Closed transfer from Speidel fermenter to keg

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

ParanoidAndroid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
339
Reaction score
31
Location
Birmingham
I'm curious if anyone has done this. I've never closed transferred anything, but I have some tubing ready to go on my Speidel for transfer on 8/17.

I have 2 of the plastic valves that come with it on the bottom and top. The top has a blow off tube running out of it. I am assuming I do the following:

1. Take blow off tube out of the sanitizer and attach it to the CO2
2. Attach bottom valve with tubing to Liquid Out of keg
3. Open both valves
4. Turn the CO2 to 1-2 PSI
5. Open the Pressure Release on keg
6. ?
7. Profit

Some questions:

1. Would I purge the keg before or after the transfer? Or both? It seems that if its purged before, then having the pressure open would let some Oxygen back in as its being transferred. Or does the beer push the oxygen out as it fills?

2. Should I purge the transfer lines as well?
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,060
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
I can't answer for your Speidel, I don't own one.

Does the lid seal airtight? If not, you won't build up pressure, and you'll need to start the siphon manually. After that, you'll still be racking using mostly a gravity/siphon action anyway, just filling the headspace with CO2. This is good, you don't want too much pressure, it can cause all kinds of problems. 1-2 psi is plenty for that purpose.

If you really want to minimize exposure to air/oxygen, you should fill the keg all the way to the top with Starsan solution, no foam, then purge the keg completely with CO2. That's how you create a (nearly) 100% CO2 filled keg, using only 5.5 gallons of CO2. Any other method is (far) less complete and efficient, and uses (way) more CO2 than you may think. There are several threads on this topic already and some even address how to remove that little air under the lid. Ideally your Starsan solution should be oxygen free too.

You can push the Starsan out through a picnic tap into a bucket or fill another keg with it. And so on. Do not throw the Starsan out, it really doesn't get used up or dirty.

When filling the keg with beer, leave the lid on, and fill it through the liquid out post, using a QD, and open the PRV. You could stream low psi CO2 through the gas post while mounting your racking hoses, QD etc., so they get filled with CO2 too. I'm sure you get the gist.
 
Last edited:
OP
P

ParanoidAndroid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
339
Reaction score
31
Location
Birmingham
I can't answer for your Speidel, I don't own one.

Does the lid seal airtight? If not, you won't build up pressure, and you'll need to start the siphon manually. After that, you'll still be racking using mostly a gravity/siphon action anyway, just filling the headspace with CO2. This is good, you don't want too much pressure, it can cause all kinds of problems. 1-2 psi is plenty for that purpose.

If you really want to minimize exposure to air/oxygen, you should fill the keg all the way to the top with Starsan solution, no foam, then purge the keg completely with CO2. That's how you create a (nearly) 100% CO2 filled keg, using only 5.5 gallons of CO2. Any other method is (far) less complete and efficient, and uses (way) more CO2 than you may think. There are several threads on this topic already and some even address how to remove that little air under the lid. Ideally your Starsan solution should be oxygen free too.

You can push the Starsan out through a picnic tap into a bucket or fill another keg with it. And so on. Do not throw the Starsan out, it really doesn't get used up or dirty.

When filling the keg with beer, leave the lid on, and fill it through the liquid out post, using a QD, and open the PRV. You could stream low psi CO2 through the gas post while mounting your racking hoses, QD etc., so they get filled with CO2 too. I'm sure you get the gist.
Thanks, didn't think about connecting another line to the gas in of the keg while filling.

Yes, the Speidel is airtight. Theres a valve on the bottom, and the top where a normal airlock would go. Ive attached a picture (not mine, but same brand). The valve on top is open with a blow off tube.

 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,060
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
Just be very easy on "pressurizing" the Speidel. Don't blow it! ;)

I also stream CO2 when I need to work on the keg, like cleaning a leaky poppet, even when adding a bag with dry hops. As always, repurge the headspace 10x at 15psi after you've taken the lid off. The smaller the headspace the easier and more efficient it is to (re)purge it.

Preventing oxidation of beer is a (relatively) hot topic currently, and benefits (profit?) depend on the beer, your standards, and anything else you can think of. I know hoppy beers are very sensitive to oxidation. I also had an ESB a few years ago that became pretty much undrinkable with time, after an uncontrolled yeast rousing event.
 
OP
P

ParanoidAndroid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
339
Reaction score
31
Location
Birmingham
Just be very easy on "pressurizing" the Speidel. Don't blow it! ;)

I also stream CO2 when I need to work on the keg, like cleaning a leaky poppet, even when adding a bag with dry hops. As always, repurge the headspace 10x at 15psi after you've taken the lid off. The smaller the headspace the easier and more efficient it is to (re)purge it.

