Ferment and serve in corny - sediment options?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

Cider Wraith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2022
Messages
262
Reaction score
174
Location
US
This started with me thinking I would upgrade our home fermenting efforts with a pricy conical fermenter and discovering the revolution of keg fermenting. Also, I only make ciders so my needs are simplistic compared to you brewers. I appreciate corny keg fermenting is a relatively developed art but I’m just at the beginning of my journey and have a lot to learn so am doing my research. Well, yesterday stumbled across the idea of fermenting and serving in the same keg and that seems like it’s up there with the invention of the wheel

corns.jpeg


Seems like the obstacle to overcome with keg fermenting is elimination (or dramatic reduction) of sediment, “lees”. If doing an ordinary cider I ferment juices only so my sediment is fine and easily makes it through a line. But how to do it? Options?

Trim a conventional dip tube - it that case one would be committing to always losing a specified quantity of liquid but would probably produce good results. And, if committing to never opening the keg to expose contents to air it would require modifying several dip tubes that couldn’t be used conventionally again

Bend a conventional tube to one side of the bottom and ferment and transfer out with the keg tilted - same problem, always losing a specified quantity of liquid - seems iffy with keg being disturbed, potential leaking

Floating dip tube - an idea to explore further, but do they sometimes twist or bind or otherwise fail to get all the usable liquid? Maybe floating dip tubes all-the-rage?

Finally, what I’ve been thinking is, after fermentation, applying couple PSI and attaching a mobile picnic tap and pouring into a yeast saving vessel until clear liquid is produced. My guess would be although that would initially work, what would be happening is that a crater would be formed in the sediment close to the dip tube, and a sizable amount of sediment would remain on the sides that would eventually get back into the tube as the liquid level lowered and the keg was jostled. This seems like the simplest option to start with and ... if so ... am I going to wind up drinking some sediment, yeah.

So maybe I’m all off-track and there’s a dramatically better way to do any of this. Thoughts, musings appreciated -
 

odie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
2,065
Reaction score
1,172
Location
CC, TX
I'll just tell you what I do and have done. You can decide how to apply that to what you wish to accomplish.

First, all my wort from the kettle is screened thru a 200 micron bucket filter to remove almost all the trub & sediment. I was already doing this BEFORE I started keg fermenting so that I could harvest clean yeast cakes.

My first keg ferments I used the original dip tube, no cutting or bending. The first pint or two was a yeast harvest. The rest of the beer poured pretty clear...as long as I did not disturb the keg. When the keg ran empty there was still enough residual yeast inside to pitch fresh wort and ferment again without cleaning the keg.

I now use a floating dip tube. All the yeast remains in the keg. The first pour is clear and it stays clear until the last couple pints. If I catch it fast enough, I can prepare a mason jar and harvest the yeast cake right before the keg pops. After the keg is empty, there is still enough yeast cake inside for a fresh batch of wort to ferment., again without cleaning.

Issues with floating dip tubes...they sometimes stick to the sides or kink, get air in them and float. Add a SS nut to the pickup end or one to slide up and down the hose. And trim the hose so that it will drop straight into the dimple. Most kits give you too long of a hose.
 

11thStBrewing

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 3, 2022
Messages
72
Reaction score
43
The only drawback I’ve found when fermenting and serving in the same keg is when you purge after burst carbing it kicks up the yeast / trub back into suspension.

I’ve tried the set it and forget it method, which worked great.

On the last beer I spunded to 25PSI @82F after high krausen, so it was carbonated when it was done fermenting.

Both ways work, but the beer/cider needs some conditioning time anyways.
 
OP
OP
C

Cider Wraith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2022
Messages
262
Reaction score
174
Location
US
... looks like little interest in this thread, hm ... thanks for those that replied! - I'm still trying to understand how big fermenting in cornys is ... any additional thoughts appreciated
 

BongoYodeler

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
3,971
Reaction score
13,948
Location
California
I started a thread a while back on fermenting in a keg, though not necessarily serving from it. Perhaps there’s some helpful information for you.

 

Murph4231

Homebrew Advocate
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 19, 2021
Messages
848
Reaction score
1,385
I've been fermenting in kegs for over 30 years. And it's still a PITA. I do not ferment and serve from the same keg due to the trub/Lee's issue. I've shortened dip tubes, I've bent dip tubes and I've used a floater. They are all a PITA. I have conceded the best way to enjoy a cleaner clearer brew is to transfer to second vessel for conditioning and serving. Be it beer, wine, mead or cider I save myself the PITA by transferring to a serving vessel. I won't even serve from my conical, never have never will as that thing cost too much money to, one tie it up while the contents are consumed and two then it too becomes a PITA to deal with plus the extra accessories tied up with it. Sorry I know I'm not helping you reach the solution you are looking for but I'm not inclined to believe there is a perfect way to ferment and serve from a single vessel. Transfer to a sanitized oxygen purged serving vessel and you'll be happy you did. No PITA.
 
