Finally trying pressure fermenting in corny kegs

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rkhanso

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I have 9.5gal in 2 ball-lock corny kegs. Wondering if I can get a 2nd opinion on what I'm doing on my first time trying to ferment in kegs.

I have 2 ball-lock kegs with 4.5-4.75 gal of Sparky's Nut Brown Ale in each. I added 1 drop of Fermcap to each keg. I blasted with O2 and pitched a packet of Nottingham in each keg.

I have the gas-out on the 2 kegs with wort connected to a Tee, going to the beer side of a pin-lock keg. The gas side of that keg goes to the beer side of another pin-lock keg, with a Blow-Tie spunding valve on the gas side of the last keg. My thought is to purge the 2 empty kegs with natural CO2 from fermentation to get ready to transfer to them to serve out of. Does this make sense? Or should I connect everything differently?

I did give a shot of CO2 to the fermenting kegs to get them to seal up but since I just brewed and kegged, there's really no pressure yet. I think I'm supposed to keep the pressure to 3-5 PSI for a few days first, then crank it up to 12-15 PSI?

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rkhanso

rkhanso

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It seems to be working OK. It just took a bit to get some pressure built up I think. It's fermenting away at about 4-5 PSI right now. The Blow-Tie seems to be holding pretty consistent.
The idea of the 2 empty Corny kegs was to purge with CO2, as well as be a buffer for blow-off to protect the Blow-Tie.
Being new to the ball-lock kegs, I did connect a gas QD on the beer side once and got a bit of beer transfer into the first empty keg, but I don't think that'll be too critical.
 

theredviper

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I've done about 10-12 fermentations in kegs now, and I find that using a blow off into some starsan solution for the first 24 hours is good. There is a ton of CO2 produced in my experience and I've had krausen and crap come out into the tube and make a bit of a mess. I wouldn't want it in your setup for sure. This still happened even with fermicap. Perhaps I put too much wort in (I aimed for the 5 gal mark inside the keg).

After 24-36h I put a spunding valve on and set it 20psi. If you can end the ferment at 20psi it should be pretty good to cold crash and hit close to serving psi at serving temp.
 

Bassman2003

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Your setup is good and a great use of free, zero oxygen CO2. And you will naturally carbonate. Can't get much better than that! Just think about your pressure transfer procedure so it is smooth. I am thinking of doing what you have set up and doing a gravity transfer from the FV to the serving keg. Keep the spunding valve as the last bit in the chain so the two serving kegs are at the same pressure as the fermenting kegs. When everything is complete, unhook all of the lines. Then elevate the FV, hook up a line from the gas post to the gas post, then a line from the beer post to the beer post. minimal to no flow should occur as the pressure is equal. Pull the PRV on the serving keg and the transfer should start.

You might want to let some beer flow in to a bucket from the FV a little to fill the line (purge for O2) as well as empty some sediment. This will lower the pressure a bit and will need to be compensated for on the serving keg. (pull the PRV a little before the hookup as you do not want the serving keg to be at a higher pressure than the FV keg). Good luck!
 
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rkhanso

rkhanso

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I forgot to put the iSpindel in one of the kegs to determine when fermenting was finished, but have to believe it's done now. I pitched on Sunday, 6/19 using Nottingham dry yeast. There was plenty of fermentation the first few days and not so much now. How long should I let this keep fermenting?

I'm currently at 15 PSI at a room temp of about 68F. The Pressure has not gone up at all in the last couple days, even though I've turned up the Blow-Tie spunding valve pressure. I didn't bend or cut the dip tube, so after taking off the yeast at the bottom, I'm thinking about taking a sample, measuring FG and tasting it. Maybe transfer to serving kegs, maybe not - seeing how it goes just serving out of the fermenter kegs if it's clear enough (though since I have to put them in the kegerator and moving/shaking them will stir up the trub and will have to settle again anyway).
 
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McMullan

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It's a shallow learning curve. Get a floating dip tube, the cheap SS ball type, without a filter. It's more suited to lagers, imo. I've only fermented one ale under pressure and it turned out to be incredibly bland. What you can do, for ales, is seal the keg towards the end of fermentation to naturally condition.
 

Spundit

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It's pretty easy to take a gravity sample from a pressurized keg so you could take a reading today and then another in a couple days. If they match I would call it done.

Since you didn't bend or cut the dip tube, you will get a bunch of yeast... if the yeast flocked hard hopefully you start getting some clearish beer after a few ounces. If it is a more mobile yeast cake it might be a little frustrating.
 
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