Beer Engine strip down advice

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DuncB

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Finally picked up my long searched for beer engine.
Seemed to be in fairly good condition ( half pint pull I think ) . But a bit " farty " noise when I pull the handle down..

Beer engine 1.jpg Beer Engine 2.jpg



I have stripped it down as much as possible and it's all soaking in PBW. Looking better overnight.

But I can't work out how to get the water jacket off so that I can get a good look inside the cylinder to ensure all clean in the corners and nothing hiding.
Also wanted to check the seal and lubricate if necessary ( silicone grease ?) .

Picture 1 jacket.jpgPicture 2  jacket.jpg



The non return valve on the bottom seems sound and I'm going to ditch the on off valve for something a little less septic. It's visible at the top of the above picture near the sponge and beer glass.
I'm not sure if the leather washers between the white plastic bits to the right of the cylinder/ jacket need any treatment either.


It did come with a Separate non return valve but as the cask is below the engine I won't need that I don't think. Unless there was pressure in my cask that was too high?

IMG_20210414_211511.jpg

My other question is it came with an extra different spout / tap option that I can't remember seeing before and wonder if anyone has any ideas?
It looks adjustable perhaps on the top but doesn't move.

old stout spout.jpg

Also came with several different sparklers that I can't find any info on.

sparklers.jpg

The connector that fits on the bottom of the cylinder / water jacket has the small plastic bit that fits into it but I'm not sure if there should be an O ring in there.

base connector 1 .jpg IMG_20210414_191216.jpg

I have contacted RLBS in the UK for advice but no reply yet and have watched the takedown and recondition of a beer engine here


but mine seems slightly different.

Love a problem and a solution.
 
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DuncB

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Apparently it's an England Worthside limited Mark 1 engine. Sadly they went out of business last year but there are spares around ( perhaps ) and they look pretty simple so hopeful it will work.
 
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Nice find! You're doing the right thing and researching and making sure you've got your ducks in a row. I am sure most of those seals are readily available online. I would lube them up with some food-safe grease like keg lube.
 
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DuncB

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It has cleaned up very well with PBW and doesn't look as sorry as it did before. All the
bits fitted back together and I have put a little silicone grease on the o rings and on the nuts and bolts to protect them.

The attachment of the spout onto the top of the cylinder ( jacket body) and the jacket
attachment onto the body of the engine uses M6 bolts.

These bolts go into the nylon ( i think ) of the jacket so I've been careful to not
overtighten and strip the threads.

Polished up the metal and applied a light beeswax based polish to the wood.
IMG_20210415_220806.jpg

My ongoing query is the different sparklers what are their specific different roles? Really the Red and black one with a cone on are a puzzle.

All 4 sparklers.jpg

Then the attachment that goes on the bottom of the engine, the sort of small white cup which screws on.

The cup bit has another little piece that fits inside seen in the pictures ( base of the little bit into the ' cup ' first but I'm not sure
if there is meant to be a washer or other part in there. I can't really see the purpose of it as it is nearer the beer than the non return valve built into the bottom of the cylinder body.
IMG_20210414_191140.jpgbase connect end on.jpgbase connector 1 .jpg

The NRV in the jacket seems to work okay.

Still not sure the role of this tap / alternative spout.
Tap front view.jpg

I will keep digging and hope to pull some beer on it at the weekend.
 

duncan.brown

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The black and white sparklers on the left look like regular sparklers. You can get sparklers with different hole sizes, one is probably 1mm and one 0.6mm. The red one might be similar. Can you take a picture of the holes on the bottom? White is usually 0.6mm. The finer holes and creates a tight creamy head for a proper pint. Black is 1mm for a moderate head, which is acceptable. Pubs in the south east of England generally take the sparkler off completely because they like the head to look like Fairy Liquid suds on dirty dishwater.

Getting a good head on a pint of cask ale means getting lots of uniformly size small bubbles to create a stable foam. Take a look at:

The alternate spout and the black attachment with the protrusion are more of a mystery. It looks like a stout tap. Guinness used to be a real ale poured from a beer engine before they nitrogenared it in the 1960s. I wonder if that's for stout? How old is the engine? I've never seen a spout like that on a beer engine.
 
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DuncB

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I've been and had a look at the black and white ones they have Angram written on them. The holes look pretty similar.
IMG_20210416_105501.jpg

The red one has a plunger that gets pushed out ( with the flow of beer I assume ) tried to show this in the pictures.
IMG_20210416_105528.jpgIMG_20210416_105539.jpgIMG_20210416_105541.jpg

The black one with a mushroom on doesn't have any moving parts but does have bigger holes in it.
IMG_20210416_105515.jpg

I have been wondering if that is a stout tap/ spout. Not sure if it would have had just a sparkler or perhaps a further stout extension.

