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Spike Conical- observations and best practices

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Dem Castles

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Why?
If the beer is at equilibrium and you drop the pressure while at the same time agitating the beer you can expect quite a lot of foaming.
I'm probably not going about this correctly.

I am trying to clear the beer up as much as possible and also trying to make sure all the hops drop out to the bottom so transfer is as easy as possible.

My thought is to have more pressure in the sight glass than the fermenter, so when i open the butterfly valve the super kleer doesn't shoot up into my manifold.

I would only rock the fermenter gently because it says to gently stir up the super kleer, but in order to actually stir it up with a tool I'd have to open up the fermenter and I'd rather not do that.

Another option that is probably a lot easier, is to dry hop in the spike flex+ at 70 for 2 days under 10 PSI, cold crash at 36 for 2 days at 10 PSI.

Then transfer the beer into the keg. I'm just not sure if this will impart any grassy flavors from the cold temps
 

mcmeador

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the elbow fittings Spike has for the coil connections, are they a "quick disconnect" kind or more of a shark bite that once they're in they're in? I was hesatent to get them because I can't remove the coil without wheeling the thing outside and doing that attached to a chiller is a PITA so I just have a hose with worm gear on it right now with more hosing than I like so I don't pinch the flow.
I've had an issue trying to get my coil connects off. Instead of trying to force the issue, I just let them be (since it wasn't essential that I remove them).
I just grab the connectors and curl my index and middle fingers up so that the tips of my fingers are pushing up on the inner ring and then pull up. They slide off with no problem.
 

yorkeken

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I would suggest that the thermal grease is going to be a mess to clean back out. With fermentation getting instantaneous readings isn't critical. Getting the average temp, over say 5 minutes, is plenty fast enough for a fermenter. The only real thing the grease is doing is speeding up the heat transfer.

If you wanted to be really anal, you could seal up the end of the thermowell so ambient air temp doesn't get in there and skew your reading, but that again is probably overkill unless you have some strange thermowell/probe setup.
I went to my grommet bin, found a solid one (plug) slightly larger than the threaded inlet on the thermowell fitting, drilled a hole in it, pushed the probe through and wedge it in. Seems to work great.
 

yorkeken

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I’m thinking about hooking my cf-5 blowoff to a keg to purge during fermentation

has anyone had beer crawl out of the cf-5 blow off? Should I put an intermediate catch in the line before it goes to the keg?
I use an intermediate catch but I ferment under 6-8 lbs pressure. Once I open the fermentor for cleaning, the tell tale signs of the high Krausen line is nowhere near the blow off manifold. I also do a small dry hop at high krausen and never had a problem with expansion after releasing the pressure for the drop. Generally the CF-5 is filled to 5.5 gallons, 1.065 gravity wort. I’m planning to blow off the co2 directly to my kegs on my next effort in a attempt to “eliminate the middleman”.
 

Sbe2

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Has anyone added a second butterfly valve below the cone? I am thinking of adding another 2” valve between the cone and sight glass.

My plan would be to have open during fermentation, cold crash, dump yeast, close valve upper valve and then dry hop. I don’t like seeing my dry hops fall through the sight glass a few seconds after dropping them in. I am hoping to get more hop contact with the beer.
 

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How long do you think is necessary? My feeling was that if pressurized CO2 wasn’t able to leak out at all in that time, there should be no concern about anything sneaking inside when pressure is equalized, but I’m no scientist.
Old reply.. but just FYI, at first my cf10 held pressure fine at 5 PSI but started leaking at 10 PSI. It took me a couple tries of re-seating the gasket and fidgeting with the band-clamp to get it to seal correctly. I loaded it up to 12 PSI and let it sit over 24 hours to verify no leak.

15m may not be enough time to spot a slow leak... give it at least 24 hours.
 

yorkeken

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Old reply.. but just FYI, at first my cf10 held pressure fine at 5 PSI but started leaking at 10 PSI. It took me a couple tries of re-seating the gasket and fidgeting with the band-clamp to get it to seal correctly. I loaded it up to 12 PSI and let it sit over 24 hours to verify no leak.

15m may not be enough time to spot a slow leak... give it at least 24 hours.
At the risk of being redundant (I haven't read all the replies), I always lightly grease the large gasket with keglube to help seal things up tight before use.
 

