

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    Posted 1/2/14
    Try gcspublishing.com/newsletter/homemadebeerengine.pdf
    This is a good read with details on how to build your own.
    Cheers....spog...
     
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  10. Jason_brews_beer

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    Posted 1/2/14
    Just been having a look around and will defo be getting a few polypins to serve off a hand pump at home. Great idea for small batch beers too. But still keen on a few casks to take when i go to parties. Tappin a cask looks pretty cool when educating the masses (i.e. my friends...) on real ale. :beerbang:
     
  11. mje1980

    Old Thunder brewery

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    Posted 1/2/14
    It's not as easy as it sounds. S.E above has a plastic pin he bought back from the uk, though he pretty much uses a cube. I'm pretty sure he drinks at least 90% of his beers out of the cube naturally carbonated ( about as real an ale as you can get ).Tapping the cask can be a little messy. They are great for events but if you wanna use it everyday, I believe a hand pump used with a no chill cube would be the easiest, less mucking around option.

    Our brew club has a few real ale days a year, and pretty much everyone just uses a no chill cube, and the hand pump gets attached to the tap on the cube, and the lid is cracked. Pretty damn simple, though not as visually impressive
     
  12. wide eyed and legless

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    Posted 1/2/14
    I am relatively new to cask conditioned ales, I have 2 beer engines, one sent over from U.K and one I made up from the Valterra Rocket pump as mentioned by spOrk, it pours a treat, nice creamy head and lacing all the way down the glass, my latest one is a Ruby mild which is delicious.
    I have asked the question before as to how a non carbonated beer (I only put 2 desert spoons of sugar to 23 litres) can get such a creamy tasting beer and head retention just through pumping a beer through a sparkler, knowing nothing about fluid dynamics I am hoping maybe Sean knows or anyone else who can explain.
    Looking forward to what Sean has to say.
     
  13. MHB

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    Posted 1/2/14
    If you are prepared to pay for professional equipment, and all top quality beer dispense equipment is reasonably expensive, talk to NNL Brewery Services.
    I got my pump and other bits and pieces from them, personally I would rather spend a bit extra up front and get equipment that is guaranteed to work - the pump was factory refurbished, and its nice to be able to get hard and soft spiles, shives and keystones when I need them.
    Mark
     
  14. Bribie G

    Adjunct Professor

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    Posted 1/2/14
    Great to see you back on the forum MHB, will catch up in Newcastle in the next couple of weeks. :super:

    Is NNL "Bigfridge" on the forum? He'd be the guy to see for sure.
     
  15. MHB

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    Posted 1/2/14
    Yes NNL is Bigfridge, but I think he spends less time on here than I do, I wasn't going to put up his alter ego as too many AHB'ers would start trying to PM rather than go through the website, I don't think he reads PM's any more...(hint)
    just went eBay browsing and someone has stainless steel Pins - I want one but best part of $300 - it might have to wait unless anyone knows of or has one they want to sell.
    Mark
     
  16. S.E

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    Posted 1/2/14
    Hi mate

    The controversy I was referring to was using cubes as casks not using beer engines/hand pumps. Some AHB members believe the practise is extremely dangerous and should not be encouraged and that a cube used as a cask will explode violently throwing shrapnel and causing serious injury if over primed.

    As I have pointed out in the past it is no more dangerous than the common practice of no chilling in a cube and that cubes of wort can and have spontaneously fermented and burst without exploding and causing injury.

    By far the easiest and most practical method of serving cask ale at home that I have found is using a cube as a cask.

    I have brought purpose made casks (pins and firkins) from the UK to use at home but found that using cubes is easier and better.

    I still take the casks to club real ale festivals occasionally and as you say it is pretty cool and fun to tap a cask but we mostly use cubes. Cubes of real ale have become popular with our club members and a few almost always appear along with keg beer at other club gatherings.

    Traditional casks are just adapted barrels and were not specifically designed for serving beer. When placed horizontally and taped in the traditional manner the ale needs to be consumed within a few days as it oxidises.

