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Conical Fermenters

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Dark_Ale

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Are conical's designed for Primary fermentation? I can see it would be easier to catch the sediment and drain off the top of the sediment, but other than that what are the advantages of using one? Do most still rack into a glass carboy, or go right into the keg. Is it better just to use as single stage. I was thinking about buying one, but They are kind of expensive so I wanted to do a little research before I take the plunge.
 

sause

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I do believe that running off the yeast on the bottom means that you don't have to go to a secondary. You took all the stuff out that you want to get away from by moving to a secondary.
 

Uncle Fat

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Right. The purpose of racking to a secondary fermenter is to take the beer off of the traub. If you're using a conical, and remove the traub from the bottom, you don't need to rack.
 

Janx

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Ease of harvesting yeast for the next batch is another bonus. No racking cane nonsense is another.

Downside is you don't want to be moving the thing. You better have a pretty stable brewing setup/area. I know we couldn't do it because we shuffle our fermenters around according to wherever there's room and a good temperature.
 
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Dark_Ale

Dark_Ale

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Janx said:
Ease of harvesting yeast for the next batch is another bonus. No racking cane nonsense is another.

Downside is you don't want to be moving the thing. You better have a pretty stable brewing setup/area. I know we couldn't do it because we shuffle our fermenters around according to wherever there's room and a good temperature.
How do you harvest the yeast, in the sediment at the bottom? How do you store it for your next batch? How does all this harvesting work?
 

Janx

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Yep...in the sediment at the bottom. You carefully sanitize a container and pull that goop out. Bunch of yeast in it, and it'll make a heck of a big, vigorous pitch. Your ferment will take off in no time.

Note that you want to be extra EXTRA careful about sanitization here, because it's sort of the beginning of the line. You could potentially infect a lot of beer if you infect that yeast.

As I have said in other threads, my non-conical way to do it is to simply rack out of my primary on brew day, and then put the new beer right on top of the old yeast slurry in the primary without washing it.

Either way, you get a much better yeast pitch than even a nice big starter made from a Wyeast or White Labs yeast.
 

Franiblector

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so does that mean you never need new yeast, janx? and never have to clean a carboy?

sounds to me like that easy button commercial - and SMART!
 

Janx

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Franiblector said:
so does that mean you never need new yeast, janx? and never have to clean a carboy?

sounds to me like that easy button commercial - and SMART!
Unfortunately no (the best part would be never cleaning a carboy). We use that technique 3 or at most 4 times before we clean and re-sanitize the primary. But we only need to wash it about once a month that way, which is cool.

The yeast will start to develop off-flavors in the long run, and you run the risk of infection slowly building strength from the continued exposure through racking, etc.

But, this is the best way to pitch yeast. It's convenient, and it's the biggest most vigorous starter you can get (that's the name of the game). Our 12 gallon batches are usually bubbling away within a couple hours.
 

uglygoat

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i did this last saturday and had the yeast go nuts in about an hour. it went nuts for three days and has subsided. i'm gonna drop another batch on top of it this weekend :)
 

Franiblector

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So just to be sure...cuz I am the total "beginner"...

What you're saying is that I can do the following:
1. Brew a batch of any kind of beer
2. Let it ferment in the primary
3. Rack it to secondary when it's done fermenting
4. NOT clean the primary
5. Brew a new batch the same day I rack the former batch to secondary
6. Pour the cooled wort from batch #2 into the primary
7. Pitch the yeast that came with the kit for batch 2? Or not?
8. Aerate batch 2 in the primary
9. Wait for that bad boy to start fermenting

Is this correct???

Another question:
I thought that yeast has a lot to do with the flavor of your beer....
What would happen if I:
Brewed batch #1 as a Belgian Witbier with Belgian Wit White Labs yeast
Then brewed batch #2 as a stout and use the old yeast from batch #1?

Wouldn't that distort the stout?
Would I still need to pitch the British Ale yeast form the stout kit?

Just wondering...Thanks for your help! This is fascinating!!!
 

Janx

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Franiblector said:
So just to be sure...cuz I am the total "beginner"...

What you're saying is that I can do the following:
1. Brew a batch of any kind of beer
2. Let it ferment in the primary
3. Rack it to secondary when it's done fermenting
4. NOT clean the primary
5. Brew a new batch the same day I rack the former batch to secondary
6. Pour the cooled wort from batch #2 into the primary
7. Pitch the yeast that came with the kit for batch 2? Or not?
Not...well, I don't use kits anyway, but there is no need for more yeast. The "pitch" you already are giving it is enormous...

Franiblector said:
8. Aerate batch 2 in the primary
I actually aerate it on the way in by just letting it splash down to the bottom of the fermenter. You could shake it, too, I suppose.

Franiblector said:
9. Wait for that bad boy to start fermenting
You don't wait long...it'll blow you away how fast it starts, and one of the single best things you can do for your beer quality is a large, vigorous yeast pitch.

Franiblector said:
Another question:
I thought that yeast has a lot to do with the flavor of your beer....
What would happen if I:
Brewed batch #1 as a Belgian Witbier with Belgian Wit White Labs yeast
Then brewed batch #2 as a stout and use the old yeast from batch #1?

Wouldn't that distort the stout?
Would I still need to pitch the British Ale yeast form the stout kit?
You couldn't use this trick in that case. If you pitched the ale yeast that came with the stout, you'd have two yeast strains, one of which was seriously overpowered by the other. You only use this trick to brew similar styles. Since what 90% of homebrewers brew 90% of the time is ale, you can run 3 or 4 batches on a vial of White Labs American or British Ale yeast.

Franiblector said:
Just wondering...Thanks for your help! This is fascinating!!!

Another note...stop buying kits and just buy ingredients. Use Dry Malt Extract instead of liquid, real grain adjuncts for steeping, I prefer whole hops. And definitely switch to liquid yeast. It produces much better results. Worlds better.
 

Franiblector

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Thanks for the clarification Janx - and your advice!
Note on kits: I haven't found any recipes yet that would allow me to buy ingredients instead of kits.
Keep in mind I have just finished brewing only my 4th batch....
I am staying away from all grain right now: can't afford all of the equipment, and haven't learned much about it yet.
So, I will stick with extract recipes with some specialty grains for now.
FYI, I have always used liquid yeasts - the vial kind, not smack packs etc.

Regarding malt: is DME really better than liquid malts? Why? I would think the opposite as liquids are easier to disolve than powders...
 

Janx

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This is just my personal opinion and perception, but I think the liquid malts will inevitably be more caramelized. They always leave residual unfermentable sweetness in my experience. Using dry seems much more clean, and you can always augment with adjunct grains if you want more sweetness or a different flavor of any sort.

To me, dry extract seems a more basic jumping off point, while liquid has a bunch of flavors built in that you don't always want.
 
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