The Cornelius Keg System

Beer Dispense Line Assembly

          This consists of a tap, several feet (usually four to eight feet) of 3/16-inch heavy-gauge hose, a two-piece threaded hose barb, a nylon gasket and the beer-out connection from the keg. The ideal length and type of dispense hose is an issue upon which one could easily write a full-length dissertation. Factors like restriction, viscosity, temperature, line material, tap type and volume of dissolved CO2 all play important roles in the condition of your beer as it travels from keg to glass.
          For a thorough explanation of the science behind dispensing beer, check out Dave Miller’s article in Beer and Brewing Vol. 12 (Brewer’s Publications 1992). Here are a few general comments and suggestions on the subject while leaving the technical reasons and specifics to the experts. The 3/16-inch vinyl hose seems to be the recommended line gauge for dispensing homebrew‹it’s available from supply stores and is usually transparent. At least six feet of it is recommended for your tap assembly. The length really depends on the amount of carbonation you want to remain in your beer as you dispense which, in turn, depends on the style. A highly carbonated weisse beer might be best with eight feet, and a low-carb English mild with four, but six feet seems to fit the bill for most styles falling within mid-range  carbonation levels.
          The cobra-head plastic-and-rubber tap is the standard for homebrewers, fairly       cheap and easily disassembled for cleaning. You might have a little trouble getting the plastic hose barb on it inside your 3/16-inch hose, but a little heat from boiling water or a lighter usually makes the connection easier. (Heat the hose, not the barb!) Luckily, the assembly is fairly permanent and can be cleaned as one unit.
          At the other end of the line is the metal hose barb and nut assembly, which allows you to screw on a pin- or ball-valve connector, sold as a unit. Use the same heating trick to get the metal barb in. Again, make sure you also invest in a few little nylon washers. Cleaning your beer line should be done every so often to prevent any buildup inside. If you have access to a line cleaning compound, a good long soak should do the trick. If not, you can try forcing a small piece of soft sponge through the line with water pressure to clean it out.  

The CO2 Tank

          Here brewers have a couple of options: Buy your own new five-pound tank for
      around $50 and have it refilled, or get an account with a gas supply company and
      use one of their tanks. Many homebrew supply shops will refill your tank with CO2
      if you choose the first option, but it usually takes a few days. Welding supply or fire
      safety equipment supply shops are also good alternatives to get CO2 refills, which
      usually cost around $20 for that size tank. The good thing about doing this is that
      you can keep your own personal lightweight aluminum tank, which is easier to lug
      around to parties and such.
          The second option, getting your own gas account, is better for brewers who do
      a lot of kegging and need a quick turn around when they run out. You simply bring
      the old empty tank in and they’ll replace it with a prefilled one on the spot. Refills
      usually cost a bit less this way, between $12 and $17 for a five pounder.
      Unfortunately they usually only have steel tanks, so if you bring your new aluminum
      one in, you’re probably not going to see it again. As beat up as the replacement
      looks, however, you can rest assured that it has been pressure tested, so unless
      you drop it down the basement stairs which is not recommended! don’t worry
      about it exploding.
          Remember that any pressurized container is a potential bomb, so try not to drop
      it, damage the main valve or leave it in a very hot place (like a car trunk) for
      extended periods of time while it’s under pressure.

