Dispencing from the top of a keg

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BeerCanuck

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Hi HBTer's
Ever notice that the first few beers that you pour might be influenced by the trub at the bottom of the keg? What if the beers came from the top of the keg?


Basic premise is shortening the output tube on a standard keg to incorporate the attachment of a flexible hose. The other end of the hose has a float and input to allow beer to drain from the top of the keg. The beer would enter in from this submerged input that is also attached to the float.

I have already shortened the output tubes of my kegs to avoid the trub at the bottom but this idea might work out even better.

Cheers :mug:
BeerCanuck

edited: due to gallery changes
 

Professor Frink

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The only problem I see is that if it's floating on the top of the beer, how do you avoid pulling up CO2 from above the beer as well?
 

Jo3sh

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I don't think a pint with sediment is a big problem, myself - after that (or two at the most) the beer seems to run pretty clear for me.

But just for the sake of argument seems to be good enough for many homebrewers.

I'd think you'd have trouble finding tubing flexible enough to float effectively at serving temperatures, yet rigid enough not to kink. And even assuming you were able to avoid drawing gas from above the beer, you'd just get sediment at the end of the keg instead of at the beginning.
 

WBC

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I had that problem sometimes but I was not waiting long enough for the beer to clear. If you ferment 2 weeks in the primary then you should be able to siphon off clear beer. It works for me. :)
 

Funkenjaeger

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Jo3sh said:
I'd think you'd have trouble finding tubing flexible enough to float effectively at serving temperatures, yet rigid enough not to kink. And even assuming you were able to avoid drawing gas from above the beer, you'd just get sediment at the end of the keg instead of at the beginning.
+1 on both counts.
 
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BeerCanuck

BeerCanuck

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Good input

I guess the hose and design will have to address these concerns and others.
I think proof of concept using a suitable hose would be in order. I am thinking if they make an aquarium hose of suitable diameter it possibly might suit this application.

I'm pretty happy with the 2nd or 3rd pull of beer as well...the goal of this premise is for good beer at 1'st pull and subsequent pulls similar in caliber due to longer cold conditioning / fining time.

The main thing I like with this premise is the possibly of improving the overall racking process like the autosiphon / orange carboy caps / wort wizard.


Cheers
BeerCanuck
 

Soulive

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BeerCanuck said:
Good input

I guess the hose and design will have to address these concerns and others.
I think proof of concept using a suitable hose would be in order. I am thinking if they make an aquarium hose of suitable diameter it possibly might suit this application.

I'm pretty happy with the 2nd or 3rd pull of beer as well...the goal of this premise is for good beer at 1'st pull and subsequent pulls similar in caliber due to longer cold conditioning / fining time.

The main thing I like with this premise is the possibly of improving the overall racking process like the autosiphon / orange carboy caps / wort wizard.


Cheers
BeerCanuck
But still, how would the last pint being sedimenty differ from the first pint being sedimenty. IMO I'd rather the first pint contain sediment than the last, since its inevitable one way or the other...
 

Bobby_M

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Great concept. Fact is, the clearest beer will always be at the top of the column. I can imagine that once the beer gets clear in a traditional keg, the upper part of the column had been clear for at least a week more. I like it. Make it work.

I start drinking well before it gets clear and if I don't attack the keg with full force, by the time the keg is half empty, it starts clearing up. Not only that but I still contend that the beer carbs from the top down.
 

FSR402

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Bobby_M said:
Great concept. Fact is, the clearest beer will always be at the top of the column. I can imagine that once the beer gets clear in a traditional keg, the upper part of the column had been clear for at least a week more. I like it. Make it work.

I start drinking well before it gets clear and if I don't attack the keg with full force, by the time the keg is half empty, it starts clearing up. Not only that but I still contend that the beer carbs from the top down.
I like the idea too. The last pull of a keg gets you a crap load of foam anyways. Or in the case of this pale I'm trying to kill off tonight I get foam, then beer, then foam, then beer. It's been that way for the last 5 pints. Will this damn thing ever end? :drunk: Good thing I don't have to run until 8am.
 

mr x

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I'm thinking shorten the dip tube about halfway, use silicone tubing from there to a float (maybe a pingpong ball), with a piece if heavy gauge ss for a beer pick up to keep it pointed down. Still thinking, but going in this direction.
 

