Beer engine cleaning

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rmr9

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I recently got a used beer engine on eBay that I’m really excited to use! It’s in working order (tested with water) but it’s a little...gunky and gross. I’ve been searching all over for good resources as to how to take the pump apart for a good deep cleaning but I am having a hard time finding any diagrams or how-to’s. Does anyone have experience disassembling and cleaning a beer engine or know of a good resource to read?

Cheers!
 
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rmr9

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That’s next on my list. I’ve also been trying to figure out the manufacturer and model so I can try to get some manuals but so far no good
 

cyberbackpacker

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Post a picture of your engine. In short, Angram have great support, exploded diagrams, and easily sourced replacement parts (if needed). If not an Angram brand pump, access to parts, diagrams,, etc becomes differing levels of difficult!

But, a picture would really help to point you down the right path...
 

bracconiere

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damn, i had to look up what a "beer engine" was....at first i thought it was an alternative fuel vehicle, and we ran on the same thing....lol

does it carb on the fly too? or just pump from a cask? (if i even looked it up right?)

and as far as cleaning, i think this is what PBW is for....just pump a few gallons of it through it?
 
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rmr9

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Here are two pictures I have of it at the moment...doesn’t give a whole lot away and looks pretty standard but maybe this will help? I’ll take some more detailed close ups tonight or tomorrow. The third picture is what came out when I ran some water through it. Not awful but definitely not....pretty.

I’ll definitely be running PBW and starsan through it. Maybe beer line cleaner too? It has some crusted on things around the pump so I still want to take it apart and cleanse it.
 

bracconiere

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The beer engine doesn’t carb the beer, just pumps it from a cask/keg/cubitainer depending on your setup!
damn for $500, i can fill my co2 tank for 18 years.....pushing 100 kegs a year, not a very efficient "engine", lol :mug:
 
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rmr9

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I got mine on eBay from the U.K. for $100 shipped! Even though it’s a bit grimy I think it’s a good steal. If you use cubitainers you don’t even have to muss about with CO2 at all as the bag will collapse as you pump the beer out.
 

cire

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There are many different models in use in UK and Angram are the most popular, but yours looks a bit heavy for one of those, more like a Harry Mason Aston Hand Pull. A view from the back might be more helpful to determine the manufacturer.

Clean a beer engine with beer line cleaner. Diluted as recommended, it is pulled through the lines and engine with the pump handle. Leave for 20 minutes to soak when the old cleaner is flushed out and replaced with new. Continue this process until the liquid runs clear. Some cleaners are colored (purple) which changes (brown) until the lines and engine are clear. Then flush with clean water using 3 or 4 times the volume used the clean the system.

Ale pulled through a beer engine is so different. I have 2 beer engines.
 
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rmr9

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I’m going to take some time this afternoon to look more closely at it and see if I can discern a manufacturer and just do some exterior cleaning.

Cire, in your experience is it good enough to run cleaner through the engine or is it worthwhile to take it apart for a more thorough cleaning?
 

cire

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I have not taken either of my machines apart in that way. I did replace the entire cylinder on one as it wasn't vastly more expensive than replacement seals and then be faced with the danger of breaking other parts in the process.

Provided the engine isn't leaking and it pumps as it should, line cleaner will do a reasonable job to clean and sanitise the internal parts. It must be about 10 years since I bought my first engine thinking it would need to be stripped. That never happened and it is in use at the moment and I'm looking forward to using it this evening. It took a few hours pulling though lots of line cleaner, but after a good flush through, drinking water though the engine was clean and perfectly tasting.

If however it struggles to lift liquid or leaks, then it will need attention, but the seals should be replaced after it has been stripped.
 

shoreman

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Yeah you will need to figure out what brand of beer engine you have first. There are a couple of youtube videos that explain the inner workings like this one -
 
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rmr9

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That’s a look at the back side of it. It draws water perfectly well so I think the seals and all that are in good shape. It may be a good idea to leave well enough alone if I’ll need to replace all the seals by taking it apart
 

cire

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It has a cooling water jacket which might make stripping more complicated.

It looks straight forward to remove the cylinder for cleaning it and the framework. The swan neck will be easily removed for cleaning in boiling water and to replace the short piece of pipe between it and the cylinder. The tail at the input to the cylinder should unscrew for cleaning and will allow you to have a better view inside.

Hard to say, but it doesn't look to be in poor condition, just dirty.
 
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rmr9

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Shoreman,

Thanks for posting the YouTube clip. I think mine may actually be the same model in the video!
 
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rmr9

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So I watched the video, went to the website corresponding to the video and followed the steps he outlines. It was amazingly simple to take the beer engine apart. I was surprised that it was as clean as it was on the inside. Everything touching the outside world was pretty gross but a soak in PBW and a light scrub and it’s nice and clean!

