HOMEBREW Digest #5367 Fri 11 July 2008

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  Cleaning Conicals (le Man)
  Sanjey Keg Cleaning ("A.J deLange")
  Re: bottle or keg (Tim Howe)
  Conicals versus carboys ("Doug Moyer")
  Carboy vs Conical ("Michele Maatta")
  RE: New to Homebrewing; Plastic Bottles; HBD revival (stjones)
  Conicals (was Re: New to Homebrewing) ("Dave Larsen")
  Two-liter Bottles (was Re: bottle or keg) ("Dave Larsen")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 07:53:05 +0100 From: le Man <hbd at thebarnsleys.co.uk> Subject: Cleaning Conicals Forgive me for asking the obvious, but why do people fill their Conical with Star san to sanitise it? Once clean (Say using hot Washing soda), simply rinse, allow to drain and then using a hand sprayer spray starsan round all the surfaces, and allow to drain from the bottom valve . . . seems a lot more economical to me. Like others its good to see the HBD coming back to life. Regards - -- leMan (The brewer Formerly Known As Aleman) Mashing In Blackpool, Lancashire, UK http://www.ukhomebrew.info Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 08:16:35 -0400 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Sanjey Keg Cleaning I clean Sankeys using my kluge Sankey Keg Kleaner (I just made that up). I have a metal frame (put together from pre-punched angle stock from the Home Depot) on which I can invert the keg. I have a Micromatic stainless steel coupler from which the pea and gas check valves have been removed. These have been replaced with external manual shutoff valves (also from Micromatic). The "gas" port goes through a length of silicone hose to a stainless steel "J" made of staineless pipe. This hooks over the edge of an old 20 gal conical fermenter (on wheels so I can move it anywhere it is needed). The outlet at the bottom of the conical goes to the inlet of a 2 HP centrifugal pump which is sized this way because it is the same I use for CIPing the fermenters, not because it needs to be so hefty for keg cleaning. The output of the pump goes through a check valve and into a T. The side arm of the T goes to a piece of silicone hose to the beer port on the coupler. The top of the T goes to a compressed air line (through a manual valve and check valve). The connections (with the exception of the beer coupler and compressed air) are 3A Sanitary for quick assembly and disassembly. In operation 5 gallons of hot water and a pound of lye go into the old conical. The valves on the coupler are opened and the pump started. Hot caustic gets shot up the spear and runs down the sides of the inverted keg. When the pressure has built up enough, caustic comes out the gas port and returns to the old fermenter. If it looks as if the pump is going to suck the fermenter dry faster than the caustic flows back into it then I open the air valve to admit compressed air which has the double effect of pushing caustic out of the keg faster and slowing the rate at which it comes in (the pump is effectively working against increased head). By admitting just the right amount of air I can establish equilibrium so that the caustic just keeps going round and round. After sufficient time (5-15 minutes depending on how many kegs I have to do) the pump gets shut off. Extra compressed air clears the caustic from the line to the keg and blows all the caustic back into the old fermenter. The keg is taken off and replaced with the next keg to be cleaned. At the completion of last keg the caustic out line goes to the drain. The process is repeated with water to thoroughly rinse the caustic out. Every few cleanings the water rinse in followed by a rinse made up of 5 gallons of hot water to which 200 mL of nitric and 200 mL of phosphoric acid have been added. This is for the beerstone. Lots of water follows the acid treatment for a couple of reasons. One is to get the all the acid out of the kegs. The other is to thoroughly dilute the chemicals that have been dumped. The acid and lye tend to neutralize one another but lots of water dilutes anything which isn't neutralized to the point where sensitive bacteria at the sewage treatment plant (whose performance depends on pH) are not disturbed. This system works OK for me. I wouldn't want to do 100 kegs this way but for 2-4 at a time it is fine. I don't recomend the use of hot caustic by anyone who is not properly trained and who does not have the proper safety equipment (face shield, gloves....) and the same goes for the acid. These days there are alternatives. A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 09:23:36 -0400 From: Tim Howe <howe at execulink.com> Subject: Re: bottle or keg > I know it has been said (I even remember READING it > "somewhere") that those plastic bottles that soda pop > come in are NOT good for bottling beer. > > May I disagree? > > Thank you. > > The problem with plastic bottles is that they are not completely air tight - plastic breathes. What this means is that if you store your beer for any appreciable amount of time, it's going to slowly oxidize and go stale on you. If you want to test this out yourself, take a few bottles of your favorite beer and store them where you normally store beer for a year or two. The change you'll notice in the taste is due to oxidation. I bottled in plastic for years, and once I discovered that this staling doesn't happen