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Just ordered Spike Flex+

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Rogue_Atom87

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After few failed attempts of updating corny keg fermenter wife gave go ahead to just buy one. Ordered the flex + last night along with following accessories

cooling coil
Thermowell
Extra gaskets
Ball lock gas plate- use for pressure ferment with blowtoe
Ball lock liquid plate- use for fermenter keg closed transfer

I was curious on best way to dry hop or add flavorings in these units. I have seen sight glass on top with ball valve as pellet dump. I can do this with gas plate on top for pressurizing. Also could just keep gas flowing and drop thru top 4” hole in a hop bag

Also what is good option for filtering beer (remove hop,fruit debris) when transferring to keg. I saw some TC filter screens that may work. Also thought about packing sightglass with stainless mesh as filter mesh and attach to valve at bottom. I used dip tube screen in keg fermenter worked well. May cut it down and clamp to racking arm

Thoughts on above and additional accessories I should look at. I plan to get hop rocket and pump in future and possibly leg extensions
 

k-os

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I tried dry-hopping through a sight glass and 1.5" butterfly I made the mistake of loading my pellets into the sight glass at the start of fermentation. This caused the moisture to turn the hop pellets into a slug in the sight glass and I ended up having to force them out after taking the assembly apart. If you were to use this method I would have your sight glass assembly set up with 1.5" butterfly valve attached to the lid and the pressure manifold on top. When you're ready to dry-hop, close the valve, take the pressure manifold off and load your hops into the sight glass, reattach the pressure manifold and purge with O2 through the ball lock post and relief valve.

I only tried the sight glass dry hop addition once, and since have just been feeding low pressure CO2 through the pressure manifold as I drop my hops in through the 4" center hole in a stainless mesh filter.

I would be worried using a TC gasket with screen would get clogged with debris and cause your flow of beer to keg to stop. When I closed transfer I just use the racking arm to my purged and sealed keg. I dry hop with stainless mesh tubes, which have kept a majority of the hop matter out of the kegs.
 
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Rogue_Atom87

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Thanks for reply

going to dry hop thru 4” opening with gas running for now. Will use hop bag. I will eventually use sight glass but want to find a 1.5” TC plate that has gas post and PRV. Didnt feel like spending $75 on Spike manifold

also ordered casters and insulation jacket. Cant add leg extensions as wont fit in keezer to cold crash with legs
 

BBBF

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Dang... You were really motivating me on my corny builds. Good choice on a fermenter though.

I will eventually use sight glass but want to find a 1.5” TC plate that has gas post and PRV. Didnt feel like spending $75 on Spike manifold
Haven't seen anything like that in 1.5". I'd just us a tee and put the PRV/Spunding on the middle opening and a straight shot through the tee for adding dry hops.
 
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Rogue_Atom87

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I am still working on Corny design. I will be cutting off top and having an 8in tri clamp flange welded on. Will then have in/out post threads, thermowell, dry hop, and cooling coil welded onto an 8" tri clamp cap. This will have a small footprint and will use for Lagers when I get into that style. Since welding will be at no charge I think I can do this for $200.

Really looking forward to the Spike+ coming tomorrow. Also went ahead and ordered Anvil 5.5 kettle today and it will be here Friday.

For PRV I will probably just get the manifold eventually but still use my blowtie to dial in pressure instead of only having 15PSI. Can also use blowtie as pressure release if needed.
 

BrewingBears

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After few failed attempts of updating corny keg fermenter wife gave go ahead to just buy one. Ordered the flex + last night along with following accessories

cooling coil
Thermowell
Extra gaskets
Ball lock gas plate- use for pressure ferment with blowtoe
Ball lock liquid plate- use for fermenter keg closed transfer

I was curious on best way to dry hop or add flavorings in these units. I have seen sight glass on top with ball valve as pellet dump. I can do this with gas plate on top for pressurizing. Also could just keep gas flowing and drop thru top 4” hole in a hop bag

Also what is good option for filtering beer (remove hop,fruit debris) when transferring to keg. I saw some TC filter screens that may work. Also thought about packing sightglass with stainless mesh as filter mesh and attach to valve at bottom. I used dip tube screen in keg fermenter worked well. May cut it down and clamp to racking arm

Thoughts on above and additional accessories I should look at. I plan to get hop rocket and pump in future and possibly leg extensions
I recently purchased the Spike unitank and used it once. I know it’s not the same piece of equipment, but if you dry hop using a mesh bag and cold crash in the fermenter, you shouldn’t have much of an issue with debris going into your keg. I did not dry hop the batch I did, but based on what I did do, I think you will be fine.
 
