"Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Bottles, Kegs, Casks, Polypins or however you serve your brew.

"Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:24

Those that have been reading my "Cask Conditioned"... posts will know I was intending to write a "How-To" article on the subject. But I had run into a couple of problems with my methods that needed sorting out first. One was environment control which more or less sorted itself out, and the other was "venting", the traditional process of preparing cask-conditioned beer for serving.

The focus of achieving "cask conditioned" style home brew was to be serving at under 2PSI of cask pressure (about 1.1 volumes of dissolved CO2).

I'd bypassed "venting", believing it was enough to be careful about not casking too early and not over-priming, and therefore not having to deal with over-carbonated beer. But as Summer arrived and temperatures increased (hence panics about environment control) my beer got increasingly more lively (I thought the regulators would work both ways, letting gas into the keg when pressure in the keg dropped and also venting gas to the atmosphere when pressure in the keg rose; some regulators do this, but the ones I'm using do not). And then there was the "old ale"... Fermented with S-33 which I find always finishes a bit early (1.020ish) and then casked for 4 or 5 months; the result was about 90-100PSI!

So I learnt, "venting" might not be needed most of the time, but when you are faced with a situation where venting is needed not knowing what to do is a big problem. So I devised the following procedure (next post) and will integrate it into the rest of my article: Comments?
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:32

Part II – “Venting”

“Venting” is a traditional process of reducing the pressure that has accumulated in a cask of beer after a few days of conditioning. It involves plugging the cask with a gas porous peg which allows excess CO2 to escape (the peg is called a spile, and is cut from an open grained, fibrous, soft wood, or bamboo). This can be a spectacular procedure for lively beers as much spray and foam can be generated by so-called “gushers”. The process must not only reduce the gas pressure in the head-space above the beer, but also reduce the CO2 dissolved in the beer which is a much slower process. Casks might be vented for 24+ hours. The ideal result (for a “cask-conditioned” beer, or “Real Ale”) is to end up with beer containing about 1.1 volumes of CO2 and zero pressure in the casks’ head-space (at cellar temperature of around 13-14°C).

Recently there has been a trend towards only allowing “just enough” carbonation (the result of dumbing down cellarmanship or more “precision” in brewing?), whereas previously beer might have been casked a little too early or been a little over primed with sugar (“slightly over-done”), but a good cellarman was well able to deal with the resulting “gushers”. Some lament the passing of “gushers” claiming the extra cask fermentation has a flavour benefit. I’m not decided either way, but if doing the “slightly over-done” method you need a way to deal with over-carbonated beer. If doing the “just enough” method, you don’t have to be too concerned about under doing it because the methods described here don’t depend on judging conditioning just right; the use of regulators and extraneous CO2 sees to that. However, the “just enough” method will sooner or later end up with an over-carbonated beer anyway, so it is best to be prepared with the necessary additional kit.

A process for home-brewing might emulate this practice of “venting” but does throw up some special requirements: The pressure in the head-space must not drop to zero or the seal on the lid will break (if using “Corny” kegs that is) and a CO2 pressure of 0.5 to 2 PSI will need to be retained to keep the desired amount of CO2 dissolved in the beer (not a problem commercially where the beer is drunk in a matter of days, hours even, so the dissolved CO2 doesn’t have time to all drift away but home-brew may not all be drunk for a few weeks). Finally, a home-brewer might be faced with “venting” just a handful of times in a year whereas a publican can expect the job 4 or 5 times a week or more: Hardly provides a home-brewer the time to develop the skills involved and skill is what “venting” needs. So for us home-brewers, if “venting” needs doing, the process needs de-skilling.

To this end we need a little extra equipment, but you can forget about “spiles”:

Conditioning venting.jpg
Conditioning venting.jpg (16.98 KiB) Viewed 1803 times


Looks horribly complicated, but be assured, it isn’t. The arrangement can be put together using “off-the-shelf” low cost fish aquarium components along with a few components to join it all up. The most expensive item by far will be the pressure gauge (about £7-8).

Instead of connecting the LPG regulator directly to the keg (and potentially filling the regulator with beer) the keg is connected to the trap (make sure the needle valve is closed and the LPG regulator and CO2 bottle isn’t connected at this time). The pressure gauge will straight away indicate by how much the keg is over-pressured. Start opening the needle valve to bleed off the excess CO2; this is where the bubble counter comes in so you have an idea how fast the excess CO2 is venting (say 3 bubbles a second for starters).

