Spike Conical- observations and best practices

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philly224

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got mine on thursday, playing with it right now. i had some problems with the pump. it wouldn't pump, just made a buzzing noise. i finally gave it a whack with a screw driver handle and away she went. jacket is nice, a tight fit and tight around all the tc connections. i'm cold crashing some water now just for testing, seems to be working fine. next is a test of the heater and cip ball. the john guest connectors are a little tricky with the soft cooling tubing. i had several leaks until i pushed on them way harder than i thought i needed to and they went further into the fitting, no leaks now.
Yeah I shot glycol all over the place with the quick connects too until I pushed them in all the way. Definitely something you need to make sure you have pushed in all the way!

The temp controller only having two settings threw me off a bit but I guess you don't need any of the other settings for just the pump and heater.
 
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itsnotrequired

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The temp controller only having two settings threw me off a bit but I guess you don't need any of the other settings for just the pump and heater.
i thought the same thing! it looks like an ink bird so i was all set to deal with the differential settings, etc. but it is pretty much temp setting and f or c display.
 

philly224

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i thought the same thing! it looks like an ink bird so i was all set to deal with the differential settings, etc. but it is pretty much temp setting and f or c display.
It definitely looks like a rebranded inkbird just with less options. I'm wondering if they are pre programmed or something. I'll probably email them and ask what the heating and cooling differentials are set to.
 

itsnotrequired

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cooling worked fine, ran the heater and that performed as expected. one weird deal was the racking valve started leaking once i went to heat. it wasn't at the tri-clamp but at the valve itself. i'm going to exercise the valve and try again. and it wasn't like it started leaking after it heated up, it was as if it started leaking right when i switched to heat. weird.
 

philly224

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cooling worked fine, ran the heater and that performed as expected. one weird deal was the racking valve started leaking once i went to heat. it wasn't at the tri-clamp but at the valve itself. i'm going to exercise the valve and try again. and it wasn't like it started leaking after it heated up, it was as if it started leaking right when i switched to heat. weird.
That is weird. So far mine has only heated and I didn't have any leaking.
 

itsnotrequired

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That is weird. So far mine has only heated and I didn't have any leaking.
i only noticed heating on a third of the blanket. as in, it heated between legs 1 and 2 but not between 2 and 3 or 3 and 1. it still heated plenty fast though so not too concerned but seems odd. as long as we are getting weird, i touched my nose to the dome while heating and got a tingle. controller is plugged into a gfci and it didn't trip. i unplugged the heating element and plugged it directly into the gfci receptacle, same deal, tingle on the nose with no tripping.

like the twilight zone over here...
 

philly224

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i only noticed heating on a third of the blanket. as in, it heated between legs 1 and 2 but not between 2 and 3 or 3 and 1. it still heated plenty fast though so not too concerned but seems odd. as long as we are getting weird, i touched my nose to the dome while heating and got a tingle. controller is plugged into a gfci and it didn't trip. i unplugged the heating element and plugged it directly into the gfci receptacle, same deal, tingle on the nose with no tripping.

like the twilight zone over here...
Yeah I only could feel heat in the back which seemed odd to me too. I didn't try the nose thing though tbh haha
 

philly224

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For this batch I'm doing 8 ounces of loose pellet hops for dry hops. What is the best way to get these out of the conical, through the bottom valve after cold crashing/carbing?
 

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I racked my second batch out of my CF10 yesterday. I love pressure transfer, wish I had done that years ago. I'm glad the lid comes off, it really does make cleaning easy.

I bought the leg extensions and installed them today. It's much taller than I expected, but it's going to be easier to work with and collect yeast from. I can fit an old plastic fermenter under it to collect rinse water when I clean it out.
 

burdbrew

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I’m still hemming and hawing over how to regulate temperature on this thing (runs at about 60 right now so no issue). Is running an AC unit indoors without ventilation any issue at all? I sleep upstairs from where I brew, so noise concerns me too. I’m confident that I could build it.