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Rogue_Atom87

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Flex arrived today and looks great. still need get insulation jacket In putting everything together had a few questions comments

1. for those of you who have one or looking to get one the outer ring around lid is very sharp on edges. Anyone file this down
2. How tight should you close the lid?
3. With caster on and no fluid inside it tips over easily
4. Should you use any lubricant on rack arm? Even with loosening tri clamp there is a lot of friction and hard to rotate

F7838188-B7C7-4A6D-9152-8905429BC6AB.jpeg
 

k-os

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Flex arrived today and looks great. still need get insulation jacket In putting everything together had a few questions comments

1. for those of you who have one or looking to get one the outer ring around lid is very sharp on edges. Anyone file this down
2. How tight should you close the lid?
3. With caster on and no fluid inside it tips over easily
4. Should you use any lubricant on rack arm? Even with loosening tri clamp there is a lot of friction and hard to rotate
2. I usually clamp might about as tight as you have shown in your picture.
4. Get a teflon tri-clamp gasket instead of the silicone gasket it comes with. Makes rotating the racking arm a breeze.
 
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Rogue_Atom87

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Thanks K-os.

I felt like lid was touch loose so tightened until firmed then backed off half a turn. Will jump on Amazon to see if any silicone gasket are available. I have one from my shine still but it is 2"

Also decided to fill it with water and test cooling coil and found some possible design issues. Spike indicates the flex was designed for 2.5-6 gallon batches. I only brew 2.5 gal batches so this should not be an issue. In filling up the flex to the 2.5 mark I noticed the thermowell wasnt even covered. I took it to 3 gallon before water was over the top. Also at 3 gallon mark only 5 of the coils are in the water so not sure how this would work on cooling.

Cant really adjust the cooling coil but an option for thermowell is to install thru lid (I have one that is around 20in long) but that would require drilling the cooling coil lid which id rather not do in case cant get it to seal properly with a duotight bulkhead. Suggestions?
 

K9tpr

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Here’s mine on my SSbrewtech unitank:
3” Butterfly Valve - Amazon
76mm 3” tri clamp site Glass - Amazon
3" Sanitary Tri Clamp To 2 X 1/4" Npt Female Tri Clover - Ebay
1/4” SSB PRV - SSbrewtech
1/4” npt gas ball lock - Amazon
3” clamps and gaskets

I add my pellet hops and purge air w/CO2. Drop the hops And close valve. I have a SSB sounding valve set to 15 psi. You can also leave the valve open and set your PRV to 15 as well.

Works great.


2968A1CF-55AF-4511-8202-2A8F695928E3.jpeg


5A4B4B5D-8971-4FFC-AE96-4776F5558E9A.jpeg


DE3D529B-B910-40FF-9CA2-E5CE59EE7BDC.jpeg
 

apache_brew

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For dry hopping, throw a TC tee or 4 way cross fitting where you gas post is located. Throw a gas post on one side, and a PRV on the other. Put a TC butterfly valve on the top with hop drop (sight glass seems nice to make sure they all drop).

Here's my setup. Sankeys fit 2" TC so I was able to squeeze gas/liquid posts on the same end plate. Maybe have a 1.5 to 2" expansion fitting on top of the BFV to accommodate a larger purge cap on top of the sight glass "hop tube" if you need to.

IMG_2051.JPG
 
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Rogue_Atom87

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Cooling coil with 3 gallons works well. I pressurized to 10psi and let sit overnight. This morning it is at 6psi. All the TC are tight so not sure where leak is. May be coming from blowtie but will be hard to verify
 

k-os

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Cooling coil with 3 gallons works well. I pressurized to 10psi and let sit overnight. This morning it is at 6psi. All the TC are tight so not sure where leak is. May be coming from blowtie but will be hard to verify
Are you saying your pressure dropped as you were cooling the liquid in it, or the fermenter is empty and the pressure dropped over night?

If you were cooling liquid the pressure will drop as it cools.
 
