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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2009 * Archive through May 19, 2009 * Demand valve < Previous Next >

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Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1742
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.236.68.125
Posted on Sunday, April 19, 2009 - 07:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

OK,

I want to use my beer engine with a wooden pin that has to sit at a higher level than the engine.

I've seen check valves made exactly for this purpose, but kegman.net wants $135 for one.

http://kegman.net/beer_engine.html

Item 6535, towards bottom of the page.

There has to be a cheaper solution using some sort of spring-loaded check valve that's readily available that I can put in line between the cask and the engine. This isn't for a permanent installation.

I take my beer engine down to a friend's place once a year for our mini RAF. He keeps his cask up fairly high on its stillage on a shelf, so he & guests can do a gravity dispense on other occasions.

But using the engine is a lot of fun. I've got a three-way Swagelok ball valve in the beer line so we can serve from either his wooden cask or from one of my cornie kegs. We use a breather on the CO2 side of both.

So, anybody got a cost-effective solution for this?
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 6575
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 65.29.223.32
Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009 - 12:29 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Any check valve has a "cracking pressure" that is required before it will open and allow flow. How high is the firkin above the engine? If it is not much, an ordinary check valve from US Plastics or such might work.
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1743
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.236.68.125
Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009 - 11:38 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I knew about cracking pressure. I have no idea how to calculate what I'd need in this situation, tho.

I'd say the height differential is two to three feet. Line length, from tap on pin to input of beer engine is maybe 8 feet, and 3/8 inch ID

The ones at US Plastics that look the best (spring loaded with a SS spring and ball) only have a cracking pressure of 1 psi. I'm not sure that's high enough.

I did find one specifically made for beer at:

http://www.thealehouse.co.uk/

for "only" 21.95 (plus shipping, VAT, etc.)

I've sent them an e-mail. When (if) they respond, I'll see if they can tell me the cracking pressure.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 6576
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 74.83.191.159
Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009 - 02:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

1 psi will give you almost two feet and four inches. Hose line length and diameter do not make a difference. It could work.
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1744
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.236.68.125
Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009 - 03:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hmmm,

Maybe worth a try. The in-line spring loaded valves from US Plastics are certainly cheap enough

I assume the liquid level in the cask will have an effect, too? A full cask has the liquid level about 1 ft higher than an almost empty cask.
 

Rob Farrell
Advanced Member
Username: Robf

Post Number: 538
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 216.27.76.200
Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009 - 04:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, the full cask will add 1 foot of head. I don't know crap about beer engines, but I assume it applies suction. The suction plus the head of an near-empty cask must crack the valve. The head of the cask without suction must not.

The gravity of the beer will affect the conversion of head to psi. This is an interesting problem.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 6579
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 65.29.223.32
Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009 - 07:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

An interesting fly in the ointment is that the "shutting" pressure may be less than the cracking pressure due to the dynamics of flow. A lower head pressure may be needed to stop the flow once it is started.

I think that I have some of these valves at the shop and, if I remember, I could screw around with them tomorrow.
 

Steve Jones
Advanced Member
Username: Stevej

Post Number: 630
Registered: 08-2001
Posted From: 164.89.253.21
Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009 - 07:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

>>The gravity of the beer will affect the conversion of head to psi. This is an interesting problem.

Since the FG is roughly 1% higher than the SG of water, the affect should be negligible. 1 psig = 27.68" water column, so 1 psig = 27.41" 'beer column' at FG=1.010.

As for the idea of a different shut-off pressure, it seems that the reverse stroke of the pump handle will momentarily reverse that pressure, allowing it to shut off.

If you use a low pressure propane regulator as a cask breather you are adding 0.4 psig to the cask, so be sure to take that into account. Or if you keep any 'conditioning pressure' on the cask you'll need to account for that, too.

[edited to clarify]

(Message edited by stevej on April 20, 2009)
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1745
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.252.7.153
Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009 - 08:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Steve,

My friend's cask uses a "proper" breather when it's in use.

There is a check valve in the piston chamber of the beer engine. I don't think it'll allow any reverse pressure into the beer line. But it's only there to stop reverse flow. It doesn't take much for it to open in the forward direction. No spring or anything.

Still scratching my head. Swagelok makes some spring-loaded check valves with adjustment for cracking pressure. But they're spendy...

The beer flow check valves made for this purpose have a spring loaded diaphram in them, from what I can tell.

Still waiting for the source in the UK to get back to me.
 

Steve Jones
Advanced Member
Username: Stevej

Post Number: 631
Registered: 08-2001
Posted From: 74.4.39.105
Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009 - 10:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Paul,
>>allowing it to shut off
meaning the check valve in the beer engine.

The reverse stroke should momentarily close the beer engine check valve, stopping the flow. I don't think 2-3 ft of head would prevent that valve from closing.
 

Belly Buster Bob
Senior Member
Username: Canman

Post Number: 3069
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 74.210.69.85
Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009 - 10:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/variant.asp?catalog%5Fname=USPlastic&category%5 Fname=45&product%5Fid=15641&variant%5Fid=64175

wouldn't this work?
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1746
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.252.7.153
Posted on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 - 12:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

BBB,

I looked at that valve and it only has a 1/2 lb cracking pressure. Not enough, I don't think.

Steve,

I'm thinking that the check valve could be installed one of two places, right at the output spigot of the cask, or right under the input to the beer engine.

I did hear back from the Alehouse in the UK. Shipping the 21.95 valve would cost me another 12, but I don't need to pay the VAT if I decided to go that route.

I need to ask them what the cracking pressure is. Stay tuned
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1748
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.251.229.83
Posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 12:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, my friend and I have decided that the next time we host our Real Ale get-together, we're gonna just serve his cask beer from his wooden pin via gravity. Then we can hook up two other cask-conditioned beers (two of mine or one of mine and another of his) in cornies to the beer engine, using the Swagelok three-way ball valve to switch between the two.

More beer, less hassle!
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 6582
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 74.83.191.159
Posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 06:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The valve I have at the shop had no measurable cracking pressure.

However in US Plastics catalog, there is one that has a minimum cracking pressure of 1.5 psi which translates into almost 3.5 feet. It, #18501, is priced at $25.66 in my book.
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1749
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.240.195.247
Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2009 - 12:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dan, it's worth a look.

But another place in the UK emailed and will sell me a Homark check valve designed specifically for this application for 16.50 plus 9 shipping (about $38 at today's exchange rate)

Still haven't decided if I'm going to splurge, tho.