Handpump connection advice

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Merkur

BJCP #B1441
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Hi - I have recently got an Angram Model CO handpump and refurbished it. I now have it pumping water well and I am ready to connect it to a (de-pressurized) corny keg. I will be using a 2psi aspirator valve on the gas post of the keg I am pulling the beer from. I have done a lot of reading and watching videos and have some questions.

There is a one-way valve in the bottom of the pump cylinder that is held closed by the weight of the plunger. It looks to me that beer (water at the moment) drains out of the 1/4pint handpump cylinder over a few hours. This doesn’t seem like a good idea to maintain good beer health in the keg. Should I add a one-way valve in the hose between the corny QD and the pump? Some videos recommend a demand valve and some a one-way or check valve. Does it matter where this is placed? Close to the pump or the keg?

The pipe recommended on a lot of sites is 1/2” or 7/16”. I can understand this if I was connecting to a true cask, but I am pulling it from a corny keg with the restrictive dip tube and ball-lock QD. Should I still use 1/2“ hose or can I use 5mm ID EVA barrier hose?

Any other recommendations or tips before I start hand-pulling my Best Bitter?

Paul
 

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Joined to research this myself. I'm looking at two methods of beer dispensing - either the low-pressure keg like you or the wine bag method used in the UK. My Angram isn't jacket cooled and I think of the typical issues with dispensing - line size(s) and temperature. At the moment I'm moving in the direction of a tubing adapter from the ball lock line to the half inch demand valve and cylinder line.

The outlet from the pump to the swan neck is smaller so it feels like there is lot going on.
 
When I originally got my beer engine I had it hooked up to a cubitainer and did a series of step downs then step ups in my line diameter. Honestly it was a bit goofy looking but I did something like this: 3/8 connected to cubitainer down to 3/16 into a one way check valve 3/16 out of that up to 3/8 up to 1/2 to connect to the beer engine. It worked pretty well back then!
 
Old thread... yeah yeah, ok so I got a hand pull that I'm looking to hook up, seems finding a reasonably priced demand valve in the US is not the easiest task and shipping from the UK is bs... so anyone have a supplier in the US for a demand valve other then the $100+ dollar micro matic one?
 
UK brewing is a solid business, great suggestion there. I ordered a lot of supplies from RLBS - main reason being I needed specific parts for my old Hi-gene beer engine. They’re a solid company to keep in mind if you need parts for a non-Angram beer engine. So that’s something I’ll throw out there in case anyone stumbles onto this thread.
 
I bought some stuff from UK Brewing supplies (Paul Pendyck) and spoken with him to resolve issues. They are a solid company and good prices. I have also ordered parts that UK Brewing supplies did not have or were out of stock from RLBS. ( Home page - Hand Pumps, Beer Pumps, Fonts, Gas Regulators, Cask Craft Ale, Beer Engines, Spares, Aspirator Breather ) They are also very reliable and decent shipping charges.

Paul
Turns out uk brewing is in my backyard and I'll be even closer next weekend. Gonna stop in there for sure. My wife was picking up our order at scotzin (lhbs) for the bitter we are brewing and Fran told her about a place in Lancaster that we should check out... well isn't that great timing.
 
Trouble with RLBS is website difficult to use if outside UK. I had to use a VPN and get it delivered to friend in UK and then it was brought over to NZ by that friend when they visited.
 
I could navigate it ok but then to pay double the cost of the item for shipping to the US was well, not worth it. And seems that the other site here in the US that is not far from me appears to be online only. But I'm still going to reach out to him since well be in the area next weekend.
 
I’ve got a diy caskerator setup. I thought I needed a demand valve. If you’re serving from a low pressure keg/container that’s below the pump you don’t need one. I use a propane regulator to keep low pressure CO2 on the corny keg, works great.

View attachment 839481
I like the setup! It looks nicer than the thing I put together, I may have to upgrade. Did you attach the board to the top of the mini fridge or is it just resting on top?
 
I like the setup! It looks nicer than the thing I put together, I may have to upgrade. Did you attach the board to the top of the mini fridge or is it just resting on top?
You can get an on counter version of a beer engine instead of the through counter or clamp on.
I've seen them as single units somewhere.
Screenshot_20240120-085737.png
 
You can get an on counter version of a beer engine instead of the through counter or clamp on.
I've seen them as single units somewhere.
View attachment 839554
I think if (when) we move to a new house I’ll build a bar setup to feature something like that, or at least something built into the bar for my current clamp on engine. The beer engine handle with a badge on it just looks really cool in a bar too.
 
DunB, Not a jam jar 😲, it’s a mason jar that holds 24 oz, an imperial pint with head or that clear stuff that’s a bit higher abv.

