Corny keg to bottle conundrum

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JRGlobis

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I’m in a bit of a pickle and need some guidance.

I’m new to the mead game, but have made a few batches of everything from extract to all grain beer, so I’d say I have a basic knowledge and vocabulary, but admit I’m mostly clueless and wing it mostly. Please don’t slay me if I sound naive!

So I made a 5 gallon batch about 8 months ago. It was on primary for 3-4 weeks. Due to time constraints, I had to transfer it to a corny keg for secondary. Before doing so, I added about 5lbs of fresh raspberries that I had steamed for about 30 min to sanitize, puréed them, and poured into the corny with the mead. I then pushed CO2 into the keg, essentially force carbonating and trying to get any residual oxygen out, and left it for 7 months.

While I was gone, I had my wife “burp” it periodically by lifting the blowoff valve just to make sure it was still carbbed, but never added additional CO2 as it seemed by her description that it always seemed to be a strong burp, and it smelled good and sweet.

Now the conundrum. I want to bottle some of it for aging, and I want to leave some in the keg for immediate enjoyment, but I’m concerned that as soon as I try to make the first pour the liquid out tube or poppit valve will become obstructed by the sediment and raspberries.

I have considered blowing off all the CO2, siphoning out the sediment, and the filling bottles with the picnic tap, but I’m worried about, infection, oxygen corruption, and how that would affect aging and carbonation over the long term.

I’ve considered blowing off the oxygen, flipping it upside down, and trying to slowly unscrew the gas in ball lock valve enough to let the sediment escape, and once I see mostly clear, screwing it back on, flipping it back up, re pressurizing, and not bottling.

Last, I’ve considered just rolling the dice and hoping the poppit or ball lock doesn't
get fouled and trouble shoot from there.

Desired endstate would be to successfully have 2/3 of it bottled, and the last 1/3 drinkable, preferably not in a quasi raspberry mead smoothie form.

If y’all have any ideas, suggestions, or “shame on you” feedback, please let me know! Thanks in advance!
 

Dr_Jeff

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You could turn the keg on it's side, with the diptube at the three o'clock position, possibly have a rolled up towel under the top of the keg to give it an angle of say 15-30 degrees. Let it sit that way for several days, connect the bottling tool of your choice and proceed to bottle, as it begins to blow co2, slightly roll the keg submerging the diptube or increase the angle of the keg by moving the rolled up towel.
 
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JRGlobis

JRGlobis

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You could turn the keg on it's side, with the diptube at the three o'clock position, possibly have a rolled up towel under the top of the keg to give it an angle of say 15-30 degrees. Let it sit that way for several days, connect the bottling tool of your choice and proceed to bottle, as it begins to blow co2, slightly roll the keg submerging the diptube or increase the angle of the keg by moving the rolled up towel.
That’s a great suggestion, thanks!
 
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JRGlobis

JRGlobis

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You could turn the keg on it's side, with the diptube at the three o'clock position, possibly have a rolled up towel under the top of the keg to give it an angle of say 15-30 degrees. Let it sit that way for several days, connect the bottling tool of your choice and proceed to bottle, as it begins to blow co2, slightly roll the keg submerging the diptube or increase the angle of the keg by moving the rolled up towel.
I
I would siphon the mead off the sediment into a carboy, clean the keg and siphon it back. If you know how to siphon with no air bubbles you'll be fine.
I’m not the best at racking with no bubbles.....the thing I’m worried about with that method would be introducing any unnecessary oxygen into the mead.
 
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JRGlobis

JRGlobis

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just tossing ideas out, but what about attaching this to the gas post. and swaping the gas and bev posts?

That’s the move dude! I didn’t even know those existed! Anyone have any experience with these?
 
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JRGlobis

JRGlobis

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i thought O2 ingress was mostly for brewers, and hops?

sorry, i don't make mead, but trying to learn something new here.
I really don’t know either. I guess I assumed any oxygenation of any fermented liquid after or during conditioning is bad to go. Here to learn as well though.
 

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Mead is more forgiving to oxidation than beer or wine, but for GP's we all take precautions. The thing here is that there's 5 lbs. of fruit mush in the bottom of the keg and I wouldn't trust a keg post to not clog. If the OP could cut down a custom made liquid tube that's above the lees it might be possible to push out with CO2. I'd still go with the racking route.
 

Maylar

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just tossing ideas out, but what about attaching this to the gas post. and swaping the gas and bev posts?

