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I am sorry for the noob question, I'm not a beer professional, but just curious about some things :)

So I've seen this thing: http://heinekendraughtkeg.com/

and it looks like barrel with a CO2 tube inside. But how does this work? Is the gas from the tube mixed with the liquid when you pour from it?

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It looks like the innovative part is that the CO2 cartridge is inside, with the beer, instead of outside, with the tap (like MillerLite Home Draft / Tap-A-Draft). Apparently this has been around for over five years and I've never heard of it, hehe. –  Dale Dec 28 '13 at 23:25
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3 Answers

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As beer is poured from the mini-keg, the head-space widens over time. When the mini-keg is initially filled, the head space is so minimal that most of the CO2 that was in the beer after carbonation will remain in the solution, as there is not enough open space for the CO2 to escape the beer and equalize in the open space. Over time and dispensing though, that air gap will widen, and the CO2 inside of the solution will begin to escape and try to equalize between the solution and the air gap. The lower the temperature of the beer, the slower this process will go. If enough CO2 escapes the beer to fill in the widening air gap, the beer will go "flat", meaning noticeable amounts of CO2 have escaped the solution.

Heineken places the CO2 tank inside of the keg to ensure that as beer is dispensed out of the mini-keg, that the ever-expanding head space retains enough pressure to prevent the CO2 in the beer from escaping, and equalizing between the solution and the air gap.

This will essentially extend the shelf-life of the mini-keg after it has been opened. Mini-kegs that do not have a CO2 tank inside need to be consumed in a short amount of time less they go flat. This can be enjoyed over a longer period of time since the CO2 tank will ensure that the solution remains carbonated.

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thanks :D So the co2 is released to make up for the increasing empty space –  marie Dec 30 '13 at 20:32
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There is a video showing someone taking apart a Heineken mini-keg.

BTW, in case anyone is thinking about repurposing a Heineken mini-keg as a 5 L mini-kegging system - DON'T. You can't get that dipstick out because it is glued in, or properly sanitize that mini-keg. You can, however, repurpose mini-kegs from Bell's (Oberon) and Warsteiner (available at all Costco locations, as far as I have seen). Or you can buy them from online home brewing supply stores such as Midwest Supplies. Instructions on mini-kegging are readily available online.

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It says on that site that there is a CO2 cartridge inside. That gives off gas to force the beer out. In other words, it is pretty much a self contained mini-keg as far as the gas goes.

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so you're saying the CO2 is not mixed with the beer? it's just used to get the beer out? –  marie Dec 30 '13 at 19:41
    
It will naturally mix with the beer, but the purpose is to push the beer out. (Force carbonation aside.) –  mpurkeypile Jan 2 at 16:48
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