Rmr9, The frig had a plastic top so the attachment points were repurposed for the wood top. The frig didn't have a freezer so there’s room for a corny, 5# CO2 bottle and a pump w water tank for the cooling jacket.

I’ve also communicated with Paul UKBrewing… awesome person! My DYI was triggered by their top of the line version. Their website has amazing information, diagrams And parts!

I have a search on UKeBay for “Angram Beer“, in the past couple months there’s been a fiver with white porcelain hunt scene handles, quad and now a double.
 
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Cor! I don't know how you got away with that! All the ingredients were here for a lynching but ... not a squeak.

I'll see if I can get away with it. I'll chuck this in here to provide a local copy (it's a fairly lengthy tome, hence it is jokingly nicknamed "The Treatise"). It's got a section on hand-pumps.

Good grief, it's over six years old. I suddenly feel very much older meself.
 

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Cor! I don't know how you got away with that! All the ingredients were here for a lynching but ... not a squeak.

I'll see if I can get away with it. I'll chuck this in here to provide a local copy (it's a fairly lengthy tome, hence it is jokingly nicknamed "The Treatise"). It's got a section on hand-pumps.

Good grief, it's over six years old. I suddenly feel very much older meself.
I can summarise it in one sentence. Home brewers might be better off using a low-pressure propane regulator as a ‘cask breather’ to extend shelf life and help maintain some condition. If it loses too much condition, just force carbonate a little overnight. I’ve modified my CaskWidge tap so that I can recondition even in my pin cask. Just swap the cask breather over to the higher pressure CO2 line. The beer lasts for weeks, until it’s gone.

IMG_0058.jpeg

Edit: tested to 30 psi without any issues.
 
I can summarise it in one sentence. Home brewers might be better off using a low-pressure propane regulator as a ‘cask breather’ to extend shelf life and help maintain some condition. If it loses too much condition, just force carbonate a little overnight. I’ve modified my CaskWidge tap so that I can recondition even in my pin cask. Just swap the cask breather over to the higher pressure CO2 line. The beer lasts for weeks, until it’s gone.

View attachment 839770
Edit: tested to 30 psi without any issues.
Sorry, not understanding the benefit of a low pressure propane regulator, over a standard, dedicated breather and CO2. Did I miss something? Thanks.
 
Sorry, not understanding the benefit of a low pressure propane regulator, over a standard, dedicated breather and CO2. Did I miss something? Thanks.
A little bit more CO2 pressure, cheaper (about a 1/3 of the price) and with other useful applications.

IMG_0054.jpeg
 
A little bit more CO2 pressure, cheaper (about a 1/3 of the price) and with other useful applications.

View attachment 839773
Thanks. Guess I'm wondering about the whole "demand" aspect v. a constant, if low PSI, CO2 flow. I'm also pretty clueless as to DIY anything, so I'm not surprised I don't get your setup (looks like this second photo differs from your first one, attached to the pin?).
 
Try that document of mine (above) ... I wasn't allowed to get away with a one-liner six years ago. Back then most people thought of propane regulators as "poor-mans breathers" (still do?), which they weren't at-all. And many would get a dreadful "normal" 37mbar propane regulator (complete with useless "POL" attachment), not the swanky Clesse (Spanish) variable jobbies (like @McMullan has pictured):

1705947099217.png


You can get them 20-300mbar too, but you don't really need them (50-150mbar is more than enough; that's about 2psi MAX).

They must be used as "secondary regulators" (downstream from the cylinder regulator); do not connect directly to a CO2 cylinder.
 
Try that document of mine (above) ... I wasn't allowed to get away with a one-liner six years ago. Back then most people thought of propane regulators as "poor-mans breathers" (still do?), which they weren't at-all. And many would get a dreadful "normal" 37mbar propane regulator (complete with useless "POL" attachment), not the swanky Clesse (Spanish) variable jobbies (like @McMullan has pictured):

View attachment 839774

You can get them 20-300mbar too, but you don't really need them (50-150mbar is more than enough; that's about 2psi MAX).

They must be used as "secondary regulators" (downstream from the cylinder regulator); do not connect directly to a CO2 cylinder.
Aw great, thanks. I'd missed that.
 
Thanks. Guess I'm wondering about the whole "demand" aspect v. a constant, if low PSI, CO2 flow. I'm also pretty clueless as to DIY anything, so I'm not surprised I don't get your setup (looks like this second photo differs from your first one, attached to the pin?).
The cask breather just gets connected to a carbonation cap on the back of my caskerator. Easy to swap over without even open the door. I have a proper cask breather, but the DIY version is better. Having <3 psi on ‘constant’ is of no consequence (leak free, of course), except for slowing the loss of condition a bit. The lightest finger pressure is enough to stop it.
 
