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Old 03-07-2010, 12:36 PM   #1
smatson
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Default how to use a conical fermenter

i am looking into getting a conical fermenter. i already know all of the pros and cons, i am just a little more curious how to use it. i have been trying to find some definite answers on this website, but haven't found a page just about how to use one. some of my questions are...

1. do i still remove the trub from the wort while brewing, or can i just leave it in and drain it from the fermenter later?

2. when should i remove the trub from the fermenter?

3. how often do i need to remove the trub?

4. is there a good book on this subject? i can't find anything in papazian

can somebody help???

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Old 03-07-2010, 01:03 PM   #2
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Sure! I'll have a go.

1. Yes. I think it's beneficial to remove as much vegetable matter and break material as possible. Some brewers will let cold break enter the fermenter; it's pretty much impossible to prevent if you're using a counterflow chiller, unless you use a separate whirlpool.

2. My rule of thumb is day 3. Depends on when I get round to it, but never longer than seven days.

3. Until you've removed enough to satisfy you. I realize that's a cop-out answer but it's true. I generally do it twice - once on day three, then once before I start to chill the tank.

4. Not that I know of. Home-brewing conicals are still pretty new technology. The information I gave you above is based on my professional experience; I don't have a conical at home.

Cheers!

Bob

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Old 03-07-2010, 03:50 PM   #3
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Thanks for the information, this is very helpful

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Old 03-08-2010, 04:57 AM   #4
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Here are my thoughts:

1. do i still remove the trub from the wort while brewing, or can i just leave it in and drain it from the fermenter later?

You can do either, or both. Just like Bob said, you can whirlpool and force most of the trub to the bottom of your brew kettle, and then carefully siphon the wort out. Or, you can remove it from the fermenter. Or both.

2. when should i remove the trub from the fermenter?

Before adding the yeast, I let the wort settle for about 30 minutes after I put it in the fermenter, and then drain out of the bottom outlet on the conical. I get trub and hop particles out then. After that, I add my yeast.

3. how often do i need to remove the trub?

Once you start fermenting, you risk losing yeast and stalling your fermentation if you dump out of the bottom outlet. I wait until fermentation is about done, then I'll dump again two or three times (separated by a day or two) before racking.

4. is there a good book on this subject?

Not that I know of.

One more thing. Be sure to sanitize your valve each time you use it. Keep a spray bottle handy with a non-bleach sanitizer to spray up there before and after you use the valve. Hit it enough times to make sure you get all of the residual trub/yeast out when you are done.

Cheers,

John

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Old 03-08-2010, 05:49 AM   #5
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thanks for the reply John, the more information i can get the better

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Old 08-17-2011, 01:07 PM   #6
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Default Additional Conical Questions

SO, I just pulled my first batch through a conical.

Some 'things' i encountered, primarily based on the (possibly flawed) perception that the conical can 'do it all'.

1. Anyone use their conical to house s starter? Seems that I sure could ...just pitch chilled wort right on top?

2. I get the removal of bottom trub; i pulled that out after 45 mins after the wort was in the conical, then again after fermentation. This time I did not save any yeast for washing, but I will next time. What about the krausen on the top - I realize that is 'cast off' - but by draining some liquid out of the bottom, the beer wasnt touching it anymore - the portion still caked around the edges .... should a scrape that off too?

3. Is there still a benefit to racking to a new vessel for secondary once the trub is out of there? I did move it just in case, but seems like i could easily leave the beer in there ...?

Appreciate your thoughts.

-j

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Old 08-17-2011, 07:07 PM   #7
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If you remove the trub, you do not need to use another vessel for secondary... unless you plan on racking the beer on top of something. You may also consider transferring to a smaller carboy if you plan on dry hopping since your conical may have a lot of head space.

I do have one question though... I have not actually been able to remove the trub from my conical successfully... when I open the valve it will just sit there and do nothing. I have waited for up to 30 minutes at which point I became annoyed and said forget it. The LHBS store said to use a sanitized knife to get up in there and agitate... All this did was create a hole for the fermenting wort to flow through and the trub remained put... lost about a gallon of beer attempting this multiple times.

I have not used my conical for beer since... I have pretty much given it to SWMBO for wine and cider making and I bought two carboys for myself.

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Old 08-17-2011, 07:46 PM   #8
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I've been pumping my wort directly to the conical without any deliberate whirlpooling or separation. Lately I've had to let the fridge chill it down from 75 to 65. When it finally reaches pitching temp, I'll blow out about a pint of break material/trub and then pitch.

Some hints... Don't try dumping from the bottom port or racking port while the blowoff tube is submerged. It needs to take in some air.

If you can't get it to dump yeast/trub after fermentation is settling down, odds are the dump valve is too small. This is a problem I have with my cheap China connical. It's got a nice 2" triclover on the bottom of the cone but the stupid valve is 9/16" ID. It plugs up hardcore. I've been snooping for a 1.5 or 2" TC ball valve on Ebay for a while.

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Old 08-18-2011, 05:08 PM   #9
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Default Conical Ferm as Starter 'Chamber'

Have you used the conical to house the starter? Secondary??

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Old 08-18-2011, 05:13 PM   #10
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Here is a good read. Something I found to help me get started when I bought my conical.
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