Primary Fermenting in a Corny Keg

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liljimmynorton

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Ok, you guys have got my interest peaked. I just started using Fermcap and love it. Now the only logical step is to ferment in my corny. I am going to be brewing a Hefe soon, so if that doesn't put this theory to the test I don't know what will. I am willing to make a mess, so I am going to fill it rather high and see what happens. Either way I'll end up with beer so the end result is good.
 

Yambor44

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I fill them to the rim, let settle, and "serve" off about 2 qt of trub.

I end up with 4-4.5 gallons when it's all said and done. Lagers don't blow off nearly as much as ales.


:mug:

Tom,

So you fill after chilling the wort? If so, how long do you "let it settle" for? When you fill it to the rim, do you add your fermacap at this time.

Also, If I use a gas disconnect with blow off tube, I should leave the poppit in right? Otherwise the QD will not engage and open?
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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Noonan suggested about 6 hours IIRC in "New Lager Brewing" for settling before fermentation. It likely takes a lot less time for the majority of junk to settle out.

For the gas QD, take out the poppet. Also remove the poppet from the hose connection and you are good to go.
 

Tom

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Tom,

So you fill after chilling the wort? If so, how long do you "let it settle" for? When you fill it to the rim, do you add your fermacap at this time.

Also, If I use a gas disconnect with blow off tube, I should leave the poppit in right? Otherwise the QD will not engage and open?
I fill right from my plate chiller and oxygenate in-line.
I let it settle an hour or two. Once fermentation starts it'll all mix up.
I leave the poppet in and use the gas QD without any alterations. I haven't tried fermcap yet. I started fermenting lagers in the cornies and didn't really need it. I just got 2 slim 1/4 kegs that I am going to try fermenting in.
Brew on :mug:
 

Yambor44

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I fill right from my plate chiller and oxygenate in-line.
I let it settle an hour or two. Once fermentation starts it'll all mix up.
I leave the poppet in and use the gas QD without any alterations. I haven't tried fermcap yet. I started fermenting lagers in the cornies and didn't really need it. I just got 2 slim 1/4 kegs that I am going to try fermenting in.
Brew on :mug:

But you serve off what settled into the bottom correct? I assume you push it with some co2?
 

Tom

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Yep, until the cold break clears, about 1/2 gallon.
 

TheMan

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I'm surprised there aren't more people getting 5 gallons out of this...I get 48 bottles nearly every time.

I fill to the weld mark that you can see inside the keg. 10 drops of FermCaps. I think the real key is getting as little trub as possible into the keg in the first place. After chilling I whirlpool and let it sit for 25 minutes. Then I siphon in. I get nearly crystal clear beer going into the fermenter.

I also raise my batch size according to the amount of hops used. I do 6 gallon batches unless I'm using more than 3 ounces hops. Then I raise the batch volume by 1/4 gallon per ounce of hops, this lets you get nearly no trub and maximize your fermenter. This is for my 15 gallon pot.
 

WortMonger

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Next thing you know, you guys will be moving up to the big 1/2 bbl kegs like I use. ;) I love the big one as a primary and then filling the smaller kegs for serving. I am so glad more people are trying keg fermentations. Using a little pressure during fermentation really helps keep the kraeusen down as well. I ferment with 5-7 psi and then let it crank up towards the tail end into the carbonation levels. Works great and the kegs are perfect for this. Anyway, I check this thread with every post to read more happy keg-fermenters. Prost!
 

GroovePuppy

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This sounds like an excellent way to super-simplify Apfelwein production in my spare kegs. :D
 

ScubaSteve

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So, I've started using this method, and I really like it. Definitely the best kept secret! I've done about 3 batches so far and it's super simple, and really clean. One process I've started using is having my black jumper connected to the QD with swivel nuts instead of barbs. I will unscrew the tubing, bleed off the yeast, and disconnect the whole thing once it clears up....effectively stopping the transfer. Then, I screw it back on to the qd finger tight, hook it back up to the receiving keg, and begin my transfer. No issues whatsoever.
 

