Recirculating hops in conical fermenter

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Mousetrapbrewery

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I tried to find an answer to this question but couldn’t locate it anywhere. So if someone has already answered this please send me the thread.

I recently got a Spike conical fermenter. I have done some reading on recirculating the hops during the dry hop. I was trying to find videos or info on how it actually works. I couldn’t find much. I am wondering how everyone sets this up? How do you purge the pump and hoses with CO2 so you don’t risk oxidation. Also how long does everyone keep it recirculating for? One of the biggest things I found was to let the hops dissolve for approx 1 hour before recirculating. I also have a way to dry hop with minimal oxygen. Is the oxygen in the hose that much to ruin a 5-10 gallon batch? Thanks.
 

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IF you want to use CO2 to move the wort around, just use something like the carbonating stone, or a simple 1.5" TC to corny keg base fitting (Brewers Hardware sells them) to put CO2 in from the racking arm port (assuming you have one and the butterfly valve fitted). Then use either a spunding valve, or periodically pull the PRV to release the pressure and get CO2 to flow inside.

IF you add the hops in the later stage of fermenting, or before you start chilling, I'm pretty sure the beer will be recirculating on it's own. Especially when you start chilling the beer to either harvest the yeast or chill to carbonating temperatures. I've dry hopped one batch in CF10 so far and will be doing it with the coming batch (brewing Saturday). I'm not going to do any thing different other than use a CO2 purged hop drop into fermenter once fermentation is complete and I've harvested the yeast (for use in another batch). I'll give it some days (not sure how many yet, but at least a 4-5) then chill to carbonating temperatures and let that complete.

I would advise doing a more 'normal' process for the beer post dry hop addition and see if you get what you wanted. Pull a sample every day or two and see how it changes. Then finish the process when you hit what you think you want. If it's not when it goes to glass, adjust your time frames until you get what you really wanted there. IMO, that's at least part of the appeal to brewing your own.
 
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IF you want to use CO2 to move the wort around, just use something like the carbonating stone, or a simple 1.5" TC to corny keg base fitting (Brewers Hardware sells them) to put CO2 in from the racking arm port (assuming you have one and the butterfly valve fitted). Then use either a spunding valve, or periodically pull the PRV to release the pressure and get CO2 to flow inside.

IF you add the hops in the later stage of fermenting, or before you start chilling, I'm pretty sure the beer will be recirculating on it's own. Especially when you start chilling the beer to either harvest the yeast or chill to carbonating temperatures. I've dry hopped one batch in CF10 so far and will be doing it with the coming batch (brewing Saturday). I'm not going to do any thing different other than use a CO2 purged hop drop into fermenter once fermentation is complete and I've harvested the yeast (for use in another batch). I'll give it some days (not sure how many yet, but at least a 4-5) then chill to carbonating temperatures and let that complete.

I would advise doing a more 'normal' process for the beer post dry hop addition and see if you get what you wanted. Pull a sample every day or two and see how it changes. Then finish the process when you hit what you think you want. If it's not when it goes to glass, adjust your time frames until you get what you really wanted there. IMO, that's at least part of the appeal to brewing your own.
So I am trying to recirculate the wort with a pump. I have a dry hopper to attach to the 4in TC port on my CF15. So I am not worried about oxygen exposure on the dry hop. I’m more so wondering if anyone has experimented recirculating the wort with a pump and hose and how they purged that with oxygen. There are some videos but not that detailed on how they’re doing it. And I don’t want to spend another 70-100 on parts to do this. I wanted to see if anyone has a better solution. I guess I’ll just try hop normal now and wait on the recirculating.
 

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So I am trying to recirculate the wort with a pump. I have a dry hopper to attach to the 4in TC port on my CF15. So I am not worried about oxygen exposure on the dry hop. I’m more so wondering if anyone has experimented recirculating the wort with a pump and hose and how they purged that with oxygen. There are some videos but not that detailed on how they’re doing it. And I don’t want to spend another 70-100 on parts to do this. I wanted to see if anyone has a better solution. I guess I’ll just try hop normal now and wait on the recirculating.
I wouldn't use a pump for this. I also don't have the 4" port available since I have both my CF10's fitted with chill coils, which are in place before the wort goes in.