Cool contraption, but blowing gas into the liquid side would stir up the lees. Better maybe to have a short liquid tube.
 

bracconiere

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Cool contraption, but blowing gas into the liquid side would stir up the lees. Better maybe to have a short liquid tube.

i actually did think of that, and was going to say pull the liquid dip tube when swapping gas and bev posts..

you say oxygen isn't as big a concern, for the OP's problem, would opening the keg for a couple minutes be a concern?
 
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JRGlobis

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Mead is more forgiving to oxidation than beer or wine, but for GP's we all take precautions. The thing here is that there's 5 lbs. of fruit mush in the bottom of the keg and I wouldn't trust a keg post to not clog. If the OP could cut down a custom made liquid tube that's above the lees it might be possible to push out with CO2. I'd still go with the racking route.
Ok that makes sense.
I found a floating dip tube for $15 bucks the I’m going to give a shot. I’ll keep y’all updated.
 
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JRGlobis

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Cool contraption, but blowing gas into the liquid side would stir up the lees. Better maybe to have a short liquid tube.
Should I just cut the tube I have now then? I could probably get a gauge on how deep the sediment is by thieving with a long silicone tube and cutting the dip tube to match?
 
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JRGlobis

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i actually did think of that, and was going to say pull the liquid dip tube when swapping gas and bev posts..

you say oxygen isn't as big a concern, for the OP's problem, would opening the keg for a couple minutes be a concern?
I like the idea of two short gas tubes, one for gas in, and the floating dip tube for the liquid out. I think this meets the minimum criteria for getting the most liquid out without disturbing the sediment (or is it referred to lees) too much.

as far as bottling, any recommendations on guns I can go straight from the pressurized keg to bottles?
 

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I like the idea of two short gas tubes, one for gas in, and the floating dip tube for the liquid out. I think this meets the minimum criteria for getting the most liquid out without disturbing the sediment (or is it referred to lees) too much.

as far as bottling, any recommendations on guns I can go straight from the pressurized keg to bottles?
Two short tubes and the floating thingie is what I was thinking too. But honestly, I would rack to a carboy only for the peace of mind of seeing how clear it is (yes, sediment is called lees).

When I bottle cider from a keg I attach a bottling wand to my picnic tap (it's a perfect fit) and keep pressure at about 3 psi. Cider foams very little, so line length concerns are not a problem. I would expect mead to be the same.
 
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Two short tubes and the floating thingie is what I was thinking too. But honestly, I would rack to a carboy only for the peace of mind of seeing how clear it is (yes, sediment is called lees).

When I bottle cider from a keg I attach a bottling wand to my picnic tap (it's a perfect fit) and keep pressure at about 3 psi. Cider foams very little, so line length concerns are not a problem. I would expect mead to be the same.
Ok so I think I have a solid plan here guys.
I’m going to siphon off the majority of the sediment until I can get clear liquid. I’m then going to use the floating dip tube and a beer gun to fill some bottles for aging. (On that note, should I add conditioning tabs?)
I’ll then purge and depressurization the keg, chill it, and see what happens.
 
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JRGlobis

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Ok so I think I have a solid plan here guys.
I’m going to siphon off the majority of the sediment until I can get clear liquid. I’m then going to use the floating dip tube and a beer gun to fill some bottles for aging. (On that note, should I add conditioning tabs?)
I’ll then purge and depressurization the keg, chill it, and see what happens.
Correction, repressurize
 

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Has any thoughts been given to just cold crashing the mead for a solid amount of time, pulling from it (via beer gun into either a bottle or glass) until it runs clear and then move it to another keg and bottle before touching the current keg??

IMO, that would be the easiest method to get the majority off the sediment without buying more gear, or going through several more steps. Plus you can do a full pressurized transfer from the current keg to a new one (purged with CO2) to reduce risk of oxidization (or anything else).
 
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JRGlobis

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Has any thoughts been given to just cold crashing the mead for a solid amount of time, pulling from it (via beer gun into either a bottle or glass) until it runs clear and then move it to another keg and bottle before touching the current keg??

IMO, that would be the easiest method to get the majority off the sediment without buying more gear, or going through several more steps. Plus you can do a full pressurized transfer from the current keg to a new one (purged with CO2) to reduce risk of oxidization (or anything else).
I haven’t considered that option, however I would still have concerns about poppit valve or ball valve obstructions if pulling liquid from the very bottom. Thoughts?
 