I like the aquarium chiller idea as well, I just wonder how long it would take me to get from 80 to 50 for a lager. I think this unit would have to work hard to keep up.
 

itsnotrequired

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if you run an ac unit in an enclosed space, all the reject heat from the condenser goes right back into the room so it is essentially a net zero temp change (and an obvious loss of electricity). you can run a unit indoors but you would want but you would want separation between the space you are trying to chill and the space where the reject heat is blown. that heat will go into another part of the house, which can either be good (e.g. in winter) or bad (e.g. in summer) also need to consider condensate and how to deal with that dripping on the floor.

an aquarium chiller will work find for lager fermentation, really won't take that long to cool (depending on the rating of the chiller, volume of liquid you are trying to chill, etc.) this is much better than an ac unit in the atmosphere as the cooling is contained within a closed vessel. think of it like your refrigerator. it blows heat into the kitchen but the cool air is contained within the insulated, closed door refrigerator.
 

philly224

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I have my AC unit chiller running in my basement which seems to be working fine but I don't know if you would want one up in the main part of your house. It doesn't look great and it is a bit loud when it runs. It doesnt run too often right now though as it hasnt really had to chill the beer much. The AC unit has been running about 5 mins a day to keep the glycol reserve at 50 degrees. I will see how much it runs this weekend when I cold crash.
 

burdbrew

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I typically don’t cold crash, I just let time do its work. Even if it took overnight to get to lager pitching temps, I would be pleased. The closed system is also appealing to me. That may be the way I go. Anyway, all good feedback, thanks guys.
 

timpritchard23

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I’m still hemming and hawing over how to regulate temperature on this thing (runs at about 60 right now so no issue). Is running an AC unit indoors without ventilation any issue at all? I sleep upstairs from where I brew, so noise concerns me too. I’m confident that I could build it.

I like the aquarium chiller idea as well, I just wonder how long it would take me to get from 80 to 50 for a lager. I think this unit would have to work hard to keep up.
Ran a specific test on my cf15 for this scenario tonight. Took a water test of 11 gallons from 75 to 50 in 3 hours with a 10 gallon reservoir on an aquarium chiller set to 39 degrees. This was with my new jacket installed. Once it reaches temp the chiller doesn't run that much to keep that temperature. The speed it chills is the best part of the conical I didn't anticipate. I don't have to worry about my chilling temps, just cool through plate chiller and let the conical cool the rest of the way. Takes an hour post pitch to cool as opposed to waiting till the next morning to pitch.
 

dunnry

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Can you provide a link to the chiller you purchased? Sounds like a good option.
I have a very similar setup, but I use only a 3-4 gal reservoir as I have found the chiller can keep that very cold pretty easily. I use this chiller model. My chill down times are pretty similar and I can lager with it.
 
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burdbrew

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Ran a specific test on my cf15 for this scenario tonight. Took a water test of 11 gallons from 75 to 50 in 3 hours with a 10 gallon reservoir on an aquarium chiller set to 39 degrees. This was with my new jacket installed. Once it reaches temp the chiller doesn't run that much to keep that temperature. The speed it chills is the best part of the conical I didn't anticipate. I don't have to worry about my chilling temps, just cool through plate chiller and let the conical cool the rest of the way. Takes an hour post pitch to cool as opposed to waiting till the next morning to pitch.
That is some great science, thanks so much for sharing.
 

jdr01

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When using the chiller mentioned above, do you need a reservoir? Can it just be hooked up to the coil?
Thanks
 

timpritchard23

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You need a reservoir. You have one pump that continually cycles the reservoir water through the chiller to keep the reservoir temp regulated, then a second pump to pump through the coil that is hooked to the temp controller on the conical. Reservoir sizes can vary by personal preference. I used my old cooler mash tun and run it full. May play with different amounts of water at some point.
 

dunnry

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You need a reservoir. You have one pump that continually cycles the reservoir water through the chiller to keep the reservoir temp regulated, then a second pump to pump through the coil that is hooked to the temp controller on the conical. Reservoir sizes can vary by personal preference. I used my old cooler mash tun and run it full. May play with different amounts of water at some point.
Exactly. If you want to see what it kind of looks like, I am selling my setup here: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/ss-brewtech-chronical-and-chilling-setup.646396/

I have found 3-5 gals to be a pretty good sweet spot to not having the chiller run a lot, but chilling the reservoir quite quickly.
 

philly224

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Cold crashing and carbing now! Question for anyone that has used the carb stone, does the psi take a while to reach what you have it set to? I set it to 8 and it's taking a while for the pressure inside to get there.
 