Would be great if it was to try a real real draught stout ( I do have a Nitro tap for stout but!) . I have unscrewed that screw you see and it's just a very short thread about 5mm so it doesn't really interfere with the flow much. Perhaps a cleaning port? as the head looks fairly well used.
 
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rmr9

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RLBS can take a couple days to reply but they’re great. What’s nice is they carry a lot of spare parts for old out of production beer engines. I was able to get some new parts for my old Hi-gene that’s no longer in production. Shipping is costly, but if you have a lot of stuff to order (spiles, keystones etc etc) it makes it more worthwhile.
 
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DuncB

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@vandalay I will investigate the flow control. It would not be an on the fly flow control though and possibly leaky as it has a fibre washer on the nut which would only work if it was done up tight. I'm wondering if it's a cleaning port. But given that the swan necks don't have that it's odd.
@rmr9 yes still waiting to hear from RLBS and a few others. Hoping that I will find it all works really well and no need for parts for a while. The washers on the top of the engine are unusual in that they are curved on one side. Might have to sand some up out of normal fibre washers if I get a problem. Hopefully as a domestic user I won't wear it out too quickly.
 

madscientist451

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My advice is get your significant other to strip down and take care of business before you tackle old beer equipment.
 

duncan.brown

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The black and white sparklers both look like regular 0.6mm sparklers. Angram makes both holes sizes in a variety of colors. I've attached a picture of my 0.6mm for comparison. The red and black ones are still a mystery to me. The only sparker that I've seen that doesn't look like the regular 0.6/1mm sparkers is this:


but it's not similar to either of yours. I'd be curious to hear what RLBS has to say. I'm still betting that you have a some kind of stout tap from before the days of nitrogenation along with a regular swan neck. Flow control doesn't make much sense on a tap for a beer engine that is pulling beer that's under atmospheric pressure. The flow is controlled by how fast you pull on the cylinder.

I was looking closely at your picture of the cylinder. I think you actually have a short length of hose attached to a barb on the bottom of the cylinder and that's the actual beer in connector for the engine. I highlighted this in yellow in the attached. If that's the case, you could remove the screw clamps, cut off the short length of braided hose, and not worry about whether the screw connector is missing a washer.

IMG_7033.jpeg
Picture 1 jacket.jpg
 

Birrofilo

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The red sparkler appear obvious to me. It has a tip with a spring on the other end. It's a valve, which works like the valve on the bottling wand. If you fit that sparkler, the beer will flow only while you keep the bottom of the glass pressed against the sparkler. As soon as you lower the glass, the flow will stop.

Might be useful to avoid the final pumping to fill the glass to the brim, English style. Or maybe - but I confess my ignorance on the subject - might be used with a different beer, let's say a lager with a CO2 cylinder pushing the cylinder out, you don't use the "pump" (or at least you use it in a different way, as the tap of the source basin when you bottle, to allow the flow) you use the sparkler to cut the flow.
 

duncan.brown

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The red sparkler appear obvious to me. It has a tip with a spring on the other end. It's a valve, which works like the valve on the bottling wand. If you fit that sparkler, the beer will flow only while you keep the bottom of the glass pressed against the sparkler. As soon as you lower the glass, the flow will stop.
I don't think that's it. From @DuncB's description and the picture, it looks like valve goes the other way.

One thing I notice with my beer engine is that if I'm not careful at the end of a pull, I can get some suck-back of the beer in the glass. A sparkler with a valve like the one shown might prevent that, so maybe that's it?
 
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DuncB

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@duncan.brown and @Birrofilo
Yes I agree the red and white do seem to have the same size holes.

Can't access RLBS for some reason at the moment so will try later to have a look at that part.

The red one needs pushing from the inside out, so I'm guessing as Duncan says it's triggered by the pressure.

Not the best picture with the hose in it for interpretation.
The white bit ( cup shaped ) on the hose does hold the other small white bit inside. There is an Oring on the jacket base thread that makes the connection watertight when screwed up

I have cut that manky bit of tube off and the ball lock valve and replaced it with proper bit of beer line.
This I connected to the Non return pressure demand valve. Then new pipe with from that valve with ball lock onto a 5 litre mini keg. FLushed thru with water and no leaks. Then starsan as already had used the PBW.

Then beer in keg and pulled a pint very satisfactorily, I did notice the suckback phenomenon you mentioned at the end of the pint and had to withdraw to stop this. I will test that red sparkler.
It's a half pint cylinder and seems to work flawlessly but will await any further info and update.

What a delight to have a " real pint " or two.
Realised this after sweating all day with a Weldwerks fitbits clone , enzymes tricky lauter and sparge, I hope it's worth it. Going to have to be good to tempt me with that stress again and it's not even over yet, transfers and dry hopping etc.
 
