Anvil Brewbucket Cold Crash ideas?

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JJinMD

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Okay, here's a question/issue for all you creative thinking problem solvers. I currently do all my fermenting in a pair of 7.5gal Anvil Buckets. I really like them and have done the last several batches in them in my rather warm garage using voss and lutra kveiks. Anyway, to cold crash, I have been putting them in a big cooler and filling with ice. Prior to that method, I was cold crashing in my kegerator after kegging. I find the cooler with ice to be extremely convenient and I get really clear beer with a compacted yeast bed that stays put during kegging which results in nice clear first pours.

The problem is that the Anvil Buckets have a plastic housing on the bottom to make the vessel bottom flat as they have a pseudo-conical type of bottom. This housing is not water tight and it fills up with water when I do my ice bath cold crash. The water will drain, and there are a few holes on the bottom for that purpose, but I am worried that I am going to get mold growing in that area as it probably isn't fully draining. I wish I could take the plastic housing off completely and just have the bucket rest in there when needed. Has anyone done that? Any ideas not involving hundreds of dollars on additional equipment?
 

Holden Caulfield

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A couple thoughts...
  1. Don't cold crash if you have no way of preventing suck back of air, as this will introduce some oxygen into your beer
  2. Go back to cold crashing in your keg - that is how I do it as well as many others :) . If you have to move your fermenter to keg, look up how to push the beer into the keg with CO2 without moving the fermenter. This will should minimize disturbing the yeast cake prior to kegging.
  3. If the reason for the cold crash bath is the great results this method of cold crashing brings, go back to cold crashing in keg and just fine with gelatin. Great results and easy to do.
 
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Golddiggie

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If there are holes in the bottom, and you have an air compressor, there's your solution. Use compressed air to force as much of the remaining water out of the bottom as possible.

Personally, I'm not lifting a fermenter full of beer anymore. Mine are now on wheels with chill coils so I can maintain temperatures as well as do things like cold crash. I actually, haven't lifted a fermenter more than a couple of inches (when I had a fermentation chamber, to get the kegmenter into it) in ages. Before I had the chamber, when I was living at another place, I just walked it into a different (finished) basement room to let it ferment away. Now mine have wheels so moving as needed is easy (plus the wheels can be locked to keep them from moving). I cannot see myself ever not using conicals now. Well, I might use one of the kegmenters I plan to keep for something like a batch of cider, or mead, when my conicals are occupied. ;)
 
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JJinMD

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A couple thoughts...
  1. Don't cold crash if you have no way of preventing suck back of air, as this will introduce some oxygen into your beer
  2. Go back to cold crashing in your keg - that is how I do it as well as many others :) . If you have to move your fermenter to keg, look up how to push the beer into the keg with CO2 without moving the fermenter. This will should minimize disturbing the yeast cake prior to kegging.
  3. If the reason for the cold crash bath is the great results this method of cold crashing brings, go back to cold crashing in keg and just fine with gelatin. Great results and easy to do.
Thanks!

1. I replace the airlock top with a food-safe trash bag that is either naturally filled with CO2 or I fill it from my tank, so suck back isn't an issue.
2. I can definitely go back to cold crashing in a keg, but I was getting really good results. No need for CO2 to push beer, with the Anvil bucket, there is a spout, so gravity works well (and I hook up a line from the keg gas post to the top of the fermenter, replacing the airlock with a stainless carbonation cap stuck in to the bung).
3. It is kind of nice not having to use gelatin and getting very good results! The other thing is I can keg from the fermenter and not have to take up room in the kegerator to cold crash. Although I guess I could stick the keg in an ice bath, but that would just be another step...

Aside from purchasing a different fermentation vessel, I really would like to find a way to keep doing what I am doing minus the water filling up the plastic bottom piece.
 
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JJinMD

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If there are holes in the bottom, and you have an air compressor, there's your solution. Use compressed air to force as much of the remaining water out of the bottom as possible.

Personally, I'm not lifting a fermenter full of beer anymore. Mine are now on wheels with chill coils so I can maintain temperatures as well as do things like cold crash. I actually, haven't lifted a fermenter more than a couple of inches (when I had a fermentation chamber, to get the kegmenter into it) in ages. Before I had the chamber, when I was living at another place, I just walked it into a different (finished) basement room to let it ferment away. Now mine have wheels so moving as needed is easy (plus the wheels can be locked to keep them from moving). I cannot see myself ever not using conicals now. Well, I might use one of the kegmenters I plan to keep for something like a batch of cider, or mead, when my conicals are occupied. ;)
Thank you,

Yes, there are a few holes there, I just worry that the bottom never fully gets dry. Some forced air would very likely help get more of that water out. One day I might replace my setup with conicals that have a built in temp regulation capability. I have looked at the Anvil temperature accessories, just not sure that it would do as good job as my ice bath, and I don't pay for the ice, so there's that...

I hear you on the moving the fermenters around. Prior to summer time garage fermentation, I was schlepping the buckets down to the basement and then back up when fermentation was done or kegging down in the basement and carrying corny kegs back up the stairs. I am pretty sold on warmer fermenting for summer. The ice bath makes it easier as I put the fermenters in the cooler and then after they are done with fermentation, I just fill the cooler with ice. 12 hours later I get really clear beer, compacted yeast so I can move the buckets up so I can drain them with gravity, and can easily drain the melted ice from the cooler with the cooler's drain spout.
 

Golddiggie

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I set the glycol chiller to a lower temperature, then set the feed going to the conical that I wanted to carbonate yesterday (needed to get the settings figured out for main temperature to get the batch temperature where I want it). This morning I connected the CO2 feed to the carbonation stone and let it get to it. I'll pull a sample either Tuesday or Wednesday to check on it.

I also have some different sampling valves coming with the stainless pigtail that will be better for checking carbonation levels. Found them on Brewers Hardware's site for not a crazy amount. So ordered two sampling valves and one pigtail.
Sampling valve
Pigtail coil
I went that way instead of the sampling valve with the pigtail attached (threaded connection) due to it being more compact when I don't want to pull a sample. I'll just connect the pigtail up to whichever fermenter I want to pull some from and then detach it.

IMO, conicals have a lot of flexibility that you don't get with other types of fermenters. I've been a huge fan of fermenting in stainless steel for a long time now. I was using kegmenters (sourced kegs, converted them and then used them) until recently. Looking forward to seeing what's left inside the first conical when the batch of beer is pulled out of it. Being able to carbonate in the conical also means I can fill cans directly from it without needing to move to a keg first. The glycol chiller makes it so that I can maintain the desired temperature for several days while carbonation happens.
 

Alex4mula

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Just drill some more bigger holes in the plastic bottom. It will dry ok. You may be overthinking this.
 
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JJinMD

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Just drill some more bigger holes in the plastic bottom. It will dry ok. You may be overthinking this.
Good point! I think I will give that a try and then, if I am still not satisfied, my plan was to put the fermenter in a cheap trash bag (thin trashcan liner) making it water tight. Your idea is less fuss, so I will go with that first.
 
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