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At the risk of being redundant (I haven't read all the replies), I always lightly grease the large gasket with keglube to help seal things up tight before use.
FYI for everyone else... I as well put a light greasing of keg lube thinking that would help. It did accomplish showing a leak faster (would leak at 5psi rather than 10psi). What fixed it for me was rotating the band clamp... i had it clocked such that the screw-latch ws at the 5:00 position for no real reason. After rotating it to the 7:00 position it sealed to 14 PSI without issue. now when I take it off and rotate it back it's fine. So it may just be break in.

Fingers crossed that getting a good seal isn't an on-going issue. I'll be pressurizing up to 13 psi before filling to be sure I achieved a good seal until I get the hang of it. really wishing that top seal was just a 6" or 8" tri-clamp fitting.
 

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Whew, what a thread! I finally made it through all 64(!) pages and I'm getting closer to pulling the trigger on the CF5. Thanks to everyone for this amazing collection of opinions, tips, tricks, and best practices!

I do have a question on the TC-100... When I get my CF5, I plan to ferment in my garage. I got a smoking deal on a used 1/2HP Penguin chiller, so I should have my chilling sorted out. When it comes to heat, I'm curious if would expect any trouble trying to warm up for a diacetyl rest if my ambient temp in the garage is 40-50 °F. What if I wanted to try Kveik? Appreciate anyone chiming in with their TC-100 heating experience!

Cheers!
 
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well, i just fermented with Kveik in my basement, ambient of 50 to 55 and with the tc100 for my cf15 i had to add a space heater to keep it at 90 in the fermenter, the cone heating pad did not do it alone. that being said i brewed a porter that femented at 67f in the 50 degree basement with no issue. so the only time i need to add the space heater is when i use kveik. also i am heating 17 gal so keep that in mind, not sure how much the volume plays a roll here. as far as chilling, well cold crashes are a breeze with the tc100 and a chiller. i love it all around any my beers have improved very much with the ability to control fermentation temp within a degree. hope this helps.

cheers!
 

yorkeken

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Has anyone added a second butterfly valve below the cone? I am thinking of adding another 2” valve between the cone and sight glass.

My plan would be to have open during fermentation, cold crash, dump yeast, close valve upper valve and then dry hop. I don’t like seeing my dry hops fall through the sight glass a few seconds after dropping them in. I am hoping to get more hop contact with the beer.
I’d be interested in this as well. I lowered the temp to 60f for a recent dry hop addition and that was cool enough to send the hops quickly into the sight glass where I cannot imagine they are very effective in permeating the beer. I have a 2” TC fitting with a gas post that I use to rouse the hops in the sight glass but not convinced it really does the job... seems that the hops don’t fully travel back up into the beer. I’ve been able to drop the hops through the 1.5” blow off port, minimizing o2 by using an 8” spool on top of a butterfly valve with a Blichmann spunding valve on top of the spool. I close the valve, fill the spool with hops, purge them by loosening both TC clamps and running co2 through the spool, tighten the clamps, open the butterfly valve and drop them in.
 
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this is part of the reason i didnt use my sight glass on my last dry hopped beer. i soft crash to 50 for 24 hours, drop some trub, then bring back to 60 and drop em in, one thing that has helped is pulling the hops out of the fridge or freezer for a bit to let them warm up. they dont sink nearly as fast if warmed up to room temp, i have heard of guys breaking them up a little in the bag as well, i think this is a good idea but have yet to attempt it.... dry hopping tonight, maybe ill give them a smack or 2 and see what happens. I like the idea of using a second valve there, that way you get the best of both worlds.
 

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well, i just fermented with Kveik in my basement, ambient of 50 to 55 and with the tc100 for my cf15 i had to add a space heater to keep it at 90 in the fermenter, the cone heating pad did not do it alone. that being said i brewed a porter that femented at 67f in the 50 degree basement with no issue. so the only time i need to add the space heater is when i use kveik. also i am heating 17 gal so keep that in mind, not sure how much the volume plays a roll here. as far as chilling, well cold crashes are a breeze with the tc100 and a chiller. i love it all around any my beers have improved very much with the ability to control fermentation temp within a degree. hope this helps.

cheers!
Thanks for the reply! Sounds like maybe Kveik would need to wait until the weather warms up, but I'd likely be good to go for other yeasts. I've only ever used buckets and carboys without a chamber, so I'm really looking forward to finally being able to control temps.

Cheers!
 

