Pressure Fermenting - No CO2 or Kegging

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Architect-Dave

Architect & Fledgling Home Brewer (5-Mana Brewing)
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I have started researching pressure fermenting. Spoke to a few pro brewers and am thinking of going this route to make lagers. I have no method of chilling my fermenters, no kegging equipment and no CO2. Most of the sources of research indicate that I have to transfer the finished beer using CO2 and lots of extra equipment. I wanted to know if there is a way to pressure ferment and then bottle condition without the use of added CO2 to get the beer out of the fermenter.
 
I considered the same thing back before I spent the money on CO2 gear and though trying to deal with the simple fact that it'll foam and lose its CO2 before making it to the bottles, my greater concern was the oxygen exposure. The question I asked myself: Why go to the hassle of gearing up to do a nice warm fermented lager if I was just gonna have it oxydized before bottling?
Not to outright say: "Buy the CO2 gear", but do make sure you've looked at the minimal required gear and keep in mind it is a one-time (plus refill) expense. I originally kegged for the purpose of bottling with a beer gun, using a cold room in winter for chilling...my cost outlay was only a couple hundred bucks.
:mug:
 
If you fill the receiving vessel and all the lines with CO2. And make certain there is a path for gas in the head space of the receiving vessel to get back to the sending vessel, then gravity still works for transferring. It might foam up when agitated, but if it's a closed system then I'd think it'd not matter.

Your CO2 gas can come from other fermentations going on or something like a CO2 inflator for a bicycle tire. Though there isn't any guaranty that the CO2 is beverage or even the lesser food quality. But probably not a big deal for purging purposes.
 
And if so, what? Also, what are you planning to transfer into?
I do not have one yet. Was looking into the Fermzilla Conical fermenter. I was planning on either transferring to a bottling bucket or directly into the bottles with carb tabs. But, I do not know enough about it to know if this is the right thing to do.
 
I do not have one yet. Was looking into the Fermzilla Conical fermenter. I was planning on either transferring to a bottling bucket or directly into the bottles with carb tabs. But, I do not know enough about it to know if this is the right thing to do.
Sounds do-able... If I were to try it, after it's finished I'd slowly open the spunding valve until it goes flat and then bottle, but that would mean letting air into it and difficulty getting a siphon going out the floating diptube.....although you could probably tighten the gas back shut and squeeze the whole thing, letting go and removing the gas carb-cap once the diptube is running.
I'm interested in how you choose to proceed, please keep us updated.
:mug:
 
If you pressure ferment and buy a Tapcooler type filler you could go straight from the fermenter to the bottles (might be a bit hazy). Seems like a lot of work and not sure if you could get the CO2 volume up high enough during fermentation to have the correct volume when bottling. Any way you do it you will probably need to invest in some CO2 gear. I run directly from my fermenter to a corny keg using pressure transfers.
 
Sounds do-able... If I were to try it, after it's finished I'd slowly open the spunding valve until it goes flat and then bottle, but that would mean letting air into it and difficulty getting a siphon going out the floating diptube.....although you could probably tighten the gas back shut and squeeze the whole thing, letting go and removing the gas carb-cap once the diptube is running.
I'm interested in how you choose to proceed, please keep us updated.
:mug:
Seems like that would defeat the whole purpose of pressure fermentation (other than being able to ferment at a higher temp for the lager), but would cause a lot of headaches with oxygen exposure, etc.
 
Seems like that would defeat the whole purpose of pressure fermentation (other than being able to ferment at a higher temp for the lager), but would cause a lot of headaches with oxygen exposure, etc.
I am not sure how it would expose the beer to any more oxygen than when you are bottling from the fermenter? You are releasing CO2, how would the oxygen get in there?
 
Seems like a lot of work and not sure if you could get the CO2 volume up high enough during fermentation to have the correct volume when bottling.
You could still add priming sugar to the bottles. Just less than you would if you hadn't pressure fermented. But yeah, that does sound like a lot of work.
I am not sure how it would expose the beer to any more oxygen than when you are bottling from the fermenter? You are releasing CO2, how would the oxygen get in there?
Oxygen would get in if you just left the spunding valve wide open to the air. So hook up a blow off tube to your spunding valve and problem solved. But you still have to figure out how long to wait for the beer to go flat before you bottle. BTW, 15 PSI at 65F is 1.7 volumes (just an example); I have no idea how much of a foaming problem that would present if you tried to transfer and/or bottle without pressure.
 
You could still add priming sugar to the bottles. Just less than you would if you hadn't pressure fermented. But yeah, that does sound like a lot of work.

Oxygen would get in if you just left the spunding valve wide open to the air. So hook up a blow off tube to your spunding valve and problem solved. But you still have to figure out how long to wait for the beer to go flat before you bottle. BTW, 15 PSI at 65F is 1.7 volumes (just an example); I have no idea how much of a foaming problem that would present if you tried to transfer and/or bottle without pressure.
Good point. Just sounds like, unless I get some CO2 and a few other accessories, it would not be worth doing.
 
You can do this without needing any extra CO2. It is just an old school bottling setup. Although, adding pressure fermentation to the mix is a little different, but still achievable.

1) Ferment the beer. If you ferment under pressure, you will need to relieve the pressure right before transfer to your bottles.
2) Elevate the fermenter for a gravity transfer.
3) Transfer your fermenting beer with only 1-2 gravity points left and Prime your bottles as well. This way you have some fermenting yeast protection for the transfer and the priming in the bottles will give you oxygen protection inside the bottles as well.
4) Keep the bottles at the yeast's fermentation temp for 2 weeks and you a good to go.

This is "bottle spunding" and is plenty effective. But you need to be careful about not transferring too early or you will over carbonate. No bottles CO2 needed.

Did this answer your question or did I miss the point?
 
You can do this without needing any extra CO2. It is just an old school bottling setup. Although, adding pressure fermentation to the mix is a little different, but still achievable.

1) Ferment the beer. If you ferment under pressure, you will need to relieve the pressure right before transfer to your bottles.
2) Elevate the fermenter for a gravity transfer.
3) Transfer your fermenting beer with only 1-2 gravity points left and Prime your bottles as well. This way you have some fermenting yeast protection for the transfer and the priming in the bottles will give you oxygen protection inside the bottles as well.
4) Keep the bottles at the yeast's fermentation temp for 2 weeks and you a good to go.

This is "bottle spunding" and is plenty effective. But you need to be careful about not transferring too early or you will over carbonate. No bottles CO2 needed.

Did this answer your question or did I miss the point?
I think this is the answer I was hoping for. I usually do a secondary ferment to clarify and age some of my beers. However, I heard that there is no need to secondary when pressure fermenting. You did not miss the point at all, Bassman (is it Bass like the fish or the guitar?)
 
Actually it is both! The key to your approach is to use the power of active yeast to scavenge the oxygen. Basically it is from the German brewing approach which does not allow bottles CO2.
 
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