ScubaSteve

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On another note, I started some apfelwein over this 4th of July weekend and left town. I thought it was gonna be super simple because the Montrachet yeast doesn't foam. I noticed a small trickle going into my blowoff, and as the corny was really full, I thought it was just the gas diptube being submerged a bit.

I came back after 4 days, and my brew room was covered with a sticky sweet residue. The apfelwein smell was overpowering! All the boxes on the floor had waterlines halfway up the side, as if a flood had happened! I lifted the keg, and it was LIGHT AS A FEATHER. Turns out I hooked the gas up to the liquid post (the fact I had to push hard should've been my first warning) and the keg dispensed itself all over the floor.

But the math didn't add up....the blowoff container was 3/4 full, the floor had a thin film of applejuice, where were the other 4 gallons???

It all went down the floor vent....looking up at the ceiling downstairs right below the room, there are now large but faint wet spots....at least the drywall isn't soggy (phew!).

Thank god it's summer and the A/C will dry it out in a hurry!

Please learn from my mistake and double check that everything is hooked up right! I may even pull the diptube just to be sure next time.......:mug:
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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Wow... that's hard core.

In happier news, I have two good additions to this thread and both use this:



It is a fine mesh straining bag.

Use #1: When transferring from boil kettle to the fermenter. Boil the mesh in water for 15 minutes (while chilling batch) to sanitize fully. Then, line the inside of the keg fermenter with the mesh but leave the top edge outside. Basically just put the bag in the keg so you can pour the wort through it and then remove the bag. When you pour in you full volume of wort, the mesh strains out all the cold break and hop material. It is super slick. I use gloves on all cold side operations, so I sanitize my gloves then squeeze the bag to get every drop out of the hops trub. Super clear beer ensues with no bothersome separation work. I am super happy with this technique.

Use #2: Dry hopping. Again, boil the mesh strainer to sanitize. Then put the strainer in the keg so just the top is sticking out. Dump in the hops and re-install the lid so that the lid holds the mesh bag in place. When you are done dry hopping, pull out the bag while squeezing out the hoppy deliciousness.

Both of these have really made my life easier on my last three batches (only 2 were dry hopped).

:mug:
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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The only note is that you need to be careful with the mesh when it is full. Because it is so fine mesh it takes some time to drain, you need to slowly pull it out of the keg to avoid spillage.

I just had a thought. It might be easier to put the strainer bag in a funnel before the keg. I think I will try that this weekend when I brew and report back.
 

dirtbikejunkie

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can someone do test. split a 10 gal batch into 5 gal corny and 5 gal carboy and see how it turns out. I am sure it will depend on the yeast strain to a degree.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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No. I will never use a carboy again except for some potential beer that I may want to age for a really long time and meads. I sold all my carboys except two 5g.

Seriously, I have brewed 5 beers this year with the keg ferment and will never go back.
 

jfkriege

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I have been fermenting in kegs as well and really enjoy it, and enjoy the quality of beer that I make. As an added bonus, I take up less room with extra things like carboys and an array of buckets. All I buy now for beer are kegs. I mash, boil, ferment, clear, and serve out of kegs.

I still have a bucket or two, but they are used only for fruit wines where I need 7-8 gallons of space and the ability to access it easily.
 

Yambor44

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Well, just transferred my wort to a corney keg for the first time. Currently sitting to allow the trub to settle and then will try "serving" of a couple of quarts as Tom mentioned. Then I plan to remove the poppet from the post and the QD and add the blow off tube.

One question (and too late). When you let this settle to serve off the trub, do you wait and add the yeast after you serve off the trub? I already added my dry yeast to the keg.
 

Tom

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I always add my yeast as soon as possible.

On that note, I just brewed my first brew that I am fermenting in a "slim 1/4 keg".
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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I take the poppet out when I dump trub. With the poppet and the spring etc. in place there seems to be a lot of chance of clogging. Just pop those suckers out and it will be smooth sailing.
 