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Mostly geared towards CF5 owners, but I'm curious about trub/yeast dumps and their effect on packaging volume. I know it can be highly dependent on recipe, dry hops, etc., but are you able to consistently package 5 gallons? What volume do you aim for into the fermenter?

Cheers!
 

Jag75

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Mostly geared towards CF5 owners, but I'm curious about trub/yeast dumps and their effect on packaging volume. I know it can be highly dependent on recipe, dry hops, etc., but are you able to consistently package 5 gallons? What volume do you aim for into the fermenter?

Cheers!
Brews with adjuncts or IPAs I do 5.5g batches that way I have a full keg. On other beers that are 5g I'm packaging just under 5 g . Maybe a pint or 2.
 

jmika003

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Brews with adjuncts or IPAs I do 5.5g batches that way I have a full keg. On other beers that are 5g I'm packaging just under 5 g . Maybe a pint or 2.
That's great! I was somehow under the impression that I'd need to put even more into the fermenter to account for losses associated with dumping trub/hops. Appreciate the input!
 

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Has anyone added a second butterfly valve below the cone? I am thinking of adding another 2” valve between the cone and sight glass.

My plan would be to have open during fermentation, cold crash, dump yeast, close valve upper valve and then dry hop. I don’t like seeing my dry hops fall through the sight glass a few seconds after dropping them in. I am hoping to get more hop contact with the beer.

I have had mine like this since day one. 2 valves and glass sight glass. I also have a corny fitting on a triclamp I can "push co2" up from the bottom to stir up dryhops
 

Bohern

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OK gang I am a new unitank owner and have what will be a elementary question so my apologies upfront.

My question is for you all that have the 10 gallon and larger fermenters.

How do sanitize after cleaning and how to do you sanitize on brew day?

My plan is after I clean is to use Saniclean with my CIP ball and drain and let air dry. but trying to figure how best to sanitize once brew day comes.
 
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i dont use saniclean but if its anything like star san, dont, dont, cip it. it will be like putting dishsoap in your washing machine. foam. however if it is a non foaming sanitizer then sure. personally i use starsan and spray the living hell out of it. also use a starsan soaked cloth to mop it down. i feel the spray is significant and usually just do that when i start my whirlpool, at that point i have all my individual pieces and gaskets and whatnot in a starsan bucket, i spray in each port then connect that piece and move to the next.

edit: by spray i mean i alway have 2 spray bottles of star san on hand and use that, not spray via cip. just to clarify.
 

Bohern

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i dont use saniclean but if its anything like star san, dont, dont, cip it. it will be like putting dishsoap in your washing machine. foam. however if it is a non foaming sanitizer then sure. personally i use starsan and spray the living hell out of it. also use a starsan soaked cloth to mop it down. i feel the spray is significant and usually just do that when i start my whirlpool, at that point i have all my individual pieces and gaskets and whatnot in a starsan bucket, i spray in each port then connect that piece and move to the next.

edit: by spray i mean i alway have 2 spray bottles of star san on hand and use that, not spray via cip. just to clarify.
Yes the Saniclean is a low foam acid based sanitizer and my only concern is the instructions say to let it air dry, so guessing I can't leave it wet to mix with wort like you can starsan.

you did however hit on one of the things I was thinking is to just use a spray bottle day of.
 
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yeah im not familiar with the air dry of saniclean, with my cf15 it is easy to get in there and spray it good and make sure all the surfaces get covered, i go around it numerous times just to sure its well coated. one thing i will say is dont go cheap on the spray bottle, my wife broke my good one, dropped it cause she is clumsy, and replaced it with a dollar store spray bottle... well after one use of that piece of junk i bought another good one. it has much better control over the spray as far as mist or stream goes and the cheap ones i would wear my hand out squeezing the trigger a million times.
 

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yeah im not familiar with the air dry of saniclean, with my cf15 it is easy to get in there and spray it good and make sure all the surfaces get covered, i go around it numerous times just to sure its well coated. one thing i will say is dont go cheap on the spray bottle, my wife broke my good one, dropped it cause she is clumsy, and replaced it with a dollar store spray bottle... well after one use of that piece of junk i bought another good one. it has much better control over the spray as far as mist or stream goes and the cheap ones i would wear my hand out squeezing the trigger a million times.
Thanks man! This sounds like the route i am going with, appreciate the info and reply.

Well noted on a good spray bottle too.
 

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OK gang I am a new unitank owner and have what will be a elementary question so my apologies upfront.

My question is for you all that have the 10 gallon and larger fermenters.