I really don't see what you think your 'benefit' would be from doing this. Of course, with a chill coil I can set up a convection current for the beer inside the fermenter post fermentation. Which could give something like that effect. The chill coils allow me to both control fermentation temperatures and chill for yeast harvest and carbonating in conical easily. Since I've been doing that, I can't see EVER going back to carbonating in kegs. Especially since I can now fill one keg (either 2.5 or 3 gallon) and then can (or bottle) the rest that's fully carbonated. Beer is ready to drink as soon as the keg goes into the keezer.
 
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I wouldn't use a pump for this. I also don't have the 4" port available since I have both my CF10's fitted with chill coils, which are in place before the wort goes in.

I really don't see what you think your 'benefit' would be from doing this. Of course, with a chill coil I can set up a convection current for the beer inside the fermenter post fermentation. Which could give something like that effect. The chill coils allow me to both control fermentation temperatures and chill for yeast harvest and carbonating in conical easily. Since I've been doing that, I can't see EVER going back to carbonating in kegs. Especially since I can now fill one keg (either 2.5 or 3 gallon) and then can (or bottle) the rest that's fully carbonated. Beer is ready to drink as soon as the keg goes into the keezer.
the benefit is more hop contact with the wort. From what I’ve read (not speaking from experience) the conical kind of forces the hops to go to the cone and have minimal contact without rousing the wort. I have also read big breweries do this and I have some issues with hop aroma in my beers, even with free floating hops and large dry hops. 6-8 oz dry hop in a 5 gallon batch, contact for 48 hours then cold crash for 48hrs. I just got my CF15 and I am just wondering if people have ever done this. There is minimal information on the homebrew scale. Like I said before, there are videos but they aren’t that detailed on the equipment and process that’s why I came here. Might just wait to do it because I don’t have too much information. I am fortunate to have some fantastic breweries around me and my beers don’t compare to their hop aroma. So was just trying to figure out the solution. Maybe it’s a bigger dry hop but 1/2 pound for a 5 gallon batch seems like that should be sufficient enough. I have not tried my CF15 yet but maybe the dumping the yeast and having the conical is enough to intensify the hop flavor and aroma.
 
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I just read that attaching CO2 to the racking arm for 20-25 min each day could have the same effect. So I’ll try his first. Thanks for the help.
 

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Maybe you should investigate a Randall and use that at the point of serving for a hop aroma boost.

Beware as well that silicone hoses are really oxygen permeable so I wouldn't want those in a pump around circuit.
On a purging note it would be very difficult to truly remove the oxygen from the hop pellets or hops before any procedure. Short of placing them in a vacuum then purge with inert gas and repeat several times before then loading them into your hop back or doing this in your hop back.

Maybe try your closed transfer thru the hop back into the keg done slowly over several hours you'd need no pump just pressure and gravity.

There is also a product called aromazyme which might assist your brews in a less fiddly manner.
 
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Maybe you should investigate a Randall and use that at the point of serving for a hop aroma boost.

Beware as well that silicone hoses are really oxygen permeable so I wouldn't want those in a pump around circuit.
On a purging note it would be very difficult to truly remove the oxygen from the hop pellets or hops before any procedure. Short of placing them in a vacuum then purge with inert gas and repeat several times before then loading them into your hop back or doing this in your hop back.

Maybe try your closed transfer thru the hop back into the keg done slowly over several hours you'd need no pump just pressure and gravity.

There is also a product called aromazyme which might assist your brews in a less fiddly manner.
I’ve done all of that still doesn’t work. I’ve used aromazyme and do slow closed transfers and no oxygen exposure or minimal. Never had a beer turn brown. The aroma is not as intense as I’d like it. Like some breweries around here. Just trying to take a breweries process and scale it down to get as close as possible. Google recirculating hop during dry hop. There is info on it but not much on how they do it or how they purge with co2. That’s why I came here to see if people have tired it but I guess not. The only typo was that I said “oxygen” when I meant “co2”. I’m just going to try pushing co2 through the racking arm a couple times a day.
 