Once you are happy the LPG regulator can handle the remaining over-pressure, and there is no sign of beer being forced into the trap, connect up the LPG regulator and gas bottle. Yes, this means if the pressure drops below what the LPG regulator is set to (0.5-2.0PSI) the setup will continue to vent CO2 directly from the CO2 bottle but the rate will be small and the amount of gas lost tiny (as long as you don’t connect it up and then go on holiday for a week).

If using the “just enough” method of carbonating the beer this venting process may all be over in an hour, that’s if you even suspected some venting was needed (you might manage without). Using the “slightly over-done” method you can expect a long drawn-out session.

Using a needle valve and bubble counter provides very fine control over the speed of venting. It should be possible after an hour to judge how long “venting” might take. If the over-pressure came in at 10PSI or more, adjust the needle valve so that the process will take 24-36 hours. Don’t hurry it, remember you are also venting gas that’s already in solution and this takes time. If the process is hurried, you might end “venting” early when the pressure has dropped to say 2PSI, and a few hours later find the pressure has crept back up again as more CO2 comes out of solution. Hurrying the process may also disturb the sediment so you’ll have murky beer to look forward to.

Once you are happy venting is complete and pressure stabilised, close the CO2 cylinder, disconnect the trap from the keg, disconnect the LPG regulator from the venting paraphernalia, connect the LPG regulator directly to the keg, open the CO2 cylinder and pour yourself a drink!
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby rpt » Mon Jun 20, 2016 16:43

Does this work with pub kegs that have an NRV in the connector?

User avatar
rpt
Brewer
 
Posts: 1155
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 23:09
Location: Ilkley, West Yorkshire

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Mon Jun 20, 2016 23:35

rpt wrote:Does this work with pub kegs that have an NRV in the connector?


Well I guess it wont? As venting is all about letting excess gas out, a NRV that prevents gas coming back out would seem to put an end to that approach on those kegs. Anyway, I don't have pub kegs to play with, so if there is a way around them, I wont know it.
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby Kyle_T » Tue Jun 21, 2016 07:13

Or you just dump the pressure out, leave for 24/48 hours, dump again and that is "venting" done. How much skill does that take?

Use a 1/2 PSI Propane gas regulator and you'll have a constant feed of CO2 as you draw the beer out. Thus reducing the need for all this pressure gauge and needle lark.

As for disturbing the sediment, that only happens if you have a lively one, at normal carbonation levels it is very rare unless the yeast strain doesn't compact well.

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
User avatar
Kyle_T
The Essex Brewer
 
Posts: 2486
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 14:27
Location: Chelmsford, Essex.

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Tue Jun 21, 2016 08:22

Kyle_T wrote:Or you just sanitise the tut in the shive, bash in a hard spile, leave for 24/48 hours and that is "venting" done. How much skill does that take?
...


A lot. But you've been doing it long enough not to understand that. Do you not credit yourself with the extensive skills you've accumulated?

And if you are using "Corny" kegs like the majority of folk reading this (if not bottling that is) where do you "bash in a hard spile"? And I think you've neglected to mention replacing the hard spile with a soft spile for venting/serving. Getting a bit more skilful now? And when do you stop venting? Tut? Shive? And if the reader can make sense of all this, how do they stop the seal breaking on a Corny keg lid when venting is "done"? Come on, we're home brewers, not publicans.

(EDIT: I see you edited your post so you are not insensitive to what I was just saying).
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Tue Jun 21, 2016 08:53

Kyle_T wrote:Or you just dump the pressure out, leave for 24/48 hours, dump again and that is "venting" done. How much skill does that take?
...


Right, got the more up-to-date version now.

This is more-or-less the method I used on the afore mentioned 90-100PSI over-pressured keg I had. Took a few more goes too. It was the beer washed regulator, the uncertainty and the difficulty getting that technique right (and on more recent kegs in the warmth of summer) that made me look for something more suitable. Resulting in this thread.