with glass bottles, I tossed out most of my plastic bottles (I only use them for beer for fishing trips and the like now). Cheers, Tim Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 09:32:19 -0400 From: "Doug Moyer" <shyzaboy at yahoo.com> Subject: Conicals versus carboys Daniel Chappell sez: ======================================== I'm curious to know whether or not cleaning a conical is really that easy: despite having a zillion little parts to sanitize, I'd think that'd involve making a big batch of Star San, tossing the stuff you want to sanitize in, and then giving it a few minutes to sit. It seems easier to do that than to spend a bunch of time scrubbing away to get that *one* spot with a carboy brush. ======================================== In my experience, it is EASIER to sanitize a carboy than to sanitize a conical. No crevices to hide the bad guys. I haven't had very many infected batches in my 17 years (off and on) of homebrewing, but had my second batch in the conical get infected. Now I take out all of the parts, which is a bit of a pain. Enough so that I used carboys for the last two batches. (I will use the conical in the future - especially once I re-do the glycol-cooling system that I built for it...) I rarely use the carboy brush. I really hate the design. It seems to risky with so few bristles at the end to protect the glass from the metal in the brush itself. I think there is potential out there for a better brush design. No matter how much gunk there is in the carboy, I've been able to get it out with Straight A or PBW. I just make up a couple of gallons and invert the carboy (I'd hate to waste the stuff by making up the seven gallons required to completely fill a 6.5 gallon carboy...) I haven't harvested yeast with my conical, but I HAVE done the secondary (and tertiary) fermentation in the conical. I've GOT to remember to put my dry hops in a bag instead of floating free, though. With carboys, a third transfer (before kegging) can keep the hops out of the keg (along with gelatin for clarification), but inside the conical it's a different story... Brew on! Doug Moyer Troutville, VA Star City Brewers Guild: http://www.starcitybrewers.org Pictures of beer: http://www.flickr.com/photos/55257385 at N00/sets/72157603460612903/ Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 10:37:52 -0400 From: "Michele Maatta" <mrmaatta at gmail.com> Subject: Carboy vs Conical Hi Dan Of course I cannot give my opinion on the conical, but I can say that my experience with a carboy was not so bad. When you wash them out immediately after using them, all the soil typically comes off without much effort-- the brush is used around the top and the neck and it takes care of the issue-- then using good sanitation habits takes care of the rest. Out of the 30ish batches (33 I think) I didn't have any infection and I used both carboys, and (if cleaning them is an issue) the other option is the 6 gallon bucket fermenter-- works great, is extremely affordable, and you can get in there to clean it out without effort. I brewed on a very small scale but it seems I always had a stock of at least 4 or 5 cases of good brew on hand. It was small fun and a hands on craft with a final product that was meant to be shared. I used the plastic for starters and switched to carboys to add visual aesthetics so I could watch my "babies" during the brewing process :) Enjoy your craft-- jump into at least a first 5 gallon batch via that quick start Palmer method and see what happens-- it may grip you and you'll never turn back :) Cheers Michele Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 09:29:36 -0600 From: stjones at franklinbrew.org Subject: RE: New to Homebrewing; Plastic Bottles; HBD revival New to Homebrewing: Daniel, I will second the suggestions to start with basic equipment and then move on if/when you decide you want to stick with it. I started out with Extract with steeping grains for a couple years and then decided to go All-Grain. I've never looked back on that decision and now have over 130 AG batches under my belt (actually, it is mostly over my belt ;^)). Most have been 10 gallons. I moved from bottling to kegging a few years after going AG, and now have 20 cornies. I sure do like having draft beer on tap at home, but it is still a problem not having beer 'to go'. I recently decided to back off my batch size, and I am now brewing 8 gallon batches (net 7.5). This gives me a keg (which I often prime instead of force carbonating), and then leaves enough to bottle condition a full case. It isn't too bad to sanitize and fill 24 bottles (as opposed to 100 if I bottled a 10 gallon batch), and that gives me an ample supply for takeout, gifting, entering competitions, or beer exchanges. And I still have my keg of draft. Plastic Bottles: Nick talks about using plastic bottles and how it isn't good for beer (but he doesn't believe it). I think that most of the time when folks say not to use them the reasons are: 1: they are clear, so if exposed to light the beer skunks; 2: they are slightly oxygen permeable, so that over the long haul the beer can become oxidized. If you keep them out of the light and drink them within a few months then I'd venture a guess that the beer will be fine. HBD Revival: It is refreshing to witness the revival of the HBD (tho it wasn't totally deceased). We've gone