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Dispensing English Ales

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Merkur

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Hi - I am originally from England and have been working on perfecting an English Bitter recipe. I tend to carbonate on the low side, but the beer doesn't quite taste the same as a typical pub ale.

Today I kegged ten gallons of the latest batch of bitter from my Spike CF10 fermenter. I use a spunding valve so it was naturally carbonated at around 10psi and then cold crashed. I ended up with an extra gallon or so, so I poured a galss direct from the fermenter. It had the same aroma and mouthfeel as an English Ale and was the best I have tasted from my set-up. Short of installing a hand pump to pull the beer up from the keg, what have you brewers of English Ales found to be the best carbonation startegy? I typically have the CO2 set to 12psi which gives a decent pour on my 13' chilled draft lines. I feel that for the English Ale I should run the pressure lower so there is less dissolved CO2 - maybe around two volumes which is 7psi according to the charts. At this pressure though the pour is likely to be slow, but I can live with that for the one beer.

I have heard about secondary regulators. Can these be used to step the CO2 pressure down from the 12psi all the other kegs run at, to say 7psi for the English ale?

What have you found works for these styles of ales?

Paul
 

MrFancyPlants

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I like my women the way I like my beer... bitter. And special and certainly extra if you ask my wife.
I fell in love with bitter when I was 16 in Rye, England and also enjoy a fullers from a sparkler. I haven’t nailed the serving yet, but how I get closest is to keep the carbonation low but crank up the pressure at serving. I happen to use a picnic tap, but I think there is something that emulates the aeration of a sparkler by frothing it on the way out with the extra pressure. Like 30 psi. Sometimes it takes a couple pours w a few min between to fill a glass with the extra foam.
 
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Merkur

Merkur

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I have used one of these to reduce my normal 12psi serving to a lower value to deal with over carbed kegs. You need a gauge to determine the pressure.
In-Line Secondary CO2 Regulator | MoreBeer

I see a similar item with a gauge but have not used it.
Duotight Regulator with 60 PSI Gauge
Thanks - I hadn't seen the DuoTight controller with the gauge and I see that they sell a version with a 0-15psi gauge which is good. The stock 0-60 gauge would be next to useless for controlling pressures in the single digits.

Has anybody any experience with these? The price is right. I may just give it a try.

Paul
 

ba-brewer

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Finer grain reading would for be more helpful for sure then the 0-60 gauge, but if your spunding valve has a finer detail gauge maybe you could use that to set the pressure or double check things. The non gauge version has pretty fine granularity on the set screw.

One day I will add a secondary regulator for my bitter tap, right now I am just serve them at 12psi and 45F like my other beers.
 
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Merkur

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Finer grain reading would for be more helpful for sure then the 0-60 gauge, but if your spunding valve has a finer detail gauge maybe you could use that to set the pressure or double check things. The non gauge version has pretty fine granularity on the set screw.

One day I will add a secondary regulator for my bitter tap, right now I am just serve them at 12psi and 45F like my other beers.
I thought about using the spunding valve but that’s a very different mechanism. It vents off CO2 above a preset limit which is OK when it’s ‘free’ CO2 from the fermentation. However when it’s CO2 from a cylinder being fed to all the other kegs at 12psi, the spunding valve will vent off valuable CO2 and my cylinder would be empty in no time. A regulator is a ‘closed’ device and is the way to go to step down pressure.
 

ba-brewer

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I was just saying you could use the spunding valve gauge to check the pressure from the secondary regulator. Set secondary regulator to the off setting and the spunding to a high pressure so no gas escapes then attach to secondary regulator temporarily to check pressure as you make adjustments.
 

Golddiggie

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I have a dual body (Taprite) regulator so that I can feed two different pressure sets to my kegs. I then feed manifolds from those so that I can have more than one keg on each. I suppose IF I needed to be more granular for pressure sets I could use another regulator between the manifold and the keg to get to that level. I have yet to need to do that though.

Depending on the temperature you used for the cold crash, you might need to vent the keg a few times (or over a few days) to get the pressure to the new serving level. If you serve at a lower temperature than you cold crash, you might not need to do that.

I'm not from England, but am I brewing styles from the British Isles. I typically carbonate/server at about the middle of the range, pressure wise, to good effect. I've not had any Brit's have any of my home brew, so I don't know how close it matches for carbonation levels. I do know that they're damned good in the glass. ;) I do make sure to use as much UK sourced ingredients as possible. The ONLY thing I'm not doing is treating my water to match. UK yeast, grain, and hops go into my brews. Some of the adjunct grains are not from the UK, only because it's not possible from the sources I use (honey malt for one). But my English IPA is all EKG and MO (plus Wyeast 1335).

If you're going to tweak the carbonated/serving pressure level of your keg(s), be sure you stabilize the pressure levels before you pull another pint. If you're not using the 'set and forget' method for carbonating to serving pressure (and temperature) levels, I would. I actually use that method here.
 
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