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Ersatz Real Ale system. Is this plausible?

I’m pretty happy as a bottling brewer, but I have a very soft spot for beers served in the Real Ale style. I’m not keen on the price of a proper beer engine, let alone the installation of one, but I have noticed that quality hand pumps are available on the market.

I suppose the issue with using a quality hand pump on a naturally carbonated corny keg is keeping the beer pressurized and carbonated over the long haul?

Now that we’re in football season, is it plausible to think a naturally carbonated corny keg served via a hand pump will be good for two Sundays?

Thanks for your time and suggestions.

I’m relatively new to kegging, but I would think that as soon as you introduce oxygen via a hand pump into a carbonated keg, the beer is going to begin to go bad with very little chance of it making it week.

You could consider a CO2 cartridge kit to help dispense it, and then it would likely last as long as it remains cold enough.

Real Ale (by the CAMRA definition) is great, but only if the cask is used up in a day or three.
If that’s not going to happen in your situation, you definitely want some kind of gas blanketing the beer in your keg, whether co2 or nitro/beergas.

You can actually emulate the character of ‘real ale’ with a turbuent co2 dispense. You’re pouring a glass of foam at first, but when it settles down, you wind up with the lower carbonation that, to me, is what makes ‘real ale’ taste good. You can actually taste the beer and it’s particularly nice with a pale ale or a special bitter…the hop character comes through much better.

Have you considered the 5L mini kegs for this project? Depending on the number of guest you have, you may need to tap 3 kegs to get through the day. But you won’t have beer going bad.

One of the biggest contributers to real ale’s character, besides the low carbonation, is the temperature. My cellar is 55F for much of the winter, and I leave a beer down there with a picnic faucet and a good amount of head pressure (say, 10-12) and between the turbulent pour that the professor mentions and the temp, it is a reasonable facsimile for a cask ale.

Right! I forgot to mention the temperature. That’s the other variable that really enhances the flavor. I find myself drinking most of my beers in the 55°F range (except for the Burton/Barleywine …always room temperature on those for me).

Thank you very much for your replies and please pardon my late return to this thread–I hate to admit it, but I forgot that I had finally pressed “submit” after drafting the question several times over the course of the month. Poor form on my part and I’m sorry about that.

So with the hand pump out of bounds, it sounds like I could cobble something together with a disposable Co2 cartridge dispenser, but that is the absolute rock bottom for dipping your toe into something like cask ale. And at the end of the day, it seems that the price of cartridges will soon exceed the price of a tank and regulator, so it sounds like I’ve reached a dead end.

Again, thanks for the helpful replies. You guys saved me about 80 bucks. :smiley:

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