Spyk'd

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If you have the ability to crash cool your ferment after primary fermentation is over, you'll find the yeast drops out quicker and you'll end with much clearer end product in your keg.


Just saying...

:cross:
 

Bobby_M

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Cleaner yes, clear no. It really does take a good 3-4 weeks in the cold before it gets perfectly clear. There are the fining tricks like gelatin but I'm too lazy and cheap for that.
 
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I'm using 3/16" silicone tubing for beverage lines in my kegerator right now. It's pretty thin walled, and very flexible, even at low temps (reminds me of thin surgical tubing without the latex stink). I'm sure that would work for your idea.

I kind of like the idea, as well, and I'd be curious to see how it works out. It shouldn't be that hard to engineer and assemble, really.
 

Jonnio

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you could also make a rough guess on how much sediment is in the bottom of the tank. Then do the math to have the hose length and tube length be such that it can reach to the very top of the keg, but falls 1/2-1" short of the bottom to keep from ever getting that last little bit that is full of sediment.
 
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BeerCanuck

BeerCanuck

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Glad to see there is some interest in the premise.
Looked for a float suitable for this application.
Checked the tackle box for a bobber: :cross:


Planned mock up;

Stick surgical / aquarium hose in the submerged end of bobber cut hole lower down the hose to allow ingress of liquid and have a weight located further down the hose (brass fitting) so that center buoyancy is maintained until weight hits bottom.

Cheers
BeerCanuck

edited: due to gallery changes
 

Jonnio

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I was just reading that copper tubing doesn't mix well with beer as the beer will leach copper out into it - not sure if that small amount would do it or not.
 
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BeerCanuck

BeerCanuck

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Jonnio said:
I was just reading that copper tubing doesn't mix well with beer as the beer will leach copper out into it - not sure if that small amount would do it or not.
Im not sure how easy it would be to fashion this prototype using the remaining length of stainless steel output beer tube?...copper shouldn't hurt and is easier to work with....but stainless...its shiny :)

BeerCanuck
 

mr x

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Depending on the diameters, you may be able to warm up the tubing and insert the copper. One less worry about connections. I would try to keep the cut edges of the copper sharpened to an edge to reduce turbulence as well.
 
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BeerCanuck

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I put together the prototype and I am in the process of testing.
I had some extra 3/16" silicone tubing for beverage line as Yuri suggested.
I looked for a suitable slip weight...stainless steel socket
I cut a /\ slit it the hose at what I thought was the appropriate height for liquid to flow in;

For basic testing I filled a 6 Gallon Better Bottle with the coldest running water from my tap. I inserted the prototype in the better bottle started a siphon to a lower 6 gallon Carboy;

It took a while for the Better bottle to drain with the thinner diameter hose but it did;


Probably needs some tweaks but the trial run did seem successful

Cheers :mug:
BeerCanuck
edited:due to gallery changes
 
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BeerCanuck

BeerCanuck

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So I had a empty keg and decided to test if the prototype would rack properly in it.
I removed the out connect from the top of the keg and fed the 3/16 hose through it.
I then adjusted the length of the hose so that the bobber layed flat at the bottom of the keg when empty;


I then filled the keg up with the cold tap water and started the siphon to a lower situated carboy;


The keg racked out completely.

I was trying to figure out how to attach the 3/16 hose to the shortened out tube on the keg and came up with this;

The 3/16 hose slides into a short piece of standard 7/16 hose which slides onto the stainless steel tube.

I will probably christen this prototype with real beer in the near future

Cheers
BeerCanuck
edited:due to gallery changes
 

Fingers

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Well done, BeerCanuck. The real test will be with the beer. It would be hard to tell if any foaming is taking place when you use water. I love the concept. You may well start a kegging revolution.
 
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BeerCanuck

BeerCanuck

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Buford said:
Will the float hold up and not crack under serving pressure?
Hi Buford...good question
The bobber was for testing the prototype and proof of concept.
The bobber does have a flashing light in it and is painted and does have potentially leaky areas. Mr X suggested a ping pong ball...glue a plastic golf tee to it stick the other end into the 3/16 hose would work well I think;


Cheers
BeerCanuck
 
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BeerCanuck, while I think you're putting a lot of effort into solving a "problem" that really isn't much of a problem, I still have to admire what you're doing! Thinking "outside the box" is a valuable thing, a lot of good comes from it. Well done!
 