Preventing oxidation of beer is a (relatively) hot topic currently, and benefits (profit?) depend on the beer, your standards, and anything else you can think of. I know hoppy beers are very sensitive to oxidation. I also had an ESB a few years ago that became pretty much undrinkable with time, after an uncontrolled yeast rousing event.
Yea, the German Brewing pdf on oxidation is the reason I am watching all aspects of it now.

I brew 3.25 gallon batches and recently purchases 3 gallon kegs. After subtracting the trub at the bottom of the ferm, headspace should be minimal in the keg. However the fermenters are about 5.3 gallons, so about 2 gallons of headspace there.
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2012
Messages
3,031
Reaction score
344
Location
Key West
Google "closed system transfer carboy." Theres a few HBT links that come up and Im 90% sure one of them used a Speidel fermenter or something similar.
From what I can tell though, if you put a barb at the end of your gas line(obviously coming off the regulator) then you can swap it in place of the airlock in the bung. That would let you push with gas and transfer out of the spigot on the fermentor. Hook a gas line on the receiving keg with the end submerged in a bucket of sanitizer and you've got a closed system transfer.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,060
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
Yea, the German Brewing pdf on oxidation is the reason I am watching all aspects of it now.

I brew 3.25 gallon batches and recently purchases 3 gallon kegs. After subtracting the trub at the bottom of the ferm, headspace should be minimal in the keg. However the fermenters are about 5.3 gallons, so about 2 gallons of headspace there.
During primary fermentation there should be enough CO2 production to drop the air/O2 levels to reasonable levels, even with 2 gallons of headspace. Leaving the lid on your Speidel until ready to transfer is the best strategy, IMO.

I've just recently started to negotiate the "initial/residual O2 levels" curve IRT leaving the beer longer in the primary to condition and its effects on re-absorption of residual O2 and possible associated oxidation. Perhaps purging headspaces with CO2 after fermentation has slowed down seems logical. Or are secondaries going to make a grandiose comeback soon? Kegs make great secondaries!

Yesterday I racked an ESB to a pre-purged keg after just 6 days of fermentation/conditioning. The beer is done and dropped almost clear (starter from fresh WY1968) without cold crashing, so I could see no advantage leaving it any longer. Tastes darn good even flat and at room temps. Great for a cask!
 

makisupapolice14

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
223
Reaction score
32
I can't answer for your Speidel, I don't own one.

Does the lid seal airtight? If not, you won't build up pressure, and you'll need to start the siphon manually. After that, you'll still be racking using mostly a gravity/siphon action anyway, just filling the headspace with CO2. This is good, you don't want too much pressure, it can cause all kinds of problems. 1-2 psi is plenty for that purpose.

If you really want to minimize exposure to air/oxygen, you should fill the keg all the way to the top with Starsan solution, no foam, then purge the keg completely with CO2. That's how you create a (nearly) 100% CO2 filled keg, using only 5.5 gallons of CO2. Any other method is (far) less complete and efficient, and uses (way) more CO2 than you may think. There are several threads on this topic already and some even address how to remove that little air under the lid. Ideally your Starsan solution should be oxygen free too.

You can push the Starsan out through a picnic tap into a bucket or fill another keg with it. And so on. Do not throw the Starsan out, it really doesn't get used up or dirty.

When filling the keg with beer, leave the lid on, and fill it through the liquid out post, using a QD, and open the PRV. You could stream low psi CO2 through the gas post while mounting your racking hoses, QD etc., so they get filled with CO2 too. I'm sure you get the gist.

This is exactly how I do it hoppy beers have been greAt
 

Jwin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
1,969
Reaction score
607
Location
nashville
I exclusively push beer with co2 from my Speidel. I would advise doing a close loop with a purged keg and just let gravity do the work since your batches are so small. Another thing I have found is its much easier to remove the poppet on the liquid side as well as the stem from a disconnect for transferring. A few pieces of hop gunk kills the whole process. Once transfer is done, replace sanitized poppet and purge at 3-4 psi several times.

Also, make sure your valve on the fermenter is very clean, especially if you have pulled samples from it.
I squirt mine with sanitizer and keep a tap cover on it.
 
OP
P

ParanoidAndroid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
339
Reaction score
31
Location
Birmingham
Google "closed system transfer carboy." Theres a few HBT links that come up and Im 90% sure one of them used a Speidel fermenter or something similar.
From what I can tell though, if you put a barb at the end of your gas line(obviously coming off the regulator) then you can swap it in place of the airlock in the bung. That would let you push with gas and transfer out of the spigot on the fermentor. Hook a gas line on the receiving keg with the end submerged in a bucket of sanitizer and you've got a closed system transfer.
So you're saying hook a gas QD to the keg and tubing with one end in sanitizer and leave the PRV closed? I guess in that case the co2 in the purged keg would just bubble through the sanitizer instead of through the PRV.
 

