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Thread: Autovax

  1. #1
    This Space For Hire gillhalfpint's Avatar
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    Default Autovax

    Does anyone on here have experience of autovax?

    It appears many pubs including, so I have heard GBG pubs, are using this system where slops in the drip tray are syphoned back into the feed pipe and served again.

    If a customer has lemonade, lime or any other stuff in their beer, that can spill over into the drip tray, and the beer can also wash the servers hands into the drip tray, staff taking beer from the next handpull could spill that beer into another drip tray, and it could be a mecca for flies. I presume there is a filter on the system to prevent any dead flies getting into the feed pipe. Reused glasses could contaminate the beer.

    It puts another slant on the expression often heard, "That's the way the brewer intended it to taste". Surely fresh beer is what we all want and deserve for our money.
    Alcohol doesn't solve problems .... but then again, neither does milk.

  2. #2
    Spritzer Swallower
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    The autovac system of pulling ale was banned 30 or 40 years ago for hygene reasons,
    that's when all the pubs started going on to electric pumps dispensing bright beer from kegs. Through constant pressure from CAMRA over the years most pubs gradually started going back to cask (real ales) using the old style wicket to pull the ale but without the autovac recirculation method. I would have thought that autovacs would still be banned from use.

  3. #3
    Palookaville hondo's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    haven't heard of this and hope i never see it
    "Do I know where hell is? hell is in hello"

  4. #4
    This Space For Hire gillhalfpint's Avatar
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    Default

    It is being used all over the place again.

    I am reading this from the yahoo scoopgen group site where there is a lot of debate going on about the current use of them, and the more I read the worse it seems to get. One I've read this morning is saying that if beer has been lying in a drip tray for a while since the last customer, your pint will draw that up with whatever beer has been in the line. There is no filter so whatever is in the tray goes in your beer.

    Below is one persons comment.

    "they are, apparently, used mainly in South Yorkshire (so I've been told) but I'm willing to be corrected on that

    They are used in the Lion at Basford, Nottingham (a Pub People outlet) (they have a number of pubs in South Yorkshire)
    I have queried their use with them and also with the environmental health (EH) the company say that are fine (but then they would)
    the person at 'EH' I spoke to was appalled, but had never seen them in use
    their concern (EH) is with what they term "cross contamination" but this is a very difficult thing to prove which I assume is why the 'EH' in yorkie land have done nothing

    I've seen glasses half poured put in another drip tray, before filling (what I would class as "cross contamination")

    and I'm sorry Gill, there is no filter, just a hole at the bottom of the drip tray so what ever goes into the drip tray, also goes back into the beer".
    Alcohol doesn't solve problems .... but then again, neither does milk.

  5. #5
    Roving RAT ROBCamra's Avatar
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    In theory CAMRA will not allow any pub in the GBG that uses the return valve system.

    However, this one The Commercial is still in the GBG despite using them.

    There is a filter attached, but it's similar sized mesh to a sieve. It only stops e.g. plasters and other fairly large detritus getting back into the barrel.

    Filthy things and they need to be banned in my opinion.
    A pub is for life not just for Christmas

  6. #6
    This Space For Hire gillhalfpint's Avatar
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    It certainly makes me wonder what the real story is when I take a beer back and get told "that's the way the brewer made it".

    What on earth do we drink in our "freshly" poured beer.

    Do these return valves get cleaned between beers? All sorts of stuff springs to mind now. The debate sprang up last night from a remark someone made about drip tray beer going back into his pint, and has snowballed from there. Lots of folk didn't know it was a more common practice these days again, though mainly in the north and Scotland, but someone says the Euston Tap has them, and another that a pub has them on 6 of their 11 lines.
    Alcohol doesn't solve problems .... but then again, neither does milk.

  7. #7
    Fully paid up beer belly Farway's Avatar
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    Not a practice I was aware of, I thought tipping the slops back into the Mild barrel was a thing of the past

    I have not seen it around here, but then how would a punter know?

    I find it surprising it is allowed given the 'elf n safety nonsense we get about other matters

  8. #8
    This Space For Hire Rex_Rattus's Avatar
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    I remember hearing of this sort of thing happenning back in the late 60s/early 70s, but I didn't know what the mechanics were that let it happen, and nor did I have any personal experience of it - as far as I know. My guess is that there is no way that a punter can tell that it is happenning, other than when he or she gets a dodgy pint. But what possible reason would you want a return valve for, other than to pass dregs back into the cask? It's outrageous of course.

  9. #9
    This Space For Hire gillhalfpint's Avatar
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    From what I have been reading, the dregs don't go back into the cask.

    Dregs stay in the drip tray till the next drinker wants a drink, and as the handpull draws up the beer, the dregs are brought up into the line from the drip tray and the mix of fresh beer and dregs beer is poured into the glass.
    Alcohol doesn't solve problems .... but then again, neither does milk.

  10. #10
    Between pubs sheffield hatter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gillhalfpint View Post
    ... as the handpull draws up the beer, the dregs are brought up into the line from the drip tray and the mix of fresh beer and dregs beer is poured into the glass.
    This used to be the standard way of pouring Tetleys when I used to live in Leeds. With a swan neck and a very tight sparkler on, the server would pull and pull until the desired thick creamy head materialised. This could involve large amounts of beer flowing over the side of the glass and back through the pump via the autovac. Nowadays, the server has to let it stand and then top it up, but this second pull has the unwanted side-effect of causing the head to dissipate after a few sips rather than staying all the way down the glass. And of course unscrupulous pub companies and landlords throughout the land have started using the swan neck and sparkler as a brilliant way of serving short measure. You win some, you lose some...
    Come On You Hatters!

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