Pressure Barrell

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DrewsBrews85

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Ive just put my first batch of Beer into a pressure barrel and added sugar to carbonate. At the moment I don't have a vale on the top that will allow me to use the little C02 canisters. Would I be able to open the top of the keg before its finished secondary and replace the vale and inject C02? Cheers
 

cactusgarrett

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I'm not too sure what you're asking about, so I'll describe the general process:

It sounds like you've put your beer into a keg, or corny keg, and you're naturally carbonating instead of force carbonating. Usually you apply some gas to the keg at that point to make sure the lid seals tight enough to be able to hold the pressure that the carbonating sugar generates. When you say you don't have a valve that will allow you to use the little CO2 canisters, are you talking about the quick disconnect fitting, or something different? When you mention the "little CO2 canisters", do you mean this trigger setup or a mini regulator?

Assuming when you say "secondary" you mean the carbonating process, once you've carbonated your keg, you don't need to open the top of the keg (this, right?), or anything at all. You should just be able to attach one of those gray gas-in disconnects to the "In" post and attach CO2 in whatever form you choose.
 
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DrewsBrews85

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Hi sorry for the confusion. Yes I’ve put my beer in a Keg with a tap on the bottom so it doesn’t have to be opened and put some sugar in to carbonate, but I was reading that it will get flat towards the bottom of the barrel. My cap on the barrel I have rubbed Vaseline on to make the seal. The cap at the top of my barrel doesn’t have a valve attachment that you can connect a C02 canister to just a one way vent.

Hope that clears up my question, thanks for the reply much appreciated.
 
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DrewsBrews85

DrewsBrews85

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No posts just a plain old cap with the pressure relief valve. So I was thinking if I was to replace the cap with one that does, would it be ok to take it off and replace while the beer is carbonating, and put some gas in?
 

Qhrumphf

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Clarification note, I presume you're UK based (or thereabouts)? "Pressure barrels" are a thing common on that side of the ocean that really don't exist in the US and when referenced as such tend to cause confusion (since the vast majority of users of this site are US based). It's not a normal keg as understood in the US.

They're basically a plastic higher pressure pin/firkin with a CO2 port instead of a bung. You add CO2 instead of spiling, and keep it under pressure instead of atmospheric as you would with cask ale (and accordingly the beer is more carbonated than cask ale). Otherwise they're treated just like a pin or firkin.

I hope that clarifies for everyone involved.

To your original question, if your priming sugar has already started fermenting, your vessel will be under pressure. If you want to change the lid to one with a CO2 valve on it that you can apply CO2 to, you'll need to depressurize it first. Unless there's a PRV on the lid (not sure as I've never seen one of these in person), I'd probably invert it and crack the serving tap to release the pressure. I used to "spile" my polypins this way. Once it's depressurized you can turn it right side up and swap the lid out.

It's important to note that in doing this you will a) lose a portion of your carbonation and b) expose your beer to oxygen shortening its shelf life. You could add more priming sugar to compensate for the former but it's hard to say how much, plus you run a risk of nucleating the existing CO2 out. The latter not much you can do about it.
 

Qhrumphf

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If you have enough CO2 canisters, I presume you can make up the carbonation loss that way too, though I don't know how these setups regulate the pressure level.
 
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DrewsBrews85

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That is correct on both parts I’m from England. Thank you for the answer that helps a lot much obliged 🙏🏻
 

DuncB

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@DrewsBrews85

Do you have one of these with the brass threaded top?


Or just a valve that releases if the pressure gets too high?
 
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DrewsBrews85

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@DrewsBrews85

Do you have one of these with the brass threaded top?


Or just a valve that releases if the pressure gets too high?
Hi mate,

it’s similar to that only it has a smaller cap at the top with just a pressure release valve, there’s no metal fitting on top to connect anything to it but I can buy one to fit that has. I think I will just see how it goes and get a new cap for the next batch.
 

DuncB

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If it has just the pressure relief valve then get one of these S30 valves and fit it.
Then you can either use the CO2 cylinder on the same page ( quite expensive to keep swapping them ).

or get one of these for sodastream

again sodastream not cheap gas.

further option would be to get the adapter that goes on a big CO2 cylinder either to refill your Sodastream or allow you to gas the beer via a regulator. If you go that route which you may in a while want to do, then get a gas and liquid ( all in one ) ball lock post and add that onto the lid. Then you can inject CO2 as needed but also have the option of closed hop tea additions and finings etc. and can check the pressure or put a spunding valve on.

I have just managed to get the top tap king keg second hand down here in NZ and do still have the Hambledon bard cylinder from the UK I brought over and a sodastream adapter. The keg did have a pressure valve to show pressure on the top when I got it but not possible to clean that so I swapped it out for gas post and then I can spund or inject via that post.