I put my "cask conditioned" article on hold while figuring a solution to this question, because I can't be making recommendations to unsuspecting folk when I couldn't practice those recommendations faultlessly myself.
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:46

As I've come in for a bit a critism on making the venting process more controlled than it needs be, I'll just reiterate my reasoning should anyone be put off by this.

It's easy enough to release excess pressure build up, but that isn't only what venting is doing. The CO2 dissolved in beer is also being reduced. If you vent too long you will end up with about 0.9 volumes of CO2 in the beer at 14 degrees (not zero volumes, the atmosphere in the cask will be all CO2, unless you vent for days on end), and if you are using "Corny" kegs the lid seal breaks too. To many people, even drinkers of "cask-conditioned" beers, 0.9 volumes will seem quite flat and lifeless. Some CAMRA literature I've seen even suggests 1.1 volumes is ideal. So you stop venting when the beer still holds some dissolved CO2. When's that? Well lick your finger, stick your hand in the air, ... na, you know when to stop through learned skill.

That is why I've suggested this more controlled approach to venting.



When I embarked on this "cask-conditioned" venture I thought, easy, no CO2 control to worry about. That was so naïve. The CO2 control is many magnitudes more tricky than for keg (including "craft") beverages. "Keg" was all about de-skilling the cellarmans' job, not because people wanted to drink fizzy beer.
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby Kyle_T » Tue Jun 21, 2016 14:59

PeeBee wrote:
Kyle_T wrote:Or you just sanitise the tut in the shive, bash in a hard spile, leave for 24/48 hours and that is "venting" done. How much skill does that take?
...


A lot. But you've been doing it long enough not to understand that. Do you not credit yourself with the extensive skills you've accumulated?

And if you are using "Corny" kegs like the majority of folk reading this (if not bottling that is) where do you "bash in a hard spile"? And I think you've neglected to mention replacing the hard spile with a soft spile for venting/serving. Getting a bit more skilful now? And when do you stop venting? Tut? Shive? And if the reader can make sense of all this, how do they stop the seal breaking on a Corny keg lid when venting is "done"? Come on, we're home brewers, not publicans.

(EDIT: I see you edited your post so you are not insensitive to what I was just saying).


That's early morning posting for you! I am neither a commercial brewer or publican. I am a home brewer who uses cask and volunteers.

I have already written a few guides to casking explaining which bit is which on the internet somewhere...admittedly I haven't had time to drag them out.

As for Cornies, providing you have one that seals under no pressure that is a mute point. For those that don't then it will be a constant issue to seal unless some pressure is added, if this is then absorbed into the beer it no longer counts as cask condition.

When I have the spare time to sit down and re-reading everything I may be able to offer some constructive information but as this conflicted with your better judgement in the last installment, I decided not to.

However with the amount of information going on here it just makes something easily achievable seem improbable.

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
User avatar
Kyle_T
The Essex Brewer
 
Posts: 2486
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 14:27
Location: Chelmsford, Essex.

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Sat Jul 02, 2016 13:01

Venting tackle Mk I :

20160702_120932.jpg
Venting Tackle Mk I
20160702_120932.jpg (231.92 KiB) Viewed 1620 times

A little over-the-top but I haven't collected all the bits for the much cheaper Mk II version yet. The enormous "trap" (a filter housing, these are rated to 125psi!) can be replaced with a second-hand PET bottle and a special cap (about £1-2) used for aquarium CO2 generators. A "trap" probably isn't necessary as the needle valve vents gas off so slowly the beer is unlikely to froth over. The orange regulator is the same regulator that will take over from the venting apparatus when venting is done (it's attached to the venting apparatus to prevent "over-venting").

Here the keg contains some 18psi of CO2 which may take 24 hours to vent off and get down to 2-5psi. The attached regulator means it doesn't matter if this point is reached when you are tucked up asleep (the loss of bottled CO2 is tiny). Even without the regulator it is difficult to "over-vent" because below 5-10psi venting through the bubble counter slows to a crawl.
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:32

Little update for anyone putting in a similar scheme. Many of the parts updated to "CO2Art" parts (sourced in the UK) because the slightly cheaper buy direct (Ebay) Chinese stuff can have unexpected threads. Still haven't changed the Filter Housing for the filthy cheap PET bottle arrangement - why should I as I've no other use for the housing.

