Advice on new ferment procedure

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Joejkd82

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I have a consistent oxidation flaw in my beers, most pronounced in my IPAs. I am going to try to "blank slate" as much as I can to see where oxygen is being introduced.

First up, my water. I've posted elsewhere and will be building a simple pale ale profile using distilled water, to remove my well water (high in soluble and insoluble FE) as a culprit.,

I ferment in an SS brew bucket. I am re-passivating it with a 5x star-san solution once again as per the instructions. Doubt this is the culprit, but again, ruling it out.

I believe the issue is my auto siphon, the likes of which I am forced to use because this recipe calls for a massive dry hop that clogs the keg poppit on transfer every time. I can't rule out other avenues of exposure, however, because I have closed transferred before and still had the issue. However, those times I was using my well water to brew with. I've used spring water before and had the issue, but I was using plastic buckets and long primaries during that time.

Both approaches below wait until the keg to dry hop so I don't have to introduce oxygen to the primary and hopefully the poppit won't clog allowing me to do a closed system transfer.

I have an FTSS so I have heating/cooling temperature control. Fermentation is conducted at 66.5 degrees throughout. The FTSS allows the temp so swing 1 degree in either direction, so a min of 65.5 and a max of 67.5. Attenuation, fusels and ester production are good doing this, so I will continue to use this temperature setup.

6 gallon batch
west coast IPA
2 packets US05
14.5lb american 2-row
.5lb carapils
2oz columbus @90
1oz chinook @45
1oz ea chinook, columbus, centennial @20
flameout .75lbs table sugar
10 min whirlpool 1oz chinook

OG ~ 1.075
FG ~ 1.011 - 1.013

Will dry hop in the keg-1oz columbus and centennial, 2oz chinook

Beer is meant to be a bitter pine bomb, the opposite of NEIPA in terms of hops presentation

I am thinking of doing one of two things for the ferment, and both have their benefits and drawbacks.

A. First Option
1. Finish primary (about 4-5 days until FG is typical with this recipe)
2. let sit a couple days to clean and precipitate
3. Sanitize keg, dump sanitizer, drip dry upside down till all gone
4. Add dry hop charge to bottom of keg
5. Hook up sanitized clear beer draught system (floating dip tube), seal keg
6. Purge keg 14 times @ 30 psi. I know about the pushing out fluid option, but that hasn't been working and I want to rule out residual liquid and lid space as the culprit. I know this will work though it is wasteful of CO2
7. Closed transfer rack to keg
8. Let sit 3 days at room temp (~65-67deg F) on 30 psi
9. Put in kegerator overnight off gas
10. Attach co2 at serving pressure, wait 2 days, tap

Questions:: Dry hop creep is real. I sometimes see an additional 2 points off my FG if I add the dry hops into the primary on day 2 (which is what I was doing before). If I put the beer in the keg at 30psi, it's not implausible that fermentation would begin again. I have a blowtie spunding valve.
1a. Should I use the blowtie?
2a. Should I give the keg a blast of CO2 to seat the lid, slap the spunding valve on there at 30psi and leave it off the gas? I suppose it would give me a good idea what's happening in the keg. I could set the valve to 40psi and see if the pressure climbs then turn it down if it is.
3a. Would it be normal, if no activity were occurring for the pressure to drop as the beer absorbs the CO2 in the headspace when off the gas?

B. Second Option - Spunding
1. Primary for two to three days
2. Sanitize keg, dump sanitizer, drip dry till all gone
3. Add dry hop charge to bottom
4. Hook up sanitized clear beer draught system (floating dip tube)
5. Purge keg 14 times @ 30 psi. I know about the pushing out fluid option, but that hasn't been working and I want to rule out residual liquid and lid space as the culprit. I know this will work
6. Closed transfer rack to keg
7. Set spunding valve to 30 psi and let sit at room temp for 5 days or so
8. Kegerator overnight
9. Hook up to serving pressure

Questions: This method makes me nervous, because dumping 5 gallons of still-fermenting wort on 4oz of hops could very well blow off run out of the spunding valve. I know the technique is to catch it with .004 to go but, let's face it, US05 is really, really fast sometimes. It can eat through .008 in the time it takes me to go to work and come back, so the likelihood of me catching it at that point is pretty low.
1b. How precise do you need to be when spunding? I primarily want to do it for the oxygen scrubbing benefits
2b. Is blow off a problem with large dry hop charges of 4oz in the keg? I know you NEIPA guys do way more than that, just want to know if you've had any issues with out of control ferments if you were a little early with your packaging.

Bonus question: I have heard of purging kegs using primary fermentation output. Do you do this by hooking your blowoff to the liquid out, then attaching a blow off to the gas in? What if your beer actually blows off? Seems like that would clog the poppet then blow my poor brew bucket up....
 

Jag75

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Auto siphon is my vote. Just a couple things. Do a liquid star San purge from kegs, dont worry about dumping and letting it dry. Bag your dry hops. Just use a large enough bag. I dry hop 3-5 days before I keg. As I dry hop I'm pushing co2. Closed transfer , pressure or gravity.
 
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Joejkd82

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I've bagged before.
Auto siphon is my vote. Just a couple things. Do a liquid star San purge from kegs, dont worry about dumping and letting it dry. Bag your dry hops. Just use a large enough bag. I dry hop 3-5 days before I keg. As I dry hop I'm pushing co2. Closed transfer , pressure or gravity.
Tried dry hops in bag with closed transfer. Still got oxidation and hop character was significantly reduced.
 
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