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Rogue_Atom87

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Liquid was already at the proper temp when I hooked up cooling coil and it maintained that through out the night. It was a little colder this morning so thought that may be it. I let out the pressure and cleaned all the gaskets and reapplied everything tight. Filled up the vessel with 3 gallon of water and pressurized to 10PSI. This time I removed blow tie and let it sit. Connected blowtie after an hours and lost about .25 psi. Will continue to monitor throughout the day
 

apache_brew

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Isn't the water going to absorb CO2 and equalize the head pressure? If you really have leaks, check all your connections by spraying starsan on them with the vessel under pressure.
 
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Rogue_Atom87

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I think this was it. Stupid thinking on my part to have fluid inside. Drained completely and pressurized to 10PSI. I did spray star san and didnt see anything abnormal. Will check in few hours to make sure all good.
 

cdug619

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For the filtering and kegging aspect, I did the following and love the results for producing clear beer with the plus of not needing to use a hop bag. Haven't had any issues with clogging of the filter yet and I just dump the pellets in rather than a bag now. They are kinda one use but have used them twice when kegging to two beers in one day. Just did the lighter and/or hoppier beer first.

Canister water filter


Been messing around with the 1 and 3 micron filters and cant really tell the difference. If I do a dry hopped beer, I'll use the 1 micron since there is a lot more debris. Anything else, I do a 3.


I got these fittings (I think there are cheaper elsewhere) to make it easy on transfer day and for clean up. I have the male fittings screwed into the canister and females connected to the hoses. Also made one that will hook up to a garden hose to use the canister with a carbon filter though haven't used it yet.


Also used some smaller fittings from these guys to create some quick disconnect hoses for the glycol chiller. Was a pain to have to hose clamp them on each time and have a possible leak. Now I just have a just a small piece of hose clamped to the in and our of the coil with the other side going to a valved male connection. Valved for this setup important as it keeps the glycol solution in the coil when you are moving the fermenter from brew area to fermentation area. Females are on each insulated hose.

I did notice a decent increase the quality of the end product with the closed transfers. Just needed to remember to purge the receiving keg once in a while or the pressure equalized and the flow stopped. That was a head scratcher for a few minutes the first time. :)
 
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Rogue_Atom87

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Thanks. Been looking at the filtration system but that will probably be after a few more accessories purchases.

Once question I did have will racking arm work without pressure for draining. Wouldnt the flow stop once water level reaches the ball valve? If pressure was applied I know will go all the way down to the end of racking arm but I feel like even with regular head pressure it would stop. If this is the case this is a lot more dead space if not using pressure to transfer.

I imagine this would apply in boil kettle with racking arm as well. Anyone have issues like this?
 

VikeMan

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k-os

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Thanks. Been looking at the filtration system but that will probably be after a few more accessories purchases.

Once question I did have will racking arm work without pressure for draining. Wouldnt the flow stop once water level reaches the ball valve? If pressure was applied I know will go all the way down to the end of racking arm but I feel like even with regular head pressure it would stop. If this is the case this is a lot more dead space if not using pressure to transfer.

I imagine this would apply in boil kettle with racking arm as well. Anyone have issues like this?
As long the end of the racking arm remains under the liquid level it will create a siphon and allow you to draw all the liquid out to the depth of the racking arm end.
 
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Rogue_Atom87

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When I just let it drain thru ball valve it will stop when water is at bottom of valve. With 1/2” hose connected it siphon and gets all way base of rack arm. I was worries as its difference of .5 or .1 gal left in kettle
 

VikeMan

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Here’s mine on my SSbrewtech unitank:
3” Butterfly Valve - Amazon
76mm 3” tri clamp site Glass - Amazon
3" Sanitary Tri Clamp To 2 X 1/4" Npt Female Tri Clover - Ebay
1/4” SSB PRV - SSbrewtech
1/4” npt gas ball lock - Amazon
3” clamps and gaskets

I add my pellet hops and purge air w/CO2. Drop the hops And close valve. I have a SSB sounding valve set to 15 psi. You can also leave the valve open and set your PRV to 15 as well.
Cool! I looked at the SS Brewtech site and don't see a PRV exactly like the one in your pics. Do you know the part number? Also, can it be manually pulled for each purge cycle, or are you just relying on it to blow with each purge?
 
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