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DIY/poor man's floating diptube for clear beer

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SanPancho

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so been searching around for something like this without much luck. few posts ive seen have been pretty involved, lots of parts, money, etc. might as well buy the clear beer draft system TM. but i got alot of kegs.

so this is a fermentasaurus floating diptube that goes with the pressurize kit (i think). any case, its a stainless ball, with clean weld, that has a ring on it, where they put another ring, like the one from your key chain. but stainless. and then they used a piece of stainless tubing, which appears to be about 5/16 OD ( so 1/4 ID?). there's a piece of flexible silicone hose that slides into the tubing.

now- i dont have a fermentasaurus so i dont know what this is supposed to attach to, but the only real issue i see is that the standard diptube seems just a tad bit too narrow for the tubing to fit into nicely. if you look at the photos, the float tube is similar in diameter and with a bit of lube it slides in without too much trouble. but the diptube looks a bit snug, like its pinching the tubing a bit. but it might just be the fact that i trimmed that diptube and didnt ream it out fully.

only one way to find out, so....... i filled the keg with water, pushed with co2. it was only 5 psi, but seemed to work fine and no co2 bleeding into the beer line from around the silicone hose. (which i assumed would have shown as bubbles in the beer line)

but- it couldnt get all of the water out. left a good bit at the bottom. now, im sure there are ways to get that last bit of water out. you could reverse the tap/gas connections so the water can get out the gas in side, and then hold the keg upside down and tilted to that side to get the last of the water, i think. but i just thought of that now. didnt do it when i was playing around.

so.... looks promising but will need a bit more work to be able to fully purge a keg while using this setup. but this could be a poor mans floating dip tube.
 

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brewbama

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Two of my kegs have the floating dip tubes. I love em. I hope this works out for you and you like it as much as I like mine.
 
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SanPancho

SanPancho

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yeah, im hoping this works out. on a regular beer i might not worry too much but i got an NEIPA coming and wanna make sure i scrub as much o2 as possible. i'm sure i can figure it out.

i think trimming the hose to the correct/appropriate length will also help, but it looks promising.
 
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SanPancho

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have a question for folks who use floating dip tubes- do you typically transfer into the serving keg via the floating dip tube? or via the gas in post?

my concern is that if transfered in via the floating tube, that the pressure might pop the silicone hose out of the QD connection and then youd be screwed.

if using the gas in post, i assume this poses a problem for beer that's already carbed? foaming? aroma loss?

trying to wrap my head around the best way to approach the transfer into serving keg. dont really want to try it and see what happens if it means i screw up a whole batch.
 

drez77

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have a question for folks who use floating dip tubes- do you typically transfer into the serving keg via the floating dip tube? or via the gas in post?

my concern is that if transfered in via the floating tube, that the pressure might pop the silicone hose out of the QD connection and then youd be screwed.

if using the gas in post, i assume this poses a problem for beer that's already carbed? foaming? aroma loss?

trying to wrap my head around the best way to approach the transfer into serving keg. dont really want to try it and see what happens if it means i screw up a whole batch.
I do it thought the floating dip tube with no issues.
 

day_trippr

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Re-reading this thread, wondering how much "a good bit at the bottom" amounts to (measure it?) as I would have thought the reason one would consider using a floating dip tube is anticipating a bunch of crud settling out on the bottom. Hence, "a good bit" might represent an end goal - leave the crap behind and drink clear beer along the way.

Other question wrt concern about the dip tube to silicone connection: tried warming up the silicone and slipping it over a wetted dip tube?

Cheers!
 
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SanPancho

SanPancho

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i used a 3gal corny, id say maybe 1-2 ounces. either way, i just upended the keg and blew it out the gas in post. wont be a problem in future in terms of getting all the water out of your purged keg. that's what i was referring to, not necessarily the yeast/hop sludge.

as for the hose, im not sure you'd want to try and stretch it over. i'd think its not wide enough, it'd rip. the silicone is soft, but pretty thin too. in any case, i need to cut one down to size for the 3gal keg so when i do that i'll play with the scrap and see if its possible. my gut tells me no, but we'll see what happens.
 

day_trippr

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Ah, the concern was blowing out purging sanitizer. Yeah, that's a potential problem now that you mention it.
One solution would be to grow a dedicated port through the lid for your floating dip tube and keep the full length original for blowing out the keg. Drill a hole in the lid and silver solder a keg post adapter like this:

Drop in a short dip tube for your floating line and screw on another beer post...

Cheers!
 

FunkedOut

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Another plus to @day_trippr suggestion is you’d have the original diptube for transferring beer into the keg.
 
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SanPancho

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if anyone with an actual clear beer system can explain how the filter works or what its made from that'd be a help. pours are pretty good, but if you go too soon you can still pull some hops/gunk through it. would be nice to have a strainer for any random big chunks....
 

