Coopers fermenter, extended primary and racking.

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ArnoldTheBat

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Hi,

Relatively new to brewing, having just done kits and turbo cider. I've currently got a Coopers fermenter. This is a custom design with a krausen collar, a relatively loose fitting plastic lid (without airlock) and a spigot:

http://www.homebrewdownunder.com/index.php?topic=1822.0
(There are some clear images of the fermenter halfway down the thread)

I'm looking to move into extract brewing and I'd like to brew Belgian dubbels and tripels. As such I'm planning on leaving the ale in primary for a reasonable amount of time (say four weeks) and bottling after that. I want the simplest process and set-up possible but obviously don't want to ruin my beer!

As such I was wondering if anybody could help with the following questions:

1. Is it safe to leave the beer in the Coopers fermenter, in primary, for four weeks or more? If so should I keep the krausen collar fitted, or remove it after the initial phase is over? Is there anything that I need to do to secure it from infection after the initial phase (wrap in cling-film perhaps)?

2. Can I rack directly from the fermenter via the spigot? The inlet seems high enough to be above the trub and has not been a problem to date. As an added complication I would like to use the spigot to withdraw samples throughout primary so I assume I'd want to do something to sanitize the spigot before racking.

3. If the above is ok, is it acceptable to rack directly to bottles via a bottling wand attached to the spigot on the fermenter? I appreciate that this would require measuring out the sugar/priming solution into the bottles so may be more hassle than just using a bucket.

Thanks very much!
 

Revvy

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1) Many of us leave out beers in primary for a month minimum.

2) I'm personally not a big fan of spigots on anything other that bottling buckets. Even those that I might have I rack from the bucket itself, not through the spigot. In fact fermenting in one with a spigot, I usually seal it up with plastic wrap.

3) How are you integrating the priming sugar? If you're using a prime tab, then yeah going directly from the fermenter is fine...

If you're not using prime tabs, and are planning to use sugar, then it is best to make a sugar solution and integrate it with the beer at bottling time. Adding dry sugar to bottles is very tricky, it can lead from under carbd to over carbed beer to even bottle bombs. Also dry sugar and the co2 in the beer already can lead to gushers while filling. The sugar acts as nucleation sites, and you get what amounts to the mentos/diet coke effect, all the beer shooting out of the bottle.

So then the issue is how to do that.....Do you add it to the fermeter or secondary? How to you get it all to mix?

The problem with bottling from a primary or secondary instead of using a bottling bucket, is that since you have patiently gone and let your beer settle and clear, in order to mix the priming solution and beer effectively, you would have to stir it in the carboy which would a) kick up all that nice sediment you have patiently let fall, b) possibly oxydize the beer.

It really defeats the purpose of both a long primary/no secondary or a secondary if you have to stir up all the nice sediment you patiently waited to settle just so you can have consistent carbonation.
 

JDGator

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i have the Coopers DIY as well.

1. yes that's no problem. i prefer this fermentor over my other buckets.
2. yes you can rack from there. some trub will be drawn out because the lip above the spigot will have trub on it.
3. you can bottle from it, but you would need to prime the bottles vs. batch prime.
 

unionrdr

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I have the earlier version Of Cooper's fermenter,the micro brew fermenter. What I do is atach the lil bottler wand without the pin valve at the end. I then atach a length of 3/8" tubing to the end of the lil bottler wand that runs down & around the bottom of my bottling bucket. I open the spigot on the fermenter,& start racking the beer into the bottling bucket. After a couple inches of beer comes up in the bottling bucket,I slowly pour the priming solution into the swirling surface of the beer so as not to aerate it.
I think it'd be safe to leave the beer in there for a month,as the lid fits loosely to allow excess co2 to escape (in place of the airlock),but nasties don't get in. That's the theory of it's design,anyway.
This is the way I use my Cooper's micro brew fermenter. Using the lil bottler wand tube minus the valve is the only way I could get the 3/8" tubing I had a ton of to fit. A larger diameter of tubing can be had to fit the spout on the spigot minus the wand. 7/16" maybe...you'd have to measure the diameter of the spout on your spigot. I've never had problems with spigots on both my fermenters. But I do remove them after every brew & clean/sanitize them & the mounting hole. Gotta keep'em clean.
I've used a lot of Cooper's stuff to brew with,adding hops,DME's,partial mashes & the like. But that micro brew FV is a tough lil unit. I personally like it better than the new one,but they both seem to work well.
 
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ArnoldTheBat

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That's great, thanks all.

If I do rack from the spigot is there anything in particular I need to do to sanitize it (particularly given that I will have been using it to withdraw samples)? Or can I just spray with Star-San?

Oh, in response to an earlier question - if I was racking direct to bottles I'd be either using tabs/sugar cubes (miraculously 4g seems to be the right amount for a 750ml bottle with carbonation for Belgian ale) or making up a solution which I'd measure into the bottles using a syringe.
 

unionrdr

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I'll make sure the spout on the spigot is clean,then spray it with starsan. Then sanitize the tube from the lil bottler/racking tube set up before racking into the bottling bucket. The Cooper's PET bottles I got are 740mL,or 25.16oz. Not 750mL. 2-12oz glasses from one bottle isn't bad. I've got 45 of them I can't get anybody to trade a 5G better bottle for that I no longer want.
 

DaNewf

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What I do is atach the lil bottler wand without the pin valve at the end. I then atach a length of 3/8" tubing to the end of the lil bottler wand that runs down & around the bottom of my bottling bucket.
I actually cut about 2 inches off of my little bottler wand and stuck it in the end of a five foot length of hose. I use this to transfer to the bottling bucket from the DIY spigot. If I ever decide to bottle directly from the fermenter (not really likely) I can either stick the shortened little bottler into the DIY spigot (it's still long enough) or I can stick it into the other end of the 3/8 tube and leave my bottles on the floor while bottling.
 

unionrdr

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Why shorten it? I just stuck the tubing on the end of it. My tube is only a couple feet long to go from the top of my fermenter stand to the bottling bucket on the floor below it. Didn't see any need to shorten it.
 

DaNewf

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Why shorten it? I just stuck the tubing on the end of it. My tube is only a couple feet long to go from the top of my fermenter stand to the bottling bucket on the floor below it. Didn't see any need to shorten it.
I don't know if I explained myself very well. I basically cut my bottling wand into two pieces. The longer piece still has the pin valve and is still long enough to use as originally intended. The short 2 inch piece has been stuck into the end of a 5 foot piece of tubing. I use the short piece/tubing to transfer my beer to a bottling bucket.

If I wanted to I could bottle directly from the bucket using just the bottling wand. The removal of 2 inches doesn't effect it's usefulness for any of the bottles I have.

But I have become used to bottling on the floor so I could still use the bottling wand by plugging it in to the other end of the tubing that has the 2 inch section already plugged into it (making my little bottler a long, flexible bottler).

I'll probably never bottle directly from the primary fermenter again but if I do I have a little bit of flexibility as to how I go about it.
 

unionrdr

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I see. I put the bottling bucket on the fermenter stand with the lil bottler tube stuck in place. Then my bottling wand has a long 3/8" tube that I stick on the end of the lil bottler tube so I can sit down & bottle with everything in arm's reach. I put the bottles on top of an old 12 pack cooler I have to fill them. You can see my fermenter stand in my photos. My youtube channel has a bottling video showing my setup.
 
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