OP
OP
C

Cider Wraith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2022
Messages
262
Reaction score
174
Location
US
Transfer to a sanitized oxygen purged serving vessel and you'll be happy you did.
@Murph4231 thanks for the thoughtful reply ... yes, I'm thinking more about two different vessels as you described. There are ingenious ways to low-oxygen transfer yet the obvious final solution to sediment, if there didn't appear to be any other option, is to just pop the top and do an auto-siphon transfer as one would do anyway from a carboy. Thanks for the comment
 
OP
OP
C

Cider Wraith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2022
Messages
262
Reaction score
174
Location
US
Yeah, @Murph4231 I've been thinking about your last post above ... ok, so you've mentioned brewing in cornys, you've mentioned to go ahead and transfer to a serving corny, and you've mentioned several options for addressing sediment ... but I don't believe you mentioned what method of sediment avoidance you generally settled on ... what have you found to be the least PITA?
 

pvtpublic

Whale Oil Beef Hooked
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
632
Reaction score
628
To piggyback off what Murph was saying about transferring, purge your second keg and then use a jumper line to transfer. It's a completely sealed way to do it and won't expose your cider to oxygen either.

Edit: I recommend the floating dip tube with a stainless washer like Odie mentioned. Use it for both kegs. Just when you see sediment starting the go through the line, simply disconnect it!
 

renstyle

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
464
Reaction score
535
Location
Central Iowa
I have been keg fermenting from day 1, now almost 2 years and a few dozen batches.

I went floating dip tube right away and swapped in a mesh filter for the open end.

I still close transfer from ferm keg to serving.

This works with flat as well as carbonated beer as long as you utilize a spunding valve and keep the pressure differential between the two kegs low, say 2-3 PSI.

Then serving kegs can be used unmodified.
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    1.9 MB · Views: 0
OP
OP
C

Cider Wraith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2022
Messages
262
Reaction score
174
Location
US
...ok, so @pvtpublic says go floating all around and @renstyle says go floating in the fermenter and then go conventional in the serving ... I would guess that if the vast majority of sediment was left behind in the fermenter there wouldn't be much to worry about in the serving, however, still some would be settle out.

For me I maybe like the idea of the simplicity of floating in the fermenter where it would be necessary and then all conventional from there. For starters, I wouldn't need to retrofit all of my cornys with floating if just using for fermenting, and floating just in fermenters would mean that they would be more frequently opened and examined and checked for potential problems, cracks in the line, line coming lose. I'd feel more confident with dip tubes in vessels not being opened for months because an ordinary dip tube could be trusted into the future - thanks for comments
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
C

Cider Wraith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2022
Messages
262
Reaction score
174
Location
US
...just out of curiosity, what's the most corny fermenters you have had going at one time? I'm thinking maybe about three so would require the purchase of three floating if keeping serving conventional
 

Murph4231

Homebrew Advocate
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 19, 2021
Messages
848
Reaction score
1,385
@Cider Wraith later today I'll be transferring the remains of two melomels from 5 gal cornies to two smaller torpedoe kegs. I'll post pictures and explain the process. Nothing to it. You simply sanitize the equipment, purge the kegs then push the melomel from one keg to the other with Co2. These melomels are almost 2 yrs old. Have about 1 1/2 gal of a Blackberry and 2 1/2 gal of raspberry. I'm transferring them to free up the 5s they are in and reduce head space until they kick. Check back this evening.
 

pvtpublic

Whale Oil Beef Hooked
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
632
Reaction score
628
... I would guess that if the vast majority of sediment was left behind in the fermenter there wouldn't be much to worry about in the serving, however, still some would be settle out. But I like the simplicity of going floating for fermenter and all conventional from there. For starters, I wouldn't need to retrofit every one of my cornys with floating.
Nothing wrong with that! I just like to lager everything I make to some extent and serve from the top, where the clearest beer/wine/mead/cider/hot ham water/etc. is.
And, if leaving something for a few months I don't have to worry something's gone wrong with the floating. So if floating just for fermenting that would be frequently opened and examined and checked for potential problems, cracks in the line, line coming lose, and after that an ordinary dip tube could expect to be trusted into the future - thanks for comments
If your process is clean, sanitary, and oxygen free, there's no need to look inside at all. Floating dip tube won't just crack or separate on you out of the blue, unless you neglect them or do a shoddy job with connecting them.

