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Spike Conical- observations and best practices

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ShaLaH

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I've used my CF5 for a few batches now. Overall, I'm very happy with it. I haven't had any problems with the lid gasket not sealing and have been able
to ferment under pressure. The sample port is very convenient, love the carb stone and pressure manifold. I tried low-oxygen dry hopping by putting
a butterfly valve on the 1.5" lid port, then sight glass full of hops, then the pressure manifold. Didn't work out so well as the sight glass doesn't hold too many hops and the pressure ended up pushing them up into the manifold and wouldn't drop down. I ended up taking the valve and sight glass off and just dumping hops through the 1.5" port - I probably introduced more O2 this way than just dumping the hops in.

The one thing I don't like is that the 4" lid opening is basically useless if you're using the chiller coil. It's so much wasted real estate. I like how the SS unitank allows you to use a coil through the lid and also access the top port. I also like how the SS Chronical has the side mounted coil attached to the body allowing use of the top port. If I'd thought it through more, I probably would've gone with the unitank to have access to the large top port. If Spike developed a modified chiller coil like SS with access to a 2" lid port, that would be perfect.
 

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danclark714

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The one thing I don't like is that the 4" lid opening is basically useless if you're using the chiller coil. It's so much wasted real estate. .... If Spike developed a modified chiller coil like SS with access to a 2" lid port, that would be perfect.
Definitely agree about this design flaw. I just pop the chiller coil and it rests at and angle on the TC "rim" and then I pitch my dry hops. I then close it back up and fill it back up with some O2 through the pressure attachment; maybe pull the pressure release purge a few times too
 

eric19312

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I've used my CF5 for a few batches now. Overall, I'm very happy with it. I haven't had any problems with the lid gasket not sealing and have been able
to ferment under pressure. The sample port is very convenient, love the carb stone and pressure manifold. I tried low-oxygen dry hopping by putting
a butterfly valve on the 1.5" lid port, then sight glass full of hops, then the pressure manifold. Didn't work out so well as the sight glass doesn't hold too many hops and the pressure ended up pushing them up into the manifold and wouldn't drop down. I ended up taking the valve and sight glass off and just dumping hops through the 1.5" port - I probably introduced more O2 this way than just dumping the hops in.

The one thing I don't like is that the 4" lid opening is basically useless if you're using the chiller coil. It's so much wasted real estate. I like how the SS unitank allows you to use a coil through the lid and also access the top port. I also like how the SS Chronical has the side mounted coil attached to the body allowing use of the top port. If I'd thought it through more, I probably would've gone with the unitank to have access to the large top port. If Spike developed a modified chiller coil like SS with access to a 2" lid port, that would be perfect.
I'm also struggling with low oxygen dry hopping, am using the 3" sight glass yeast brink from Norcal. Works well as a brink but still struggling trying to inject as little as 4oz hops at a time. TBH I was getting really really good results just opening my 4' TC while slowly bubbling CO2 in from the bottom then sealing it all up and pulling the purge 3-4 times once I was done.

You are right on that 4" port being really useful if you aren't using the TC coil. Part of reason I went with fermentor in an upright freezer vs coil and glycol. No regrets on that choice, freezer works great and even brand new price came out less than DIY glycol (+ chiller coil upgrade). My tradeoff is that I make one big batch in a CF15 rather than run several smaller tanks. Those SS unitanks look awesome but the coil is not optional and the tank itself is another bump up in price.

Agree the lid gasket problems are not an issue for me either. Never have and issue getting the tank to hold pressure. The convenience of being able to take the lid off for cleaning should not be overlooked. I'm working on CIP but still not confident enough with my technique to forgo a full visual inspection between batches.
 

Suburban Punk

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. Didn't work out so well as the sight glass doesn't hold too many hops and the pressure ended up pushing them up into the manifold and wouldn't drop down.
I had the same problem the first two times I did this (using a 1.5" sight glass). Now I use a easy-clean ball valve instead of butterfly valve on my 1.5" lid port. This ensures the full 1.5" is clear and no obstructions when I open it. I always make sure there is more pressure in the sight glass than is in the conical when I open the valve to eliminate that hop blow up into the manifold. I also don't pack my sight glass completely full. If I need more than 2.5 oz or so I repeat the process (close the valve, pop off the manifold, fill again, purge glass headspace o2 with co2, open valve back up). Other than some hops occasionally getting stuck in the sight glass which a small tap makes them drop down, I haven't had any issues since I started doing this.
 