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Ah, the concern was blowing out purging sanitizer. Yeah, that's a potential problem now that you mention it.
One solution would be to grow a dedicated port through the lid for your floating dip tube and keep the full length original for blowing out the keg. Drill a hole in the lid and silver solder a keg post adapter like this:

Drop in a short dip tube for your floating line and screw on another beer post...

Cheers!
I used to fill w/ Star-San and blow out the star-san, but lately I've just been taking the fermentation gases off the fermenter and feeding them into the keg. If you do just a little purging ahead of time w/ CO2, that will give you an almost perfectly pure CO2 environment in the keg.

Since I'm doing that now I no longer have to blow out the star-san. I just dump a pint or so in the keg, swish it around, dump it out, and proceed from there.
 

milldoggy

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I used to fill w/ Star-San and blow out the star-san, but lately I've just been taking the fermentation gases off the fermenter and feeding them into the keg. If you do just a little purging ahead of time w/ CO2, that will give you an almost perfectly pure CO2 environment in the keg.

Since I'm doing that now I no longer have to blow out the star-san. I just dump a pint or so in the keg, swish it around, dump it out, and proceed from there.
Can you explain your process?
 

mongoose33

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I used to fill w/ Star-San and blow out the star-san, but lately I've just been taking the fermentation gases off the fermenter and feeding them into the keg. If you do just a little purging ahead of time w/ CO2, that will give you an almost perfectly pure CO2 environment in the keg.

Since I'm doing that now I no longer have to blow out the star-san. I just dump a pint or so in the keg, swish it around, dump it out, and proceed from there.
Can you explain your process?
Once the keg is clean, I'll dump in a pint or so of Star-san. I'll reseat the lid and swish around, inverting the keg, making sure all the surfaces are exposed to it. Then I'll open the lid and invert the keg and dump out the star-san.

I don't use a standard airlock on my fermenter--I use a stopper with a tube stuck in it--a bottle filling wand is perfect for that, just cut off about 3". From that I use some 5/16" silicone tubing, but any vinyl that fit would work as well. Usually I'd feed that into a jar w/ star-san, but now what I do is attach that 5/15" tubing to a black Liquid QD, and connect it to a keg. Release the PRV to allow the keg to vent, and all the gas produced in fermentation is purging the keg. There is enough CO2 produced to virtually clear the keg of air and oxygen. When fermentation ceases, I disconnect the tube from the keg, the undo the PRV so it seals again. Voila! Keg full of CO2, no bottled CO2 used to do it, and the CO2 is actually more pure than what comes from the bottle.

I just got a new conical, brewed with it Thursday for the first time. Here's how I captured the gases from the fermenter to feed the keg:

purgekegfermenterCO2.jpg


It's a little weird, but it works. Rather than an airlock--which I could use with a different configuration--I have a gas ball-lock on the gas manifold on the top of the conical. That is connected to a rather odd line--one end has the gas QD, the other has a black Liquid QD. I could connect that end directly to the keg, but in this case I connected it to the jumper line I used to rack the beer to the keg. I used one of these to connect the two black QDs together:

jumperpost.png

You can get these from brew hardware here: https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/ball_lock_jumperpost.htm

FWIW: I also use these to daisy chain faucets when cleaning my keezer lines. This is a bit of thread drift but it's probably worth noting:

linecleaning2.jpg
 

milldoggy

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Once the keg is clean, I'll dump in a pint or so of Star-san. I'll reseat the lid and swish around, inverting the keg, making sure all the surfaces are exposed to it. Then I'll open the lid and invert the keg and dump out the star-san.

I don't use a standard airlock on my fermenter--I use a stopper with a tube stuck in it--a bottle filling wand is perfect for that, just cut off about 3". From that I use some 5/16" silicone tubing, but any vinyl that fit would work as well. Usually I'd feed that into a jar w/ star-san, but now what I do is attach that 5/15" tubing to a black Liquid QD, and connect it to a keg. Release the PRV to allow the keg to vent, and all the gas produced in fermentation is purging the keg. There is enough CO2 produced to virtually clear the keg of air and oxygen. When fermentation ceases, I disconnect the tube from the keg, the undo the PRV so it seals again. Voila! Keg full of CO2, no bottled CO2 used to do it, and the CO2 is actually more pure than what comes from the bottle.