Again, nothing wrong with going conventional on the serving keg, just sharing info.
 

Bassman2003

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
1,366
Reaction score
686
Location
Arlington
Cider, this is where you are at a crossroads. There are always multiple levels of how to do things in the homebrew world. They all can "work" depending upon how much effort or adherence you have to the 'proper textbook methods'. I will start by saying, the professional or time tested proper way to make fermented beverages is to remove all sediment throughout the process. Hands down, this is the best way to make these beverages. Yeast and sediment have flavors as well as get in the way of other processses. They are best removed.

The best method to achieve this is in your scenario is two corny kegs. One for fermenting and one for serving. Not too expensive or complicated. The easiest way would be to add your fermentable liquid, close the keg up, have your second keg cleaned and sanitized, close it up, hook a gas to liquid post jumper line between the kegs and then hook a spunding valve to the gas post of the 2nd keg. This will purge the 2nd keg with fermentation gas and you will have the option to ferment under pressure as well as carbonate in the fermenting keg. Your transfer after fermentation will be just elevating the fermenter keg and hooking up gas to gas jumpers and liquid to liquid jumpers and let gravity to the work. You can drain the first bits to clear sediment & yeast into a separate container (Keglad makes a cool product for this). And you are golden.

So what you need would be two corny kegs, a spunding valve, a gas to liquid jumper line, a gas to gas jumper line and a liquid to liquid jumper line.
 

Murph4231

Homebrew Advocate
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 19, 2021
Messages
848
Reaction score
1,385
...just out of curiosity, what's the most corny fermenters you have had going at one time? I'm thinking maybe about three so would require the purchase of three floating if keeping serving conventional
I've never had more than 3 cornies as fermenters at once but back in my younger days when I drank more and had a lot of friends and club members around I've have up to 8 kegs of beer going. Not all Cornelius I also use 5 and 7 gal sankes. I use cornies for sweeter sticker beverages and sankes for cleaner ales and pilsners.
 

NickTheGreat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2012
Messages
1,267
Reaction score
483
I'm thinking hard about fermenting in a keg next time around. Mainly because I hate cleaning my carboys. I don't love cleaning kegs, but it's easier for me.

I was thinking of doing floating dip tube in the fermentor and then just regular for serving. I've never been one for secondary fermentors but I feel like this would be a happy medium.
 
OP
OP
C

Cider Wraith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2022
Messages
262
Reaction score
174
Location
US
Thoroughly appreciate replies!

Here's where it stands for me. The first effort at corny fermenting is the middle keg, I have it's dip tube on the top as a reminder to reinstall it because I had temporarily borrowed and installed a second gas tube from another keg. There is no alternative that that keg will have to be opened, if for nothing more than to reinstall the dip tube and naturally I won't do that again

3_fermenters.jpeg


The two outside kegs are assembled conventionally. Earlier today I did give them each about 3 PSI and poured out a few ounces of sediment and then got clear.

Because the two black-top kegs were sealed against air and already under a hint of pressure, and because of course they don't have floating, I just said what the heck and charged them up to 30 PSI, disconnected gas, and put into refrigeration

pom_pear.jpeg


Tomorrow that 30 PSI will be down into the single digits and I'll connect them conventionally to gas at about 8 PSI and in a few days pour a glass. Certainly I'll get more sediment but hopefully not too bad Then, DON'T JOSTLE, just carefully pour and be ready for the return of more sediment when the sediment "crater" eventually caves in to the dimple at close to the end. While all that is happening, order three floating!

I'm going back to reread replies and carefully review venting the fermenter into what will become the server and then doing the closed transfer. That certainly sounds like the gold standard for corny-to-corny

Yes, @Murph4231 looking forward to your post!
 
OP
OP
C

Cider Wraith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2022
Messages
262
Reaction score
174
Location
US
@Bassman2003 - yep, excellent - gonna' make that happen

EDIT - got it ... ok, so slow gravity transfer, eliminate the first bit of sediment, but you're not saying a floating tube? Just conventional and go slow?
 
Last edited:

balrog

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
5,540
Reaction score
7,554
+1 for floating dip tubes.
I made some (see this), bought both the Clear Draught and the Williams Top Draw.
The Williams top draw hands down wins for me of all of them, and JUST WORKS. The silicone cap on the clear draught must be replaced along with the o-ring, both of which are necessary to keep the "sled" in place and my cleaning methodologies knock it around way too much. The home made ones work (-ish) but are temperamental. The Williams is great and apparently the fermentasaurus one is similar, but I've not tried it.
I like to make and serve my hoppy pale Voss in a keg with the top draw to eliminate O2 on the cold side, and I don't have much issue cleaning top draw altered kegs vs regular kegs.
 