The Cornelius Keg

          The stainless-steel Cornelius keg comes in a convenient five-gallon size which, with
      its built-in handles, makes it much easier to carry than even a quarter-barrel
      commercial keg. Originally used for dispensing soda syrups, it is pressure rated to
      130 psi, which (unless you plan on building a water cannon out of it) is far higher
      than the homebrewer would ever need. Luckily, Cornelius kegs are also very
      common, making used ones very easy to come by at a discounted price.
          Many beverage distribution companies and homebrew supply outlets sell used
      kegs for around $25, or around $35 if all the gaskets have been replaced. Many
      times the kegs won’t need fresh parts unless they’ve been sitting in a warehouse for
      years. If you buy used kegs, though, take along a crescent wrench to disassemble
      them and inspect the kegs carefully before you pay. Here are a few things to look
          Check to see what type of Cornelius keg it is. The older design is called a
      pin-lock and is distinguished by the small metal pegs protruding from each of the
      two posts (also sometimes called body connects); the gas inlet post has two and
      the beer outlet post has three. Ball-lock kegs don’t have these pins. Both designs
      are fine but you’ll need different connection equipment for each, so it’s more
      convenient to choose one type and stick to it. Pin-lock kegs are a bit more
      common in the soda industry and are therefore easier to get for less money.
          Make sure all the rubber gaskets are smooth and elastic, without any cracks.
      These include the ones on the outside of each post, at the top of each steel dip
      tube‹you’ll need to remove the poppet valves first and take out the tubes to check
      these‹and the main lid O-ring gasket. Any old-looking gaskets should be replaced.
          Check to make sure the keg holds pressure. Corny kegs are pretty
      standardized, but certain parts like lids and poppet valves don’t always jibe from
      keg to keg, and if parts were swapped along the way it may leak. Also check to
      see that the springs in each poppet valve close the valves tightly. Old or unseated
      valve springs may also cause leaks.
          A pressure release valve on the lid, allowing you to vent head pressure without
      having to fiddle with the poppet valves, is a very handy feature for the homebrewer.
      Given the option, choose kegs with this feature.

Cleaning Cornelius Kegs

          Don’t worry if the used keg is dirty inside when you buy it. A good soak with hot
      water or PBW solution should clean up even the worst-looking gunk. Once you
      have it clean it’s a good idea to keep it that way. And that means cleaning not only
      the places you can see, but also the ones you can’t.
          Many brewers just give their kegs a good scrub and rinse between uses, but a
      deep clean of all the parts, inside and out, will prevent bacteria from taking up
      residence in your keg and endangering the quality of your brew. Here’s one method
      for deep cleaning the Cornelius keg:
          Disassemble the Cornelius keg with a crescent wrench, being careful not to strip the
      posts or, on a pin-lock, bend the pins. Some homebrew retail outlets sell a handy
      ratchet fitting that fits over the top of each post, so you don’t have to struggle with
      awkward wrenches.
          Be careful with the poppet valves, which fit into each of the posts. On some of
      the older kegs they are difficult to remove and replace, so you may want to leave
      them in and clean around them.
          After disassembling the keg, boil the main O-ring, lid and two valve assemblies
      for 15 minutes. This is usually sufficient to both clean and sanitize them. Make sure
      the pressure release valve on the lid, if you have one, is left open. The shorter dip
      tube can usually be scrubbed out with a test tube brush and boiled as well.
          Meanwhile, using a wire-handled carboy brush, clean out the inside of the keg
      thoroughly, then inspect it. The two valve holes can be cleaned using a test tube
      brush or a toothbrush. Make sure you get up inside the opening of the keg,
      especially around these holes. For stone build-up, which will appear as a rough
      whitish or brownish coating on the steel when it’s dry, use a nylon scouring pad or
      phosphoric acid to remove.
          Scrub the outside of the long dip tube with a scouring pad. The inside is a little
      more difficult. Clip the hook from a nylon-coated coat hangar and bend it as
      straight as you can to make one long piece. Cut a small corner off your scrub
      sponge and cram it into one end of the dip tube. It should be snug, but not so tight
      you won’t be able to get it out again. Then, using the coat hangar wire, push it
      through. This is a much easier procedure, obviously, with straight dip tubes than
      bent ones, but will work in either case. Inspect the inside of the dip tube by holding
      it up to the light and make a few more passes with the sponge if necessary.
          Now you should be ready to sanitize everything and reassemble the keg for use.

