From the HBD Archive
From: davidc@northstar79.Dartmouth.EDU (David Carter)
Subject: unknown
Date: 1989-07-11 19:08:40 GMT

I received a request to post this to all, so here goes. . .

Three or so years ago, I purchased a Roto-Keg plastic kegging system.
It is a five-gallon spherical plastic (I assume food-grade) container with
legs built into the bottom, a spigot on the side, and a venting/carbonation
system on the top. I think it cost me around $30.

Roto-Keg promotes itself as a single-stage fermantation system-- really
single stage. Primary and secondary fermentation and carbonation can
all occur in the same vessel; the venting system contains a pressure relief
valve so that excess carbon dioxide will be vented during fermentation.

The one batch I made in the thing didn't work out. It fermented fine, but
when the time came to open the spigot, I got a blast of pressurized carbon
dioxode. The spigot is supposed to use a floating pickup to which it
is attached with a plastic hose. The float is supposed to be placed on the
wort before fermentation and once things have died down, one should be
able to simply pour the finished product. What had happened to me was
that the plastic hose had fallen off on the spigot end, so instead of the pressurized
co2 pushing my beer up, it just blasted out. I think that the problem was in the
hose-- it seemed too rigid. Probably during the initial fermentation, the
float got picked up too high by the krausen and the hose fell off.

Looking back, I realize that I should have fixed the hose problem, re-sealed
the kag and either tossed in a bit of sugar or found a co2 source to
pressurize the keg again. I did not. The beer was dumped, and the
plastic keg has sat in an attic ever since. It's probably too scratched up
now for me to ever use it with peace of mind. I was disappointed in the
system, but perhaps it could be a convenient way to keg beer.

A few points:

It is plastic, and I think that if I were to use it I would not use it for primary
and secondary fermentation. I like glass, and I also do not like the idea of
letting my beer sit over the same spent yeasties for any length of time.

The keg supposedly works on pressure built up by the co2 discharged in
fermentation. I would imagine (and I think I remember something in the
instructions that came with the keg) that the pressure would run out before the
beer did, and some sort of external co2 source would be required. I think
they mentioned small bottles of co2 which they sold, and there was a firring at the
top.

The address, you ask?

There are two on the papers I have:

Winemaker Unlimited
999 Maine Road
PO Box C-406
Westport, MA 02790

Roto-Keg Ltd.
Park Road
Rushden
North Hamptonshire
(England, I assume)

I'd be interested in hearing from anyone else who has used this system.
Maybe if it's worth it, I'll try to get it up and running.

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