20160905_165635_WEB.jpg
20160905_165635_WEB.jpg (27.89 KiB) Viewed 1545 times


The important update is removing the check-valve components in the bubble-counter (easy job) because they tended to be "sticky" and venting would stop short (5-10PSI when I wanted 2).

And the apparatus gets used for reducing the pressure in "keg" beer too, not just hand-pumped beer (e.g. some "Belgium" style that had crept to over 30PSI in the Summer heat).

Actually I am working on a "kegerator" and getting to grips with "relieving regulators" to deal with over-pressuring "Belgium" styles and similar. But that's a subject for another thread. I wasn't even previously aware of the existence of "relieving regulators".
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby Kev888 » Fri Sep 09, 2016 21:29

Keggerators are a very good idea due to their ability to keep the temperature stable (not just cool). Combined with a similarly stable/regulated gas supply they are superior to (and should normally avoid any need for) relieving regulators or valves * because nothing should then cause the pressure to increase or carbonation levels to vary. Though I guess limiting the pressure could potentially help mitigate the effect of mistakes such as kegging too early or over-priming.

Relief valves/regulators are more limited in what they can achieve; they may potentially help dump excess pressure of kegs warming up, but can do nothing to prevent beer becoming over-carbonated due to falling temperature. You'd need the set pressure to drop with temperature to prevent that, not just remain stable or limited to a set value.

Some regulators that I've had have been relieving types but they were fairly disappointing. There needs to be a clear difference between set pressure and relieving pressure to avoid nuisance venting and wasting gas, and that was enough to allow significantly more pressure than desired. Perhaps there are better ones about, or a way of only allowing them to vent keg pressure rather than cylinder gas, but my first keggerator removed the cause so I never needed to wrestle further with the effect.

* other than safety ones, of course

Kev
User avatar
Kev888
Brewer
 
Posts: 268
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2014 15:32
Location: UK

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:10

Kev888 wrote:Keggerators are a very good idea due to their ability to keep the temperature stable (not just cool). Combined with a similarly stable/regulated gas supply they are superior to (and should normally avoid any need for) relieving regulators or valves * because nothing should then cause the pressure to increase or carbonation levels to vary. Though I guess limiting the pressure could potentially help mitigate the effect of mistakes such as kegging too early or over-priming. ...]


Thanks "Kev888" I''ll add those snippets to my growing knowledge on these things; like I said, I didn't previously know the things even existed. But...

What you say neglects one small point... Style. I'll frequently brew styles demanding medium or low attenuating yeasts. Low attenuating yeast just describes a trend for that yeast, doesn't mean it wont go off on one and decide to be a high attenuator, usually after the beer is kegged (I'll concede, it is often temperature that is the trigger for that). I'll also brew British style hand-pumped beers (sub-1.050 OG) that should be kegged (casked?) early, and drunk early (especially bitters), as well as using fairly moderately low attenuating yeasts. I think there was a clue in the title of this thread. Over-priming? There are some that say you should "over-prime" and then vent back for serving, but I'm far from convinced of that.

"Belgium" style yeasts are supposed to be high-attenuators, but I often use S-33 (EDIT: literature says it good for Abbey style beers, not that it is a "Belgium" yeast) which seems to stop about 1.020. When it decides to "go off on one" in the cask, vacate the house and dial 999!

So there's plenty of opportunities for "mistakes" <sic>.


Most small regulators that might be used as secondary regulators are (apparently) relieving regulators. But use different mechanisms to do the relieving/venting. And the sensitive ones use a mechanism that will waste gas (unless you figure suitable work-a-rounds - what I was referring to above as "getting to grips with"). The commonly used secondary regulators - LPG Regulators - are a good example of "non-relieving" (venting) regulators for obvious reasons.
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Sun Sep 11, 2016 08:45

Kev888 wrote:...Some regulators that I've had have been relieving types but they were fairly disappointing...


Thanks Kev, I've started another thread for "relieving regulators" as the subject is a bit off track for this thread (sorry, my fault). viewtopic.php?f=53&t=10850. I'll probably do the same for "kegerators" in a bit.
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby Kev888 » Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:14

Yes yeast can sometimes attenuate differently to expectations, partly depending on the characteristics of the wort produced and the conditions it is fermented in as well as the strain used. The manufacturer's attenuation guides are therefore only partially useful, at best suited for yeast selection, and so of course calculated FG cannot be used in place of measuring the actual thing.

