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Old 05-07-2012, 07:05 PM   #1
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Default First time using blichman conical fermenter

Hi guys,

Just bought a 14 gallon blichman conical fermenter from someone on craiglist. I just put my first beer (11 gallons belgian wit) into it last night. Everything is fermenting great as of now. I just had a few questions.

1. How long do you normally wait until you dump the trub?
2. How do you prevent oxidization when removing the airlock when draining the trub?
3. I see I can now save my yeast instead of just throwing it out, how do you tell the difference from the waste and the yeast? And do you just put it in a jar and refrigerate it?

Anything else I should know about from an experienced conical user?

Thanks

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Old 05-07-2012, 07:13 PM   #2
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Normally it is about 2 weeks. You want to give the yeast time to clean up after themselves. There wont be that much oxygen pulled in. There will still be c02 to push the oxygen out. You will have to wash the yeast. Do a google search on washing yeast will Billy brew.

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Old 05-07-2012, 07:49 PM   #3
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Normally it is about 2 weeks. You want to give the yeast time to clean up after themselves. There wont be that much oxygen pulled in. There will still be c02 to push the oxygen out. You will have to wash the yeast. Do a google search on washing yeast will Billy brew.
Admittedly I've only read/heard about dumping trub. However, everything I've read says that if you time it properly you can dump the trub (along with some of the more flocculent yeast) at ~5 days (don't quote me on the exact number though). Then, a couple days later, when the healthier/less floculent yeast have settled, you do another dump to get relatively clean yeast for repitching.
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:32 PM   #4
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Think of it like moving to a secondary fermentor. The idea there is to get rid of the trub then let the remaining yeast finish up and settle out. So, dump after a week. Or, you could do what I do and leave it all in a bucket (or a fancy conical) until you have an empty keg.

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Old 05-08-2012, 12:30 AM   #5
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There are several philosophies on this of course like anything else. I don't have my conical anymore, but when I did, I'd let the conical settle for about 30 minutes after pumping the chilled wort in. Sanitary filter on the blowoff port and dump the trub. Oxygen after, then yeast. If you're not collecting yeast for reuse, just wait until the fermentation is completely done before dumping. If you want to collect, I feel that it's important to flush some of the early floc. I just went with a small dump at day 3-5 depending on the the OG and then take my collection when fermentation was nearly done.

I know a lot of people have no problem sucking room air into their fermenter but I tried two different methods of avoiding it. One way is to run a small co2 tank into the blowoff port at very low pressure whenever you're dumping or racking. Another trick that works ok if you're still fermenting a bit is to cut the corner off a 1 gallon ziplock bag and rubberband it over the blowoff port about 10 minutes before you plan to dump so that it fills with CO2. When you create a vacuum due to dumping, it pulls CO2 back in. I had also considered using a clean mylar balloon for the same thing but never got around to it.

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Old 05-08-2012, 12:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
There are several philosophies on this of course like anything else. I don't have my conical anymore, but when I did, I'd let the conical settle for about 30 minutes after pumping the chilled wort in. Sanitary filter on the blowoff port and dump the trub. Oxygen after, then yeast. If you're not collecting yeast for reuse, just wait until the fermentation is completely done before dumping. If you want to collect, I feel that it's important to flush some of the early floc. I just went with a small dump at day 3-5 depending on the the OG and then take my collection when fermentation was nearly done.

I know a lot of people have no problem sucking room air into their fermenter but I tried two different methods of avoiding it. One way is to run a small co2 tank into the blowoff port at very low pressure whenever you're dumping or racking. Another trick that works ok if you're still fermenting a bit is to cut the corner off a 1 gallon ziplock bag and rubberband it over the blowoff port about 10 minutes before you plan to dump so that it fills with CO2. When you create a vacuum due to dumping, it pulls CO2 back in. I had also considered using a clean mylar balloon for the same thing but never got around to it.
Why would you stop using a conical?
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:31 PM   #7
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I barely use my conical. I can see many reasons to not use the conical.

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Old 05-08-2012, 12:33 PM   #8
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I barely use my conical. I can see many reasons to not use the conical.
Well, I'm curious to hear his reasons, so that's why I asked. What are your reasons?
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:42 PM   #9
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It's a bit harder to control your fermentation temperatures with a conical unless you build a cold room.

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Old 05-08-2012, 12:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
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It's a bit harder to control your fermentation temperatures with a conical unless you build a cold room.
Why is this? Are you saying it's harder because it's a bit bulkier/taller, so it's harder to fit in a chest freezer?
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