The Economy barrel holds 23 litres (40 pints/5 gallons) of beer. The barrel has a smaller 2" opening and comes with a tap, cap with pin valve and sealing "O" ring for the cap. You can keg beers, lagers and ciders.
How to keg the beer.
Syphon the beer from your fermenter into the keg and add 100g of sugar. We also recommend adding beer finings to help clear the beer quicker. Starbrite is the perfect fining as it works quickly and it also suitable for vegans. Smear the thread of the cap with petroleum jelly or similar and make sure that the "O" ring is in the cap. Tighten the cap down and give the barrel a good shake to mix the sugar into the beer. Leave the barrel in a warm place (ideally the same place as it was fermenting) for 5-7 days. The yeast will ferment the sugar and as the gas cannot escape, this will pressurise the barrel. After 1 week, move the beer to a cooler place to clear and mature. After a week in a cooler place, you can open the tap to dispense the beer.
Do you need to use gas?
Initially due to the secondary fermentation, you should have sufficient pressure built up to let the beer come out the tap. Once this natural pressure has been used, you will need to add carbon dioxide (CO2) to fill the void and dispense the beer. This is either added using a homebrew gas cylinder by screwing down on the valve and injecting no more than a 1 second burst of gas, or using a gas bulb to inject the gas. This will depend on the type of valve you have.
This keg comes fitted with a pin valve designed to be used with the smaller 8gm gas bulbs. You will need a holder to inject the gas. This holds the gas bulb and screws onto the valve, and the pin in the valve pierces the bulb allowing all the gas to be injected into the keg. These are disposable gas bulbs and once used, the empty bulb is discarded.
Can you bottle the beer from the keg?
You can bottle from the keg, but the beer will be fairly flat. As the secondary fermentation has already occurred in the barrel, when you bottle the beer there will be very little pressure and the beer flat. The only way you could bottle would be to add half teaspoon of sugar per 500ml beer, seal the bottle and keep it in a warm place for at least 5 days to generate pressure.
- Change the valve washers every year, or sooner if you use the barrel frequently. The pressure in the kegs is constantly against the washers and eventually the elasticity in them weakens. These washers need to form a tight seal against the valve to stop gas leaking out.
- Never sterilise the cap and valve. This does not come into contact with the beer, a layer of CO2 lies between the cap and beer. Just wash the cap in hot water. Steriliser will damage the washers on the valve and could even damage the valve itself.
- Do not store the keg in a cold place. This is hard not to do in the Winter months, but try to avoid cold places. Wrap a towel or blanket round the barrel, or even place a box over it, this will help keep some of the cold out. If the barrel is stored in a cold place, the gas that you have built up in the secondary fermentation will be absorbed into the cold beer. This will result in flat beer and relying more on injecting gas from the gas bottle or gas bulbs.
- Add finings to the beer before sealing the barrel. This will help greatly in the clearing of the beer and also help keep the sediment compacted.