The cask breather just gets connected to a carbonation cap on the back of my caskerator. Easy to swap over without even open the door. I have a proper cask breather, but the DIY version is better. Having <3 psi on ‘constant’ is of no consequence (leak free, of course), except for slowing the loss of condition a bit. The lightest finger pressure is enough to stop it.
Great. Thanks.
 
And I've just got the cask breather finally.
@McMullan what's the purpose of the old yeastbay petling on the second set of pictures?
Just a simple solution using the T to quickly link up my CO2, e.g., for sampling, cold crashing, low pressure transferring from my non pressure rated FVs.
 
Just a simple solution using the T to quickly link up my CO2, e.g., for sampling, cold crashing, low pressure transferring from my non pressure rated FVs.
Thought so, I use a small PET bottle in there instead as a means of catching any blowoff yeast whilst purging kegs with ferment gas.
 
On this subject of low-pressure regulators: @Merkur mentions in the OP ...
... I will be using a 2psi aspirator valve on the gas post of the keg I am pulling the beer from. ...

I'd been told there is a difference between Aspirators and Breathers (Breathers = Zero pressure CO2 regulators), but they always seem to be talked about as if they are the same thing? Including by some sellers of aspirators! But here we have "psi" in the same breath. And here:
I am thinking of using a CO2 aspirated or just using a low 1-2psi ‘blanket pressure’ to prolong the life of the beer ...

Question: Am I reading it wrong, or is this using an "aspirator" in the same way as the propane regulators being discussed? If so, where do you get such "aspirators" (although they appear to sell for astronomic prices compared to the Clesse propane regulators).
 
The beer engine’s cylinder is the actual aspirator. It controls any valves fitted between it and the beer (cask, keg, etc.) and between the beer and an upstream CO2 source. Some valves are referred to as ‘asperators’, but it doesn’t matter. Who cares? They still work as intended. That is, allow CO2 to be sucked in when the beer gets sucked out, without any back flow. A low-pressure propane regulator is not a valve, but it behaves in a similar way, in terms of being controlled by pulling the cylinder and replacing the volume of sucked out beer with CO2. In both cases, CO2 gas can be heard flowing into the cask or keg as the beer engine gets pulled. The academics of it don’t really matter much, unless that’s what interests you. Me, I just want to pull a pint. It’s a bit like going to the shops. You can walk, drive, bike, skateboard, pirouette, etc. It doesn’t matter how, you’ll still get to the shops.
 
I stopped using my breather, didn't think it worked well... not sure why but I always had an irritating suck back no matter what I did. Now I'm using mylar bags instead and it works really well. The bags are 5 litres and I fill them from keg when I need to.
 

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... Who cares? ...
I don't! I've Clesse regulators comin' out me ear'oles. But some, like @Merkur, have these "aspirators" and I don't want to be suggesting a Clesse regulator when they already have an expensive "aspirator" doing the same job (maintaining "<3psi"). Breathers are fixed at zero psi - I don't care for them (for having beer on tap for longer than a couple of weeks). That's what interests me. But knowing the answer won't make any difference to my beer; I'll continue using Clesse regulators like you appear to be doing.
 
I stopped using my breather, didn't think it worked well... not sure why but I always had an irritating suck back no matter what I did. Now I'm using mylar bags instead and it works really well. The bags are 5 litres and I fill them from keg when I need to.
Did you try cranking up the pressure a bit? They can hold back quite high pressure, iirc.
 
I stopped using my breather, didn't think it worked well... not sure why but I always had an irritating suck back no matter what I did. Now I'm using mylar bags instead and it works really well. The bags are 5 litres and I fill them from keg when I need to.
It (the breather) probably had too little throughput (speedwise) ... and at a guess, you may have been using real kegs / casks / pressure barrels rather than Corny Kegs. You don't normally get suck back from a Corny Keg ... because the lid seal can crack open and admits air! [A sentence here has been deleted! - not quite sure what I was saying there! Best stick to what I know and not wander off on Cloud Nine]

The five litre mylar bags sound like a better way to deal with it! Five litres is most likely a small enough volume to never notice the slow loss of CO2 condition. If you were to use 25 litre polythene cubes/bags ("Polypins") it would be likely you don't drink them quick enough, and you will notice the loss of condition. (Mylar bags are also fairly impervious to oxygen, etc. ... polythene bags are not).

Did you try cranking up the pressure a bit? They can hold back quite high pressure, iirc.
And that's an alternative way of handling the original issue! (If you didn't want to ditch the "breather" ... I always go for the "see how far you can throw the breather" option).
 
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