Tap Jars

In this case it is advisable to fill to the shoulder only (this gives you four gallons) and put any surplus brew in bottles. The space left in the shoulder gives room for the gas pressure to build up. Otherwise, you risk blowing out the tap, or bursting the jar.

To prime, make a syrup by dissolving 2 lb. of caster sugar in one pint of boiling water. Allow to cool and keep stoppered up in a sterilized flagon. For a 4-gallon jar, take

3 oz. of this syrup and add to the brew in the jar while you are siphoning. This makes enough gas to drive about half the contents out under pressure. You may experiment with more, but it is hardly worth the risk, and with heavy beers it is as well to reduce the priming sugar to 1-1/ lb. to the pint, or you may even have a jar burst. It will depend on the strength of the jar, so we cannot hold ourselves responsible!

Once the jar is filled and primed, wet the rubber washer of the stopper, and screw down tight. The washer should be seen to flatten and bulge. See that the tap is hammered well home. When the gas pressure builds up the tap may leak a little. This usually stops after a few days as the corks take up the moisture and swell. If they go on leaking, the only cure is to change them. The cork shive is often hard to fit over the stem of a new tap. Soak it, but not the tap, overnight in your sterilizing solution. It should then be soft enough to coax up to the shoulder of the tap, where it must be before you try to drive the tap home. If it will not go, then rasp off a little of the taper round the shoulder of the tap. There is plenty of wood to spare at that point.

If the tap grows mould, and it is almost bound to, wash it off with a strong sulphite solution.

When the pressure fails, and no more beer can be drawn off, unscrew the stopper, reprime, and wait for the brew to clear. If you have only a gallon or less left in, better draw it off into pint bottles, and prime as usual. When the tap jar is empty, clean out with water, swill it around with sulphite solution, and refill, either with your next brew or with water. If left empty, the tap and corks will dry out and become unusable.

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