Spike Conical- observations and best practices

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couchsending

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Do you have the racking arm?

If so do you rotate the racking arm? It should be horizontal for the duration of ferment then turn it so it faces up (you don’t need to go straight up) when you transfer.

It’ll always be full of yeast/hops so open it a few times to empty it before attaching your transfer fitting. With over 10oz of hops in the CF5 you definitely need to remove some before you try to transfer. Do it as slow as possible and do it 2 or 3 times.

2-3 days at 39/40 should be enough. Done it many times with as much as 16oz in both the CF5 and SS 7g Chronicals. As long as you dump hops a few times during and after crashing and let it sit for a few days at 40 you should be good. If you don’t have a racking arm I’d buy one. Don’t bag the hops. You’ll introduce more o2 and extraction is worse.
 

yorkeken

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Probably have to allow more time in the cold crash for the hop particles to settle. I found this video to be helpful when I was learning about closed transfers. I’ve since modified my process. I now purge my kegs with co2 from the fermentation blow off tube. When it comes time to keg, I burp any sludge from the racking arm into a bucket, then I connect the racking arm to the beer in post and a co2 purged gas line from the keg gas post back to the top of the fermenter using the Blichmann spunding valve to displace the beer that flows (by gravity) out of the fermenter and into the keg... works like a charm and saves on gas.
 

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@jturman35 i had a similar problem. I would go colder on your cold crash....I found 33F gives me better results. I also pulled the valve out of a black ball lock fitting, painted the top red so I didn’t get it mixed up, and use that for transferring NEIPA. I remove the popit thing from the liquid out post on the keg, attach it to my new black/red fitting, and transfer. I use a floating line in my kegs so If I get a bit of hops through, I don’t worry about it and I know it won’t plug up the liquid out post.
Don’t forget to put the liquid out post back together before pressurizing the keg.

edit: +1 on the racking arm comments...I assumed you had one but if not it makes a big difference
 

eric19312

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I find about 3 days at below 30 drops most of the hops. I dump hops over a couple days about a pint to a quart at a time. When kegging I do use the racking arm it is pointed straight down to get maximum beer out of the fermentor. For large dry hop loads I will use an inline filter between the conical and the keg. The very fine hop particles Vale mentioned do make it into the kegs. Those will end up getting tossed in a murky first half pint pour after I hook the keg up and let it get chilled and settled.
 

jturman35

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I do have a racking arm and always leave it pointed down. I have always been hesitant to rotate, this could be my problem. I never have any issues with other beers just NEIPA’s. I watched the video and see this guy is transferring into a pressurized keg which I don’t do. I fill my keg all the way up with starsan then I connect 30lbs of co2 in order to seat the lid. I then remove all the starsan using a picnic tap so the keg is empty and hopefully void of o2. I then run a line from the co2 side into a bucket of starsan. See pic attached. I’m not able to get my conical below 40degrees. I do dump the first 12ounces or so in order to bleed the line of o2.

What's a good pressure for trying to dump the hops? I keep having the beer push through which i don't want.
 

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I put a cut down bazooka filter on my racking arm (secured with a ss clamp). It's made a huge difference but some can still get through. I hate potential clogging in my lines or kegs. I now have a triclamp gas post on the racking port I use to rouse the dry hops a couple times before cold crashing. When kegging I attach a gas ball lock connect to that on regular beer/keg line with the beer connect on the other end. If anything clogs, it will be that gas post. Quick to unclog, sanitize, and CO2 purge if it happens and continue on transferring. It's been really smooth my last 2 keg transfers since I added these (both have had 8oz dry hops with a minimal dump after cold crash to 36f)
 

yorkeken

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I do have a racking arm and always leave it pointed down. I have always been hesitant to rotate, this could be my problem. I never have any issues with other beers just NEIPA’s. I watched the video and see this guy is transferring into a pressurized keg which I don’t do. I fill my keg all the way up with starsan then I connect 30lbs of co2 in order to seat the lid. I then remove all the starsan using a picnic tap so the keg is empty and hopefully void of o2. I then run a line from the co2 side into a bucket of starsan. See pic attached. I’m not able to get my conical below 40degrees. I do dump the first 12ounces or so in order to bleed the line of o2.

What's a good pressure for trying to dump the hops? I keep having the beer push through which i don't want.
Get one of these for between the racking arm and fermenter. EZ to rotate and no leaks. Game changer. https://www.amazon.com/Dernord-Tefl...9Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
 

couchsending

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You keep it pointed down? No wonder...

It should be level and then turned up slightly (45*) when transferring.