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I have watched a video on recirculating thru the hops but can't find that one now.
Thought you probably meant CO2 but couldn't resist the question.
One difficulty is that aroma by it's nature is volatalised ( is that a word ?) from hops in solution. The head space holds that aroma in balance and it's difficult to get that aroma "gas " into the keg and all you can achieve is equilibrium. So a smaller headspace for the same amount of hops will mean more hop " aroma " potential in solution to escape later.
Maybe we need to have our fermenters much fuller than we do currently?
Just a theory mind you. But it does also fit with how aroma fades as a keg is emptied the headspace and aroma space increase and balance must occur.
 
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I have watched a video on recirculating thru the hops but can't find that one now.
Thought you probably meant CO2 but couldn't resist the question.
One difficulty is that aroma by it's nature is volatalised ( is that a word ?) from hops in solution. The head space holds that aroma in balance and it's difficult to get that aroma "gas " into the keg and all you can achieve is equilibrium. So a smaller headspace for the same amount of hops will mean more hop " aroma " potential in solution to escape later.
Maybe we need to have our fermenters much fuller than we do currently?
Just a theory mind you. But it does also fit with how aroma fades as a keg is emptied the headspace and aroma space increase and balance must occur.
yes that definitely makes sense. Usually have 1.5 to 2 gallons of head space when I fermenter. That is definitely something to think about and consider. If only these breweries would give us a little more insight instead of so much trial and error haha
 
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Post 11 in the thread I linked is the process a that pro brewer uses. I would think you could start with that if you wanted to use a pump.
Ill def try that for my second time in the CF15. I wanna try straight on how it’s supposed to be used then try the other method to compare the two. Thanks for the post! It helped.
 

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If you're kegging, you can also put some hops in there (use a nylon mesh bag) to get more aroma/flavor into the glass. I've done that in the past but you need to be aware of how long the hops are in there. Where I've never had any negative flavor/aroma elements, I've had the color of the brew change after enough time (IIRC, about two months from when they went in). That was with pellet hops, which is why I've wanted to get some leaf hops for a while now.

If you're not kegging, then you'll need to do it in the conical. Maybe give them more time before you cold crash the brew. I'm thinking that I'll give the next batch to get dry hopped about 5-7 days before I chill to carbonate temperature.
 

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I have a CF-5 and copied this technique with good success using a Blichmann Riptide pump.
I pressure ferment. I CO2 purge and drop the hops through the 1.5" TC on the lid using a valve, 8" TC spool and Blichmann tri-clamp spunding valve.

Be methodical and careful when purging the lines before opening valves and starting the pump.
I dry hop cold (40-45F) and since the pellets breakdown and sink quickly at that temperature, this process works great to stir things up and I feel I'm getting much better hop utilization with no apparent O2 issues or clogging of any kind.


Parts needed:


NPT Threaded Full Couplings **NOTE** Make sure you order the 1/4" option.

Whatever 1/2" QD fittings you use for the TC reducer.
Teflon tape.
Clamps/gaskets.
Tubing.
 
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jerrylotto

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You've given me an idea. I have a GE cartridge filter that I use in line when I'm transferring keg to keg,, mostly for clarification. It is simple enough to purge with CO2 as it has ball lock fittings on both sides, liquid "in" gas "out". I guess that I could put some dry aroma hops into the cartridge chamber on the "in" side and transfer through them but I've not actually tried it yet. It could also be hooked up to a single keg with a pump inline and circulated for a while.
 
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I have a CF-5 and copied this technique with good success using a Blichmann Riptide pump.
I pressure ferment. I CO2 purge and drop the hops through the 1.5" TC on the lid using a valve, 8" TC spool and Blichmann tri-clamp spunding valve.

Be methodical and careful when purging the lines before opening valves and starting the pump.
I dry hop cold (40-45F) and since the pellets breakdown and sink quickly at that temperature, this process works great to stir things up and I feel I'm getting much better hop utilization with no apparent O2 issues or clogging of any kind.


Parts needed:


NPT Threaded Full Couplings **NOTE** Make sure you order the 1/4" option.

