Quarterpint British Beer Engine

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Not sure what prompted it but last fall I became absolutely bitten by the bug to have a true pull of British ale. For years ESB has been a regular in my line up, and a favorite of those who found their way to my basement pub. I found several articles here on Homebrew Talk that built on the 2006 BYO article using an RV "Rocket" water pump. The posts were really helpful, and now inspired, I set course to build my own bit of Britannia from scratch.

Quarterpint British Beer Engine - chasthebrewer - beer-engine-407.jpg

Attached are two pictures of the finished work. Some of the things here that are different from other postings I saw:

I doubled the volume per pump. The posts I had seen all used a single pump and required 10+ pumps to draw a full pint. I wanted something that provided more of a long pull action and fewer pumps. I did this by doubling up the pumps and using both in parallel to draw the beer from the keg. This led to some interesting design elements to adapt the RV pumps to a parallel operation, but for the most part this idea worked as planned. It takes about 2-3 pumps of the engine to prime the line (even though the pumps advertise that they hold their prime my experience is they don't), and then about 4-5 more pumps to fill the glass. So not quite a full pint, but frankly its close enough. I find that I need to let the beer settle between pumps anyways.

A freestanding, portable cabinet, worthy of looking like it belonged in a pub. I love cask ale but not enough to make a permanent investment in having it on line all the time. And the thought of having homebrew sitting in the mechanicals of the system over a week or two between servings was unappealing. I suspect that every first pull would taste nasty or have to be thrown out. Then there is the mold that would grow.even if you managed to chill the interior. I have a chilled tap line/converted chest freezer for my basement pub and it's a task to make sure those lines stay clean. I am doubtful if you left beer sitting in the RV pumps mold would find a way and would be the devil to take out. So I went with a free standing cabinet approach, one that I would load up, serve, flush and clean (quickly) and put away. While a bit of a bother the idea of a portable beer engine brings new possibilities to the mobile party...

I have since written a full set of instructions on how to build this:

[Click here for a PDF of the instructions]

Interested to see of others find this kind of construction project interesting.

Quarterpint British Beer Engine - chasthebrewer - settling-pint-408.png

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7 COMMENTS
Posted: 
June 11, 2013  •  03:48 PM
I like it, any idea where you will be publishing the written instructions for the build?

I'm looking at building one directly into the collar and lid of my keezer.
Posted: 
June 11, 2013  •  04:39 PM
if you have an email address I can send it to you. The HBT administrator was to post - he may have and I just don't know where to find it. I will give him a quick note to see if and where it may be.
Posted: 
November 21, 2013  •  11:47 AM
I grew up in England, now living in the states,
I REALLY miss the hand drawn pints.
Im thinking this is a must for my house.
Many thanks for posting
Posted: 
December 3, 2013  •  05:26 PM
This is amazing. What a solid piece of work. Thanks for posting and thanks for sharing the instructions. Should I ever have the time...
Posted: 
December 3, 2013  •  07:22 PM
NP enjoyed the project. It does take a while...only user note to date is that I've gotten better results by removing the sparkler and just living with the bare end of the gooseneck. Have an ESB and Scotch ale in kegs to begin using it again after running out of proper beer
Posted: 
December 13, 2013  •  05:49 PM
That is absolutely beautiful. I was recently introduced the cask ales and a local brewery in Salem, OR (Santiam Brewing)that specializes in cask ales. The guy there told my wife that it's not too hard to set up a beer engine at home and she promptly covered my ears and changed the subject. But seriously, we both love the firkin cask ales! It's a great beer drinking experience that I wish I would have known about long ago.
Great work, looks awesome.
Posted: 
December 18, 2013  •  02:24 PM
Looks great. Wish I was good at woodworking.
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