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rmr9

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One more place you can try for info:
Thehomebrewforum. It’s the British equivalent of this forum and if you post your images and questions there as well you might get some more people who are familiar with beer engines. I go there first when I have cask or beer engine related questions!
 

schmurf

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I don't know much about beer engines, other than I want one. I was looking on some YT videos and maybe I'm totally wrong but the black "mushroom" sparkler you had in one photo seems to be a creamer. Maybe you already figured that out, or have come to another conclusion 🤷
 
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DuncB

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Thanks @rmr9 and @schmurf
I'll reach out to thehomebrewforum as well.
Latest info is that the other spout is a southern spout for top down non sparkled serving.

Yes that black Mushroom sparkler does look like the creamer on the RLBS website, maybe for stout then? or boddingtons pre nitro?

Which you tube video did you see " the creamer " in action?

Further note to @schmurf the request about water for 5 points bitter has been passed onto the brewer. So hopeful in a few days an answer.
 

schmurf

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Thanks @rmr9 and @schmurf
I'll reach out to thehomebrewforum as well.
Latest info is that the other spout is a southern spout for top down non sparkled serving.

Yes that black Mushroom sparkler does look like the creamer on the RLBS website, maybe for stout then? or boddingtons pre nitro?

Which you tube video did you see " the creamer " in action?

Further note to @schmurf the request about water for 5 points bitter has been passed onto the brewer. So hopeful in a few days an answer.
It wasn't in action.... only mentioned.
 
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DuncB

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Just an update on the sparklers.
The red one with the valve in certainly sparkles well and does stop that suck back. Obviously don't fit it right to the bottom of the glass otherwise the valve can't open. It is a much harder pull to overcome the valve so I can also use it as a " training aid " .
The black mushroom one is interesting when I looked inside it ( from the top down ) the holes go from about 0.5 mm up to over a mm I'm guessing and about 15 holes. Works well think it could be great for a real ale stout.
 
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DuncB

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I have had an update very helpful from Alistair at Centriflow services in the UK, [email protected]

His reply answers quite a few questions, I am researching Auto vac and return tray systems.
"
Dear Duncan,



Forgive tardy reply, it’s a bit busy since we have started to emerge from lockdown.



The beer engine is definitely an old Worthside model, hard to date exactly but circa 25-30 years at an estimate. This model became obsolete around 16/17 years ago when the Paragon became the only model produced by the company, which with takeovers etc. had become EWL . Company policy at that time was to offer a service swap to customers and any old models returning for refurb were scrapped. I know this as I had sold my business to EWL and was running the production and logistics of the business at that time.



The spout you are wondering about is known would have been used for auto-vac or return tray systems (Yorkshire and Scotland only) or as a ‘Southern pour’ with no sparkler.



The Sparklers are;

Black 18 holes 1.0mm diameter for 1/2pint pull or softer head - in common use in UK

White 18 holes 0.6mm diameter for 1/4pt pull or tight creamy head – in common use in UK particularly North

Black with stem. Not common but the stem is probably designed to swirl the beer and create that “Guinness” effect

Red has a spring loaded stem – personally I would ditch it as it’s a bug trap and has no benefit over the first 2

All sparklers are designed to create cavitation and allow the natural CO2 dissolved in solution to break out and improve the beer flavour and mouth feel. Well I would say that last bit I’m a Yorkshireman! Joking aside brewers brew beer to be served in a particular way. Serve Taylors Landlord with no sparkler and it is a different drink, ex Head Brewer, Peter Eels would go ballistic if there was no sparkler fitted to a pump serving Landlord! Similarly Fullers London Pride or Harveys Bitter tastes better served “flat” .



Try your Five Points bitter both ways and you decide!



EWL (ex Worthside) went out of business in May last year. Any replacement parts, certainly for the cylinder, may be hard to come by as time goes by. But if your pump works – enjoy.



In conclusion we do sell a whole range of cask ale accessories as well as beer engines to customers around theworld so if you need anything or can recommend us on the forum it would be much appreciated as we come out of the pandemic we need all the support we can get.



My best wishes to you.



Cheers

Alistair



Alistair McInnes



Cask to Glass Beer Dispense



Centriflow Services Ltd




No 10 Ryefield Business Park

Belton Road

Silsden

BD20 0EE



T 01535 657745



[email protected]

www.beerengines.co


I have replied with thanks.
 
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DuncB

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I have looked up the auto-vac system and now see why the Scots and Yorkies are regarded as tight. So the great sparkler debate is also fuelled by a need to shuzz up the second time round beer. I will not be doing this with my beer engine.

RLBS still sell them


for those of you wanting the authentic Northern pour!! on your beer engine.
 
