Sight glass on Spike Flex

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TTfireman

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So, I saw today that Spike brewing came out with a 1.5” TC sight glass for the Flex line of fermenters. I am trying to understand the use of a sight glass when there isn’t a bottom port. Would you just put it on one of the side ports and have a representation of what is going on in the rest of the fermenter? (I know that sounds obvious, it is a SIGHT glass.) They talk about using it for harvesting yeast, but I can’t see that working. Am I missing something? Or is it just a simple add on to watch it ferment since it’s a stainless fermenter?
 

Rb4123

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I don’t think it’s a flex specific accessory. But, I plan on getting one after I have a tc fitting welded to the cone of my flex.
 

mongoose33

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Can't imagine why I'd want one. If you look at the accessories page, there's a lot of stuff there that is either specific to either the Flex or Flex+, or really isn't useful. Such as a CIP ball. Since there's no bottom dump, you're going to have to siphon the cleaning solution out, or pick up the Flex and dump it out.

Same with the sight glass. I have one on my Spike CF10 but without the bottom dump....can't imagine what I'd want that for.

Wait....there is one thing. I use a second sight glass as an oxygen-free dump of dry hops in an IPA. I put a butterfly valve on the top TC port, add the sight glass to the top of that, and then the pressure manifold on top of that.

I bleed off CO2 into a blowoff jar through that setup. I close the blowoff valve, remove the pressure manifold, add the hops into the sight glass (I can get 3 ounces in there without crushing the pellets), put the pressure manifold back on, and crack the valve about 1/3 open to allow CO2 to escape again.

This purges the hops of air as excess CO2 bleeds off. So, when the time comes that want to add dry hops, all I do is open the valve all the way, working it back and forth as I gently tap the bottom of the sight glass frame with a hammer. Down go the hops, no O2, and then I close it up. I self-carb so I generally do this with about 7 points of gravity to go in fermentation, so there's some biotransformation going on (I like it), but I could also drop them when fermentation is complete.

You'd want to be sure you don't have a runaway fermentation where the krausen clogs the PRV and blowoff tubing, but since I do this usually with 5-gallon batches in a CF10, it's not an issue. If I do 10-gallon batches, I'll put a blowoff barb on top and switch out to the pressure manifold when fermentation slows.

So--this is the only thing I can think you'd do with the sight glass. Below is a pic of my hopdropper, currently awaiting a drop in a beer I brewed Friday.

hopdropper4.jpg
 

Rb4123

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If you’re not following the other flex (+) thread, here is my modified flex. I had a tri-clamp fitting welded to the bottom of the cone so I now have a dump valve. This cost me much less, including the extras,
IMG_3887.JPG
IMG_3890.JPG
IMG_3884.JPG
IMG_3886.JPG
than buying a true conical.
 

NewJersey

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There is no way that cost less than a CF5!
At that point tho, why bother buying the flex? CF5 has better come angle and comes with all of that
 

Rb4123

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There is no way that cost less than a CF5!
At that point tho, why bother buying the flex? CF5 has better come angle and comes with all of that
I started with the standard flex, not the plus. Totaled up, including everything seen in the photos, it’s $475 or so. Maybe not the greatest savings in the world, but the $50 difference is enough for several more batches. Plus I like messing with things. It was partly a “Let’s see if it can be done” and an “I want one of those” thought processes.
 

NewJersey

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Oh, this is still with clippy lid too?
Hey, it'll work not knockin ya for sure
If you could do it over I'm sure you'd just grab a CF5
 

Rb4123

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Yep, I’m cheap and went with the basic. I like to think that now I have something no one else has. Even though many people have a flex or a conical, mine is some weird contraption of a device. Mainly wanted a dump valve for cleaning out and possibly dropping most of the sludge after activity ceases.
 

Vale71

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YMainly wanted a dump valve for cleaning out and possibly dropping most of the sludge after activity ceases.
Cleaning yes, dumping you can forget about it. With such a flat bottom all you will do is punch a hole in the trub and waste beer while most of the sludge will remain firmly in place.
 

eric19312

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So, I saw today that Spike brewing came out with a 1.5” TC sight glass for the Flex line of fermenters. I am trying to understand the use of a sight glass when there isn’t a bottom port. Would you just put it on one of the side ports and have a representation of what is going on in the rest of the fermenter? (I know that sounds obvious, it is a SIGHT glass.) They talk about using it for harvesting yeast, but I can’t see that working. Am I missing something? Or is it just a simple add on to watch it ferment since it’s a stainless fermenter?
I think the 1.5" sight glass is for attaching to the racking port on fermentors (flex or unitanks) or on TC fitted kettles. I guess maybe they will also sell some to owners of SS Brewtech, Blichmann and other conicals with the 1.5" dump ports.
 

Sam Gilchrist

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Wait....there is one thing. I use a second sight glass as an oxygen-free dump of dry hops in an IPA. I put a butterfly valve on the top TC port, add the sight glass to the top of that, and then the pressure manifold on top of that.

I took some inspiration and went a touch more aggressive and set up something similar using the 4” port. Overkill? Indeed. Awesome? Indeed. Just dropped 1.5lbs of toasted coconut using the set up and it worked great. The butterfly is sufficiently deep that I can also dry hop (without the sight glass). Fun to put together.
 

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mongoose33

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I don't think it's overkill--I wish I had a 4" port for hop dropping. But I need that 4" port for the chilling coil. I wish Spike had some variations on this.
 
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