JetSmooth

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I take the poppet out when I dump trub.

Please! This a family friendly forum. :D

Srsly, do you mean when you tap off the trub at the bottom or when you flip the empty keg over to get the junk out? I just did my first corny ferment and siphoned the beer out (no gas to push yet) and was a little concerned about getting the yeast slurry up in the top when I dumped it over. I just filled with about a gallon of water to swish and swirl it around to loosen before dumping it out in the yard. Rinsed 2x with fresh water and then filled to absolute top with water and a scoop of oxyclean. I hope that got it all out.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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I mean when doing any kind of transfer. On my last couple batches I haven't dumped the trub. I just wait until I am ready to transfer, then push the beer to my serving keg. I have a diptube I cut 3/4" short that I use for transfers and that leaves all the yeast sediment behind.

Take the poppet out of the keg connector, and the QD.
 

BargainFittings

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I think I have active fermentation. A house ale going to town.

Its just bubbling along. Looks more active than it is.

Wayne.

corneyferm.jpg
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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Not sure. I know Noonan talks about using a settling tank in "New Lager Brewing" but I can't remember what he suggests. I don't dump the trub before fermentation, so I have no experience.
 

BargainFittings

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Did you jam a penny in between the leg of the cap and the corny?

Yes I shimmed each side with a penny. That style lid does not fit tight without some pressure.

I am thinking about making a couple of special lids just for the primary. I need a better clamp system to seal it.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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What you can do to seal the lid is initially hit it with a bunch of CO2 pressure, then bleed the pressure off to leave the lid sealed but no pressure in the vessel. Or do what I do, and don't care about the seal... I hook up blowoffs, but don't get everything super sealed up. If I need the blowoff, everything travels through there, otherwise air escapes where it wants to.
 

BargainFittings

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Or I could have gone right off the lid hole with the stopper in it. I filled it below the gas in dip tube and it still krausened up. I'll get some anti-foam.
 

bentonre

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Well, I am looking to get into using a corny as a primary. Here is my latest "deal" off flea-bay. :ban:
Yup that is a 10 gallon corny with foam insulation and a heater underneath to keep the contents warm (not that I will be using it). No in/out posts on the tank yet, but the threads are standard corny so I will move some posts over from an old or bad tank. I am thinking a ball valve in place of the relief in the lid that will be piped to a blowoff tube. Then I can close the valve after fermentation and use the standard posts to transfer the beer out.

eyewash.jpg
 

GroovePuppy

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So my normal beer sequence follows (with occasional exceptions) the 1 week primary, 2 week secondary, 3 week keg rule of thumb. I'm thinking now of switching up to a 1-2 week primary then keg for the remainder. Secondary then serve from the same keg.

I can't fit a keg in my fermentation chamber so my secondary fermentation wouldn't be temperature controlled. Since most of the "real" fermentation is done will that make a noticeable difference?

I could transfer to a second keg to serve to remove any secondary trub but since I sugar prime in the keg I have trub anyway.

I'm doing an Apfelwein Light (minus the sugar) in keg right now. I just dumped the juice and yeast in and sealed up. Twice a day I vent the keg using the release valve. The goal is to have the whole thing ferment out, carbonate and serve in one step. Getting the carbonation right is going to be the trickiest part. Anyone tried this or anything similar?
 

WortMonger

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I ferment, then at the end of primary I let the pressure rise to volumes of carbonation desired (taking into consideration the higher pressure for higher temperature at fermentation), then when it is done seal it up completely and crash. When I hook my tank up to transfer, I am at the right volumes and transfer accordingly based on that. If by some chance I am under/over I force or bleed, let it rest, then transfer under counter-pressure into my target keg. Since the primary has vented off the bad gas during the first part of fermentation, the last few gravity points and the keg carbonating aren't a problem.
 
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