Yesfan

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..........The one thing I don't like is that the 4" lid opening is basically useless if you're using the chiller coil. It's so much wasted real estate. I like how the SS unitank allows you to use a coil through the lid and also access the top port. I also like how the SS Chronical has the side mounted coil attached to the body allowing use of the top port. If I'd thought it through more, I probably would've gone with the unitank to have access to the large top port. If Spike developed a modified chiller coil like SS with access to a 2" lid port, that would be perfect.

One owner a few pages back had Jaybird weld a TC port on his chiller coil. I can't remember what size it was, but I'm sure it's not a 3 inch like the SS. I think it was a $100 mod.
 

stealthfixr

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Just bought a CF5, my first SS fermenter. Just arrived yesterday and already PBW'd cleaned--no leaks (unlike my first three times filling up my Fast Ferment). Looks amazing and I cannot wait to pair it with the Icemaster Max 2 glycol chiller arriving in a few days. First beer up will be a stout, first time fermenting under pressure, cold crashing, and transferring O2 free under pressure to a keg. I am curious what all this will mean in the finished product.

With the CF5, I bought:
- Casters
- Reinforcing shelf
- Pressure transfer kit
- 1.5" TC sight glass
- Pressure manifold bundle
- Temp coil 4" TC

Anything else recommended?

Thinking of changing out the thermometer with a thermowell for the glycol chiller probe. Is there a better way to measure temps from this conical under pressure?

And, I rolled the conical over cement & tile with 5 gallons in it, and it is TIPPY. Any best practices to make that safer?
 

Nate R

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Just bought a CF5, my first SS fermenter. Just arrived yesterday and already PBW'd cleaned--no leaks (unlike my first three times filling up my Fast Ferment). Looks amazing and I cannot wait to pair it with the Icemaster Max 2 glycol chiller arriving in a few days. First beer up will be a stout, first time fermenting under pressure, cold crashing, and transferring O2 free under pressure to a keg. I am curious what all this will mean in the finished product.

With the CF5, I bought:
- Casters
- Reinforcing shelf
- Pressure transfer kit
- 1.5" TC sight glass
- Pressure manifold bundle
- Temp coil 4" TC

Anything else recommended?

Thinking of changing out the thermometer with a thermowell for the glycol chiller probe. Is there a better way to measure temps from this conical under pressure?

And, I rolled the conical over cement & tile with 5 gallons in it, and it is TIPPY. Any best practices to make that safer?
Read through the last 10 pages or so here. Maybe the last 20. You will thank yourself for it! Many great tips.
I think with the new cf5 you get a thermowell with the temp coil kit. So yes- for sure use this! (On the old cf5 they came standard- they have since changed the thermometer set-up). Did you get a chiller package, or just the coil?

Now- I have read (again, here- in the last 10-20 pages) that they are VERY unsteady when using legs. Someone here uses a brick on the shelf. Another user will keep his foot on the shelf when rolling.
 

Jag75

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Just bought a CF5, my first SS fermenter. Just arrived yesterday and already PBW'd cleaned--no leaks (unlike my first three times filling up my Fast Ferment). Looks amazing and I cannot wait to pair it with the Icemaster Max 2 glycol chiller arriving in a few days. First beer up will be a stout, first time fermenting under pressure, cold crashing, and transferring O2 free under pressure to a keg. I am curious what all this will mean in the finished product.

With the CF5, I bought:
- Casters
- Reinforcing shelf
- Pressure transfer kit
- 1.5" TC sight glass
- Pressure manifold bundle
- Temp coil 4" TC

Anything else recommended?

Thinking of changing out the thermometer with a thermowell for the glycol chiller probe. Is there a better way to measure temps from this conical under pressure?