Whatever 1/2" QD fittings you use for the TC reducer.
Teflon tape.
Clamps/gaskets.
Tubing.
awesome thanks for the info!! Can you take some pics of your set up? Worth the extra money for the equipment? So I was thinking getting a 2 in TC with a 1/2 in npt for the bottom dump and then 1.5 TC with a 1/4 npt for racking arm port. Put a gas keg post on the 1/2 npt and a prv on the 1/4 npt. Pressurize it and burp it to get the oxygen out. My thought is putting the prv only on the1.5 in TC because it’s higher and oxygen rises. Then recirculate. What do you do with the beer in the line? Just dump it?
 
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awesome thanks for the info!! Can you take some pics of your set up? Worth the extra money for the equipment? So I was thinking getting a 2 in TC with a 1/2 in npt for the bottom dump and then 1.5 TC with a 1/4 npt for racking arm port. Put a gas keg post on the 1/2 npt and a prv on the 1/4 npt. Pressurize it and burp it to get the oxygen out. My thought is putting the prv only on the1.5 in TC because it’s higher and oxygen rises. Then recirculate. What do you do with the beer in the line? Just dump it?
I forgot to mention with this, it is similar to the reducer you posted. These are them exactly.



Then have a TC QC port on the end that is connected to the pump. As a poster mentioned above the silicone tubing isn’t really an oxygen barrier. Have you noticed issues with this?
 

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awesome thanks for the info!! Can you take some pics of your set up? Worth the extra money for the equipment? So I was thinking getting a 2 in TC with a 1/2 in npt for the bottom dump and then 1.5 TC with a 1/4 npt for racking arm port. Put a gas keg post on the 1/2 npt and a prv on the 1/4 npt. Pressurize it and burp it to get the oxygen out. My thought is putting the prv only on the1.5 in TC because it’s higher and oxygen rises. Then recirculate. What do you do with the beer in the line? Just dump it?
I'm not currently brewing so all my equipment is broken down but I set it up just like in the video. I think I get what you mean regarding the additional TC spool but I have no problems purging this setup with CO2 and it's one less part to think about. Additionally, after purging, I flood the spool and tubing with beer by cracking the racking arm valve, keeping the dump valve closed and letting the beer flow through the gas post QD/tubing on the reducer that I orient in the 12 o'clock position. Total cost was minimal and well worth it IMO, especially considering the money wasted on gizmos that end up being more problematical than beneficial. Hope this helps.
 
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I'm not currently brewing so all my equipment is broken down but I set it up just like in the video. I think I get what you mean regarding the additional TC spool but I have no problems purging this setup with CO2 and it's one less part to think about. Additionally, after purging, I flood the spool and tubing with beer by cracking the racking arm valve, keeping the dump valve closed and letting the beer flow through the gas post QD/tubing on the reducer that I orient in the 12 o'clock position. Total cost was minimal and well worth it IMO, especially considering the money wasted on gizmos that end up being more problematical than beneficial. Hope this helps.
yes it does! Thanks for the info. Do you usually let it run for a day or so or only minutes at a time? And do you just dump the beer in the line?
 

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yes it does! Thanks for the info. Do you usually let it run for a day or so or only minutes at a time? And do you just dump the beer in the line?
Yes, whatever is left in the line is dumped... it's not very much at all. As for recirculation time, still learning as I go. Commercial brewery's I've seen on the web talk about turning the tank over once. That would only equate to 5-6 minutes at my scale but that just seems too little. Next time I plan to do 2 recirculations, 1 day apart, for 10-15 minutes each time at approximately 1-2 GPM.
 

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Liquid purge your pump and lines like you would purge a keg. Fill them with sanitizer and then push it out with CO2 or beer. Beer is preferable since, assuming you're using a centrifugal pump, you'd have to prime it anyway.

I knock off the cone to virtually straight beer, then pull down from the racking arm and push back in to the bottom of the cone.

I recirc a few hours for moderate commercial batches (15-60bbls). Some places will recirc for 12+ hrs. For homebrew scale you likely don't need more than half an hour.

Be aware that any dodgy connections or seals (including pump seals) and your O2 ingress recirculating could go through the roof.
 

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Liquid purge your pump and lines like you would purge a keg. Fill them with sanitizer and then push it out with CO2 or beer. Beer is preferable since, assuming you're using a centrifugal pump, you'd have to prime it anyway.