I just got a new conical, brewed with it Thursday for the first time. Here's how I captured the gases from the fermenter to feed the keg:

View attachment 566305

It's a little weird, but it works. Rather than an airlock--which I could use with a different configuration--I have a gas ball-lock on the gas manifold on the top of the conical. That is connected to a rather odd line--one end has the gas QD, the other has a black Liquid QD. I could connect that end directly to the keg, but in this case I connected it to the jumper line I used to rack the beer to the keg. I used one of these to connect the two black QDs together:

View attachment 566306
You can get these from brew hardware here: https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/ball_lock_jumperpost.htm

FWIW: I also use these to daisy chain faucets when cleaning my keezer lines. This is a bit of thread drift but it's probably worth noting:

View attachment 566308
I got all those parts, def doing this. I just need to jump conical to keg to keg and purge two kegs
 

Sadu

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I have a fermentasaurus and a couple of extra floating dip tubes for fermenting in kegs.
As mentioned above, if you stretch the silicone tube over the steel dip tube it will eventually tear. So silicone goes inside the steel.
They also seem to work a lit better if the silicone tube is cut to match the height of the keg. Is no slack when the ball rests on the bottom.
 
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SanPancho

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so my experiment went to crap. i was making a hoppy session, so i didnt want to open the keg after i fermented. so i put the floating tube in for primary, and as im now trying to pour first pint i get nothing. there's about 4 inches of beer in the line, and then nothing.

so if its floating, its clogged. otherwise i assume the tube fell out of the float assembly and is resting on the bottom where it immediately clogged.

fail.
 

Sadu

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If the tube fell out then you'll get gas blowing when you pull the tap, so I doubt it's that.

Next thing you want to try is to loosen the liquid post a couple of turns and see if that helps. I had issues with the spring being too tight or too loose and it doesn't open the poppet properly.

If that doesn't help, pressurise a PET container of starsan with a carbonation cap to a higher PSI than the keg. Then blow some starsan backwards through the liquid line and see if that helps clear things. Try not to depressurise the keg or all the trub and hops will go back into suspension and work their way back into the floating tube.

Let me know if any of this helps, I'm newish to this too.
 
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SanPancho

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I meant maybe the tube fell out of the float assembly, not the post. It’d be sunk at the bottom. And filled with gunk.

Since the beer line filled up about 4” with beer I’m assuming it’s a clog.

Might try to push 20-30psi down the out tube to clear. Otherwise I guess I gotta open it up.
 
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SanPancho

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so been a bit busy, neglected this beer. opened it up and the line is connected, nothing came apart. i pulled the out line off and cleaned the poppet and the QD. cleared any debris from the line itself.

i put it back on gas, and if i pull the pressure release i can hear not only pressure releasing but the co2 tank trying to fill the keg. but nothing coming out the tap.

not even a blast of co2. no foam, nothing.

im baffled.
 
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SanPancho

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anybody got an idea? im literally just baffled at how this is possible.

the float is floating. if the pick up tube was above the beer i should be getting a blast of co2 out of the tap. if the tube was disconnected from the out post i should also get a ton of co2.

instead im getting nothing. i visually inspected the line, cleared it, rinsed it, etc. same thing for the tap line.

how is this even possible that nothing is coming out? no foam, no gas, no beer.....
 

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Is the input in the filter floating? Maybe you need a weight to ensure the hose not level and is below the surface
 
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SanPancho

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I thought about that when i noticed the foam. But if the pick up tube was above the liquid, wouldn’t i be getting foam? or gas at least?

Nothing comes out of the tap. Like its totally plugged.
 

milldoggy

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I thought about that when i noticed the foam. But if the pick up tube was above the liquid, wouldn’t i be getting foam? or gas at least?

Nothing comes out of the tap. Like its totally plugged.
Correct you should get foam or gas. Hose plugged? Maybe push c02 through the hose to clear out any blockage
 
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SanPancho

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Right, thats the only thing i can think of is that the line is clogged somehow and i didnt fully clear it. . Or im guessing that it immediately clogged again as soon as i put it back together.

The other thought was that maybe the silicone tubing was crimping down too far when i shove it up the gas diptube and it basically seals, but that seems a stretch.

I think it probably just clogged again. Maybe i just need to crash it again and hit it with gelatin this time.
 
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SanPancho

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that's another area to look. since the depressure kicked up some foam i wasnt able to see anything but the very top of the float ball. i'd assume not, since the tube will just sort of do a coil or or loop or something, but its worth investigating once this beer is out.
 

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2 things it could be. If the tube is too long it could be kinking. Its important to cut the tube to length so there is no excess.

Second thing happened to me on my fermentasaurus and drove me batshit. I could connect a black disconnect to the post and nothing came out, this is with the FV at 20psi. The problem is the balance between the spring in the disconnect and the spring in the post. If one isn't seated properly then the post stays sealed. Try loosening the liquid post a couple of turns and see if anything changes. Also the number of o rings that you used on the diptube matters as 2 o rings makes the spring tighter than 1. Also o rings flatten over time. My money is on this being your issue.
 

yowzers

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You need to use thick walled silicoe tube to keep it from kinking.
 
