Meet the magical clown-car Cornelius keg

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Cider Wraith

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Aug 11, 2022
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Currently enjoying an outrageously tasty apple/pear cider complements of the clown-car corny keg that makes and serves itself…

Last summer, in a trimmed tube corny fermenter started a batch with M02 yeast of 3 gallons Kirkland apple to 2 quarts Lakewood organic pomegranate, the classic proportions. Completed fermentation and transferred to a purged server and checked the sediment in the fermenter. Not much but ladled out the majority (ladling sediment from corny fermenters is effective and completed in seconds) in preparation for new ingredients to go back in … and noticed the sediment smelled like pear. Odd but ok, so pear it is.

So in that fermenter, on that sediment, immediately went back with 2 gallons Kirkland apple and, thinking I would really play up the pear, 2 quarts Knudsen organic pear (pays to have an inventory of ingredients on hand) and began purging another server. So after fermentation and transfer to server what did two quarts of pear result in? No pear. Didn’t smell or taste like pear. What happened? It was good, just no pear (like I've written here before, and it seems this is highly under-appreciated, what you see and guess ain't always what you get).

Ok, well, when that batch was transferred went back onto the sediment with 2 gal Kirkland apple only. Just plopped in two gallons of apple, no pear, closed the lid and shook. Let’s see what happens. Let that ferment and transferred to a server and tried it.

Well, best pear tasting cider ever. Big round pear taste, flavorful, balanced, smooth, lots of pear flavor apparently from the infusion of the previous batches' sediment alone.

Ok, let’s try this again ... but this time just in the server. So after that server kicked immediately went back with 2 Kirkland and 1 Knudsen pear back into the server with a full sized dip tube and again ….. wonderful. And for some reason, as a bonus, so little sediment was being produced that first to last pours were functionally sediment free. Where’d it go? (Maybe the result of the smaller of 2.25 gal batch?) So now this full sized dip tube corny is functioning as a FV and server.

But let’s back up. At some point along the way the newly ordered spunding valves arrived and worked with them until they were dialed in at about 12 PSI. So after adding ingredients back onto sediment in a server, with no intention to transfer, attached a pre-set spunding valve and let it go. And because of going back onto recently active slurry, the new ingredients were fermenting almost immediately and now naturally carbonating and completing quickly, basically ready to drink in about a week. And consider, given batches of about 2.25 gals leaving about 3 gals of C02 headspace the carbonated keg will almost serve itself until it might need a hint of a push from a tank for the last half gallon.

So - keg kicks, open the top quickly add new ingredients, shake, apply pre-set spunding valve, give it a week, becomes fully carbonated and functionally drinkable, refrigerate overnight, put a tap on it, 3 gallons of C02 headspace will almost serve the 2.25 gallons of beverage, and drink, when keg kicks, start over.

I believe I’m remembering this about right but being close to the end of maybe run five or six on that sediment made sure to have additional Kirkland and Knudsen on hand so when this batch/keg blows I already have more ingredients and a spunding valve ready to go. And because so little sediment is being produced, for this effort, I'm just fermenting/carbonating and serving in that same corny.

I expect I’ll keep feeding the clown-car corny new ingredients and letting it ferment, carbonate and serve itself enjoying this cycle for as long as it will happily allow. And yep, did start another batch to see if it can catch up with or parallel that one. Excellent cider and it seems to really enjoy making and serving itself. Thanks to the generous folks here I continue to learn much from.
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