Could I get some advice on bottling directly from FermZilla using a CP filler?

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LloydGM

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I could use some advice from y'all regarding using a counter pressure filler (CPF) going from a FermZilla to bottles. (I'm still saving $ to build a keezer and switch entirely to kegging.)

I have a FermZilla 30L All Rounder and plan to pressure ferment at 60-65F, and I can't refrigerate the FermZilla. Therefore, I chose to use a CPF and fill bottles directly from the FermZilla. (I don't mind the extra complexity vs. using a beer gun.) I plan to brew malty lagers and ales at 15PSI, usually FG 1.010 (5%-8% ABV). I'd prefer not calculating CO2 volume differences (FermZilla post-ferment vs target bottle CO2 volume), so I thought a pressure xfer would be best.

Thoughts so far:
1. I plan to ferment at 15 PSI
2. Using CO2 calculator, I need 27 PSI at 65.
3. The FermZilla's rated to 35 PSI, so at post-ferment, I can either increase pressure to 27 PSI or pressure-xfer to a corny keg and then increase its PSI to 27.
4. Once my CO2 volume hits the desired level, I'll use the CPF and spend the whole day bottling. :D
5. Am I over-complicating things by considering a keg?
6. Is 1 method (FermZilla -> bottles vs. adding the keg in the middle) harder, more risky, more prone to excess foaming, etc.?
7. I'm assuming standard 5/16" beer line, but I'm inexperienced here. (Maybe it'd be better to use 1/4" because of the higher pressure? Or have I got this backwards?)
8. For beer line diameter and length, I expect to figure it out with a calculator, e.g. Determining Proper hose length for your Kegerator

Your thoughts, please?

PS I also had this idea: xfer to a 1gal mini keg, refrigerate that, then bottle from it.
 
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LloydGM

LloydGM

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This is not going to work. You cannot counterpressure fill with warm beer. Period.
Why not? I'm not disagreeing, I just want to learn why. From everything I've read so far, it's just about CO2 volume and that's basically PSI and temperature. Would you mind please explaining more, please? I want to learn. Thanks! /cheer
 

Broken Crow

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Why not? I'm not disagreeing, I just want to learn why. From everything I've read so far, it's just about CO2 volume and that's basically PSI and temperature. Would you mind please explaining more, please? I want to learn. Thanks! /cheer
I'm not able to state the whole scientific explanation, but C02 simply doesn't 'like' to stay in liquid that isn't cold and as soon as you remove your CPF from the bottle, the foaming reaction from the pressure release happens at a rate proportional to temp. Same thing as when you pick up some beer while you're out driving, forget it in your car till it warms up but decide to open a warm one anyway and you get a shower. If you've ever seen a warm keg tapped before it cools, you get the same thing no matter how well-balanced your system.
I've got a big fermzilla too, and I've been considering making it a base with castors and getting an extra fridge with a little ramp. ;)
 

Bobby_M

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Why not? I'm not disagreeing, I just want to learn why. From everything I've read so far, it's just about CO2 volume and that's basically PSI and temperature. Would you mind please explaining more, please? I want to learn. Thanks! /cheer
Broken Crow had the right answer. It's true that the carbonation process is a matter of PSI and Temp. You can carbonate at any temperature if the vessel you're in can handle the required pressure. It's the dispensing part that's tricky since the pressure is not maintained 100% of the time.

Another way to say it is that the colder a liquid is, the less CO2 will flash off when pressure is released. A pragmatic way to think of it, without all the formulas that go with it, you can look at a carbonation chart:

1655037723555.png

Choosing a typical carbonation level of 2.5 volumes, you can see that it takes a whopping 30psi at 66F while only 9psi at 34F. When you're filling a container, even with counter pressure style tools, there's still a period of time when pressure needs to be released in order to cap the container. At that moment, you're dropping from whatever pressure you had to zero. It's a much larger jump from 30 to 0 than it is from 9 to 0.


Even more illustrative, pour two glasses of Coke. One from a can that has been chilled and one that hasn't. You'll end up with a cold carbonated glass and warm flat one. When I see people pouring a room temp soda over a glass of ice, I cringe every time.
 
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LloydGM

LloydGM

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I've got a big fermzilla too, and I've been considering making it a base with castors and getting an extra fridge with a little ramp. ;)
OMG I laughed so hard! Great idea, really. I've got an old dorm frig' in the garage, was thinking of rigging up an insulated box and attaching the frig' to it, sort of a poor man's temp keg frig' lol. Are we both nuts, or are we both geniuses? (Necessity is not the mother of all invention...laziness is.)
 
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LloydGM

LloydGM

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Broken Crow had the right answer. It's true that the carbonation process is a matter of PSI and Temp. You can carbonate at any temperature if the vessel you're in can handle the required pressure. It's the dispensing part that's tricky since the pressure is not maintained 100% of the time.

Another way to say it is that the colder a liquid is, the less CO2 will flash off when pressure is released. A pragmatic way to think of it, without all the formulas that go with it, you can look at a carbonation chart:

Choosing a typical carbonation level of 2.5 volumes, you can see that it takes a whopping 30psi at 66F while only 9psi at 34F. When you're filling a container, even with counter pressure style tools, there's still a period of time when pressure needs to be released in order to cap the container. At that moment, you're dropping from whatever pressure you had to zero. It's a much larger jump from 30 to 0 than it is from 9 to 0.

Even more illustrative, pour two glasses of Coke. One from a can that has been chilled and one that hasn't. You'll end up with a cold carbonated glass and warm flat one. When I see people pouring a room temp soda over a glass of ice, I cringe every time.
That makes perfect sense, super analogies, thx! Sounds like I'd be fine going keg-to-keg (or 'zilla-to-keg) as long as the pressures match, then control the flow with a spunding valve. But there's no way I'm going to try serving at room temp, though I'm sure I would've tried w/o your warning. :D The room temp soda thing is pretty common, too...wife gets boxes of flavored carbonated water for the kids and I have one every now and then, too...and I slowly pour into an ice-cube-filled glass...really, really slowly, else it's a soda tsunami for sure. Physics is physics, beer should act the same as soda, so again, thx for the example.

My plan is to xfer to kegs for storage, then user a counter pressure filler (CPF) to fill bottles when needed. Gotta figure out some way to chill the keg, though I'm willing to experiment with a bottle or three to see if the CPF can get the bottle pressure high enough for a transfer. (I kinda doubt it, but it's worth trying.) An alternative is to get some mini kegs, xfer from big to mini keg, and the mini would fit in the frig' no problem; xfer to mini at garage temperature, the chill the mini so I can drink it later. If the CPF doesn't work (and I'm inclined to think it won't), I can probably jury-rig something to chill the FermZilla like a big plastic tub filled with ice water, sorta like chilling wort down to room temp, only colder, like using ice. Sure wish I could build that keezer now, but the house needs new windows first. <sigh>

Thx again, guys, I really do appreciate the help. /cheer
 

Broken Crow

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I've got an old dorm frig' in the garage, was thinking of rigging up an insulated box and attaching the frig' to it, sort of a poor man's temp keg frig'
I've seen that...pretty sure it was here on HBT but might have been one of those DIY sites; Someone made a collar for their fridge in the same way everyone does keezers. Sorry I can't point you to a link..me and the search engine on this site don't get along well. Go for it! You've got me thinking that way too, though the only extra fridge I have is about 18" high..might not work so well. :p
 
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