But whatever FG is achieved, by definition that should be more or less it - often a slight bit more CO2 being produced at the very tail end but nothing very significant. If its 'going off on one' afterwards then something seems wrong. Usually its an indication that FG hadn't been judged correctly. Occasionally it could be due to infection by another (wild) yeast but I think you'd know if it were that, from the taste. Similarly over-priming causes it, but again you would know what you're adding there if any.

It may be that you are not waiting long enough between consecutive measurements, or a struggling/slow/stuck fermentation is masquerading as having finished. I think many of us have been caught out on the odd occasion, I certainly have. Some strains can tail off more slowly than others so are more likely to seem finished before they fully are, and some can slow/halt a little prematurely and need rousing to encourage them to finish properly before kegging.

Kev
User avatar
Kev888
Brewer
 
Posts: 268
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2014 15:32
Location: UK

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby cf2000 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 23:55

PeeBee wrote:The attached regulator means it doesn't matter if this point is reached when you are tucked up asleep (the loss of bottled CO2 is tiny).


Thanks for writing this stuff up, I have been working through a lot of the same logic as you recently in regards to venting and maintaining 1.1 volumes CO2 as opposed to .9 with a regulator, so your various write ups have been very useful.

In regards to your venting setup I have a question. From trying to understand how everything works, it seems to me that: the needle valve (which I don't actually see in your pictures) in front of the bubble counter controls how fast you vent and the bubble counter is just a visual guide to this. The gauge will give you an indication as to the PSI of the keg throughout the venting process. And the regulator will add CO2 to the keg in the case that too much venting occurs. What I don't understand (and I'm sure I am just missing something as you allude to the concept in the piece I quoted) is why the CO2 tank does not just empty? Will it eventually empty?

It seems that once the venting is complete and the keg stabilizes with the psi set for the regulator, that CO2 would just continually leave the regulator and out the bubble counter. Why does this not happen? Would using a PRV in place of the bubble counter solve this (potentially not real) problem?

Curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks again.
User avatar
cf2000
Brewer
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2017 23:38

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Tue Feb 21, 2017 16:57

cf2000 wrote:
PeeBee wrote:The attached regulator means it doesn't matter if this point is reached when you are tucked up asleep (the loss of bottled CO2 is tiny).


Thanks for writing this stuff up, I have been working through a lot of the same logic as you recently in regards to venting and maintaining 1.1 volumes CO2 as opposed to .9 with a regulator, so your various write ups have been very useful. ...

Thanks! Good to know my babblings are useful to someone.

I've moved on a bit in that the "venting" bits are incorporated into the CO2 supply for a keg. So I can vent excess CO2 whenever I need to - unlike casks in a pub my kegs hang around a bit and after a week some will over-pressure again and setting up the 'stand-alone' apparatus each time was a bit of a pain. The bits are pretty cheap so having multiple venting setups is hardly extravagant. I'll write up all this mucking about when I get a moment (get over this hip replacement that is!).

cf2000 wrote: ... In regards to your venting setup I have a question. From trying to understand how everything works, it seems to me that: the needle valve (which I don't actually see in your pictures) in front of the bubble counter controls how fast you vent and the bubble counter is just a visual guide to this. The gauge will give you an indication as to the PSI of the keg throughout the venting process. And the regulator will add CO2 to the keg in the case that too much venting occurs. What I don't understand (and I'm sure I am just missing something as you allude to the concept in the piece I quoted) is why the CO2 tank does not just empty? Will it eventually empty? ...


The needle-valve is the small component under the bubble-counter. As I implied, there is very little to it. The bubble-counter is only there to give some indication that something is happening.

Setup like this yes the CO2 tank will eventually empty. You'll have to wait a few months for it to happen. What I've found is the resistance in the bubble-counter halts the escape of CO2 before it gets down to 1-2psi anyway (even after removing the "check-valve" bits from the bubble-counter).