Cire, you’re right about the water jacket being a bit of a pain. It didn’t make it harder to strip down, but it was the filthiest of all the pieces. I ended up pushing the chamber up through the water jacket and decided not to use the thing at all. A couple runs through with beer line cleaner, starsan then hot water should do it!
 
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rmr9

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Once you play around with it a bit, they’re pretty easy to enjoy. You can use your beer engine with a keg, cask or polypin. What are you working with?
 

schmurf

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There is a couple of YouTube videos that might be of help. Here is one example
He also have a video on how to connect to a keg.
 

DuncB

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Have a look at this thread some areas to research for advice. They helped me.

 

bwible

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The beer engine doesn’t carb the beer, just pumps it from a cask/keg/cubitainer depending on your setup!
It doesn’t carb the beer and do not hook up a keg with any pressure in it. It will be forced right through and out the beer engine and could damage it. You must vent your keg and release all the pressure before you hook it up. I just open the keg vent on my corny. This is a gravity dispense pump, so air also has to be able to enter the keg to displace the beer dispensed.

For real ale, they use a cask which is a different animal from a keg. A cask has two openings, one on the head or face of the cask and one on the top or side. Beer is primed in the keg. After the beer is conditioned, the keg is placed on stillage and vented with a wooden spile. The keg is often left to vent slowly for a couple days before tapping onto the beer engine.

Real ale should be consumed quickly because air enters the keg with each dispense.

Thats the short explanation.

Sometimes these things have a plastic sparkler on the end of the nozzle, which is just a cap with a whole bunch of little holes in it to force more gas out of solution and create a little more head. In the UK, I hear that’s a north/south love/hate thing.
 

bwible

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I recently got a used beer engine on eBay that I’m really excited to use! It’s in working order (tested with water) but it’s a little...gunky and gross. I’ve been searching all over for good resources as to how to take the pump apart for a good deep cleaning but I am having a hard time finding any diagrams or how-to’s. Does anyone have experience disassembling and cleaning a beer engine or know of a good resource to read?

Cheers!

This site has schematic diagrams and exploded drawings if one of these is your model. Might be a CO (clamp on) like mine.
 
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rmr9

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Sometimes these things have a plastic sparkler on the end of the nozzle, which is just a cap with a whole bunch of little holes in it to force more gas out of solution and create a little more head. In the UK, I hear that’s a north/south love/hate thing.

With my last cask I found that using a sparkler can “make or break” your pint. My best bitter tasted muted and bland when I had the sparkler on, but really was much more characterful hoppy without using one. My cask before this was a brown porter which was fantastic with the sparkler. You have to build your recipe around the sparkler if you want to use one.
 

DuncB

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@rmr9
You'll see from my thread above that I had four different sparklers with my beer engine. Using the demand valve does allow me to have some pressure in the keg and no need to vent to the air so the beer does last longer. I usually decant from the big keg into a small keg and run that thru the beer engine open to the air not with a low pressure CO2. I'm from the south of england so beers like Harveys are without a sparkler.
I've got a creamer head as well and thinking of trying a 2 barrel real ale stout mixed as it might have been pre nitro, difficult to find much info about the mixing of young and old possibly oxidised stout at the pouring.
 

cire

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@rmr9
You'll see from my thread above that I had four different sparklers with my beer engine. Using the demand valve does allow me to have some pressure in the keg and no need to vent to the air so the beer does last longer. I usually decant from the big keg into a small keg and run that thru the beer engine open to the air not with a low pressure CO2. I'm from the south of england so beers like Harveys are without a sparkler.
I've got a creamer head as well and thinking of trying a 2 barrel real ale stout mixed as it might have been pre nitro, difficult to find much info about the mixing of young and old possibly oxidised stout at the pouring.
This might be of some help. Guinness ceased production of their original world famous porter/stout in 1973 to replace it with a pasteurized version served under pressure with mixed gasses. So came the end the mixing stale and fresh/young and old cask Guinness.

 

Gozie Boy

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This might be of some help. Guinness ceased production of their original world famous porter/stout in 1973 to replace it with a pasteurized version served under pressure with mixed gasses. So came the end the mixing stale and fresh/young and old cask Guinness.

Wonderful little video. It seem that in today's society, technology and practices are ever advancing, while language is ever regressing.
 

DuncB

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@cire
That was a great video, looked like it was basically served from a pressure barrel the lively stuff and then the old was flat from another one. I wonder whether it was a mix of running porter and keeping porter or just that the first lively barrel oxidised and went flat and then became the second barrel?
Trouble with that one barrel oxidising theory is that you would rely on the first barrel "going off" to become a second barrel and I think that so much was drunk you couldn't build a system around it.
There are definite ideas that they add some sour to Guinness now, so perhaps they made sour barrels and lively barrels that were sent out to the pubs they certainly had the storage capacity for that. Interesting to see that it was definitely not on a hand pull as well.
Maybe I'll try and let some of the stout oxidise and go flat in the fridge and then add it to the lively stuff from the barrel and see what happens.
 
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