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SanPancho

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funny thing, i shitcanned the floating tube and just put a regular old diptube back in. same problem, but now with just the tiniest flow of beer, mostly foam. im thinking it could be the post, or maybe its just clogged again.

its insane to me but even after a 3 day crash in mid 30s there are still lots of floating hop particles. big ones. its crazy. about the only thing i can think of at this point is to just open it up, pull the diptube and clear it, then put a filter on it so it doesnt clog again.

so annoying. what a waste of hops....
 

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funny thing, i poopycanned the floating tube and just put a regular old diptube back in. same problem, but now with just the tiniest flow of beer, mostly foam. im thinking it could be the post, or maybe its just clogged again.

its insane to me but even after a 3 day crash in mid 30s there are still lots of floating hop particles. big ones. its crazy. about the only thing i can think of at this point is to just open it up, pull the diptube and clear it, then put a filter on it so it doesnt clog again.

so annoying. what a waste of hops....
How much of your time and hops have you spent? (Rhetorical)

I use the red Cask Widges. I lager each beer for at least a week before tapping. I put loose hop pellets in my serving keg.

It’s a bit insane that stuff would be floating - I rock the keg vigorously during dry hopping, so maybe your hops are floating dry?
 
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SanPancho

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Not much actually. One hoppy session. 2gal.

Never heard of a cask wedge.

On myface group a guy had a nice diy float he seemed to like. This is where he got it—

Stainless steel float ball from autosparge replacement parts in blichmann store.

Then he just used some tubing to connect.
 
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mj1angier

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I got the float balls with the tube in the other day. I could get the tube on the ball end ok, but could not get it on the cut-down dip-tube.

I hit up ebay for a selection of silicone hoses to try. This one fits the best on the OUTSIDE of bot float ball end and dip-tube:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/US-Stock-2...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

It is a little ticker walled and is long enough to get about 9 replacement tubes out of. I did a quick test with water. I filled with the lid off and ball floats at about mid way of the ball so pick-up is abot1-1.5" in the beer. Put lid on and did pressure test and it poured fine. I emptied keg and pushed Sani-star back into it from another keg. Filled fine, but I could hear the ball bouncing of the wall ever now and then. I will let it sit over night and the push out Sani-star. I should be able to fill it in about 5-7 days and carb it up soon after. Hope to have report in 2 weeks on how well it worked.
 
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SanPancho

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I got the float balls with the tube in the other day. I could get the tube on the ball end ok, but could not get it on the cut-down dip-tube.

I hit up ebay for a selection of silicone hoses to try. This one fits the best on the OUTSIDE of bot float ball end and dip-tube:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/US-Stock-20ft-OD-10mm-ID-6mm-Silicone-Food-Grade-Rubber-Tube-Hose-Pipe/372114317802?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

It is a little ticker walled and is long enough to get about 9 replacement tubes out of. I did a quick test with water. I filled with the lid off and ball floats at about mid way of the ball so pick-up is abot1-1.5" in the beer. Put lid on and did pressure test and it poured fine. I emptied keg and pushed Sani-star back into it from another keg. Filled fine, but I could hear the ball bouncing of the wall ever now and then. I will let it sit over night and the push out Sani-star. I should be able to fill it in about 5-7 days and carb it up soon after. Hope to have report in 2 weeks on how well it worked.
which balls are you using? the fermentasaurus, the blichman sparge balls, or something else?
 
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SanPancho

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How much of your time and hops have you spent? (Rhetorical)

I use the red Cask Widges. I lager each beer for at least a week before tapping. I put loose hop pellets in my serving keg.

It’s a bit insane that stuff would be floating - I rock the keg vigorously during dry hopping, so maybe your hops are floating dry?
just got around to checking out the cask widges. looks promising. it looks like they just have a barb on the end you get the hose onto? do you need to buy the expensive hose they sell or can you just use regular silicone tubing?
 
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SanPancho

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cool. i'll have to hunt down some tubing, looks like you bought the last one on ebay.
 

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just got around to checking out the cask widges. looks promising. it looks like they just have a barb on the end you get the hose onto? do you need to buy the expensive hose they sell or can you just use regular silicone tubing?
I looked at those today too ( working on a way to do a cask ale) and the US reseller is out at the moment. But they do look neat
 
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SanPancho

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i found a random website online that had 5/16 ID silicone for about a buck a foot, which was fine i guess. but didnt go as far as seeing the shipping cost. you never know. was also thinking of stopping a medical supply store over by the hospital, figure somebody has to have a few different types of silicone in stock over there.

my to-do list just keeps getting longer...
 
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