    I have found that ale served from my cubes lasts far longer than when served from my casks as the surface area exposed to the air is less than a horizontal cask. My cubes last about 8- 10 days after they have been opened and the beer exposed to the air if I keep them in the fridge.

    Cubes like casks are not pressure rated containers and like casks they don’t need to be.

    Beer engines/hand pumps are fun to use at home but not necessary. Engines are used in the UK to pump ale from pub cellars located below ground level up to the bar above.

    I have never seen a cask of ale served through an engine when the casks are being used and served from above ground and not stored in a cellar.
    I have been to many pubs and beer festivals in the UK and the beer has always been served direct from the taps in the casks when they are easily accessible and in plain view never through an engine.

    The only practical reason I can think of to use an engine when the cask is close at hand is if it is fitted with a sparkler to promote a creamy head on the beer but I have never actually seen this done at a pub or beer fest. If a creamy head is desired on a beer served directly from a cube or cask this can easily be achieved by using a syringe.

    If you do want to use a beer engine at home and do not want to consume the ale quickly you may be better off using collapsible polypins. I don’t like polypins personally as I find them to fragile and fiddly to use and clean also the taps leak easily.

    Cheers
    Sean
     
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  17. S.E

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    Posted 1/2/14
    Not exactly sure myself mate. The fine holes in a sparkler force the co2 out off suspension to create the creamy head but the malts and adjuncts used also have an effect.

    For instance an Irish stout with a high proportion of rolled barley will form a thicker creamier head through a sparkler than say a single malt pale ale.

    I would like to know the exact reason myself.

    Using a syringe to suck up and squirt beer back in to the glass a few times will have a similar effect but obviously not as much fun as using an engine and sparkler.
     
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  18. gideon

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    Posted 1/2/14
    There's also been a move in real ale management in recent times to accept replacing the head space in real ale casks with CO2 rather than air as it prolongs the life of the beer (it doesn't oxidise as quickly). You can buy a check valve- demand valve from cfbsonline.co.uk and connect it in-line to to your CO2 and corny keg so that you can pull real ale from the keg and the valve then maintains the pressure in the keg by replacing the head space with CO2 rather than air. This device doesn't carbonate your beer. This will keep your beer fresher for longer whilst you use the bee engine. I've found cfbs are really helpful and will take time on the phone to talk you through any questions you have. .
     
  19. MartinOC

    Insert something suitably witty here

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    Posted 1/2/14
    Hey guys, how about thinking outside of the square? For years, I've been doing real/cask ale in my regular kegs. I remove the dip-tube from the liquid-side & replace the post with BSP hex-nipple. Screw a ball-valve onto the other thread & an elbow to serve downwards.

    Just prime them as usual, then lay them in their side with the liquid post downwards. Once the natural condition starts to dissipate, you can just give the keg a shot of gas to retain serving pressure. The kegs themselves are obviously pressure-tolerant, so it's a non-issue. I chock-up the bottom of the keg a bit, so you can get the last little bit out of the tap & any sediment/dry hops are held below tap-level.

    I only do this during winter, so I can serve at cellar-temperatures (a 45L keg won't fit laying down in my fridge!!).

    Piccies below only show a mock-up of what I do (ie. I didn't actually attach the hex-nipple & ball-valve just to take these photo's).

    DSCN0863.JPG

    DSCN0864.JPG
     
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  20. S.E

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    Posted 1/2/14
    The disapproval I was referring to was not regarding beer engines, engines are nice but expensive and not necessary for serving real ale at home.

    The disapproval was aimed at using non pressure rated containers such as cubes and pollypins to carbonate real ale and the fear that they may explode or set off a devastating chain reaction if left near electrical appliances and other such nonsense.

    Examples of disapproval and detailed info on how I use cubes as casks can be found here.

    http://aussiehomebrewer.com/topic/70056-carbingconditioning-in-a-cube-before-keg/
     

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