I have found that commonly available gauges (1 bar) are only a (very) rough guide and mbar gauges are very expensive and not an option. The gauge pictured above is hopeless below 6-7 psi, but I'm still using that 'stand-alone' setup to vent wayward keg stuff (some 'kegs' still get up to 30+psi when I was aimed at 7.5psi).

cf2000 wrote: ... It seems that once the venting is complete and the keg stabilizes with the psi set for the regulator, that CO2 would just continually leave the regulator and out the bubble counter. Why does this not happen? Would using a PRV in place of the bubble counter solve this (potentially not real) problem?

Curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks again.


When done the needle valve is closed so nothing escapes through the bubble counter. As I said, a needle valve and bubble counter is now permanently fixed to the "kegs" serving emulations of cask-conditioned beer.

Doesn't matter that the 'venting' stuff is a bit inaccurate as pulling the first pint or two will settle that down. The setup isn't to make 'venting' spot-on - it just removes some of the doubt out of otherwise hit-or-miss practices.

Cheers!
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby cf2000 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 20:08

Thanks for the reply!

I would definitely be interested to see the setup that you've currently settled on at some point. But no rush, your recovery is definitely more important.

One other quick question that I have is in regards to the LPG regulator. I currently use one of the 37mbar regulators as my cask breather, but feel the beer gets a bit flatter than I would like a bit faster than I would like. The 50-150mbar adjustable regulators that you've recommended don't exist in the US, so I was planning to order one from the UK soon. Before I do so, I was hoping to confirm that this device is still working in practice as well as it sounds in theory (somewhat accurately maintain ~2PSI pressure of CO2 to keep the beer around 1.1 volumes CO2 as opposed to ~.9). Any input you have would be appreciated.

Thanks again.
User avatar
cf2000
Brewer
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2017 23:38

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Tue Feb 21, 2017 20:58

cf2000 wrote:Thanks for the reply!

I would definitely be interested to see the setup that you've currently settled on at some point. But no rush, your recovery is definitely more important.

One other quick question that I have is in regards to the LPG regulator. I currently use one of the 37mbar regulators as my cask breather, but feel the beer gets a bit flatter than I would like a bit faster than I would like. The 50-150mbar adjustable regulators that you've recommended don't exist in the US, so I was planning to order one from the UK soon. Before I do so, I was hoping to confirm that this device is still working in practice as well as it sounds in theory (somewhat accurately maintain ~2PSI pressure of CO2 to keep the beer around 1.1 volumes CO2 as opposed to ~.9). Any input you have would be appreciated.

Thanks again.

I was looking at the manufacturer's Web site a bit back (Portugal or Spain or somewhere) and they actually make three of those regulators with differing ranges. In the UK we can only get the 50-150mbar range which isn't bad for this usage. They have BSP fittings which really make them useful - "POL" fittings are a disaster.

I too found the fixed 37mbar ones allow beer to go too 'flat', but I'm also finding different styles are better at different "pressure" (makes sense really). So hand pumped bitters we are more used to as rapid turnover, so 2psi (150mbar ...ish) works great. Stronger dark ales are less popular in a pub so may have "vented" more completely and perhaps will be better held at 50-80mbar? Plenty to mess about with. Sooner or later I'm going to upset a more hard-core CAMRA follower and get a strip torn off me!
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Wed Feb 22, 2017 15:02

PeeBee wrote: ... I was looking at the manufacturer's Web site a bit back (Portugal or Spain or somewhere) ...


It was Italy (and Brazil). http://www.clesse.eu/com/. "Clesse", "Novacomet" and "BP1813" being relevant searches. One of the alternatives was a wide range 30-300mbar which could be handy (?) and the other was a narrower range which I can't find now and would be less useful anyway.
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby cf2000 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 05:29

PeeBee wrote:It was Italy (and Brazil). "Clesse", "Novacomet" and "BP1813" being relevant searches. One of the alternatives was a wide range 30-300mbar which could be handy (?) and the other was a narrower range which I can't find now and would be less useful anyway.


So I finally got around to buying one of these clesse 50-150 mbar regulators and testing everything...but I've run into a problem.