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Is the mead carbonated? How much pressure has it been under? Or has it just been sitting in a sealed keg?

Sitting on raspberries for 7 months will give you 2 issues - those seeds will definitely clog the poppet. Plus they are bitter. Fruit in secondary is usually racked off after only 2 weeks. I dunno what your mead will taste like. Good luck.
 

bwible

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That’s the move dude! I didn’t even know those existed! Anyone have any experience with these?
I have them in 5 of my corny kegs. No issues whatsoever. They work “as advertised”. You have to buy the one that says torpedo keg though, not Fermzilla
 

bwible

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Should I just cut the tube I have now then? I could probably get a gauge on how deep the sediment is by thieving with a long silicone tube and cutting the dip tube to match?
You don’t cut anything. These come with a short metal tube and everything you need

 
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JRGlobis

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Is the mead carbonated? How much pressure has it been under? Or has it just been sitting in a sealed keg?

Sitting on raspberries for 7 months will give you 2 issues - those seeds will definitely clog the poppet. Plus they are bitter. Fruit in secondary is usually racked off after only 2 weeks. I dunno what your mead will taste like. Good luck.
After I added the raspberry purée, I force carbbed it, made sure to purge any oxygen, and left it for 7 months. It was a panic move due to bad planning and lack of experience. I didn’t realize fruit should only sit for two weeks. But hey, now I know!
If it is bitter, is there any way to bring it back to drinkable? I spent a pretty penny on 15lbs of pure orange blossom honey and I’d be bummed if I ruined it.
 

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If it is bitter, is there any way to bring it back to drinkable? I spent a pretty penny on 15lbs of pure orange blossom honey and I’d be bummed if I ruined it.
I made a batch of BOMM & took 1 quart of it to add some raspberries to.
I, like you, didn't have much experience with adding fruit & which kinds of fruit would add flavors or characteristics that I wasn't aware of. I found that 2 1/2 months of sitting on the fruit made my raspberry mead very bitter. I was only able to make mine drinkable through back sweetening, & then it was delicious. Your tastes may vary. Taste it & see what you think.

I did a LOT of reading on melomels since that batch & as @Maylar said, 2 weeks is long enough for just about any fruit.

ALL fruits should be frozen for @ least 24 hrs & should be thawed completely before adding to the must. This help to break down the cell walls & makes it easier for the yeast to access the sugars.
Fruits with pits, (stone fruits), should have them removed PRIOR to adding them to the must, (preferably, before freezing).
Fruits with SEEDS, are a different matter, when added to the must. I don't know of anyone who takes the time to deseed a strawberry. One would take forever, let alone a whole batch worth. Fruits with the seeds, (strawberries, raspberries, black berries, blueberries, I'm sure there are others that I'm missing, but,, these are the ones I can rattle off right now), add a tannic value , but, can be overdone & create a bitterness, as in my raspberry BOMM.
I would crack one of those corny kegs open to see what you have & see what you think of how bitter it may be.

The lesson I learned, is, going forward, I will taste it @ 2 weeks & then daily afterwards, to see what changes.

I hope this helps.
Happy meading:cool:
 
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JRGlobis

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I made a batch of BOMM & took 1 quart of it to add some raspberries to.
I, like you, didn't have much experience with adding fruit & which kinds of fruit would add flavors or characteristics that I wasn't aware of. I found that 2 1/2 months of sitting on the fruit made my raspberry mead very bitter. I was only able to make mine drinkable through back sweetening, & then it was delicious. Your tastes may vary. Taste it & see what you think.

I did a LOT of reading on melomels since that batch & as @Maylar said, 2 weeks is long enough for just about any fruit.

ALL fruits should be frozen for @ least 24 hrs & should be thawed completely before adding to the must. This help to break down the cell walls & makes it easier for the yeast to access the sugars.
Fruits with pits, (stone fruits), should have them removed PRIOR to adding them to the must, (preferably, before freezing).
Fruits with SEEDS, are a different matter, when added to the must. I don't know of anyone who takes tee time to deseed a strawberry. One would take forever, let alone a whole batch worth. Fruits with the seeds, (strawberries, raspberries, black berries, blueberries, I'm sure there are others that I'm missing, but,, these are the ones I can rattle off right now), add a tannic value , but, can be overdone & create a bitterness, as in my raspberry BOMM.
I would crack one of those corny kegs open to see what you have & see what you think of how bitter it may be.