Trust me I’ve made probably 200 hoppy beers this way. Rarely rarely do I ever get a clog. You’re gonna waste some beer it’s inevitable. I’d rather waste a few pints of beer than deal with clogged lines.

2-4 psi is all you need when dumping hops. Dump until you start to get beer then stop. Wait a bit then start again.

For your transfers it’s best to fill all the way. Push a pint out. Hit it with 30 psi and purge 12-13 times then push the rest of the Star San out through your transfer line. Pressurize to 10 psi. Give it 15 minutes for all the foam to settle then blow it all out. Then with the gas hooked up to the keg at 10 or so pSI hook your transfer line up but leave the Tri clamp barely open so you hear cO2 hissing out. Leave it like this for 60 seconds then tighten down the TC clamp. Now put your blowoff on the gas in and let the remaining pressure out of the keg and put it in your bucket of starsan and start transferring.
 

BoilerInSoCal

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You keep it pointed down? No wonder...

It should be level and then turned up slightly (45*) when transferring.

Trust me I’ve made probably 200 hoppy beers this way. Rarely rarely do I ever get a clog. You’re gonna waste some beer it’s inevitable. I’d rather waste a few pints of beer than deal with clogged lines.

2-4 psi is all you need when dumping hops. Dump until you start to get beer then stop. Wait a bit then start again.
Agree with this. Especially the need to move the racking arm up before transfer. A teflon gasket makes it really easy.

I have the CF10, but I think the volumes in the cone are the same. When I do 5 gal batches, I build my recipes to start with 7 gal in the Spike to allow for losses from sampling and dumping (I dump trub before pitching, I dump/collect yeast after a soft crash before dry hopping, and then I dump as much of the hops as I can before transfer...sometimes it becomes compact and clogs in the elbow after a while, but I still haven't had an issue even with just 24-36 hours at 38F cold crash).

If you want a little more room for hops to fall below the racking arm, you could add an elbow below your sight glass. I have one with a 2" TC cam-lock on the end of that to which I attach a short hose to help with dumping. So, it looks like: spike>sight glass> elbow>2" butterfly valve>2"TC cam lock or gas post (if hops settle fast and I want to rouse them with hits of CO2).
 

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Lesson learned, I will get a Teflon gasket. I do have a reducer to a small hose for dumping. I just assumed as long as the racking arm was above the hops it didn't matter the position. By level are you saying move the racking arm to the 9 or 3 o'clock position during fermentation then 1 - 2 o'clock for transferring?
 

couchsending

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Lesson learned, I will get a Teflon gasket. I do have a reducer to a small hose for dumping. I just assumed as long as the racking arm was above the hops it didn't matter the position. By level are you saying move the racking arm to the 9 or 3 o'clock position during fermentation then 1 - 2 o'clock for transferring?
yes 3 o’clock for fermentation... 1-2 o’clock for transferring. You don’t need a Teflon gasket honestly. Just loosen the TC clamp slightly and wrench on the butterfly valve. It’ll move fine.
 

eric19312

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all you guys pointing the racking arm up to transfer the difference in volume is significant...on the CF15 the volumes are
up 2.3 gallons
horizontal 1.1 gallons
down 0.6 gallons
I believe that is without considering volume of any piping below the cone. I try to get 3 full kegs out of batch and just can't spare 1.7 gallons to waste.
 
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@jturman35 When I am doing a neipa I always brew a larger batch into the fermenter. Looks like your krausen line is around 5.5 gal. I would get another gallon in there. I also use an inline bouncer filter and start my racking arm at about the 2oclock position and rotate to maybe the 4 or 5oclock position before I start picking up a bunch of hop material. I typically cold crash this style to 37 for 3 days and do a slow dump once or twice each day. Using the cf15 for this style I sometimes only get 2 3/4 kegs instead of 3 full ones. But dry hopping at between 1 and 2 oz/gallon I come to expect it, thats still like 90% of the batch if I fall a little short.
 

eric19312

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@jturman35 When I am doing a neipa I always brew a larger batch into the fermenter. Looks like your krausen line is around 5.5 gal. I would get another gallon in there. I also use an inline bouncer filter and start my racking arm at about the 2oclock position and rotate to maybe the 4 or 5oclock position before I start picking up a bunch of hop material. I typically cold crash this style to 37 for 3 days and do a slow dump once or twice each day. Using the cf15 for this style I sometimes only get 2 3/4 kegs instead of 3 full ones. But dry hopping at between 1 and 2 oz/gallon I come to expect it, thats still like 90% of the batch if I fall a little short.
Yeah that inline bouncer filter is similar the one I am using. I found the company that makes them and got one with threaded fittings. VacMotion product: PLS-M12M-NCB-050 - 1/2 MNPT Mini Series Nylon Strainer with Clear Nylon Bowl, Buna gasket and 50 mesh Stainless Steel Screen
I then added duo tight fittings and EVA barrier tubing. I went with the larger 6mm ID/9.5 mm OD duotight and EVA tubing available from Morebeer.
 