And, I rolled the conical over cement & tile with 5 gallons in it, and it is TIPPY. Any best practices to make that safer?
Congrats ! You'll love it . Be careful fermenting under pressure . I had krausen get pretty high once . You dont want it plugging the relief valve. I use the blow off until the very end then I add the pressure set up . I'm usually at 5 psi . Yes it is top heavy . I keep my foot on the shelf to keep it steady. Look into the racking arm .

Happy brewing !
 

Bean

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racking arm is a must, at least on the CF15. I also bough an additional butterfly valve from amazon to put between the vessel and sampling port. This allows me to swap accessories out and not have the carb stone get all gunked up and if the sampling port does start to leak I can kill it with the valve.

You'll want to also get a Teflon gasket to use with the racking arm, much easier to spin.
 

Yesfan

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Just bought a CF5, my first SS fermenter. Just arrived yesterday and already PBW'd cleaned--no leaks (unlike my first three times filling up my Fast Ferment). Looks amazing and I cannot wait to pair it with the Icemaster Max 2 glycol chiller arriving in a few days. First beer up will be a stout, first time fermenting under pressure, cold crashing, and transferring O2 free under pressure to a keg. I am curious what all this will mean in the finished product.

With the CF5, I bought:
- Casters
- Reinforcing shelf
- Pressure transfer kit
- 1.5" TC sight glass
- Pressure manifold bundle
- Temp coil 4" TC

Anything else recommended?

Thinking of changing out the thermometer with a thermowell for the glycol chiller probe. Is there a better way to measure temps from this conical under pressure?

And, I rolled the conical over cement & tile with 5 gallons in it, and it is TIPPY. Any best practices to make that safer?

I agree about the teflon gasket on the racking arm. Night and day difference after using one. You can get a 5 pack from Amazon pretty cheap.

They are top heavy. A better description for it would be front heavy because of all the ports. I have the shorty legs on my CF10 and it is tipsy. What I do when I have to roll it around is make sure to push it from the front or pull it from the back leg. Whatever direction you're going, you want the two front casters out in front of the bracing shelf and not underneath it. Did you get the standard bracing shelf or the extended version? The extended version will make a difference in stability.

Also, what made you go with the 1.5" sight glass vs the 2"?
 

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@eric19312 have you made any progress in agitating hops with CO2? Looking at my sight glass and watching DH pellets sink right to the bottom kills me.
 

eric19312

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@eric19312 have you made any progress in agitating hops with CO2? Looking at my sight glass and watching DH pellets sink right to the bottom kills me.
I have been working with the yeast brink lately. Idea being to liquify the pellets before sending into the tank. However that has been its own struggle. I've tried twice now with the 2" butterfly connected direct to the tank and the yeast brink on that. No joy. Fierce plug of hops in the brink. Many blasts of CO2 to work them up and out. Then after removing the brink and adding on dumping attachments had oddly terrible time clearing the dry hop out of the tank even with 3 day cold crash. Thinking maybe the action of butterfly valve at the apex of the cone is not ideal.

Working with a couple new ideas on this try. Both come down to the 2" sight glass and the elbow need to be above the butterfly. Somehow that geometry was better for dumping than anything else I tried. That being the case I'm going to try horizontal orientation of the brink. On the other thread I read rumors of that working well for people. WIll find out in 2 or 3 days but if it is not I'm at least in good shape to revert to what worked well before I had the brink mid ferment.
 

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Anyone know the dimensions for an upright freezer that would fit a CF10 comfortably (allow me to dry hop, pressure transfer, etc., easy enough) but isn't overkill and taking up more room in the garage than is necessary?
 

ITV

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Anyone know the dimensions for an upright freezer that would fit a CF10 comfortably (allow me to dry hop, pressure transfer, etc., easy enough) but isn't overkill and taking up more room in the garage than is necessary?
I have a 12 cu ft that is the bare minimum size for a CF10, not enough room for leg extensions (even the short ones). I had to shave the door and do pressure transfers. The freezer is a Kenmore 253.28262801. The first picture is when I was doing gravity transfers with the homemade leg extensions.

