DIY mini beer engine

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Bedhead7

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I live in a tiny apartment but wanted the cask ale/beer engine experience at home. I don't' have room for a keg, nitro setup or a $500 beer engine so I decided to A-Team together a micro beer engine. This one cost me about 45 bucks.

This engine holds 2.7 liters of beer and serves it up with a Valterra hand pump with a sparkler. I brewed a classic English bitters recipe with very low carbonation and bottled it into 1 liter flip top bottles. I pour the bottles into the glass canister before pump serving. I can't stress the low carbonation enough. A medium carbonated ale will serve a half pint of head with the sparkler. 1/4 or less normal carbonation works well.

Parts
Valterra RP800 Chrome Rocket Hand Pump ($28.39 at Amazon).
Snapware 2.72 L/2.8qt FlipTop glass canister ($12.99 at Container Store).
Anderson Metal 3/8 by 3/8 Inch Hose Barb ($2.09 at hardware store).
Extra Small Stainless Steel Hose Clamp ($1.00 at hardware store).
2 ft. 1/2" x 3/8" Clear Vinyl Tubing ($5.00 at hardware store).
Sparkler ($2.99 at Northern Brewer)

I used a Dremel to sand/cut out a hole in the Snapware flip top lid and screwed the Valterra hand pump on. Attached about 8 inches of Vinyl tube to the pump source for sucking the beer out. Cut a diagonal into the hose end so It can pull more beer from the bottom. This hose fortunately fits both the entrance and exit of the hand pump. Attached another 2 inches of hose to the faucet end with the hose clamp. Attached the sparkler to the exit hose with a metal hose barb. The plastic sparkler threading does not match the hose barb threading. This does not matter however as the metal hose barb will easily re-thread into the soft plastic sparkler with some force. You may want to use a small amount of waterproof epoxy adhesive when screwing the sparkler onto the barb to get a perfect seal.

Takes about 8-10 pumps to pull a full pint. The head looks amazing and it's very satisfying pulling beer through this thing. Took about 1 hour total to assemble the micro beer engine.

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sarsnik

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Awesome job. Never would have thought someone would try to come up with this as a DIY - I'll have to try it now...
 

Adeering

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This is awesome, I want to try a beer engine but dont want to do a whole 5 gallon type just to try it out. This is perfect for the occasional beer engine pour.
 

onthekeg

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Make one that works on a corny keg and be a millionaire! Nice work!
 

Adeering

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Make one that works on a corny keg and be a millionaire! Nice work!
That wouldnt be that hard, just use the same idea but attach a ball/pin lock connection to the end instead of the hose and you wouldnt need the container just build a little platform that sits on top of the keg.

You would have to either release the counter pressure that will develop or you could hook it up to CO2 at a low pressure to have a continuous flow. Wouldnt carb it just keep a layer of CO2 above it so the beer doesnt go bad. (But then that isnt traditional)
 

jeffz

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Not sure if the original poster has ever been back, but thanks! I built a variation on one of these using the same pump a few weeks ago and I love the damn thing. Perfect solution for someone who doesn't care to deal with the volumes involved in a keg/nitro setup (and possibly more genuine anyway)!

Jeff
 

jsDC

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Not sure if the original poster has ever been back, but thanks! I built a variation on one of these using the same pump a few weeks ago and I love the damn thing. Perfect solution for someone who doesn't care to deal with the volumes involved in a keg/nitro setup (and possibly more genuine anyway)!

Jeff
Out of curiosity, what's the container you used for your version? I'm having trouble finding the one used in the original post.

Thanks!
 

Tinga

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it would be pretty awesome if you could find a container you could prime and carb in and then vent via spile. might want a touch bigger container if you're going to go through all that though.
 

jcmcdowell

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We travel and thought this would be fun to share with friends. I'll bottle some low carbonation beers just for the fun of it.

The pump was about $30, everything else less than $10.

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rmr9

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I'm going to resurrect this super old thread...built one of these a few weeks back and it's awesome. My question is what is the best way to clean it out after each use? I feel like hot water isn't quite good enough. Could I use PBW? Maybe beer line cleaner?
 
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