Pressure transfer of dry hopped beers

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4_Sons_Brewing

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Anyone have feedback on pressure transferring dry hopped beers?

I just wrapped up the transfer of my NE IPA and felt like I dumped a gallon of beer having dump trub / hop material and then to clean out poppit’s and line, finally saying forget it and just getting a 1/2” ID silicone hose and o dropping it into the open keg.

Would appreciate any ideas or recommendations you folks may have.
 

VikeMan

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It would probably be helpful if you could describe your fermenter and the means you used to do the transfer, e.g. racking port, or floating dip tube, or???
 
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4_Sons_Brewing

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I’ve got a spike conical (14 gallon) with a racking arm / butterfly valve.

Gas manifold on top.

Process is as such…

Dry hop beer, cold crash, open bottom dump valve until all the yeast / hop material is out - not quite running clear beer out, but very “thin” so as not to dump out good beer.

Connect a Quick Disconnect to a tri-clamp with a QD post (like the beer out post on a corney keg - not sure if the name) on the tacking port (with butterfly valve) then run a line with a Quick Dosconnect on the other end to the beer out post on the corney keg.

The poppit on the Tri Clamp post gets clogged, i tried removing that poppit, then the keg poppit gets clogged.

Removed that and the line gets clogged.

Ended up just pivoting to a 1/2” ID silicone hose connected to a 1/2” hose barb on the racking arm, feeding that through the open keg top and hoping for the best…

I do generally use a floating dip tube in my kegs, but hadn’t pondered that in the fermenter.
 

tracer bullet

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Suggestions would include cold crashing the beer to have that stiff drop out and not clog the poppet. Alternately, what I sometimes do is have a dedicated post and ball lock with no poppets at all, I use them for transfer and then (fairly quickly, followed up with a CO2 blast) swap out the ball lock afterwards.
 
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VikeMan

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Thanks for the detailed and clear description. I'll give two answers.

- If the problem is that you have hops above the level of the internal racking arm... I think the Spike's racking arm can be turned to adjust the height of its intake. So, either cold crash (longer) as @tracer bullet suggests, and/or raise the racking arm's intake.

- If the problem is that your racking arm is filling up with gunk (as they pretty much all do) during fermentation and dry hopping, that gunk will easily clog a poppet. In this case I'd recommend "dumping trub" from the racking port before attaching the tri-clamp/corny post fitting. On my conical, the racking port is also the sample port. So I always "draw a sample" (i.e. clear out the racking arm) before attaching the transfer hardware.

Also, it sounds like you are dumping trub from your bottom dump valve right before transfer. I wouldn't do that, because as you start dumping, some of the trub gets stirred up into the beer.
 

tdf

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I want to emphasize one of @VikeMan's points. Dumping from the conical is going to stir hops into the beer. I always
  1. Cold Crash 2-3 days
  2. Dump dry hops while cold
  3. Wait another 24 hours before racking to the keg.
This way you dump most of the hops and you also give what's remaining time to settle again below the racking arm.
 
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FWIW I ferment in a spike cf15.. on my neipa I always fill it to the brim, literally brew enough to plan on losing 2 gallons to fermenter loss. My process for neipa is after fermentation is done usually wait until day 10 or 14, soft crash to 45f for 2 days, dump yeast/trub, dry hop at 55f for 2 or 3 days rousing with co2 a few times, then crash to 38f for atleast 2 days ideally 3 then dump again in the morning and keg that evening, kegging I turn the racking arm to the 10 or 11 o'clock position and do my closed transfer, I first purge the line a few time until it starts to clear of hop debris, then I use an inline "bouncer" filter. I fill my kegs by weight and usually get 3 kegs out of 17.5 gallon of fermenter volume. The bouncer helps to avoid clogging poppets and if the filter clogs I spin it off, quick rinse, dunk in starsan, back on, purge again and continue. It takes a while to figure out your own personal process.
 

KookyBrewsky

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I'm about 90% sure something like this happened to me just today. It ruined my batch. I couldn't get the beer to flow from my pressurized conical to my 0 PSI, purged keg. It was dry hopped without a bag.
 

sibelman

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Beside a filter (e g. Bouncer or tri-clamp), you can reduce the clog points by replacing your tri-clamp to keg post adaptor with tri-clamp to MFL (flare) so that there's fewer poppets in the path. Also, of course, waiting after dumping trub. Too, allow the first few ounces to go into a bowl/bucket to clear any crapola in the racking arm.

Cheers!
 

mattdee1

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Probably no use to OP, but to others lurking, I use a much smaller and more spartan setup (Fermzilla All-Rounder with pressure kit). The kit includes a floating dip tube, which honestly is an innovation that deserves a Nobel prize.

I had struggled with clogging on my plastic bucket setup (until I came up with a good way to filter out the gunk) so I was very concerned about clogging the first few times I tried the Fermzilla. But it has gone perfectly every time. I simply cold crash for a day or two (with some pressure in the fermentor to start, so the vessel doesn't collapse and/or suck in air during crashing), then push the beer out through the floating dip-tube into the serving keg. Negligible waste, and the beer never sees open air. The All-Rounder is a very serviceable system for the money (~$100 Canadian), IMO.