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Yeah that inline bouncer filter is similar the one I am using. I found the company that makes them and got one with threaded fittings. VacMotion product: PLS-M12M-NCB-050 - 1/2 MNPT Mini Series Nylon Strainer with Clear Nylon Bowl, Buna gasket and 50 mesh Stainless Steel Screen
I then added duo tight fittings and EVA barrier tubing. I went with the larger 6mm ID/9.5 mm OD duotight and EVA tubing available from Morebeer.
Nice! I like that setup with the eva barrier.. just curious on a different note, I assume you purge it with co2 and wonder what your process is to get a good purge on it?
 

eric19312

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Nice! I like that setup with the eva barrier.. just curious on a different note, I assume you purge it with co2 and wonder what your process is to get a good purge on it?
I purge it with beer. I use one of these
and fire foamy beer into a growler then disconnect it with beer flowing. I fully carbonate in the CF15 so am filling into purged pressurized kegs with spunding valve on the gas side.
 

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I purge it with beer. I use one of these
and fire foamy beer into a growler then disconnect it with beer flowing. I fully carbonate in the CF15 so am filling into purged pressurized kegs with spunding valve on the gas side.
I do the same, and that ball lock post is great. (I also have a couple of the dual sided posts which are great for cleaning multiple beer lines at once!).

I also start with the racking arm at around 1 o'clock, and move it down during the transfer. I often get to about 5 without issue. Starting with more (e.g., 7 gal.) is key. I do leave some (but not a ton behind), but that is worth it to me not to have to deal with clogs and the like. I often transfer and clean while brewing the next batch, so I need to stay on schedule!
 
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Yes. So typically if I neeeeed to get warmer before fermentation kicks off I run a space heater. My basement temps are usually 50f to 55f for this time of year. I was disappointed here as well but have been able to adapt. I actually contacted spike and they sent me a new heating element for my cf15. I think it did help some but i can't brew with kveik until the warmer months come around. I don't really care I guess because for the most part I am fermenting at 65 to 70 so as long as I can warm up for d-rest its not a huge concern. I suppose I could wrap an extra blanket around it but every time I think about that I just say screw that. To much of a hassle. haha.
 

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I have a inline filter I can use. I’m paranoid the beer storing around inside the filter housing is somehow introducing oxygen. I always purge the line of beer but it seems like the filter housing is never completely full which makes me paranoid about o2.

What does the racking arm position have to do with picking up hop debris? Seems like as long as there is beer in the sight glass below the position of the arm it shouldn’t matter? Now granted this particular batch I wasn’t able to get clear beer in my sight glass due to being short on time.
 

eric19312

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I have a inline filter I can use. I’m paranoid the beer storing around inside the filter housing is somehow introducing oxygen. I always purge the line of beer but it seems like the filter housing is never completely full which makes me paranoid about o2.

What does the racking arm position have to do with picking up hop debris? Seems like as long as there is beer in the sight glass below the position of the arm it shouldn’t matter? Now granted this particular batch I wasn’t able to get clear beer in my sight glass due to being short on time.
I am not happy if I see any air in my closed transfer line or the inline filter. If I see any I find the leak and make it go away. No point in doing a closed transfer if you are bubbling in air while you do it!

If you can dump hops till you see beer in the sight glass you (probably) have no need of a filter and can rack with the racking arm down to maximize your finished product. But if you dry hopped with a pound or two this may mean a very long settling period or wasting a lot of beer to get them all out. I added the (probably) because if you dump your hops fast you might have blasted a hole through the mass, see beer in the sight glass, but still have most of your hops in the cone.
 

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The TC system is not the only way to control temperature. If you are doing a CF10 or CF15 a stand up freezer works really well and offers numerous advantages over going with the coils and glycol.

Sure you will be happy with Spike however you go and no need to hurry the decision, the daydreaming about it is part of the fun.
Hey eric19312, how large of a chest freezer is needed for a CF15?
 

Iowa Brewer

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I'm using 20.2 CF upright freezer. I don't think a chest freezer is feasible.

Pretty sure you can get away with a 17cf but not as roomy for accessories.
Ha! Yes, meant to type upright 🤪
Debating between a 15gal and 10gal. I suppose the 17cf would work for the CF10. Thanks for the help!
 