I knock off the cone to virtually straight beer, then pull down from the racking arm and push back in to the bottom of the cone.

I recirc a few hours for moderate commercial batches (15-60bbls). Some places will recirc for 12+ hrs. For homebrew scale you likely don't need more than half an hour.

Be aware that any dodgy connections or seals (including pump seals) and your O2 ingress recirculating could go through the roof.
Good intel… thanks. As a precaution, I check all of my Riptide pump o-rings and lubricate them with keglube prior to the hop recirculation hoping for a good seal. I also don’t run the pump very fast thinking I can avoid any suction that might draw o2 into the loop.
 

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I’ve done all of that still doesn’t work. I’ve used aromazyme and do slow closed transfers and no oxygen exposure or minimal. Never had a beer turn brown. The aroma is not as intense as I’d like it. Like some breweries around here. Just trying to take a breweries process and scale it down to get as close as possible. Google recirculating hop during dry hop. There is info on it but not much on how they do it or how they purge with co2. That’s why I came here to see if people have tired it but I guess not. The only typo was that I said “oxygen” when I meant “co2”. I’m just going to try pushing co2 through the racking arm a couple times a day.
I push CO2 into the bottom port 2x per day with some success. I could easily do 3x per day. My practice is to push 2-3 second bursts at 20psi until fermenter reaches 15psi, then let spunding valve bring it back to about 8 psi. Does recirculating provide that much of an advantage?
 

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I push CO2 into the bottom port 2x per day with some success. I could easily do 3x per day. My practice is to push 2-3 second bursts at 20psi until fermenter reaches 15psi, then let spunding valve bring it back to about 8 psi. Does recirculating provide that much of an advantage?
This is where I wish I had X-ray vision. Before recirculating, I used the burp method but just wasn’t convinced about the effectiveness. Seems to me that the compacted hop material (I dry hop cold) might not fully release and mix adequately with the beer with just a few blasts of co2 up through the dump valve. I also felt that hop aroma might be reduced once the co2 is eventually released from the conical. My biggest concern with recirculation was o2 infiltration but after using this process on a few brews without any noticeable oxidation, I’ve become less concerned but care, patience and good methodology are vital to success.
 
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Liquid purge your pump and lines like you would purge a keg. Fill them with sanitizer and then push it out with CO2 or beer. Beer is preferable since, assuming you're using a centrifugal pump, you'd have to prime it anyway.

I knock off the cone to virtually straight beer, then pull down from the racking arm and push back in to the bottom of the cone.

I recirc a few hours for moderate commercial batches (15-60bbls). Some places will recirc for 12+ hrs. For homebrew scale you likely don't need more than half an hour.

Be aware that any dodgy connections or seals (including pump seals) and your O2 ingress recirculating could go through the roof.
my issue would be liquid purging the lines because I don’t think I could do that with the CF15 if it’s already filled with beer. Unless I am missing something? I would be using a QC on the 2in and 1.5 valves. I bought a manifold so I can fill the lines and pump with co2 and burp it to get as oxygen out as possible.
 

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Assuming you have a butterfly on one end of your line and a QD on the other, you can fill and seal the line. You can hook your QD up to a purged, pressurized keg, and blow it out via the butterfly with CO2. Or hook up to the tank, manually depress the QD pin (or use a post/adaptor) to flush the sani out with beer. The only problem using CO2 is if your pump is not self-priming.
 

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awesome thanks for the info!! Can you take some pics of your set up? Worth the extra money for the equipment? So I was thinking getting a 2 in TC with a 1/2 in npt for the bottom dump and then 1.5 TC with a 1/4 npt for racking arm port. Put a gas keg post on the 1/2 npt and a prv on the 1/4 npt. Pressurize it and burp it to get the oxygen out. My thought is putting the prv only on the1.5 in TC because it’s higher and oxygen rises. Then recirculate. What do you do with the beer in the line? Just dump it?
Just remembered you wanted a photo of my setup. Gas fitting used to both fill line/pump with co2, then replacing with beer before hop recirculation. Hope this helps.
IMG_4432.jpeg
 
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