Fermenter racking cane filter. Idea feedback, please? Seems like a good idea to me...

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Jan 16, 2019
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I already did a search, and didn't find anything substantial on this topic. Please let me know if I missed a pre-existing thread that answers all my questions. Thanks in advance to anyone who suffers through this lengthy post...

Here's the (concise) MAIN IDEA:

I am thinking of making a filter for the racking cane in my fermenter(s). It would consist of a combination of a 1/2" compression fitting (with FNPT threads) like this:
mated to a tubular screen like this:

If you don't care to look at the links, I'd essentially be attaching a short 6" tube screen, like the kind people often use at the bottom of mash tuns to the bottom of my racking arm. The end of the racking arm tube could be slid anywhere inside the screen... perhaps nearly to the end, perhaps an inch or two short of the end, , or perhaps not very far at all, by locking it into place by tightening the compression nut. That should leave screened space below the racking arm opening, and also some screened space "around" the bottom few inches of the cane itself.

And here's the less-concise explanation of my inquiry:

I think it would be helpful to make a functional racking arm screen to filter dry hops when transferring from fermenter to kegs. I do have the ability to cold-crash, and do so on every batch.

I also have a couple of old SABCO keg fermenters that I inherited, and have used for the past year. I just upgraded to a Spike CF15... but will continue to use these when I want to have several batches going. These keg fermenters have a rotatable racking cane/arm near the bottom with 1/2" (O.D.) stainless tubing. It can reach all the way to the domed bottom of the keg if needed, but obviously, would be picking up hops/yeast/trub if pointed down into the yeast cake. Because the bottom of these fermenters is just a shallow dome, rather than a cone, and there is no way to dump trub/yeast during fermentation, I always end up battling the sludge extensively, and feeling like I've wasted a fair amount of beer after transfer.

(Note: I've been bagging dry hops lately to attempt to alleviate my frustrtation... but will be returning to "free range" pellet hops, as I picked up a Norcal/Jaybird yeast brink, and can now inject into the fermenter with minimal/no oxygen.)

I started researching ways to filter from fermenter racking arms... and whether anyone actually does. I've seen the 'racking cane screens' for corny keg diptubes, and also for 3/8" racking canes, like this one: https://www.morebeer.com/products/racking-cane-filter.html

Main issue with these seems to be that they plug with sediment, particularly if just inserted (fully) on the racking canes without some space to allow a large portion of the screen to work. Some reviewers suggested that if you cut the corny diptube a bit shorter, they work better. There are enough positive reviews that I'd give one of these a try, but they aren't large enough in diameter (1/2" is what I need), and I think I have a better plan anyhow.

The combination of the components above (the 1/2" compression fitting w/ FNPT threads mated to the tubular screen) seems like it might be an excellent idea.

It would seem to me that this setup would provide enough surface area that clogging shouldn't be an immediate problem, and the screen would have space around the racking arm tube itself, as well as a few inches below, leaving a lot of room for the screen to function while still allowing draw of the beer. I'd use the racking cane pretty much like normal, keeping it pointed horizontally, then rotating downward until I saw a little sediment. I would not rotate the arm (with screen) more than partially down into the yeast/trub/sludge, such that there should always be an opportunity to draw clear beer through the screen just above the sludge. That would seem like it could work, and that it wouldn't plug... at least until the beer above the sludge cake has been transferred. Or at least darn near all of it. (Which would be "success.")


Finally: I am aware that the idea of a racking arm screen may simply be "unnecessary." (Particularly in a conical where you can remove trub and yeast, and dry hops can settle below the point where the racking arm bottom level.) SO... if your response will simply be "this isn't necessary, the racking cane works fine"... I get it. But from my own experience... I think the racking process can be improved, at least in the SABCO fermenters I have. (And such a screen wouldn't 'hurt' in a conical... and might protect against rogue bits of dry hop that won't settle.)

I am looking for feedback from anyone who has tried something similar in fermenters, on racking canes/arms. Anyone have experience (or an effective filter setup) to share?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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I like the idea.
My only concern is that the threading would be difficult to sanitize.
I like the idea.
My only concern is that the threading would be difficult to sanitize.

I have minor sanitation concerns as well... and it might be a bit of a chore, but probably worth it. I'd be equally concerned about the mesh (along with the threads). However, I gotta think that a good manipulation with a tooth brush while in some cleanser should do the trick. I would probably leave the filter screen just threaded on hand-tight when installed, so that it could be taken apart each time. (No need for teflon tape to seal this part... as there will never be a seal.)

Perhaps even simpler, one could just unscrew the components, and boil the whole darn thing.

Considering you can apparently use a porous carbonation stone (with lots of tiny holes), I think this part could be managed effectively with a little effort. Always the question on these parts whether the increased effort is worth it... but compared to the hassle of dealing with hop bits plugging kegs, I'd probably opt for cleaning this.
Also... I continued to research after this initial posting, and did see some people discussing the Bouncer filter. The BouncerMD seems like it could be useful for 10-15 gallon batches. https://bouncer.beer/Products/ (And there's the 'unbranded' version of the classic size available, but I think I'd need the MD size.)

Anyone a firm believer in those, and think they're better than my idea? I'm kinda surprised they aren't more popular, as they seem ideal. (Someone should make a full stainless and glass 'sight glass' version...)

Anyone have any alternative ideas or products for post-fermentation filtering?
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