IMG_0326.JPGIMG_0293.JPG
 

eric19312

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Anyone know the dimensions for an upright freezer that would fit a CF10 comfortably (allow me to dry hop, pressure transfer, etc., easy enough) but isn't overkill and taking up more room in the garage than is necessary?
Looking at websites just now the lineups seem to have changed since I did my research last year. I ended up going with a 20.2 cf freezer which was not that much more footprint than the 16.6-17cf models but provided a lot more interior space and height. You really need to look at the unit you are thinking to buy as some models have pretty awkward humps on the floor. Here are a couple examples from Frigidaire's current lineup from their website

Width: 32-5/8"
Depth With Door 90° Open: 58"
Height With Hinge: 71-3/4"
Depth of Cabinet: 24-1/4"
Total Capacity (Cu. Ft.): 20
Depth With Door: 28-1/4"

Freezer (Cu. Ft.): 15.5
Width: 27-3/4"
Height With Hinge: 67-3/4"
Depth of Cabinet: 26- 5/8"

Depth is pretty similar but the larger unit is wider and taller. Good luck finding any freezer anytime soon though. Between the model change over all freezers went through this year for environmental upgrades and people wiping out inventory due to pandemic they are just really hard to source right now. I'm getting worried about my keezer and have been thinking I may need to replace but not seeing anything available except from price gougers.
 

itsnotrequired

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Now- I have read (again, here- in the last 10-20 pages) that they are VERY unsteady when using legs. Someone here uses a brick on the shelf. Another user will keep his foot on the shelf when rolling.
i'm fortunate enough to have my conical near my brew stand/sink so i don't need to roll it around (although i do have casters on it). got the leg extensions and regular bracing shelf but even with that and the conical being against a wall, still nervous about it tipping over. the wall the conical is against is drywall so i screwed two 2x4s horizontally across a couple studs, one down low and one up high, where the 'rear' conical leg is located. 'secured' the leg to those 2x4s with 1-1/4" pvc conduit clamps. the clamps do not tightly grip the leg but definitely give me more piece of mind that i'm not going to knock the thing over.
 

awoitte

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I cannot wait to pair it with the Icemaster Max 2 glycol chiller arriving in a few days.

And, I rolled the conical over cement & tile with 5 gallons in it, and it is TIPPY. Any best practices to make that safer?
What made you commit to the icemaster Max 2? I'm still debating between temp control units and looking at options..
 

stealthfixr

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What made you commit to the icemaster Max 2? I'm still debating between temp control units and looking at options..
Price & performance, mainly. I don't foresee needing to control temp on more than 2 fermenters at a time. And, I thought that even a lower end glycol chiller would far outperform the BrewJacket I've been using for years, and that turns out to be very true--more than I expected.

Moving from my previous setup (FastFerment & BrewJacket) to the CF5 and Icemaster Max 2 is a huge jump--hope I see that positive jump in the results too. Either way, the CF5 is a joy to use--it is so nice and gives so many options.
 

Nate R

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Price & performance, mainly. I don't foresee needing to control temp on more than 2 fermenters at a time. And, I thought that even a lower end glycol chiller would far outperform the BrewJacket I've been using for years, and that turns out to be very true--more than I expected.

Moving from my previous setup (FastFerment & BrewJacket) to the CF5 and Icemaster Max 2 is a huge jump--hope I see that positive jump in the results too. Either way, the CF5 is a joy to use--it is so nice and gives so many options.
My only complaint about the cf5? It makes me want another one.... sigh
 

specialkayme

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Can anyone give me some pointers on using the Norcal Yeast Brink with the CF5 to dry hop?

I can't seem to get the yeast brink to actually fill up with liquid. I add the hops, attach the brink, and open the bottom drain and before the brink can fill with liquid, the hops turn into a THICK paste that plugs it up.

I tried pressurizing with CO2 (both the CF5 and the brink) to push it around, I tried waiting 30 min for it to dissolve, I tried using half the amount of dry hop charge, nothing seems to work. The pellets appear to expand, turn to a thick paste, and prevent the brink from filling up (which prevents the hops from dissolving to the point that I can actually push them from the brink to the CF5).

What am I missing?
 

eric19312

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Can anyone give me some pointers on using the Norcal Yeast Brink with the CF5 to dry hop?

I can't seem to get the yeast brink to actually fill up with liquid. I add the hops, attach the brink, and open the bottom drain and before the brink can fill with liquid, the hops turn into a THICK paste that plugs it up.