Bassman2003

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
1,366
Reaction score
686
Location
Arlington
@Bassman2003 - yep, excellent - gonna' make that happen

EDIT - got it ... ok, so slow gravity transfer, eliminate the first bit of sediment, but you're not saying a floating tube? Just conventional and go slow?
You can use a floater in the serving keg. Either way is fine. The transferred wort should be pretty clear especially if you did a cold crash beforehand.

You could also get a hold of a 7.75 gallon slim quarter Sanke keg to make a full batch to fill up the Corny. Or get a Kegmenter 7.75 gallon. Cornies are relatively cheap, but so are the other two and they are larger.
 
OP
OP
C

Cider Wraith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2022
Messages
262
Reaction score
174
Location
US
... ah ... I didn't word my question well ... you didn't mention a floating in the fermenting corny, so is that just so obviously needed that it was a given?
 

Murph4231

Homebrew Advocate
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 19, 2021
Messages
848
Reaction score
1,385
OK @Cider Wraith here are pictures transferring 2 different Melomels to smaller kegs.. 1st is simply cleaning the 2 new Torpedo kegs with PBW followed by a Star San rinse. 10 psi of Co2 applied to the in port on the top keg pushes the PBW out of that kegs out port into the OUT port of the receiving keg down below. A spunding valve set at 7 psi is attached to the IN port of the receiving keg. It works better to have to receiving keg positioned lower than the filler keg. You can achieve the transfer without the use of a spunding valve by periodically releasing pressure from the pressure relief valve in the top of the receiving keg. The spunding valve simply does the pressure regulating for you. Both receiving kegs were purged with Co2 before filling.

The 2nd picture is transferring the remainder of a 5 gal corny of Raspberry Melomel into a 2 1/2 gal Torpedo keg. The process is exactly the same as above. And the 3rd picture is the same as above transferring the remainder of 5 gal of Blackberry Melomel into a 1 1/2 gal Torpedo keg
 

Attachments

  • 20220830_133652.jpg
    20220830_133652.jpg
    1,015.8 KB · Views: 0
  • 20220830_143953.jpg
    20220830_143953.jpg
    852.5 KB · Views: 0
  • 20220830_150312.jpg
    20220830_150312.jpg
    1,005.7 KB · Views: 0

Bassman2003

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
1,366
Reaction score
686
Location
Arlington
... ah ... I didn't word my question well ... you didn't mention a floating in the fermenting corny, so is that just so obviously needed that it was a given?
I am going with a shortened dip tube in my Kegmenter. My thinking is that a floating dip tube would eventually drop into the sediment during transfer and you would not know when to stop flow. With the solid dip tube, you can suck out the stuff in the beginning knowing it will stay clear to the end.
 
OP
OP
C

Cider Wraith

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2022
Messages
262
Reaction score
174
Location
US
Thanks for replies - much appreciated ... you guys are a tremendous and generous resource

First, thanks to the illustrious and gracious disciples of the Church of the Floating Dip-Tube ... you and your contributions are throughly appreciated .... I hear ya' all - but I’m thinking, maybe floating isn’t for me.

I have a simpler job than you brewers. I’m not a boutique fermenter, my goal is to make generous quantities of known ratios of medium to high quality ingredients with excellent reproducibility. Because I only ever make the same thing over and over again just changing primary ingredients, different apples, cherry, pomegranate, mixed, it’s just occurring to me that the resulting sediment is more consistent and predictable batch-to-batch compared to what brewers are confronting.

Having paid more attention to sediment recently I’m seeing that there’s a relatively small amount, honestly ….. and it’s fine and would easily pass through any hose/valve. Having put an auto-siphon tube tip into the sediment on my last batch I noticed that after creating a “crater” in the sediment in fact the walls did not collapse around it but in fact it was structurally sound enough to allow the carboy of liquid to evacuate with only producing a small amount of resuspended sediment.

Now, to @Bassman2003 's post - great stuff, beautiful. That’s the direction I expect to go - almost like perpetual motion. So for a slight recap, whenever starting a batch, always have two clean kegs, and honestly kegs are cheap and will last the rest of one’s life so have plenty around, and make all the connections as described. Something for some additional thinking on is purging/priming connection lines. And of course, to minimize sediment disturbance one would imagine before beginning the fermenter should be placed higher than receiving to avoiding jostling later. A big game changer would be using a spunding device …. need to order and begin researching those

So a transfer question would be, when switching to the liquid transfer phase, how do you drain out those first few ounces? What was the Kegland device mentioned that allows that? But I suppose if one had a three way “T” in the liquid line, with one side going to a picnic tap and one side going to serving, then in the beginning the valve to serving could be left closed and the siphon could be begun with the picnic tap and when clear liquid flowed switch flow to serving.

