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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * Archive through August 30, 2004 * Hey, in steel conicals, do bottom dumps... < Previous Next >

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J. Steinhauer
Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 166
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 03:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

really eliminate the need for secondary, assuming you can afford (space-wise) to keep the beer in the fermenter that long?

I'm tired of carrying carboys. I'm tired of racking. I hate plastic.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 353
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The short answer, Steinhauer, is yes, conical fermenters allow the beer to remain in the same vessel from pitching to bottling/kegging. The spent yeast and trub is periodically dumped from the bottom of the cone. It's one reason conicals are so popular in commercial breweries.

I think I see a stainless conical, perhaps more than one, in your future.
 

Scott Peifer
New Member
Username: Scottpeifer

Post Number: 22
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 05:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Steinhauer
I have had a stainless conical for about 2 years now, and in my experience it is difficult to get clear beer out of the conical. After dumping yeast several times there still is yeast hanging on the sides of the conical. I drain out of the conical into a ten gal. corny. I let that cold condition for a while before transfering by CO2 to my serving kegs. Not much extra effort and it insures that no crap goes into the kegs.
 

Ariel Baez
Junior Member
Username: Homebru358

Post Number: 46
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 05:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have a plastic conical, and with the first batch I recently bottled I did the same. I racked over to a bottling bucket and let it cold condition for about an hour before I bottled to clear up the beer. I did this because I found sediment floating in the beer samples I poured from the racking valve. I also found plenty of trub was still stuck at the bottom of the conical when I dumped out all the left over waste after racking. Because of this I plan on using a filtered siphon tap when moving the wort to the conical on my next batch to avoid the amount of crap I had in the last batch.
If you're gonna' brew on - BREW HAPPY!!
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 366
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 06:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you spend the money for a conical fermenter you may as well pay a little more and get the side racking port and arm option. As Ariel mentions, the bottom valve is good for dumping spent yeast and trub but some still adheres to the side of the cone and comes out with the beer if you try to rack from it.
 

stephen weiss
New Member
Username: Emeroid

Post Number: 11
Registered: 09-2003
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 07:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A screw on barb fitting on the bottom of the dump valve will perfectly fit a rigid plastic tube attached to a pinched off soft tube. You can open the dump and advance this rigid tube 6 inches inside and have all the advantages of a racking arm without the cost.
 

Ron Siddall
Junior Member
Username: Zardoz

Post Number: 27
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 09:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Stephen, this sounds interesting but I am having a hard time visualizing what you are talking about. Is the racking tub put in before you add the cold wort for fermentation or after? IF after, how do you keep the beer and trub from flowing out while you insert the tube?

Help me on this as I think this is a good concept.

Thanks.
 

J. Steinhauer
Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 169
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 11:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I simply want to be able to keep the beer in the primary fermenter for as long as I want, with one transfer to the keg or into bottles. I would opt for the racking arm. It would simplify things so much, and save so much time to ferment, dump yeast, rest, dump yeast, rest, rack to the keg. One vessel to move one time. One to clean one time.
 

Jonathan Henderson
Member
Username: Henderson1966

Post Number: 124
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 02:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have a 12 gal SS conical and it is great. I can keg or bottle directly from the racking arm giving me 100% closed transfers. No more siphon starting. I've found I don't even need to buy the leg extensions. I just lay the keg down at an angle, connect the transfer tube from the racking port to the liquid out QD, and open the port. There is enough siphon to fill both 5 gallon kegs without taking the conical out of the fridge and raising it.

One word of caution. Instead of an airlock I vented the co2 from a tube that ran down into a jar of idophor. The first time I dumped the trub I forgot to remove this tube and it sucked the nasty water back into the fermenter. Not good.

Anyway, they make life a lot easier.
Jonathan
 

Fredrik
Senior Member
Username: Fredrik

Post Number: 1537
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 05:50 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't like racking either, I have noticed several times that at least the acetaldehyde levels is elevated due to racking increasing the "green" flavour. Wheterh this fades later or not is another story, but I strongly suspect it's due to small O2 pickups, eithre "during racking" or immediately after, from potential headspace with small air pockets.