The lesson I learned, is, going forward, I will taste it @ 2 weeks & then daily afterwards, to see what changes.

I hope this helps.
Happy meading:cool:
Outstanding info my friend. Thanks! I’m going to taste it today and see where it’s at. Fingers crossed.
 

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Should I just cut the tube I have now then? I could probably get a gauge on how deep the sediment is by thieving with a long silicone tube and cutting the dip tube to match?

I think you are overthinking this. Just use the silicone tubing for a (shorter) temporary dip tube.
 
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JRGlobis

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LOL. Overthinking things is my curse unfortunately...
 

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I have them in 5 of my corny kegs. No issues whatsoever. They work “as advertised”. You have to buy the one that says torpedo keg though, not Fermzilla
I have 3 of them with SS nuts attached to help sink the tubing, I push the nut on to the ball float tubing end. (stays and helps pull the ball not just the tubing) Clear brew to the bottom of the torpedo keg. :bigmug:
 
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JRGlobis

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I’m in a bit of a pickle and need some guidance.

I’m new to the mead game, but have made a few batches of everything from extract to all grain beer, so I’d say I have a basic knowledge and vocabulary, but admit I’m mostly clueless and wing it mostly. Please don’t slay me if I sound naive!

So I made a 5 gallon batch about 8 months ago. It was on primary for 3-4 weeks. Due to time constraints, I had to transfer it to a corny keg for secondary. Before doing so, I added about 5lbs of fresh raspberries that I had steamed for about 30 min to sanitize, puréed them, and poured into the corny with the mead. I then pushed CO2 into the keg, essentially force carbonating and trying to get any residual oxygen out, and left it for 7 months.

While I was gone, I had my wife “burp” it periodically by lifting the blowoff valve just to make sure it was still carbbed, but never added additional CO2 as it seemed by her description that it always seemed to be a strong burp, and it smelled good and sweet.

Now the conundrum. I want to bottle some of it for aging, and I want to leave some in the keg for immediate enjoyment, but I’m concerned that as soon as I try to make the first pour the liquid out tube or poppit valve will become obstructed by the sediment and raspberries.

I have considered blowing off all the CO2, siphoning out the sediment, and the filling bottles with the picnic tap, but I’m worried about, infection, oxygen corruption, and how that would affect aging and carbonation over the long term.

I’ve considered blowing off the oxygen, flipping it upside down, and trying to slowly unscrew the gas in ball lock valve enough to let the sediment escape, and once I see mostly clear, screwing it back on, flipping it back up, re pressurizing, and not bottling.

Last, I’ve considered just rolling the dice and hoping the poppit or ball lock doesn't
get fouled and trouble shoot from there.

Desired endstate would be to successfully have 2/3 of it bottled, and the last 1/3 drinkable, preferably not in a quasi raspberry mead smoothie form.

If y’all have any ideas, suggestions, or “shame on you” feedback, please let me know! Thanks in advance!
Update:
Took about a 4 oz room temp sample from the vey top of the keg using a sanitized turkey baster as a sort of “thief”. Didn’t seem to have any off flavors, and to my disappointment was actually somewhat flavorless. Very light honey notes, zero raspberry, and almost no sweetness. Also very little carbonation, bordering on none at all.

Some good news is that it definitely had a warm, mellow after taste which leads me to believe it has a decent ABV. Color was a very light pinkish tan, and was slightly hazy, but see through.

I’m guessing these tasting notes are due to it coming straight from the top of a keg that has been sitting for 7 months undisturbed, and that it will surely be a different story as I get samples from seller into the keg.

I’m going to continue to wait for the floating dip tube before posting anything else on how this thing turned out.

I should like to say thanks to everyone who pitched in with their recommendations and opinions. Y’all rock! 🤘
 

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Update:
Took about a 4 oz room temp sample from the vey top of the keg using a sanitized turkey baster as a sort of “thief”. Didn’t seem to have any off flavors, and to my disappointment was actually somewhat flavorless. Very light honey notes, zero raspberry, and almost no sweetness. Also very little carbonation, bordering on none at all.
My experience with raspberries is that most of the flavor is lost in fermentation and what's left is a "hint" of flavor. Also 5 lbs for a 5 gallon batch isn't very much. If the mead isn't all that exciting, you can use it for blending with other beverages.
 
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