Thought experiment on how much sediment would be transferred to serving during liquid transfer with conventional dip-tubes - a wild guess might be, if doing an initial bleed-off of a few ounces, maybe something like mid-nineties plus percentage of sediment would be successfully left behind. And then when pouring from serving, planning for a couple of ounces of sediment and that might be about it.

So it seems that with conventional dip tubes one might achieve a good rate of sediment elimination. The fear of floating, is maintenance, cleaning, upkeep, and what about if one crashes onto the surface of the yeast-cake moon, then you’d be blowing a sediment fire hose. Well anyway, I understand you guys have great success with them, not knocking them, just exploring where I’d be with conventional.

If anyone is still reading sorry for the rambling and thanks for all your input, highly appreciated!
 
Last edited:

Bassman2003

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
1,366
Reaction score
686
Location
Arlington
Here is the Kegland product - Morebeer seels it - Carbonation Ball Lock Quick Disconnect (QD) Cap Tee Fitting | MoreBeer

I would recommend the EVA barrier tubing and QDs that is for sale at Morebeer as well. It is a complete oxygen free setup. Other tubing used in the past lets O2 pass in through the walls.

Purging with the fermentation gas is the name of the game. It is free, pure CO2 so use as much as you can. I have my gas line jumper that is used for the end transfer in the loop as well so it is purged at the same time. It is connected to my spunding valve (also the Kegland product for sale at Morebeer). Also, by running the 1st bit of liquid through your liquid to liquid jumper to the "T", it gets purged as well.
 

renstyle

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
464
Reaction score
535
Location
Central Iowa
I am going with a shortened dip tube in my Kegmenter. My thinking is that a floating dip tube would eventually drop into the sediment during transfer and you would not know when to stop flow. With the solid dip tube, you can suck out the stuff in the beginning knowing it will stay clear to the end.
In practice, this is a far smaller concern than one may believe.

Having a spunding valve to allow pressure differentials as low as 1-2 PSI between ferm keg and serving is key, also going SLOW.

At this pressure I can watch the beer flow thru the lines and stop the transfer once we hit bottom.

The screen I utilize on the end of the tube also cushions you from that last bit of cake/trub getting into the line, but again I can watch it exit the ferm keg, so never makes it to serving.

Does it take a while? Yes, about 20 mins for a 5gal/19L corny.

Ironically I feel sometimes I leave 500mL of drinkable beer in the ferm cuz I stopped transferring a bit early…

My solution for that was to get a single 6.1gal/23L torpedo keg and use that exclusively for fermentation.

I can drop 21L of wort in, have 2L of headspace, and can still reliably get a full 19L into a serving keg.

As many have already mentioned, so many ways and options to do this. What I have is just my solution to this particular situation, and for me it works pretty well.

EDIT - Concur wholeheartedly on EVA… all of my lines are 4mm EVA barrier, all my connections are duotight as are my pair of spunding valves.
 
Last edited:

Bassman2003

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
1,366
Reaction score
686
Location
Arlington
I agree, not a huge deal but my fermenter is the pony keg sized Kegmenter. So it is larger diameter compared to a corny. Meaning the float will hit bottom a lot quicker. So I thought a dip tube would be better in this instance.
 

renstyle

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
464
Reaction score
535
Location
Central Iowa
I agree, not a huge deal but my fermenter is the pony keg sized Kegmenter. So it is larger diameter compared to a corny. Meaning the float will hit bottom a lot quicker. So I thought a dip tube would be better in this instance.
The silicone line included with floaty kits are sized for use in a standard 5gal ball lock corny methinks, but it also works okay in a 6.1gal torpedo too. The trub layer at the bottom raises the floor somewhat even in the larger keg, which may be why the line length is good for my needs.

I’ve seen others chop this line down to utilize in a 2.5 corny, perhaps just a trim is all needed for that kegmenter?
 

Bassman2003

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
1,366
Reaction score
686
Location
Arlington
It is more about the wider diameter wasting more beer once the float gets to the bottom compared to a corny. I use modified floaters in my serving kegs. They are fine but to get them to work well the distance from the float is a little farther than best for extraction imho. The "sucker" is the first thing to touch. Sediment is a touchy issue as some do not care as much about it than others. My view is that I do not want any sediment if possible.
 
Top