I have skipped secondary one time, let it sit in primary until it went directly on bottle, and that was the beer that was *least* green of all my beer at bottling.

I am not sure if it's the racking itself, or headspace in hte secondaries.

I am now doing an experiment with my leffe clone, I racked half the beer into a container with 25% headspace/air. The other one in a containter with <1% headspace.

I am waiting to evaluate the results. I've got two main theories on why this happens, either the acetaldehyde is produced by small contaminants of acetobacter, which I found quite unlikely because espsecially that last time I was extremelt carful, I cleaned all equipment with NaOH and rinsed in boiled water. The other thing is that if you rack too earlt, while the yeast is still finished the last tiny bits of sugars, still performing reduction of acetaldehyde, introducing O2 maybe can shift the redox balance of the cells, causing elevanted acetaldehyde. I'm not sure, but it has to depend on *something*. If the beer doesn not smell acetaldeyde at racking, and it does very soon after racking it's clear that something is going on.

I can't wait to sample these beers. I suspect the one with 25% headspace will be flawed, but I am curious about how good the other half will be.

Right now I am leaning towards the idea that unless you can rack without introducing O2, or get a headspace, it may be better not to rack. At least until I have pinpointed the cause of this annoying phenomenon.

Any ideas? I have noticed this penomenon on many brews, with different yeasts, both dry and fresh. I am not sure if I am sensitive but something does happen when you rack. Maybe there is yet another explanation to this though.

/Fredrik
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 371
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 11:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Fredrik, to my knowledge you're the first to pose this supposed connection between racking and acetaldehyde. I'll try to keep an open mind about it, but I confess I'm skeptical.
 

Fredrik
Senior Member
Username: Fredrik

Post Number: 1539
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 12:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am a little sceptical too, but it is bound be due to something? and I have to come up with some idead. The ideas are I admit quite pure speculations, but currently the two I find most likely. On the practical side of brewing, this "problem" is currently my prime concern to solve. There are a few other options too, but I find them even less likely. I will probably wait maybe another week before I sample the beer. I'll probably report back on this when I have sampled that stuff.

I have done some very simple estimates and the 25% headspace could possibly take the acetaldehyde aroma above the flavour treshold (it would make sense), while the <1% I think can not in any reasonable way. So if the 1% is flawed just like the 25%, I know the problem is either during actual racking, or something completely different. If on the other hand the 25% is flawed but the 1% is not, it is no doubt it's the O2. The question is then who causes this, the yeast or other organisms. Considering my extreme sanitation I just can't see that it can be an infection. I suspect do avoid some minor contaminants is probably impossible without a sterile air. But the order of magnitued of the problem makes me think such small contanimation can not possible cause off flavours so fast. This is getting interesting though.

Or maybe my plastic bucket leak air? who knows? if none of my current ideas are the cause maybe that's my next experiment, and find a glass container and see if it helps.

/Fredrik
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 373
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 01:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm trying to see the connection here. As you know, acetaldehyde is the precursor to ethanol in the chain of reactions that occur during fermentation. Normally it indicates an interruption of the process or yeast that is in poor health. I don't recall it being produced in the reactions that result from oxidation. It's not usually present in beers that are even slightly oxidized. The characteristics of oxidation, of course, include flavors more like cardboard or (in higher alcohol beers) sherry, as opposed to the green apple flavor/aroma of acetaldehyde.

(Message edited by BillPierce on August 26, 2004)
 

Fredrik
Senior Member
Username: Fredrik

Post Number: 1540
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 02:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I see your point Bill and I am not suprised if you may are right. But to explain how I think, typical staling/oxidations as I understand are more like you describe, and are SLOW, this this is not it. This is another type of longterm oxidation.

Also non-enzymatic oxidation of ethanol to acetaldehyde is actually pretty slow, so that can't be it either.