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DuncB

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Another useful site for spares and supplies

 

duncan.brown

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Wow! I never knew about the AutoVac. Now I'm feeling slightly queasy at how many pints I've had that the barman has literally had a hand in... More information here:

 

Birrofilo

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I was in England during one University year as an Erasmus student. I never understood this idiocy of filling the glass to the brim. One had to immediately drink a bit of it or before arriving to the table the beer would have been on my jumper. Why should a simple thing as serving a glass of be made so complicated? Use larger glasses for God's sake, print a mark on the glasses. (Those glasses are compulsory in Italy since many years).

Where you are at home, you don't fill your bowl of soup to the brim, just to burn your finger going to the table.
 

duncan.brown

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It's not idiotic in origin, just execution in the region of the UK you were in. They were using pint to brim glasses, which annoy me as well.

The UK has a Weights and Measures act which makes it illegal for a publican to underserve you. If you order a pint of beer, the publican can be prosecuted if they serve less than a pint of liquid, which does not include the head. If the glassware a pub uses is "pint to brim" then they have to fill the pint all the way to the brim with liquid. If the glassware is "pint to line" then these glasses have extra room for the head and must be filled with liquid to the pint mark. Pint to line is the way to go for a proper pour and dry hands.

I now live in the US and I can't count the number of times that I've had a third of a pint of foam in a 16 fl oz shaker pint glass from a crappy bar.
 
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DuncB

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I agree same thing of glass of foam occurs in France and Belgium. Special scraper behind the bar to wipe the foam off level with the brim, it's crazy.
New trend for side taps which give luscious foam head on your lager is also a retrograde step in my opinion.
Your note about pint to brim or pint to line is worth knowing for the uninitiated especially with a pint ( imperial) costing upwards of 5 pounds in some places. I believe that stout the head coming to brim counts as a full pint wheras that doesn't apply for beer.
Here in NZ they have " redefined " the pint down to 400 - 450 ml which is a right con. Some places do serve proper pints and they average about 14 NZ dollars or 11 US dollars. It's daylight robbery, one of the reasons I started to brew my own.
 
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DuncB

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Thanks @rmr9 and @schmurf
I'll reach out to thehomebrewforum as well.
Latest info is that the other spout is a southern spout for top down non sparkled serving.

Yes that black Mushroom sparkler does look like the creamer on the RLBS website, maybe for stout then? or boddingtons pre nitro?

Which you tube video did you see " the creamer " in action?

Further note to @schmurf the request about water for 5 points bitter has been passed onto the brewer. So hopeful in a few days an answer.
Have had this reply from the Five points brewery re the water.

Regarding the water profile for Best, I have this from the head brewer: "Hi mate, if you could pass to on aim for ~190 ppm calcium, 200 ppm chloride and 330 ppm sulphate."

So not the whole story but a few more clues.
 

Birrofilo

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The UK has a Weights and Measures act which makes it illegal for a publican to underserve you. If you order a pint of beer, the publican can be prosecuted if they serve less than a pint of liquid, which does not include the head.
Yes, I didn't object on being served the amount I paid, but in being served it in a less-than-intelligent glass :) , which, as you say, is annoying.
Truth be told, when I ordered Guinness the glass was the same, but there was a cap of foam, so less beer. I almost never ordered a Lager (never came to like British lagers) but I supposed the story was the same, less volume. Did not pay much attention to it, the House of Residence pub was in any case much cheaper than the normal pubs 😜

In Germany the law also explicitly counts the amount of beer in the froth. I think it is something like 1/10 of the volume. The publican can serve you a beer with the liquid below the volume mark, provided that there is enough froth to "fill of liquid" the missing volume up to the mark. Some German participants will be able to give more precise details.

PS I was in Reading in 1989/90, many years ago. I remember, the United Kingdom was still part of the EU. Other times.
 
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DuncB

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Yes better than Reading. My uncle and cousin have emigrated to just near Martina Franca about 15 years ago.
 
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DuncB

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Have had some correspondence from RLBS

Hi Duncan,

Thanks for the below. What you have is an EWL 1/2pt Clamp-on handpull with Water Cooling Jacket.

Unfortunately this is a super rare animal which we carry no spares for and don’t have much experience with.

The white flanged plastic part in your picture Base Connector 1 is actually the handle rod spacer which sits inside the top of the brass handle ferrule keeping the handle rod in the centre away from the brass (under the porcelain handle).

The heavy spout is an old short spout used by southern UK brewers to serve beer without a sparkler and the longer spout to be used with the sparklers.

The different sparkler will give you a different presentation/finish to the beer being serve using the long spout. Personal preference will be the answer to this.

No don’t use the Check Valve (Demand Valve) if your beer is not higher than the pump or not pressurised. It will only course an extra restriction in the pull which with a 1/2pt pull will only make this harder to action.

Hope this help?

Cheers,

Steve Cartwright
Sales & Marketing Manager
website | vCard | map | email
Unit 3, Holme Mills Ind Estate | Off Fell Lane | Keighley, BD22 6BN
Tel: 01535 681839 | Mob: 07748 963678
 
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