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Cold crashing and carbing now! Question for anyone that has used the carb stone, does the psi take a while to reach what you have it set to? I set it to 8 and it's taking a while for the pressure inside to get there.
You'll want to set the pressure to the conical gauge and not the regulator gauge. The carb stone has a wetting pressure of about 4psi. So when you're showing 8psi on your tank regulator the conical is only seeing about 4psi. Our brewer John has some good article which can be seen here: https://spikebrewing.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/folders/35000184641.
 

philly224

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timpritchard23

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What are peoples experiences with the carb stone and initial pressure? I've done a ramping pressure, meaning starting at 8 psi on the regulator so 4 psi in the tank and then ramping the pressure a couple psi every hour or so until I reach the target pressure in the tank. I had a fully carbed beer in 24 hours that way. I read that process somewhere and just went with it. It certainly would be easier to just put on the target pressure and walk away if it results in the same thing in the same time. The idea being that the initial velocity of the high pressure CO2 would just shoot through too fast to absorb well. Somebody feel free to tell me I'm doing too much work and have more drinking time.
 

philly224

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So I have my glycol chiller set to 28 and it'll kick back on and chill down to 28 at 33 and trying to get the beer down to 34. It doesn't seem to want to go below 36 which is perfectly fine with me, I am just a little curious as to why. Should I set the temperature differential on the glycol chiller a bit lower?
 
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So I have my glycol chiller set to 28 and it'll kick back on and chill down to 28 at 33 and trying to get the beer down to 34. It doesn't seem to want to go below 36 which is perfectly fine with me, I am just a little curious as to why. Should I set the temperature differential on the glycol chiller a bit lower?
The loss is likely due to losses in the system. More insulation on your lines, connections, and conical would get it closer. Turning down the temp would likely get you closer.
 

philly224

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The loss is likely due to losses in the system. More insulation on your lines, connections, and conical would get it closer. Turning down the temp would likely get you closer.
I was thinking about going down to like 22 but I'm worried the beer will freeze near the coils
 
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I've no experience to know where that line is. I am curious though as I just ordered a conical and will be setting up a cooling system with glycol. I have been cold crashing in my chest freezer/fermentation chamber down to 30 degrees. It might be nice to be able to do that again with the new setup. I'm thinking with my climate that condensation may be a problem in some seasons. Also, I'm not sure that getting that cold has any tangible benefits. I've just done it because I can, not because I know it is any better than 34, 26, or 40.
 

philly224

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It eventually did hit 34 but I am just going to set it to 36 as that seems to be a pretty easy number for it to hit and will run the pump less.
 

philly224

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Kegged today, beer was carbed nicely!!

Only thing I am not happy with is I barely got 4 gallons. I dry hopped with 8 ounces and didn't use hop bags so maybe that's my issue. Do you guys use hop bags when dry hopping?
 

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Kegged today, beer was carbed nicely!!

Only thing I am not happy with is I barely got 4 gallons. I dry hopped with 8 ounces and didn't use hop bags so maybe that's my issue. Do you guys use hop bags when dry hopping?
Do you have the racking arm? How many gallons of wort did you fill it with? I'm worried about not getting 5 gallons out of the conical after dumping the yeast and trub.

On other note, I received the cooling/heating bundle yesterday and the pump was DOA. Anyone else having pump issues?
 

itsnotrequired

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On other note, I received the cooling/heating bundle yesterday and the pump was DOA. Anyone else having pump issues?
same here, wouldn't work out of the box. gave it a little whack and it started working, no obvious problems that i can see. maybe some of the lubrication stiffened up or something like that.
 

philly224

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Do you have the racking arm? How many gallons of wort did you fill it with? I'm worried about not getting 5 gallons out of the conical after dumping the yeast and trub.

On other note, I received the cooling/heating bundle yesterday and the pump was DOA. Anyone else having pump issues?
5.5 gallons.

I don't have the racking arm but I'm honestly not sure how much that'd help. It would help not get as much sludge in the keg but not for yield.

I am going to bag my dry hops next time. I did a stout in there and yielded just about five gallons so I think the loose hops is the issue.
 

burdbrew

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I put the leg extensions on mine, and I really like being able to work on the unit higher off the floor, but that does really make it top heavy. I can easily see me knocking it over if I’m not careful. I have it bungied to a wall. It’s probably somewhat obvious but thought I would mention for those thinking about going that way.
 

psh

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same here, wouldn't work out of the box. gave it a little whack and it started working, no obvious problems that i can see. maybe some of the lubrication stiffened up or something like that.
Contacted Spike about this and they are sending me a new pump.

5.5 gallons.

I don't have the racking arm but I'm honestly not sure how much that'd help. It would help not get as much sludge in the keg but not for yield.

I am going to bag my dry hops next time. I did a stout in there and yielded just about five gallons so I think the loose hops is the issue.
Are you using the carb stone or sight glass? I bought the CF5 to do five gallon batches and I'm not sure if I'll be able to get five gallons with the accessories and after dumping. Should have sized up to the CF10.

I was considering racking from the dump port but that was not recommended by Spike as there will be still be debris even after dumping.

The racking arm does look like it would reach down and get the remaining beer from the bottom portion of the cone. Ordered one to test.
 
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