Bobby_M

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If you're the impatient type that wants to start drinking as soon as possible, I think this has benefit. It's more obvious to observe in a clear secondary but you can see the sediment layer dropping down a little each day. It also happens in the keg but you can't see it other than the fact that it takes a while before you start getting crystal clear pours. The clearest beer is on top. Again, I also contend that it's the most carbed beer in the keg. I know it's not a solid theory because dissolved CO2 should disperse though the whole column in no time but I'd be curious to hear if you find beer to be more carbed up top.
 
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BeerCanuck

BeerCanuck

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Im jazzed as well :mug:
The one area that I would like to improve upon in design a suitable slip weight.
It has to be smooth/preferable stainless/appropriate weight ;


Cheers
BeerCanuck
 
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BeerCanuck said:
The one area that I would like to improve upon in design a suitable slip weight. It has to be smooth/preferable stainless/appropriate weight.
The socket you're using now is probably just heavily chromed tool steel. You will likely not find a stainless eye bolt at your local hardware store, either. McMaster-Carr has some, but they're pretty expensive. I'd probably just use part of a spare stainless tube fitting and maybe machine the threads out of it.

Now that I think about it, it really doesn't need to slip, does it? it just needs to keep the break in the tubing submerged...
 
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BeerCanuck

BeerCanuck

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Yuri_Rage said:
The socket you're using now is probably just heavily chromed tool steel. You will likely not find a stainless eye bolt at your local hardware store, either. McMaster-Carr has some, but they're pretty expensive. I'd probably just use part of a spare stainless tube fitting and maybe machine the threads out of it.

Now that I think about it, it really doesn't need to slip, does it? it just needs to keep the break in the tubing submerged...
I think the slip weight might be necessary based on my trial runs.
The main benefit of the slip weight from observation is that it took up the slack in the hose while keeping the float semi centered in the keg ( off from the walls) while racking.

I'm not sure if a fixed weight would work...The eyebolt would possibly be easier to dismantle/clean.

Cheers
BeerCanuck
 

mr x

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Canadian Tire and Home Hardware carry ss hardware if you're looking for pieces to try.
 
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BeerCanuck

BeerCanuck

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So I visited the local Hardware store and picked up some parts for the new prototype;

Left to right: crazy glue / ping pong balls / golf tees - they call them step tees...fits perfect into beverage hose as you see below :)

top - float drying after being glued (probably re-glue tomorrow)
bottom - some big stainless steel nuts...good idea Dagger :mug:

Cheers
BeerCanuck
 
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BeerCanuck

BeerCanuck

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BrewBeemer said:
Your local marine supply or chandlery will have a wide selection of stainless
for your needs.
I think the stainless steel nut with the thread bored out is a winner idea for the slip weight. (hopefully boring the threads isn't necessary)
The main point of failure I foresee is at the point where the tee is glued to the ball right at the beer line. Probably test the protype by attaching a hose to the tee and slip weight place in jar of beer thats refrigerated..I was going to try and draw a diagram but that would possibly be to pornographic :)

Cheers
BeerCanuck
 

LaC - Brew

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This is a funny idea.

But something makes me wonder: What will happen when you get to drink from the keg, and the floater with tubing reaches the sediments in the bottom of the keg? The the hole in the tube will reach the bottom - with sediments - before the float. Then you will have to run a few pints of beer with sediments at this point to get to the clear beer above?

Lars
 
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BeerCanuck

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So I tested the new prototype in a keg;

Seems to rack all right

Cheers
BeerCanuck
 
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BeerCanuck

BeerCanuck

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So I was thinking again about this project and decided to address the float.
I wikipedia Buoyancy for some inspiration...I wanted to keep it simple and improved.
I had a 1 gallon jug of beer that I was testing in a growler decided to sacrifice it on this experiment;

I noticed the ping pong ball was rather deeply submerged after filling up the wide mouth jar. I didn't like the idea of using a ping pong ball/golf tee and crazy glue either in this application.
I was cleaning an airlock and then the idea hit me for a second float prototype;

Kinda ghetto but its a airlock with the cap from a orange carboy cap on the inside tube and some plastic wrap to seal the top of the airlock...try saying that fast after 3 beers :)

The two float protoypes are in the fridge in a head to head competition;


Cheers
BeerCanuck
 
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