Conical fermenter & electric BK in one?

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

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Patirck

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2010
Messages
755
Reaction score
16
Location
Glendale
I had this idea and I'm wondering why it wouldn't work. I am looking to brew in a smaller footprint with less stuff to clean up. I am also wanting to go electric so I can brew in place and not have to move a bunch of stuff out side and then back in. I started thinking about those super cool stainless fermenters and then it dawned on me - why can't you boil in one of those, put in the wort chiller, whirlpool, then perhaps dump some trub out the bottom, then pitch the yeast?

To boil in it - I would either use a heat stick or drill a hole and put an element in it permanently.
 

Red Clay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Messages
121
Reaction score
9
Location
Canton, Georgia
I've been thinking about that myself. There are a couple of posts here that mention the idea, but I'm not aware of anyone doing it yet. Seems like someone was discussing it just a few weeks ago in concert with BIAB mashing techniques for a true single vessel brewery.

As to viability, seems like it should work to me. If you put your hops in a bag (and adjust utilization) then the only thing you'd have to manage would be the cold break. Based on the 'no chill' method results that might not be too big of an issue. And you could drop the junk before pitching anyway. The only other concern I'd have is with all the boil junk that collects on the side of the BK...I'm not sure if that would be a problem or not.

I was thinking of using heat sticks to boil rather than a permanent installation. I'm not sure I trust the material of the element to be in long-term contact with my beer for that long. Likely just paranoia on my part, but a heat stick or two is an easy enough insurance policy (and no need to modify my conical!) With an insulated conical I wonder if the standard rules of thumb on the amount of juice needed to boil six gallons of wort are the same? I'd guess so, since evaporation has to be the majority of energy loss in the system.

I've considered using the 'no chill' technique of purging with CO2 after the boil and sealing it up with a bit of positive pressure until it cooled itself down. I'd still have to find a way to aerate after it cooled, however, so he 'no-chill' method might end up being more trouble than it was worth.

I say go for it and give us a report!
 
OP
Patirck

Patirck

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2010
Messages
755
Reaction score
16
Location
Glendale
I was thinking of mashing in my MLT cooler then boiling in the conical. But a BIAB sounds interesting - I would be a bit worried about the bag touching the heating element. I have never tried the no chill technique but that would certainly make sense for this kind of process. I was thinking of putting the connical in a fermentation chamber (chest freezer) that I could crank down for a day or so before pitching.

Now I just need to buy a stainless conical fermenter.

And build some heat sticks.
 

JewBrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2010
Messages
175
Reaction score
2
Location
Brooklyn
For chilling you could always use an IC or even a counterflow or plate chiller recirculating the wort with a pump.

The main issue I see is that your BK is occupied with fermentation and you would not be able to brew another batch until the previous one is done fermenting. For a lager or stout that means you cannot brew for two+ months.
 

ScubaSteve

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 21, 2007
Messages
3,673
Reaction score
90
Well, you could wait until primary fermentation is over, dump the trub, harvest the yeast, then transfer to a corny. You could probably get by with every 2 weeks at that point.
 

ScubaSteve

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 21, 2007
Messages
3,673
Reaction score
90
I was thinking of mashing in my MLT cooler then boiling in the conical. But a BIAB sounds interesting - I would be a bit worried about the bag touching the heating element. I have never tried the no chill technique but that would certainly make sense for this kind of process. I was thinking of putting the connical in a fermentation chamber (chest freezer) that I could crank down for a day or so before pitching.

Now I just need to buy a stainless conical fermenter.

And build some heat sticks.
If you BIAB you could just remove the heatsticks once you reach strike temp. Also consider a toolbox pump/chiller setup or make a chill wizard....you would just have to hook it up to your bottom port and you're good to go.
 
OP
Patirck

Patirck

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2010
Messages
755
Reaction score
16
Location
Glendale
I have an el cheapo IC already - works great if I pump ice water through it. I am not too worried about the wait time between brew sessions - most of my stuff is done in a week or so and then it goes into a keg. I could certainly secdonary in a corney with no problem. I kind of do that now - although I ususally start gassing it up at the same time. Does that still count as seconadary?? (I know - off topic).

I've been thinking of getting a new BK and also eyeing the $275 SS conical at stout tanks and kettles. Trying to decide if this would be good idea. I currently ferment in ale pails and boil in a 12 gallon SS keggle.
 

Scut_Monkey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
2,624
Reaction score
18
Location
Pittsburgh
Not a bad idea. I've been trying to think of a good way to seal the top of a keggle cut with an angle grinder. This would essentially be the same idea, put a cover on top and let it ferment 1-2 weeks primary and transfer to corny from there.

Im kind of in the same boat that I wouldn't want the heating element in there after the boil so a heating element would work. In the end I'm designing a CIP system so the idea will not become a reality for me.
 

klyph

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2009
Messages
1,792
Reaction score
47
Location
North Pole, Alaska
There's a reason that we have many fermentors but one kettle...

You'd need 2 or 3 of these to keep the pipeline full.
 

Red Clay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Messages
121
Reaction score
9
Location
Canton, Georgia
Yeah, the 'constipated pipeline' argument is what turned me off of this idea to initially. But then I realized that I really don't brew more often than once every two weeks. I transfer after a week or three to corny kegs now, so I don't think the pipeline clog will be an issue.

Even if I did, I've got a few other older kettles I could use with those heat sticks. And my reliable old carboys can still ferment.

It might be worth giving a try just to learn. I've been looking for an excuse to go electric. And you know what they say...once you go electric...:ban:
 
Top