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I'm super excited! My CF10 (with TC100 and accessories) is out for delivery today. This will be a huge upgrade from plastic buckets and carboys.

Planning on breaking it in Sunday with a 10 gallon batch of a NEIPA
You're gonna' love fermenting in a conical. It offers a lot more control with the process. But it also brings some new concerns that may not be obvious at first. I know I wasn't anticipating a few things when I went from plastic to stainless with regards to cleaning.

Your first cleaning before use is really important and requires some time. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines and take your time, especially if it means putting off the first brew session. Do a complete breakdown, cleaning and reassembly to get rid of residual machine oils. This step alone will get you intimately familiar with your new gear and show you what needs to be done on a routine basis. It ain't your basic brew bucket!

It goes without saying that sanitation is a must. Don't spare the Star San. After a brew session or two you'll discover the places where nasties like to hide, outside the reach of hot water spraying and quick soaking. These are areas that will need attention after every use.

Treat your equipment right and it'll reward you with good results. The beer gods will look down on you with favor. Most of all enjoy the process and take pride in your beer and accomplishments.

Congratulations!
 
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Thanks. My plan is to run a batch of hot PBW through it initially and giving it a good scrub. That will be followed by a hot water rinse, and then a good dose of star-san. I've read through Spike's guidance on this. Please let me know if you see anything I missed.

I've got an electric HERMS setup, so my plan is while my mash and strike water is heating in the HLT, I'll use my BK to heat the PBW and I'll have an hour or two to clean during out the CF10 during the mash and sparge. Then I can reassemble and sanitize during the boil so that everything is set.

I've spent countless hours over the past three weeks reading through this thread, but I'm sure I'm going to miss something.

The one accessory that I didn't buy was the leg extensions/casters/base. I'm planning on building a bench for it alongside my brewing setup, but I'll use it on the floor for the first couple of sessions to zero in on exactly what I want/need.
 

Nate R

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If you got the cooling coils.... Take your time on them to clean for the 1st time!
My coils came with printing on the stainless steel... Not a big deal, but for all of the work I do to prevent bugs, I was wanted everything super clean.
{Problem is getting to the inside of the coils... you need to soak in PBW and get a $3 bottle brush from the market).
 

eric19312

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@TrainSafe have you done a pressure check? Good idea to do that today and see if it holds pressure overnight. No liquid in the fermentor but get all the gaskets wet as you put them together. Most likely issue will be the lid gasket...a little practice and that lid/gasket design really does work great but I'd try to get that practice before filling with NEIPA.
 

TrainSafe

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Eric, I haven’t done anything yet. I’m out of town until later today. The brown Santa delivered my packages from Spike while I was gone. (I'm like a kid on Christmas morning— I can’t wait to play with my new toys, but I’m not there.)😥

I’ll put it together tonight and pressurize it before going too far. Good idea.
Thanks for the tip on wetting the gaskets. I’d have likely missed that!
 

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Eric, I haven’t done anything yet. I’m out of town until later today. The brown Santa delivered my packages from Spike while I was gone. (I'm like a kid on Christmas morning— I can’t wait to play with my new toys, but I’m not there.)😥

I’ll put it together tonight and pressurize it before going too far. Good idea.
Thanks for the tip on wetting the gaskets. I’d have likely missed that!
That's OK. They're "self wetting". Ask me how I know. 🙄
 

TrainSafe

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Pressure check and PBW scrubbing complete! I had only two leaks which I consider to be very good for my first time. One leak was on the ball lock post of the gas manifold. Because it came with an o-ring already applied to the threaded nipple, i didn't use teflon tape on that fitting. Big mistake. Removed the o-ring and applied tape and that leak was fixed. The second was around the lid seal. It held until about 10psi then showed a slow leak. That was corrected by really cranking down on the lid clamp. I even had to use a wrench to get the 1/4" gap specified by Spike.

Now on to sanitizing and fermenting! My first batch is mashing as I type:rock:
 

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Just kegged my first 15 gallon batch last night.
It was dry hopped with a measly 10.5oz (0.7oz/gal).
I started with an empty cone when I added the dry hops, having previously harvested all of the yeast, and did not dump any hops at all before racking.

When racking into kegs, I was able to get the racking arm down to about 8, maybe 7 o'clock, before bits of the hop pellets came out to clog the ball lock QD. That last keg, has bits of hop material that need to be dumped after the keg settles after being tapped.

I like the idea of that inline filter for kegging.
Looking at the VacMotion site, they offer a version with quick connect fittings molded right in.
The 3/8" size should work great with the 9.5 EVABarrier tubing.