Force Carbonating in a Cornelius Keg

          Cold, finished beer is best to force carbonate, because the CO2 absorbs much
      more quickly and easily into it than into room-temperature beer.
          Transfer the cold beer into your keg gently, leaving the cover on, but ajar, so
      that any airborne bugs can’t fall into it. The beer will push any remaining air out the
      top as it fills, leaving only CO2 in the head space. Leaving an inch or two of head
      space is helpful for faster carbonation, but not necessary. Then replace the cover
      tightly and crank your regulator up to 30 psi. You’ll hear the gas charging your keg;
      the fuller the keg, the quieter this charge will be. The lid should seal tightly at this
      time; if it doesn’t, and gas comes hissing out, reseat the gasket on your lid in a
      sanitary fashion and try again. If that doesn’t work, inspect the lid and gasket
      carefully. There may be a chunk of something caught in there preventing a good
      seal, or the lid or keg mouth may be bent somewhere. Rarely, there may be a
      crack in the lid.
          Assuming you have head space of one or two inches above the beer, shake the
      keg vigorously for two to three minutes with the gas on. Room-temperature beer or
      a fuller keg may take a little longer to carbonate, depending on how carbonated
      you like your beer to be. Then disconnect the gas line and let the keg sit at serving
      temperature to absorb the rest of the CO2. You can actually vent out whatever
      pressure is on top of the beer and dispense it right then, but it may foam
      considerably at first. For the CO2 to really absorb well and stay in solution, you
      should let the charged keg chill for a day or so, then check the head pressure.
          Once the beer is carbonated, you’ll want to keep about 10 psi on it while storing
      and serving it, charging when necessary. Leaving the CO2 hooked up to your keg
      and relying on your regulator to maintain that constant pressure is fine, but I prefer
      to charge the kegs only periodically, shutting off the main valve of the tank between

Gas Line Assembly

          Running from the hose barb on your regulator to your keg is the gas line assembly.
      Its parts include a length (usually three to six feet) of 5/16-inch heavy-gauge hose, a
      two-piece threaded hose barb, two hose clamps, a nylon gasket and the gas-in
      connection to the keg. Make sure you get hose that can handle high pressures;
      some supply outlets sell regular vinyl tubing, which will burst at the higher pressures
      necessary for forced carbonation. Try to purchase removable hose clamps instead
      of permanent ones. You want the kind that are screw tightened.
          Normally you’ll not have to disassemble this line assembly, but you should be
      able to if need be, for either cleaning or hooking up a counter-pressure bottle filler.
      It’s always good to purchase extra nylon gaskets for this assembly, especially for
      your beer line. Alternately, you can use the newer CO2-in connections that have the
      gaskets built in. Loose gaskets are so small, they always seem to get lost, so get in
      the habit of making sure they’re there.


          The next bit of equipment you’ll need for your home draught setup is the regulator.
      This connects and adjusts the main flow of CO2 from your tank to a length of
      high-pressure line which, in turn, connects to your keg. You have the option of
      getting one, two or no gauges on your regulator, but the gauges do come in handy.
          One gauge tells you how much gas you have left in your tank. Usually, for all but
      the very last bit of gas, it will hover around 800 psi. The CO2 is in liquid form in the
      tank, so the pressure valve doesn’t really give you a very good indication of how
      much volume of liquid you have left; it only tells you when the last of that liquid is
      vaporizing so you can make sure to get a refill soon. Beyond that convenience
      (which can also be indicated by simply weighing an empty tank and subtracting the
      difference) and the old ³the-more-gauges-the-better² appeal, it really isn’t
          The other gauge serves the more important purpose of indicating how much
      pressure is flowing from the regulator to the keg. It is very handy to be able to set
      your regulator flow rate at 10 psi for dispensing, or at 30 psi for force carbonating.
      You probably could guess at these pressure settings and not be far off the mark,
      but this gauge makes it much more precise.
          You want to make sure your regulator has a check valve. This prevents beer
      from backing up into the regulator and gumming things up. Cleaning a regulator or
      gauge is something you probably would need the manufacturer to do, and that
      would probably be quite expensive.
          Another necessary and often overlooked little part is the gasket between your
      tank’s main valve and the regulator. This will prevent CO2 from leaking out slowly.
      If you find your new filled tank mysteriously empty in less than a week, chances are
      this gasket was forgotten. It’s always a good idea to check a fresh tank for leaks at
      all junctures by opening it up so that everything down the line to your keg connect
      is pressurized, then spraying it all down with soapy water. Any leaks will show
          A shut-off valve just below the regulator is also a very convenient feature, as it
      allows you to fine-tune the flow rate without adjusting the main regulator flow valve.
      You can, for example, fill your sanitized Corny with a bed of CO2 with a very
      gentle flow rate using this shut-off valve, even if the regulator is set to 30 psi.
          One other convenience is a cage for the regulator and its gauges. This prevents
      them from being damaged if you happen to knock the thing over. The gauges are
      particularly susceptible to damage and will stick or, at best, lose their accuracy if
      jarred too hard. Cages go for another $10 to $15, but are a sensible precaution.?????????????(NORITZ) eco???? 20???????? ?PS????? ????(????) GT-C2062SAWX-PS_BL_13A??????????
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