How do sanitize after cleaning and how to do you sanitize on brew day?

My plan is after I clean is to use Saniclean with my CIP ball and drain and let air dry. but trying to figure how best to sanitize once brew day comes.
I keg, clean and sanitize my CF15 on brew day. I do use CIP and I do CIP with star-san lol. Yes it foams but foam is good...here is my process starting with after my third keg is filled:

vent the pressure from the tank and remove the 4" TC cap and the manifold (I don't use a cooling coil)
dump remaining contents to a bucket
carry the fermentor to driveway, remove all the doo-dads (gaskets, butterfly valves, racking arm, sample valve, thermowell...), lightly rinsing the parts as I go and drop them into a bucket
remove the fermenter lid (with Spike it's the whole top of the fermentor)
hose out the fermentor paying attention to get any globs of yeast out of the ports
wipe down the krausen ring until it is visibly clean with a soft sponge and rinse tank again
clean the lid in my utility sink with a soft sponge...I ferment very very full so the lid will always have a lot of krausen
move the conical to my cleaning area in the garage (close to my sink and my electrical outlet) and reattach the lid
mount the CIP ball to the 1.5"TC on lid and mount hoses to the conical body ports
put a bucket of hot PBW solution under the 2" port on bottom of cone with hoses from body ports draining into the bucket
put heating element in the bucket and control bucket temp to 135F with inkbird controller
put sump pump in the bucket connected to the CIP ball
CIP for 30 minutes
Dump the hot PBW solution onto the rinsed doo-dads
Replace bucket of hot PBW solution with bucket of hot clean water, move the sump pump and heating element to this rinse bucket and CIP for 10 minutes at 135F
Replace the bucket of hot rinse water with a bucket of 2 gallons star-san
Drain the PBW off the doo-dads (save, it will be used for cleaning the boil kettle with in in an hour or two) and move the doo-dads to the hot rinse water
CIP for 3 minutes at room temperature. There will be some foam. I stop the CIP pump when the foam climbs out of the bucket but I usually get at least 3 min before this occurs.
Put away the sump pump, drain the rinse water from the doo-dads and cover them with the star-san. The rinse water is also saved for cleaning the brew kettle.
Move the fermentor to my fermentation freezer and reassemble wet.
Close all the valves

By now brew day is well into the boil. Just before pumping from kettle to fermentor I will dump any star san that collected at bottom of cone.

It seems like a lot but is very doable in parallel to brewing without adding any time to the brew day. Once or twice a year I do a keg, clean and passivate day. That needs its own day because the passivation happens after the acid rinse when the unit dries and I'd like that to go at least 12 hours so usually day before a brew day.
 

Bohern

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I keg, clean and sanitize my CF15 on brew day. I do use CIP and I do CIP with star-san lol. Yes it foams but foam is good...here is my process starting with after my third keg is filled:

vent the pressure from the tank and remove the 4" TC cap and the manifold (I don't use a cooling coil)
dump remaining contents to a bucket
carry the fermentor to driveway, remove all the doo-dads (gaskets, butterfly valves, racking arm, sample valve, thermowell...), lightly rinsing the parts as I go and drop them into a bucket
remove the fermenter lid (with Spike it's the whole top of the fermentor)
hose out the fermentor paying attention to get any globs of yeast out of the ports
wipe down the krausen ring until it is visibly clean with a soft sponge and rinse tank again
clean the lid in my utility sink with a soft sponge...I ferment very very full so the lid will always have a lot of krausen
move the conical to my cleaning area in the garage (close to my sink and my electrical outlet) and reattach the lid
mount the CIP ball to the 1.5"TC on lid and mount hoses to the conical body ports
put a bucket of hot PBW solution under the 2" port on bottom of cone with hoses from body ports draining into the bucket
put heating element in the bucket and control bucket temp to 135F with inkbird controller
put sump pump in the bucket connected to the CIP ball
CIP for 30 minutes
Dump the hot PBW solution onto the rinsed doo-dads
Replace bucket of hot PBW solution with bucket of hot clean water, move the sump pump and heating element to this rinse bucket and CIP for 10 minutes at 135F
Replace the bucket of hot rinse water with a bucket of 2 gallons star-san
Drain the PBW off the doo-dads (save, it will be used for cleaning the boil kettle with in in an hour or two) and move the doo-dads to the hot rinse water
CIP for 3 minutes at room temperature. There will be some foam. I stop the CIP pump when the foam climbs out of the bucket but I usually get at least 3 min before this occurs.
Put away the sump pump, drain the rinse water from the doo-dads and cover them with the star-san. The rinse water is also saved for cleaning the brew kettle.
Move the fermentor to my fermentation freezer and reassemble wet.
Close all the valves

By now brew day is well into the boil. Just before pumping from kettle to fermentor I will dump any star san that collected at bottom of cone.

