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Old 01-19-2013, 06:53 AM   #1
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Default Racking from Sanke Fermenter

Hey Guys,

I'm trying to find what most others are doing that might be different from what I'm doing. I've been doing this for a while and never got around to asking about this due to stubbornness.

Right now, I'm using Sanke kegs as ferementers. Basically I'm using them in pretty much the same way you'd use a carboy. I remove the spears and use large carboy caps to cover the opening and use airlocks with a stainless racking cane (In position during fermentation as well).

When fermentation is complete, I attach an MFL-barb coupler to the carboy cap and my C02 tank for racking.

My question is this. Since I can't tell where the top of the yeast cake is, what procedure do you suggest I use to gather as much beer with as little yeast as possible?

With a glass carboy, it's easy. Just put the cane very close to the top of the yeast cake and turn on the C02. However, with the sanke, I've tried a couple of things:

1. Start with the racking cane lifted high. Once the cane only releases C02, turn off the C02, re-adjust the cane a little bit lower, and repeat. Then once I start seeing the beer go cloudy, I stop racking.

2. I place the racking cane at the very bottom (Middle of the yeast cake). Then I rack the yeast to a separate container and wait until the beer turns clear. Then I move the transfer over to the kegs

The drawbacks to #1 are that it's lengthier of a process than I think it should be, and more C02 gets wasted (Not that much). The positive is that i believe this gets the most beer with the least amount of yeast.

One drawback to #2 is that the beer seems to take a long time to clear up before getting really clear. This tells me that I either have to lose more beer into the yeast container than I should, or have a cloudier beer that goes into the keg. The positive to #2 is that the process is really quick and I don't have to adjust anything at all during this process.

Do you guys know of a better or different method that might be able to draw the positives of both and as few of the negatives as possible?

Or is one of these two methods the preferred?

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Old 01-19-2013, 09:25 AM   #2
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Begin as in 1 above and start racking the beer, VERY carefully and slowly lower the cane towards the yeast and watch the top of the cane very carefully , you will see a very small amount of yeast moving through the cane as you are ever so slightly above the cake, as soon as you see a trace of yeast moving through the cane, raise it about a 1/4" and let if finish racking...this will get a very, very slight amount of yeast to the keg, almost none IME.

Bright light and a pair of specs might help depending on how well your peepers work.

edit..I see your using a SS cane, maybe monitor the tubing if it is clear??

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Old 01-19-2013, 03:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by wilserbrewer View Post
Begin as in 1 above and start racking the beer, VERY carefully and slowly lower the cane towards the yeast and watch the top of the cane very carefully , you will see a very small amount of yeast moving through the cane as you are ever so slightly above the cake, as soon as you see a trace of yeast moving through the cane, raise it about a 1/4" and let if finish racking...this will get a very, very slight amount of yeast to the keg, almost none IME.

Bright light and a pair of specs might help depending on how well your peepers work.

edit..I see your using a SS cane, maybe monitor the tubing if it is clear??
Yeah, the tubing is clear. However, i use hose clamps on the cane since C02 leaks if I don't and the transfer doesn't start. So, i wouldn't be able to adjust the cane.
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Primary: Viking Metal, Berliner Weisse
Kegged: Oaked English Mild, Modus Hoperandi
Bottled: None
Notable Empties: Oaked Black IIPA, BBK I, Red IIPA, Burning Bush, Apophis "The Destroyer", Vanilla Porter
On-Deck: Hobbit Ale, The Titan BW, Ale of Olympus

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Old 01-19-2013, 11:26 PM   #4
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Yeah, the tubing is clear. However, i use hose clamps on the cane since C02 leaks if I don't and the transfer doesn't start. So, i wouldn't be able to adjust the cane.
Oh I thought you were just using a small puff of CO2 to start a syphon...you do want to complicate this I see....cheers!
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:51 AM   #5
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Oh I thought you were just using a small puff of CO2 to start a syphon...you do want to complicate this I see....cheers!
I think that only works with a gravity-fed transfer. And... Of course I want to complicate things. That's what we dorks always do.
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"There is no strong beer, only weak men"
"Pretty women make us BUY beer, ugly women make us DRINK beer" - Al Bundy
"Give a man a beer, he'll drink for a day. Teach a man to brew, he'll be drunk for the rest of his life."

Primary: Viking Metal, Berliner Weisse
Kegged: Oaked English Mild, Modus Hoperandi
Bottled: None
Notable Empties: Oaked Black IIPA, BBK I, Red IIPA, Burning Bush, Apophis "The Destroyer", Vanilla Porter
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Old 10-22-2013, 05:43 AM   #6
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When fermentation is complete, I attach an MFL-barb coupler to the carboy cap and my C02 tank for racking.

How exactly do you hook up your coupler to the carboy cap? I am attempting this for the first time and my only idea is to slip the hose over the thin nipple and clamp it, it is proving very difficult.
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:06 AM   #7
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Put the racking cane all the way in (in an empty fermenter of you can) and mark on the outside of the cane where that is. Assume the yeast cake is the same thickness as in your carboy. Position the racking that far up from the bottom using your mark's distance from the carboy cap as a guide.

If you end up with yeast, put it higher in future batches. Once you find a good spot, mark it on the cane and you exactly where to put it.

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Old 10-22-2013, 09:36 AM   #8
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Not sure if it will help, but here's how I transfer out of my sankey fermenters. I ferment with the spear in place, and then transfer by pushing the beer through the spear and into my serving keg. The first ~4oz contains all the yeast right near the spear (which I discard), and then it runs clear. There will be the occasional small clump that breaks free, but very little yeast gets in the serving keg. The only time I had more yeast than I wanted was when I used a lower flocculating yeast, and tried to rack too soon without cold crashing. With either a long primary, or a short primary with a 2 day cold crash, I've never had an issue.

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