Closed transfer from conical to kegs - when to stop?

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vash68

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I am in the process of putting together my closed pressure transfer process from conical fermenter (about to order 14g Chronical) into multiple (2-3 3gal) kegs using CO2.


My conical fermenter won't have a sight glass to indicate how much beer is going into the keg.
During transfer, the kegs' lids are closed and I can't see how much beer kegs are receiving.

My question is how do I know when keg1 is full and when to switch my beer disconnect to a next keg?


I can think of 2 things:

1. Let the beer overflow out of gas connectors on keg1, then switch beer line to a next keg. Cons: contaminated and potentially stuck gas disconnect on the keg.

2. Weigh each keg empty, full and during transfer in order to judge beer volume in a keg. Cons: finding 50 lbs precise scale for around $25.

Any better ideas? :confused:
 

Dcpcooks

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Weight is your best best, you don't want to fill it above the gas in level. It could make it a pain to carb and it will suck back into your tap lines if you lower the pressure . Weigh a full one and you have what you need. That's assuming all the kegs weigh the same. If not you'll need to label them individually.

Try harbor freight for a cheap scale. ULine will be a better scale but more money
 

gl_az

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I push with gas from my fermentor (a 15 gallon SS keg) through a T to two 5 gallon cornies at the same time. I use a cheapo plastic picnic dispensing spout to toss the first half pint of sludge or so, then switch to the T setup. While pushing, the lids are on the cornies and only the PRVs are open. I try to keep all of the the hoses short, identical length, all stretched out, and at same height to keep the fill rate about the same. When nearing the end of the fill, if one starts foaming at the PRV I just close it off.

Probably pushed 200 gallons so far like this with no problems other than not paying attention to end of fill and blowing CO2 through the cornies.
 

doug293cz

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vash68

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Thank you for all your suggestions guys!

@gl_az - I like this idea, however, it is only applicable to 2 kegs. However at this time I am planning to package 9 gal from fermenter into 3 3-gal kegs.
I will keep it for when I switch to 2x 5gal kegs for my batches.

@doug - lol, I will have to come up with a whole $5 more now! Thanks for the link!
 

gl_az

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Thank you for all your suggestions guys!

@gl_az - I like this idea, however, it is only applicable to 2 kegs. However at this time I am planning to package 9 gal from fermenter into 3 3-gal kegs.
I will keep it for when I switch to 2x 5gal kegs for my batches.

@doug - lol, I will have to come up with a whole $5 more now! Thanks for the link!
Vash, you can chain as many as you need up to a point. The key is keeping the runs from the 'manifold' to the kegs as straight, even, and equal as you can. Otherwise, the scale idea is a good one and one I considered too. I just didn't like the possibility of some kind of uneven or inconsistent mixture between the target kegs. If you pull the 1st half (or third or whatever) into one keg and the second half (or third or whatever) into another keg, etc.. it is possible that one ends up with more fines/trub than others, etc. I know that's getting a bit obsessive but then I am obsessive. :mug:
 
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vash68

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Vash, you can chain as many as you need up to a point. The key is keeping the runs from the 'manifold' to the kegs as straight, even, and equal as you can. Otherwise, the scale idea is a good one and one I considered too. I just didn't like the possibility of some kind of uneven or inconsistent mixture between the target kegs. If you pull the 1st half (or third or whatever) into one keg and the second half (or third or whatever) into another keg, etc.. it is possible that one ends up with more fines/trub than others, etc. I know that's getting a bit obsessive but then I am obsessive. :mug:
Obsessive?? Nah... For a casual observer, like my wife, seeing that I have a keg on scale while filling it with beer would seem a bit obsessive. However, your low profile setup with T+hoses wouldn't even peak hear attention :D

I will reserve your approach for when I finally switch to using two 5 gal kegs to package my beer.
 

chickypad

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1. Let the beer overflow out of gas connectors on keg1, then switch beer line to a next keg. Cons: contaminated and potentially stuck gas disconnect on the keg.:
I agree weighing is probably best. Having said that this is what I actually do, putting an empty gray disconnect on the gas side to vent and then shut off flow when I see beer (if you use starsan don't go by the foam, that can start coming out with gallons still to go). I try to select one of my longer diptubes on the gas side but the kegs are still pretty full. Gotta be careful hooking up gas, I always vent the keg and hook up pressurized line when they are that full. Besides, I have check valves everywhere. I pop the disconnect off and clean right away so no sticking.
 

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chordwizard

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Could you vent through the gas side with a long tube until beer shows, stop the transfer and then switch to a shorter tube before putting it on gas? Or would the process of changing it out allow too much O2 in?
 
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vash68

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Could you vent through the gas side with a long tube until beer shows, stop the transfer and then switch to a shorter tube before putting it on gas? Or would the process of changing it out allow too much O2 in?
Changing the gas tube once the keg is filled would defeat the purpose of closed transfer IMO.
 
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vash68

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Do you cold crash?

I do. As I'm filling my keg I can see how much is in by the line of condensation on the outside of the keg.
This sounds brilliant!

However, I am about to stop cold crashing due to acquiring conical fermenter.

Even when I cold crash and fill kegs from fermenter at 35F, it takes about 30-50min at ambient 70F for any trace of condensation to form on keg surface. This is probably due to very low humidity (10-20% RH) where I live in bone dry Colorado.

How long does it take for you to start seeing condensation form on a keg being filled?
 

BillyBeer

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I have been using closed transfer for almost 10 years. I put an empty sanitized keg on my scale with the gas line hooked up and the pressure release valve open. Zero out the scale and turn on the gas to 3ish PSI. I shut it down when I hit 41.25lbs.
 

Brickman

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A more expensive but stupid fast option is a Blichmann Quickcarb and fill it to the top. I keg in Sanke kegs so the gas port is not an issue. I could never get the head space consistent so my carbonation was all over the space. The scale was my other option as my kegs all weigh the same.

Mark
 

day_trippr

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[...]How long does it take for you to start seeing condensation form on a keg being filled?
fwiw, I do cold crash and rack cold to a keg, and from Spring through early Fall there's usually plenty of moisture in the air here that the condensation line keeps right up with the fill.

Otoh, in times of very low humidity (like middle Winter here) I can nearly fill the keg before any there are any solid signs of condensation - way too late to act upon.

Hence I've been using a digital scale under the keg.

I also discovered some time ago my 16 kegs are far from a consistent tare weight (roughly a pound from lightest to heaviest) so I serialized them and recorded their empty weights...

Cheers!
 
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How long does it take for you to start seeing condensation form on a keg being filled?

I usually cold crash right down to 30 degrees. I get condensation that follows the beer right up the keg.

I live in Minnesota so there is plenty of humidity in summer. Even in the winter I have a whole house humidifier so my system still works.
 
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