It seems like a lot but is very doable in parallel to brewing without adding any time to the brew day. Once or twice a year I do a keg, clean and passivate day. That needs its own day because the passivation happens after the acid rinse when the unit dries and I'd like that to go at least 12 hours so usually day before a brew day.
Thanks Eric! I did go ahead an order a sump to aid with cleaning so I will be using that most likely to recirculate. Do you know or have any experience with Sani-clean? Can I leave it wet like starsan and is it ok to mix with wort?
 

eric19312

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Thanks Eric! I did go ahead an order a sump to aid with cleaning so I will be using that most likely to recirculate. Do you know or have any experience with Sani-clean? Can I leave it wet like starsan and is it ok to mix with wort?
I use sani-clean occasionally in place of star-san. It is low-foam and I don't worry about a small amount of residue ending up in the beer. But more often than not I just use star-san cause I've got a 5 gallon keg of it sitting right there from my keg purges.
 

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I use sani-clean occasionally in place of star-san. It is low-foam and I don't worry about a small amount of residue ending up in the beer. But more often than not I just use star-san cause I've got a 5 gallon keg of it sitting right there from my keg purges.
Thanks for the reply and tips. I should have my hardware today so hope to get this thing cleaned up this weekend and prepped for a brewday.
 
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reading the directions from five star is says 2oz to 5gal, 2 to 3 min contact time, drain but do not rinse. i believe star san is considered an air dry as well, contact time is a little less for star san. i think you are fine to use it how you plan to, cip or spray then maybe let it drip for a minute or 2, close everything up then like eric does just open your bottom valve right before you go to fill it to let any residual out, i do this as well.
 

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reading the directions from five star is says 2oz to 5gal, 2 to 3 min contact time, drain but do not rinse. i believe star san is considered an air dry as well, contact time is a little less for star san. i think you are fine to use it how you plan to, cip or spray then maybe let it drip for a minute or 2, close everything up then like eric does just open your bottom valve right before you go to fill it to let any residual out, i do this as well.
My concern had been with had I used Sani-clean and put it up wet say day before it would be an issue but sounds that is not the case.
 
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typically you want to sanitize right before use, i spray mine down at the end of boil or during wp. so about 30min to an hour before use. i am not sure if you do it a day ahead and leave it closed if that would be fine considering it isnt open.
 

Bohern

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typically you want to sanitize right before use, i spray mine down at the end of boil or during wp. so about 30min to an hour before use. i am not sure if you do it a day ahead and leave it closed if that would be fine considering it isnt open.
I'd still spray cause I overly cautious when it comes to cleaning and sanitizing.
 

eric19312

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reading the directions from five star is says 2oz to 5gal, 2 to 3 min contact time, drain but do not rinse. i believe star san is considered an air dry as well, contact time is a little less for star san. i think you are fine to use it how you plan to, cip or spray then maybe let it drip for a minute or 2, close everything up then like eric does just open your bottom valve right before you go to fill it to let any residual out, i do this as well.
Star-san is 1oz per five gallons in food applications. If used at higher concentrations it is no longer no-rinse.
 
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yeah i read that as well. it says final rinse on the spec sheet which leads me to believe it to be a sanitizer. looks like in large volume it is used to cip everything in a brewery, then they show a potable rinse and follow local sanitizing processes and regulations.. a little misleading.
 

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I have the cf 15. after cleaning, I use star san and let it run out the bottom valve while Im brewing. When the wert has boiled enough, I pump the boiling wert into the fermenter as an added sterilization. Temp gauge in the fermenter says 195 to 200 at that time. The cooling coil cools it down rapidly using well water. I hooked a solenoid to the well water and the cooling coil, plug it into an inkbird set to 68 and let it do its job. When it cools, there has to be air supplied or the fermenter will collapse. I wrap some cheese cloth sprayed with starsan around the blow off tube, and let her go. Takes about 20 mins till its ready for yeast, put the blow off tube in a starsan bucket and let her brew! Works well for me!
 
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