something like 20 issues now without skipping a day, and I didn't realize how much I missed it. The number of posts is still down, but growing, and we are seeing some new members too. Since Jeff R hasn't shown up yet, I'll chime in with his 'formerly semi-annual' pitch for all posters to specify their location when they post. You may find out about other homebrewers near you that you didn't know about. Steve Jones Johnson City, TN State of Franklin Homebrewers http://www.franklinbrew.org [421.7, 168.5deg] AR Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 09:11:55 -0700 From: "Dave Larsen" <hunahpu at gmail.com> Subject: Conicals (was Re: New to Homebrewing) > I was reading the very end of the last post in the previous HBD > (mentioned cleaning conicals v. carboys), and an excellent point was > raised: you can't get your hands inside a carboy to scrub it, and it > seem to me that a carboy brush is a rather inefficient mechanism for > cleaning. I'm curious to know whether or not cleaning a conical is > really that easy: despite having a zillion little parts to sanitize, > I'd think that'd involve making a big batch of Star San, tossing the > stuff you want to sanitize in, and then giving it a few minutes to > sit. It seems easier to do that than to spend a bunch of time > scrubbing away to get that *one* spot with a carboy brush. > With a conical -- or at least with the Blichmann Ferminator -- it is not just sanitizing the fittings, it is cleaning them as well. I usually let them soak in PBW over night, and then use a little brush, used to clean a dip tube in a keg, to get in all the nooks and crannies of the little fittings. There are a lot of "one spots," as you called them, cleaning conical fittings. Afterwards, I then store them in a large Ziplock freezer bag until the next time I use them. Part of the chore of handling the little fittings is sanitizing them, as well. I have to have a spray bottle handy to spray under where the fittings connect to the conical. For instance, the rotating racking arm has a large nut and bolt, of sorts, that fit together through a hole in the conical, with a rubber seal. You have to Teflon tape them and the whole bit. After that, you have to spray underneath them before you screw them together, being sure not to touch the parts that connect together. From start to finish, putting a conical together, it is not uncommon to spend an hour or two taping, sanitizing, and putting together all the parts. The other thing about a conical is getting the torque right on all the fittings. You don't want them too loose because they will leak. You don't want them too tight, as it will bend a damage the conical. That is why you have to leak test it after you put it together. Cleaning the inside of a conical is quite easy. I simply use a green scrubby and scrub the inside. It just takes a minute or two. Taking it all apart, on the other hand, takes a little time. You have to unscrew all the parts, and clean all the Teflon tape off of them. That can take a while. I'm not trying to discourage you from getting a conical. They are fun pieces of equipment to have. Just know what you are getting into when you get one. And, if you are a beginner, I would suggest getting a few batches under your belt before you invest in one. Dave Tucson, AZ http://hunahpu.blogspot.com/ Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 10:48:01 -0700 From: "Dave Larsen" <hunahpu at gmail.com> Subject: Two-liter Bottles (was Re: bottle or keg) > > I have been using "used" plastic pop bottles for a > couple of years now. The caps MAY wear out EVENTUALLY, > but I have never had one fail. > Not to knock your use of two-liter bottles, I'm sure it is fine, but this reminded me of when I first started into homebrewing, like 20 years ago. This was in a time before brew shops, the internet, and anything else that would give you information or guidance. In fact, I remember that the only place that you could get brewing supplies in Tucson was at a local hobby shop, right next to the model airplanes. We used to use plastic two-liter bottles to make mead, because we simply did not know any better. What we did is clean and sanitize with chlorine bleach, and never rinsed it out very well. In fact, if it had a chlorine smell, that meant it was clean. We boiled the crap out of our honey and water, adding a little lemon juice. Then, we poured it hot into our two-liter bottles with a funnel, which would warp the bottle a bit, and let it cool to room temperature overnight. We then pitched a sprinkle of bread yeast into each one. After that, we capped them up. After a day or two, they would start to bubble. It was then the job of whoever go home first to let off the pressure, so they would not explode. You had to be careful letting off the pressure, or the bottle would bubble over, out of the loosened cap, like a soda that had been shaken too hard. After they were done fermenting, we placed the contents into Grolsch bottles. The yeast would settle out and make a thick layer in the bottle. The results would always taste very sweet and had a medicine flavor, but we made everyone who came over try it, because it was "the best thing on the planet." We all have to start somewhere I guess. :) Dave Tucson, AZ http://hunahpu.blogspot.com/ Return to table of contents
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