Jwin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
1,969
Reaction score
607
Location
nashville
You can instead complete the loop by letting gravity do the work and feeding the gas in(now out) of the keg into the top of the Speidel. This assumes a fully purged keg is being used. Just start the siphoned with co2, then move the out hose. Beer out, co2 in and vise versa

Will save you some co2 with no negligible effect.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,060
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
You can instead complete the loop by letting gravity do the work and feeding the gas in(now out) of the keg into the top of the Speidel. This assumes a fully purged keg is being used. Just start the siphoned with co2, then move the out hose. Beer out, co2 in and vise versa

Will save you some co2 with no negligible effect.
Such a wonderful idea! And so simple. I always wondered what to do with the gas coming out of the keg.
 
OP
P

ParanoidAndroid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
339
Reaction score
31
Location
Birmingham
One thing I didn't mention was I am dry hopping in the keg. I was looking into putting the starsan into the keg, then transferring that to another vessel, then transfer beer. However that cant happen with the dryhops needing to go in before transfer.
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2012
Messages
3,031
Reaction score
344
Location
Key West
The LODO guys have been dry hopping in the primary towards the end of fermentation. Ive been thinking of a way around it but you just can't get anything into a keg without opening it and letting air in unless you use hop extracts.
 
OP
P

ParanoidAndroid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
339
Reaction score
31
Location
Birmingham
The LODO guys have been dry hopping in the primary towards the end of fermentation. Ive been thinking of a way around it but you just can't get anything into a keg without opening it and letting air in unless you use hop extracts.
I tried that last time, but I feel like a good bit of the aroma left through the airlock. Also, I am having second thoughts about using a bag, but not sure what else to use. I scooped the bag out after transferring and the bag was full of beer. It was like a small bucket in that it was holding so much and barely draining. I squeezed it in a glass and the taste/smell was hoppy as hell. I've been wondering if the very small holes are too little for proper flow of beer through the bag, which in turn decreases hop aroma. Im not sure how to counter that though. Tea infusers, stainless steel mesh holsters have come to mind.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,060
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
Right now, until I find a better solution, after racking into the pre-purged keg, I open the lid while CO2 is streaming through the in-port. I squeeze all the air out of the filled and weighted hop bag (tight mesh muslin), and lower it slowly into the beer. Attach the SS suspension wire to the nut welded to the underneath of the lid, and close the lid. Then purge 15x at 15-20psi. Yes it takes a lot of CO2 relatively, and won't be a 100% air free dry hop, but it works fine.

Ultimately, I really want to circulate my beer through a dry-hopper using a pump.

In that light, since I believe agitation is the key to good extraction, I roll the keg vigorously for a few minutes, 6-12 times a day. During this dry hop time, the keg stays at room temps for around 24 hours, and the beer is at whatever temp it is, could be room temp or still cold after cold crashing. It also gets force carbonated at the same time. Then put it in the fridge for 2 days to finish carbonating.
 
Last edited:
OP
P

ParanoidAndroid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
339
Reaction score
31
Location
Birmingham
Could you not suspend the hop bag before transfer?

I'm thinking I'm going to put three hops in a bag with some marbles. Ill use dental floss coming out the lid. The length of the floss will be enough to keep it 1-2 inches off bottom and the marbles should keep it weighed down.

So, add dry hops in bag, close the lid, purge 10-15 times @30psi, attach gas in to starsan solution to allow displaced co2 to bubble, start closed transfer.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,060
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
Could you not suspend the hop bag before transfer?

I'm thinking I'm going to put three hops in a bag with some marbles. Ill use dental floss coming out the lid. The length of the floss will be enough to keep it 1-2 inches off bottom and the marbles should keep it weighed down.

So, add dry hops in bag, close the lid, purge 10-15 times @30psi, attach gas in to starsan solution to allow displaced co2 to bubble, start closed transfer.
CO2 purging a keg filled with air to bring the O2 levels even to a reasonable spec for a "reduced oxygen" beer transfer takes an inordinate amount of CO2. A total waste. Hence the 100% Starsan pre-purge.

Now if you could vacuum the keg (DON'T, DON'T, DON'T DO THAT !!!) things would be entirely different. But we can't.