I should also point out that I don't dry-hop too crazy, which I'm sure helps prevent clogging issues. In my experience, any more than 3-4oz of dry hops in 5gal is diminishing returns and feels like a waste of money. I also like to use cryohops for dry-hopping which really do seem to live up to the promise of producing less gunk for a given amount of hop aroma.
 

Bassman2003

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I am thinking about a pressure setup but am going back and forth between a floating dip tube or normal. I would think the floating might get some of the krausen as well as fall into the trub at the end of the transfer in a non-conical vessel. Conical probably favors a floater.
 

micraftbeer

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I struggled with this with different fermentors and different attempted set-ups. The Bouncer filter was the only thing I found that could reliably prevent stuck poppets until I added these two things to my process. Although cleaning the Bouncer was better than dealing with a stuck poppet, it definitely was not ideal to mess around with cleaning that and trying to keep oxygen out. My two process steps:

1. Floating dip tube in fermentor. The FLOTIT solves some of the standard ball float problems, with its off-centered float, and the fact it comes with a screen filter on the end helps, too.

2. Cold crash before pressure transferring out through the floating dip tube. And by "cold crash", I probably mean more of a "cool landing". When fermenting in my FermZilla All Rounders, they fit inside my beer fridge, so I can set the whole thing in a 35F fridge for a couple days and get good and compact precipitate at the bottom. But even when I'm working out of my stainless conical, I find that even dropping it from 70/75F finishing temperature down to 50/55F for about 4 hours works amazing at dropping out hop debris.

I never have poppets clog any more using the above two items together. And in the conical with my "cool landing" process, I've dry hopped 5 oz into an IPA, all pellet hops, commando. Didn't clog the poppet either on the fermentor on the way out, or on the keg on the way in.
 

Bassman2003

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Thanks for sharing your methods. I am considering modifying a slim quarter 7.75 gal keg for pressure fermentation. In doing this, I realized I needed to have a pressure transfer procedure in place or it it is all for not as carbonation will be happening in the fermenter. This is my summer project and hopefully I can save some brewday and kegging time if it is designed well.

The benefits of carbonating and crash cooling in the fermenter are really nice but transferring still beer on the cold side is challenging from an oxygen pickup perspective. Line flushes etc... need to be in place or the fresh O2 will just sit in the keg and ruin the beer. This is what breweries spend big on to combat.
 

Homebrewer20

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I use a 6 gallon corny keg with a floating pickup attached to a quick connect post on my lid for fermenting..
Never once has it got clogged doing a hazy or other style..
I also dump in all the trub from my kettle..
I've tried many other ways, but they have always clogged my post up..

Do a search for floating dip tube or carbonation lid on Amazon, I use a carbonation lid, with the floating pickup, it makes for easier cleaning..
Cheers
 
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4_Sons_Brewing

4_Sons_Brewing

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I kegged a west coast IPA today that was dry hopped, but less than a NE IPA. I took several things that folks shared here into account, cold crashed for 3 days, fined with gelatin, dropped the hops 2 days before I kegged from both the racking arm and the bottom dump valve, and I used a tri-clamp fitting with the ability to screw my hose to so I didn’t have a QD coming off the fermenter. I did leave the poppit in the QD on the keg, along with the ball lock in the keg.

Happy to say that it went off without a hitch, 10 gallons kegged, ran clear the whole time.

Next step will be to try that same process with a more aggressively hopped beer… but I think I’ve made progress. Thanks to all those that responded.
 

micraftbeer

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I read an idea someone had where they were going to connect a hose to the pickup tube inside the fermentor and connect that to a floating ball. I thought that sounded interesting, but tubing size would likely be a challenge. Pickup tube is going to be big diameter, but floating ball for pickup tube probably won't be strong enough to actually float with that weight of tubing.
 

murphyslaw

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I ferment in kegs and always had a terrible time with clogs when transferring, even with a floating dip tube. But I’ve found that floating dip tube + dip tube screen + cold crash cured all. I’ve done two four gallon NEIPAs with 8oz of dry hops and had no trouble at all.
 

MugsWorth

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Hi Murphy. What's the diptube screen look like? I'm having similar problems with my setup.
My last attempt was horrible, cold crashed and tossed my 6 oz. hops in a micron screened can and half the hops never saw any beer, just got packed in and stuck.
Thinking of getting a floating diptube. Any recommendations?
Thanks
 

Yesfan

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I didn't have the ball lock post on my Spike fermenters, but I did have a 1.5" Triclamp/MFL adapter with 5mm EVA barrier line to a beer ball lock. I'd get clogs all the time when I'd dry hop commando and if I used a bag, the racking tube got blocked. My biggest issue is the inability to cold crash.

I made one of these hoping it may help.

20220525_152949.jpg




I had an extra 1.5" triclamp/ .5" NPT adapter, so I bought the largest EVA barrier line I could get (9.5mm OD vs 5mm) a match ball valve and the adapters for the triclamp and beer in ball lock. I haven't had a chance to use it, but my thinking is the ball valve will let me stop transfer if I get a clog at the ball lock disconnect and/or ball lock post on the keg. I made a second one with ball lock disconnects on each end for my my Fermzilla All Rounder. I recently used it to transfer an IPA with no issues. I've only used it that one time, so time will tell.
 
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