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Old 02-15-2014, 09:40 PM   #11
thadius856
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Sure.

Temperature control is via a freezer-based ferm chamber (7 cu ft GE with 16" collar). It holds two Vittles Vault 80# units, each with a capacity of 20 gallons. Since the hump is 9.25" tall, they sit atop a 2x10 frame a layer of plywood to give a perfectly flat, supportive surface.

Primary is typically 57-60F (liquid temp, not ambient), but varies based on yeast and recipe. I've recently switched to 4 weeks primary, with the cold crash taking up the last 3 days of it.

I set the controller down 10F and put a box fan in front of the freezer to help ease the compressor in heat exchange. I have an oversized recirc fan that helps keep the air moving. 10F typically takes 3-4 hours, and I get the compressor a 1 hour rest before cranking down another 10F. On the last temp drop, I set the controller to cycle between 34-37F, then leave it until the 3 days is up.

Without moving the primary, I unscrew the lid and attach a cask widge, which skims the top layer of liquid. I siphon directly into the serving keg, then throw the first 5 gallon keg into the keezer and carb at 3x serving pressure (as determined by a vol CO2 calculation for the style) for 24 hours. The rest go into a 70F closet for bulk aging until they're needed for serving.

If there's dry hopping involved, none go in the keezer immediately. Dry hops are suspended from a paint strainer bag with dental floss for the time prescribed in the recipe.

Because the primary was completely undisturbed for the entire 4 weeks, the beer comes out pretty freakin' clear. All remaining yeast and sediment serve off in the first pint or two.

Edit: I don't use airlocks. I use 4' of 5/16" ID blowoff tube, with the end in about 6" of StarSan inside a 16oz Gatorade bottle with a drilled lid. I've never had StarSan suck back into the fermenter, perhaps because there's about a 2.5' elevation it would have to climb to enter the fermenter.

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Old 02-15-2014, 09:49 PM   #12
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The last two batches I cold crashed, I just put the primary in the keezer and took it out and transferred after a couple of days. I also let the kegs sit on about 20-30 psi for a day or two, then drop the pressure to around 12psi and the kegs sit on that for two weeks before I start serving.

It might not be the right way (or preferred way), but that's how I have done it. Like Thadius mentioned, "to each their own" but I am always open for suggestions on how to do something easier that's just as productive.

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Old 02-15-2014, 10:39 PM   #13
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I'm actually near the end of cold-crashing two batches in their primary/only fermenters (6.5g carboys). I dry hopped both with free-swimming pellets on Monday morning, switched out the blow-offs for s-locks, turned the fridge controller down to 50°F yesterday evening, turned it down to 35°F just before I went to bed around midnite, and they reached 35°F this morning.

The hops are slammed to the bottom and there's a two inch bright band on the top of both carboys as the last yeasty/trubby bits drop. I could wait a few/many days for that line to continue to drop, but as I'll be "slow force carbing" these for at least two weeks I'll rack above the dregs while doing a CO2 push, keg these tomorrow, and let them brighten while they carb in a separate cold-conditioning/carbing fridge on their eventual way to the keezer.

I stopped using secondary vessels even when dry hopping (which is pretty much part of every batch I do) two years ago after trying this process out and realizing I could cut out an entire transfer (with everything that entails, pre-sanitation, post-cleaning, and oxygenation-avoidance -wise) and end up with equal if not better quality product.

As for oxygenation during cold-crashing, no doubt there's some amount of that, but the only cold-crashed batch in which I've ever detected oxygenation effects was due to kegging with a suddenly recalcitrant auto-siphon (that was promptly dispatched to Polycarbonate Heaven with the switch to CO2-push).

Considering the potential CO2 displacement due to headspace pressure drop along with the short exposure during the crash, I choose to assume any deleterious effects are minute in magnitude...

Cheers!

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