But I have some ideas that I may be racking too early during the finish (I did rack early in this case) in the sense that this is the time where the beer is "most" sensitive to O2. The oxidation to pyruvate and reduction to acetaldehyde typically sums up to maintain the redox balance or things wouldn't work, but what I don't know is what happens if you take away some reduction power(does O2 even do this? - maybe not, I am just wildly speculating here), then it seems to me that because the glycolysis oxidation doesn't link directly to reduction to ethanol, it's rather linked by a common redox pair, something else must remain in the oxidized state, possibly acetaldehyde? It's plain speculation indeed, I am the first to admit :-) But my philosophy is that sometimes even the seemingly stupid ideas must be considered.

I will try to keep myself from further speculations though until I've sampled the other bucket.

About the poor health thing, I have thought of that, but dang with the starters I make and even with two packs of FRESH dry yeast I've noticed the same phenomenon. Also my attenuations are good, and fast. But most important, I sampled the beer (the leffe clone) at racking, and it was GOOD, no acetaldehyde to talk about, there way certainly have been background notes, but nothing fatal. Now, IF when I sample this beer in a couple of week, there is a acetaldehyde flavour in one bucket and not in the other, then what else can cause it?

So the idea is this:

O2 in the finished beer (I mean REALLY finished) is likely to *slowly* give the classical staling stuff I've read about, and what you descrive.

O2 in the green beer, or maybe even in the later stages of the finish maybe gives elevated acetaldehyde levels? because we are interfering with the process. My fg always tell me I rack too fast :-) How can she know, she hardly drinks beer...?? but maybe she is right. It reminds me of Bellys idea to let me gf run the brewing mmmmmm....

This may be plain wrong, but it's an idea that I consider an option, until I know, or until I find some explanations on the exact fate of the O2 in the beer.

/Fredrik
 

Don Lund
New Member
Username: Donlund

Post Number: 13
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 08:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ron Siddell-I don't grasp how Stephen's thingy works either, but here are directions for making a similar gadget. Works great!
http://www.thebrewhut.com/TBHforum.net/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=18
 

J. Steinhauer
Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 176
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 07:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A question for anyone with a Fermenator:

Since the claim is that the larger models can be pressurized up to 7 pounds of C02 for transfer, is there something that goes into the bunghole in the domed lid during pressurization to keep it and the airlock from being popped out?

I see the opportunity here to never have to transfer beer. Since I like to condition or pressurize my beers to cask ale levels, I could potentially leave beer in the primary fermenter, using the racking arm to fill a growler at a time until empty, displacing with CO2. Are there any potential drawbacks to this, other than tying up fermenters for a long time? That solution can be solved (not particularly cheaply) by purchasing more fermenters. I'm not in a position here to build my own, though, and the expense more than offsets the time it would take.

I see this happening sooner than later. I am now trying to motivate myself to sanitize 4 carboys, move 4 full ones, rack to seconday, move 4 full ones again, then clean the 4 primary fermenters. This is no small task with my inconvenient water supply. The nearest spigot to where I brew and ferment is 125 feet away.

Steinhauer
 

Don Lund
New Member
Username: Donlund

Post Number: 14
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 06:16 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

J. Steinhauer - I'm just now trying out something like you describe. Here's a link: http://forums.homebrew.com/index.php?s=&act=ST&f=2&t=7848

If you go to near the end of that long forum thread, you will see a photo of the setup.

To answer your question, I use a thingy that I made which bolts to the conical lid to hold the stopper down.

I plan to draw beer from the conical via a racking tube which is described in the reference in the post previous to your last post. CO2 for carbonating and dispensing is stored in an old hot water heater tank, which at the moment is at 15 psi.

I also boil the wort in the conical, using a ring burner near the bottom of the conical. Thus there are no transfers, ingredients go into the conical and cold beer comes out. Well, that's the plan, anyway -- and so far it's working. I'll provide updates on the HBA BrewBoard.