I tried pressurizing with CO2 (both the CF5 and the brink) to push it around, I tried waiting 30 min for it to dissolve, I tried using half the amount of dry hop charge, nothing seems to work. The pellets appear to expand, turn to a thick paste, and prevent the brink from filling up (which prevents the hops from dissolving to the point that I can actually push them from the brink to the CF5).

What am I missing?
I've tried on three different batches and keep having similar problems. I'm down to 3oz hop pellets in the 3" brink. I can usually get the brink full of beer but it still turns into a thick sludge I can't get into the tank without numerous cycles of blasting a bit up, refilling with beer (which is probably 80% hop sludge) and shooting again.

I'm going to try it with cryo hops on the current batch and see if that is any easier. I believe they have less vegetal matter and maybe will be easier to dissolve.
 

eric19312

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Here is another dry hop rousing video. I've added a spunding valve to the manifold and a 2" TC to ball lock gas post to the butterfly valve. I reduced the dry hop quantity to 6 ounces of cryo hops as I am still struggling with the Norcal yeast brink but that is getting better. Here is a quick hop rousing....

 
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Here is another dry hop rousing video. I've added a spunding valve to the manifold and a 2" TC to ball lock gas post to the butterfly valve. I reduced the dry hop quantity to 6 ounces of cryo hops as I am still struggling with the Norcal yeast brink but that is getting better. Here is a quick hop rousing....

Maybe I’m mistaken, but that ISN’T the NorCal yeast brink. Isn’t it just a sight glass?
 

Nate R

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see post #2,371. For rousing I take off the brink and replace it with the ball lock TC fitting. I did use the brink to get the hops into the CF15.
Eric- crazy idea here... but maybe the sight glass IS part of the problem? The hops will tend to coagulate there. What if you blew the hops up right into the cone? At least that way there is a potential for more surface area for the liquid to be on the pellets? I don't want to be "that guy" who gives advice on products he does not use/have... but just trying to help here.
 

eric19312

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Eric- crazy idea here... but maybe the sight glass IS part of the problem? The hops will tend to coagulate there. What if you blew the hops up right into the cone? At least that way there is a potential for more surface area for the liquid to be on the pellets? I don't want to be "that guy" who gives advice on products he does not use/have... but just trying to help here.
it’s possible for sure. But the sight glass addition was what got me to better yeast and hop dumps. Those are really important for getting to easy kegging days and I’m reluctant to give that up. Also it helps me see what’s going on when I push hops out of the yeast brink. Perhaps it is mainly useful for learning and troubleshooting and maybe eventually I’ll stop using it.
 

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So my next batch will be using some kveik Voss yeast. Ideally, I'd like to keep the ferm temp around 95F+. I have the Spike conical heater but the threshold is 90F. Has anyone used a heating blanket or something similar to keep the conical consistent up in the high 90's?
 

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My last one I did at 98 inside my garage (escarpment labs Voss kviek). Daytime temps were about 85, night about 73. My garage was mid to high 70's most of the time. No issues heating it with the spike heater. I find that the heater works harder if you keep it under pressure though. Generally I do that towards the end of fermentation to gain some natural carbonation.
 

ShaLaH

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My last one I did at 98 inside my garage (escarpment labs Voss kviek). Daytime temps were about 85, night about 73. My garage was mid to high 70's most of the time. No issues heating it with the spike heater. I find that the heater works harder if you keep it under pressure though. Generally I do that towards the end of fermentation to gain some natural carbonation.
Cool. So the conical heater maintained 98F without issue?
 

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Yes. I think if you had it in a cool basement you might have an issue. I wouldn't do this in my garage during winter (southern Ontario, Canada ... near Detroit)

Edit:. I have the 7 gallon conical. Despite "what she said", size might matter in this case.
 

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I use the carb stone to aerate because I have no head space on top for my wand.
I did realize this stone needs a lot of volume to do the job. (Between 4 and 5 LPM) and a good 1.5 to 2 minutes.
Not questioning you, but curious where you got these numbers. I just ran my first batch through my CF10 and I used to use a wand @ 60 seconds @ 1 LPM.
 

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