I think my method with flowing CO2 while you add the bag may have more merit. Purging the headspace well, afterwards, reduces the O2 levels proportionally with each pull. There are a few threads on this already, with purging diagrams and all.
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2012
Messages
3,031
Reaction score
344
Location
Key West
Gotta agree and that's how I planned on dry hopping the IPA I have going. Though I have had another idea. If you add a little sugar you could prime the keg while dry hopping it then jump the beer over to another keg. The benefit being you don't lose any of the volatiles like you would in a fermentor and the yeast would scavenge the o2. Of course you'd need a DO meter to see if this actually works.
 
OP
P

ParanoidAndroid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
339
Reaction score
31
Location
Birmingham
CO2 purging a keg filled with air to bring the O2 levels even to a reasonable spec for a "reduced oxygen" beer transfer takes an inordinate amount of CO2. A total waste. Hence the 100% Starsan pre-purge.

Now if you could vacuum the keg (DON'T, DON'T, DON'T DO THAT !!!) things would be entirely different. But we can't.

I think my method with flowing CO2 while you add the bag may have more merit. Purging the headspace well, afterwards, reduces the O2 levels proportionally with each pull. There are a few threads on this already, with purging diagrams and all.
Yea, I have seen the chart. To get under 1ppm O2, you would have to purge 12 times @ 30 psi, and 16 times to get undetectable levels. That was one thing I was doing wrong in the beginning of kegging. I would simply fill my open keg with an autosiphon (introducing O2), cover, then purge 5 times or so @ 20 or so psi. Going by the chart, that puts over 1500 ppm O2 in the headspace.
 
OP
P

ParanoidAndroid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
339
Reaction score
31
Location
Birmingham
I transferred last night.

Geez, I had QD's, lines, co2 bottles/regs, starsan going everywhere. I have to get a process down.

The starsan purge went well. The transfer from fermenter to keg had some bubbles that would go away. I moved the line and closed the valve a little. It helped some, but not much. I added the hops after transfer while shooting co2 in the keg.

One thing that did not go well was the purging. I purged 9 times (even though I starsan purged) and the last time I didn't turn on the CO2 again. So a keg with no pressure sat in the kegerator from 11 pm to 6 am while going from 70 degrees to 41. I purged a few times this morning and set it to 30 psi. I really hope I didn't ruin it. Id be pissed if I went through all that trouble of keeping O2 out, and the reason for dumping is the fact I didn't turn back on the co2. Crap like that happens to me all the time.
 

Jwin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
1,969
Reaction score
607
Location
nashville
I transferred last night.

Geez, I had QD's, lines, co2 bottles/regs, starsan going everywhere. I have to get a process down.

The starsan purge went well. The transfer from fermenter to keg had some bubbles that would go away. I moved the line and closed the valve a little. It helped some, but not much. I added the hops after transfer while shooting co2 in the keg.

One thing that did not go well was the purging. I purged 9 times (even though I starsan purged) and the last time I didn't turn on the CO2 again. So a keg with no pressure sat in the kegerator from 11 pm to 6 am while going from 70 degrees to 41. I purged a few times this morning and set it to 30 psi. I really hope I didn't ruin it. Id be pissed if I went through all that trouble of keeping O2 out, and the reason for dumping is the fact I didn't turn back on the co2. Crap like that happens to me all the time.
It could have created a vacuum instead of sucking back. With the hops in there I'll bet your aroma would be fine, though you may not get the best utilization by dry hopping cold.

Glad the process went fairly smooth for you.

Another money saver I do in this process is to purge the starsan into another clean keg. I get 5g of distilled water to mix it with too. It's good for ages and all I have to do is push it to the next keg next kegging day.
 
OP
P

ParanoidAndroid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
339
Reaction score
31
Location
Birmingham
It could have created a vacuum instead of sucking back. With the hops in there I'll bet your aroma would be fine, though you may not get the best utilization by dry hopping cold.

Glad the process went fairly smooth for you.

Another money saver I do in this process is to purge the starsan into another clean keg. I get 5g of distilled water to mix it with too. It's good for ages and all I have to do is push it to the next keg next kegging day.
Pulled a sample after burst carbing at 30psi for about 12 hours. The dry hops were very harsh and grassy (.5 oz citra and .5 oz Amarillo for 3 gallon batch). I'm assuming this is oxidation of the hops since the keg wasn't pressurized during the initial few hours. I'm hoping it fades with time as the pre-dry hopped beer tasted like orange juice but had little aroma. The bitterness was smooth and the malt tasted fine. I could have used some more flamout hops.

Another possible source could be dryhopping under pressure. Ive never attempted that, so I don't know much about it and how the two interact.
 

Jwin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
1,969
Reaction score
607
Location
nashville
Your first couple of pints will have more hop particulate in them. The fine stuff that the bag doesn't hold. RDWHAHB.
 
Top