I am looking at the mini series and the low profile series.
The mini series has twice the surface area of the low profile series, but can only be had in a mesh down to 15 microns.
The low profile series can be had in a mesh down to 10 microns.
15 and 10 will probably accomplish the same thing, letting yeast and any chill haze to go right on by.
I just like the idea of the finer mesh, but worry about the smaller surface area clogging quickly.

I realize you're using a 300 micron filter, but how does your mini series perform when racking a 3 keg batch?
Does it cross the finish line clogged? Or with plenty of clean screen?
Do you ride the racking arm down into the hops? Or try to stay above it?

Thanks. :mug:
 

Brooothru

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Pressure check and PBW scrubbing complete! I had only two leaks which I consider to be very good for my first time. One leak was on the ball lock post of the gas manifold. Because it came with an o-ring already applied to the threaded nipple, i didn't use teflon tape on that fitting. Big mistake. Removed the o-ring and applied tape and that leak was fixed. The second was around the lid seal. It held until about 10psi then showed a slow leak. That was corrected by really cranking down on the lid clamp. I even had to use a wrench to get the 1/4" gap specified by Spike.

Now on to sanitizing and fermenting! My first batch is mashing as I type:rock:
Good work. Be glad in the fact that it was water and not wort.

Teflon tape. The "duct tape" of plumbing! Don't be afraid of keg lube as well.
 

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OK guys, I need a little help. . . .

I saw that one of you (I swear it was in this thread) created a bluetooth repeater antenna for your tilt. This was a simple insulated wire bent and hooked so that part of it is inside and part is outside the conical. Maybe I'm losing my mind. I searched and searched.

If one of you kind folks has it bookmarked, I'd appreciate the pointer.

Edit: Nevermind. Found it. Not in this thread, but in this forum. Here's the thread
 

eric19312

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Just kegged my first 15 gallon batch last night.
It was dry hopped with a measly 10.5oz (0.7oz/gal).
I started with an empty cone when I added the dry hops, having previously harvested all of the yeast, and did not dump any hops at all before racking.

When racking into kegs, I was able to get the racking arm down to about 8, maybe 7 o'clock, before bits of the hop pellets came out to clog the ball lock QD. That last keg, has bits of hop material that need to be dumped after the keg settles after being tapped.

I like the idea of that inline filter for kegging.
Looking at the VacMotion site, they offer a version with quick connect fittings molded right in.
The 3/8" size should work great with the 9.5 EVABarrier tubing.

I am looking at the mini series and the low profile series.
The mini series has twice the surface area of the low profile series, but can only be had in a mesh down to 15 microns.
The low profile series can be had in a mesh down to 10 microns.
15 and 10 will probably accomplish the same thing, letting yeast and any chill haze to go right on by.
I just like the idea of the finer mesh, but worry about the smaller surface area clogging quickly.

I realize you're using a 300 micron filter, but how does your mini series perform when racking a 3 keg batch?
Does it cross the finish line clogged? Or with plenty of clean screen?
Do you ride the racking arm down into the hops? Or try to stay above it?

Thanks. :mug:
I guess this is directed at me. Thanks for making me feel like an idiot for not taking a look at the quick connect offering on their site. 😬 Go for it, wish I'd noticed that.

Yesterday I kegged 15 gallons from what was almost 18 gallon batch into the CF15. I did like you did and dropped my yeast before dry hopping. Dumped about 3 quarts. Then I dry hopped with a bit more than 16oz of T90 pellets. (yes the 3" sight glass dry hopper holds a full pound+ in 1 go :rock:) I burped the dry hops after a day and then started cold crashing under pressure. I cold crashed 10 degrees every 12 hours to 30F and held it there for a day and then dumped hops. Over 24 hours I dumped about pint at a time 4 times. When I transferred using the inline filter (like you said 300 micron - 50 mesh) with the racking arm pointed straight down. I filled three kegs in less than 30 minutes without having to stop to clean the filter. When I took the filter apart to clean it there was nothing in it... Same as last time. I will keep using the filter for insurance. I've had my share of nightmare closed transfers and think insurance against plugging a poppet is worth it. But for my purpose the small filter capacity is plenty.
 

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Thanks for replying.

Your filter is actually the bigger of the two; mini vs low profile.
I went ahead and ordered a mini (same size as you) with a variety of filters to see how small I can go without troubles. 178, 100, 80 and 40 microns.
I skipped the 15 micron screen, as it has a 915 micron backing. Seems like between the two screens is a great place for things to get stuck and hide.

I do not dry hop often, maybe 1/3 of my brews. It’ll be a while before I report back.
 
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