Before the gauge ( so for years ) I just used to give a little blast of CO2 after pouring a beer. Often you could see the lid rise up on it.

The kegs with a smaller lid don't tend to rise as much but you get a pretty good idea.

I would avoid the "sparklets" route that is the most expensive way.

There are micro CO2 ferment options via post connectors as well to keep the keg topped up with gas but that's a different topic.

You want just enough gas inside to replace the loss of beer, you do not want a big glug up the tap of air going in to replace the volume as your beer will spoil fast.

But you can get a good approximation of Cask ale with these bits of kit.
 

Qhrumphf

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If you don't have a way to apply pressure as is, you'll only get as far as the existing pressure in your barrel. Once you've poured enough to reach atmospheric pressure, then gas will have to come in to replace the volume drawn out or a vacuum will be created. With a soft container like a polypin it'll just collapse under the vacuum. With a rigid container it'll suck in air, back through the tap usually. Once you reach that point I'd crack your lid and let air come in the top. Better than bubbling through the tap I'd say. The problem with this is your shelf life will shorten to days, so you'll need to drink it fast before it goes stale and/or sour. If you've got the means to put a CO2 lid on, I would absolutely do that.
 

DuncB

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If you drink slowly you will actually get most of the beer out without air getting in, but it will be flat at the end before the air goes in.
Just plan for a couple of big nights when that stage is reached and you have to let the air in. Or bottle the remainder with a readdition of sugar in each bottle to condition it.
 

bwible

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Nobody sells these in the US? The 2 gallon size looks really interesting. I wonder if there is some way to connect one of these to a beer engine?
 

DuncB

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@bwible you would be able to connect via the tap and fit a gas post in the top. This would need a breather on it to supply very low pressure CO2 1-2 psi.
You would also most likely need a non return valve / demand valve that prevents the beer being pushed out of the beer engine at rest.

See my post Beer Engine strip down advice

fifth picture shows the valve.

Personally I think the 5 litre metal kegs / casks are a better option. Could prime and then load the fridge with them and bring them out a few days before use to finish priming. A good volume for a weekend solo.
But the 2 gallon good for a night with freinds.
 

bwible

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I wouldn't be surprised if SOMEONE stateside sells em but they're definitely not common lol
I’m not sure why. They sell the 5L minikegs here and those are very thin containers and basically junk that no one still came up with a decent tap for yet. Very difficult to clean. These actually seem like an improvement over those. There is a growing number of small batch brewers looking for a decent dispenser thats not a 5 gallon corny keg.
 

bwible

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@bwible you would be able to connect via the tap and fit a gas post in the top. This would need a breather on it to supply very low pressure CO2 1-2 psi.
You would also most likely need a non return valve / demand valve that prevents the beer being pushed out of the beer engine at rest.

See my post Beer Engine strip down advice

fifth picture shows the valve.

Personally I think the 5 litre metal kegs / casks are a better option. Could prime and then load the fridge with them and bring them out a few days before use to finish priming. A good volume for a weekend solo.
But the 2 gallon good for a night with freinds.
I have 5L minikegs. Never found a way to connect them to a beer engine. Very limited parts and tapping options.
 

Qhrumphf

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My home cask method has always been polypin (the "cubitainer" line from US Plastics is what I used to use). They'll collapse as you draw out so you get minimal air intake and multiple sizes so you can size appropriately. I would commonly split 5 gals into 5x1gal or 2x2.5gal polypins. And they're cheap enough that even a single use is NBD but I'd clean em and use em 2 or 3 times.
 

DuncB

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Dave Line used to recommend putting a brick or two on the polypin to encourage it to flatten down.

I agree those 5L kegs/ casks are a bugger to clean out.

The cask widge would work in those 2 gallon kegs and then just drink it when cracked open or breathe it.
 

DuncB

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It's old tech that's for sure but I started with a Boots the chemist pressure barrel about 30 years ago. Got a second hand one from a friend that had left it a bit close to a radiator and it had partly melted. Still worked fine though even under pressure. Whatever that was as no way to measure it. I just used to let some gas out if the lid bulged up with the secondary or if I overgassed (or drank more beer ). It has quite a good dimple in the bottom so the yeast sits below the tap. I prefer the bottom taps.
 

dtashmore547

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I have 5L minikegs. Never found a way to connect them to a beer engine. Very limited parts and tapping options.
I have been using the 5lt mini kegs for some time, I found some long (35mm) motorcycle valves and drilled a grey bung to take the valves, I use a bicycle gas pump with 12g threaded gas cylinder usually 1 per 5lt fill, nice and useful to take away and can fit in a fridge. only problem I have had is the occasional secondary ferment which can pop the can, generally now wait an extra week before filling as there is no control on the pressure so I am careful just to give it enough to get the ale out.
 
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