There doesn't seem to be enough pressure to go through the gas connector on the corny. As part of the setup I have a nice 0-10psi guage to see what is going in. If the CO2 tank is turned on, and the regulator set to the max (10), but the gas connector is not connected to the keg, I can see that there is about 2 psi of pressure in the lines (and can see the pressure building in the gauge as the dial on the regulator is turned up). But when the gas connector is attached to the keg, the psi drops to 0, and even after waiting for a long time, it stays at 0. I tried putting in some liquid, pressurizing to 2 psi, then running through the beer engine. After each pull of the beer engine, the psi of the system drops, even though the regulator is set to maintain ~2 psi. I even tried taking out the poppit in the corny connector to see if the lack of resistance would help, but nothing changed. I can see on the gauge that the psi builds fairly slowly when testing the regulator, so it is obviously a fairly controlled release of CO2 as opposed to just allowing instant output of whatever the dial is set to.

Anyways, I am at a loss and was wondering if you had any ideas or tips on the matter.

Thanks so much.
User avatar
cf2000
Brewer
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2017 23:38

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:31

Hi!

There is no restriction ("cracking pressure") on Corny gas posts. The pin on the disconnect simply opens the poppet on the gas post (as well as the port on the disconnect).

So, with gas attached to the regulator, depressing the disconnect's pin should release gas. Does it?
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby cf2000 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 16:11

PeeBee wrote:Hi!

There is no restriction ("cracking pressure") on Corny gas posts. The pin on the disconnect simply opens the poppet on the gas post (as well as the port on the disconnect).

So, with gas attached to the regulator, depressing the disconnect's pin should release gas. Does it?


Yes, now that you mention it, obviously there is no cracking pressure. That makes my question terribly misworded, sorry.

The rest of the details do help get at the problem though. If you depress the disconnect's pin, you do not notice any gas coming out. Similar to what I mentioned previously, gas is coming out, but at such a slow rate, its impossible to tell. With the disconnect not attached to the keg, you can see the psi slowly build to ~2 (~20 seconds), and when you depress the pin in this case, you will feel a bit of air coming out. Maybe 2 psi is just really low pressure and this is all to be expected. But I guess it just seems odd that it takes so long to build to 2 psi in the lines (without connecting to the corny). You would think this would be an almost instantaneous exercise. And most importantly, it doesn't seem to be functioning how I anticipated, filling the new space made in the corny when beer leaves with ~2 psi of pressure. Maybe I just need to give the process more time to fill the new space. Given that it takes ~20 seconds to fill a few feet of hose, maybe it will eventually fill the keg and I just haven't given it enough time (~5 mins). Does any of this sound like your experience or do you notice the co2 somewhat immediately fill the new air space?

Thanks again for your help.
User avatar
cf2000
Brewer
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2017 23:38

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby PeeBee » Sun Apr 23, 2017 19:26

These regulators will allow 4kg of propane to pass in an hour (it's written on them!). You do notice a pressure dip when it first opens up, but it doesn't last long (<1sec). It IS an almost instantaneous exercise.

Got to ask (but you'll hate me for doing it); you have fitted it the right-way-around? "OUT" to the keg is the larger (3/8BSP) port, "IN" from the primary regulator is the smaller 1/4BSP port. There's an arrow on the casing. I can imagine the regulator will leak a bit from the "IN" port if the "OUT" is subjected to 3 or 4 bar.

What is the primary set to? The LPG Regulator can handle 16 bar. The regulator is working best at the higher end of what it can handle (mine are fed 5 bar because the primary is fixed at that).


By the way... have you seen that I moved the discussion of all my "Cask Conditioned" threads to http://forum.craftbrewing.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=11572 in the last few days?
User avatar
PeeBee
Brewer
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 16:57
Location: North Wales

Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Venting

Postby cf2000 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 04:43

PeeBee wrote:By the way... have you seen that I moved the discussion of all my "Cask Conditioned" threads to http://forum.craftbrewing.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=11572 in the last few days?


Yes, I did see that. If I have to pester you anymore, I'll try over there.

Anyways, thanks again for all of your help, I was able to solve the problem. Once you said that there should be instantaneous pressure out of the regulator, I took my apparatus apart piece by piece, and realize that I was using a ball valve, which also happened to be a check valve that I didn't notice, the wrong way. So it wasn't the regulator I had backwards, but the ball valve.

I have a "cask" of bitter conditioning right now, so hopefully in a couple of weeks I will be able to enjoy perfect "not too flat" pints for many weeks thanks to all your help.

Cheers
User avatar
cf2000
Brewer
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2017 23:38


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest