Spike Conical- observations and best practices

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k-daddy

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I've not needed to rouse yeast.

If you meant rouse dry hops yep bubbling up some CO2 through the dump port works really well. But I never stop playing and have recently built a pump based recirculation system like the one described in this post: #31 by @k-daddy

my own pictures and will be added soon. but I can say it seemed to work really well for making sure the pellet hops were fully dissolved and well mixed with the beer. Also want to get a couple batches done and see what I think of the impact on the beer.
I’m looking forward to hearing about your experience with the pump recirculation. I tried the co2 rousing method once but felt I was driving all the hop aroma out through the blowoff tube so I never really made any comparisons between the two different methods. If rousing proves to be as effective as pumping, it certainly would be the easier way to go.
 

WESBREW

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Maiden Voyage for the CF10 with an IPA. It was pretty easy to get ready and sanitized. Had lots of issues but none with the conical.
*i should have moved the ring around so the warning sticker isn't showing. :rolleyes:
 

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WESBREW

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Well i made some mediocre Hazy IPA on my first try. No oxidation. Looks like grapefruit juice. Had issues with the mash/BF app. forgot to change to sparge arm and came out a bit light at .061. Most delicious samples when fermenting and everything was swirling in the fermenter. super hoppy/malty but that faded in a few days. Did not plan on US05, forgot to get Vermont Ale.
Observations and issues :
What Worked: Setup and sanitizing went really well. happy with the simple manual process. Wort transfer went really well. i ran it through the plate chiller to whirlpool, then chilled to 95 and transferred. yeast pitch. Glycol and coil setup was perfect. The manual clean in place with a hose/spray nozzle connected to the sink was just super easy. carbing in the fermenter with a stone was fast and easy.
Issues: the dry hop. wasn't really sure of the best way. dropped in a 1.5" port during active fermentation, but as it fermented and settled, flavors got pretty mild. hops settling in cone?
-While i enjoyed carbonated samples, the closed transfer, which was a pita, pretty much knocked all of the carbonation out. beer was flat when took a sample from the keg.
-Condensation was a bit more of a problem than i anticipated. lots of it on the outside of conical, dripping on the floor.
 
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Yesfan

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Dumb question.

I have a stout in my Flex+. I used a blow off the first few days, then spunded 5 days in. The pressure got up to 8lbs and stayed there. Today, 9th day, the pressure dropped a pound. The temp has dropped too. It averaged 68F and is now down to about 62F. If there is a constant pressure over time, will it drop if the temp of the fermenter also drops?

I've not done a lot of pressure fermentations, but I never can seem to get this fermenter, or my CF-10, to hold at 10lbs. It's always around the 5psi mark. I don't spund from the getgo. I usually try to waiting as the active part of fermentation starts to wane, but I'd like to see the pressure gauge hit between 10-12 pounds.
 

k-daddy

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Dumb question.

I have a stout in my Flex+. I used a blow off the first few days, then spunded 5 days in. The pressure got up to 8lbs and stayed there. Today, 9th day, the pressure dropped a pound. The temp has dropped too. It averaged 68F and is now down to about 62F. If there is a constant pressure over time, will it drop if the temp of the fermenter also drops?

I've not done a lot of pressure fermentations, but I never can seem to get this fermenter, or my CF-10, to hold at 10lbs. It's always around the 5psi mark. I don't spund from the getgo. I usually try to waiting as the active part of fermentation starts to wane, but I'd like to see the pressure gauge hit between 10-12 pounds.
As the liquid cools, it contracts and the pressure will drop. That contraction is what causes the “suck back” when cold crashing.
 

SanPancho

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Well i made some mediocre Hazy IPA on my first try. No oxidation. Looks like grapefruit juice. Had issues with the mash/BF app. forgot to change to sparge arm and came out a bit light at .061. Most delicious samples when fermenting and everything was swirling in the fermenter. super hoppy/malty but that faded in a few days. Did not plan on US05, forgot to get Vermont Ale.
Observations and issues :
What Worked: Setup and sanitizing went really well. happy with the simple manual process. Wort transfer went really well. i ran it through the plate chiller to whirlpool, then chilled to 95 and transferred. yeast pitch. Glycol and coil setup was perfect. The manual clean in place with a hose/spray nozzle connected to the sink was just super easy. carbing in the fermenter with a stone was fast and easy.
Issues: the dry hop. wasn't really sure of the best way. dropped in a 1.5" port during active fermentation, but as it fermented and settled, flavors got pretty mild. hops settling in cone?
-While i enjoyed carbonated samples, the closed transfer, which was a pita, pretty much knocked all of the carbonation out. beer was flat when took a sample from the keg.
-Condensation was a bit more of a problem than i anticipated. lots of it on the outside of conical, dripping on the floor.
Dump yeast 1/2-2/3 way thru ferment, then again bef dry hopping. Otherwise pellets can sink into yeast and get stuck, won’t float back up.
 

eric19312

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Dump yeast 1/2-2/3 way thru ferment, then again bef dry hopping. Otherwise pellets can sink into yeast and get stuck, won’t float back up.

If you can get an oxygen free dry hopper I think you will find good results letting fermentation finish and then dumping yeast more or less completely before dry hopping.

When I started with the Spike I found an awful lot of hop pellets getting lodged in the piping. Dumping the yeast may actually make this worse as the pellets drop straight into the plumbing instead of yeast filling the plumbing and the hops sitting on the yeast. They fall in, swell enough to form a solid mass, and then never actually disintegrate. Sort of like what you get putting too many pellets into a hop bag. I mentioned above good experience bubbling CO2 in from the bottom a couple hours after adding the dry hops using this adapter from brewhardware:

I'm testing @k-daddy 's recirculator and was really happy with first batch made that way. Second batch will be kegged this weekend for further evaluation.
 

SanPancho

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If you can get an oxygen free dry hopper I think you will find good results letting fermentation finish and then dumping yeast more or less completely before dry hopping.

When I started with the Spike I found an awful lot of hop pellets getting lodged in the piping. Dumping the yeast may actually make this worse as the pellets drop straight into the plumbing instead of yeast filling the plumbing and the hops sitting on the yeast. They fall in, swell enough to form a solid mass, and then never actually disintegrate. Sort of like what you get putting too many pellets into a hop bag. I mentioned above good experience bubbling CO2 in from the bottom a couple hours after adding the dry hops using this adapter from brewhardware:

I'm testing @k-daddy 's recirculator and was really happy with first batch made that way. Second batch will be kegged this weekend for further evaluation.
good point. This is one of those times when home brewers copying pro gear backfires a bit. Never understood why the desire for 2” bottom ports, seems excessive given that tanks up to 15-20 bbl often only sport 1.5. I have heard that te small amount of liquid in a 5-10gal tank doesn’t present enough force to push the yeast out, but not clear why a few psi of top pressure and small diameter hose won’t make it work. 1/2 tubing on a 15bbl tank let us easily dump yeast without punching through the cake.

now- think about the ratios. 1.5 tc on 15bbl tank. Or 0.1” per bbl. you’re not gonna ”lose” hops in that tube. But a 2” tube for 1/6bbl? That’s a 12:1 ratio. Totally out of whack. So yeah, I guess you can see hops trapped in there. A good amount.

i noticed the brewbuilt x1 has the 2" dump like all the others, but they dispense with the elbow and simply let you dump right out of the bottom. seems like it would solve the problem of trapped hops.
 

WESBREW

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-I was at a brewery yesterday afternoon and noticed that on their 7-10bbl fermenters they looked like small 1.5" ports. interesting.
-i have leg extenders on my CF10 and have eliminated the elbow to minimize losses and dump straight into a bucket. pic in post #2922.
- Looks like people are split in other threads on dry hopping during fermentation & dry hopping during the cold crash, to reduce o2 uptake. Either way, most just dump them in the port.
 
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Yesfan

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- Looks like people are split in other threads on dry hopping during fermentation & dry hopping during the cold crash, to reduce o2 uptake. Either way, most just dump them in the port.

I think the next batch that goes into my CF-10, I'm going to wait until fermentation is complete, dump the yeast, THEN pitch the dry hops. This way, maybe there's more room below the racking arm for the hops to settle (and not clog up during transfers) and the yeast won't be as dirty with trub when I go to collect it.

That will also probably force me to be more patient with my fermentations. I tend to want to hurry and keg so I can see what the new beer tastes like.
 

Jesse Runowski

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I set mine up with the sample valve and the thermo-well switched. Clean samples.

After seeing several people switch these two ports I decided to give it a try on my last batch. Happy to report, this worked really well! No more clogs, clean samples and like someone else said (can't find the post), due to the angle the thermowell is in when in the sample port its not far off from where it would sit in the wort in its original position. Huge fan of this and can't recommend it enough.

Going to try bubbling co2 next. Thanks for the tips everyone!
I mentioned above good experience bubbling CO2 in from the bottom a couple hours after adding the dry hops using this adapter from brewhardware:
 

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I have another plan that may garner some controversy. Read at your own risk...

Before this dry hopper came into play, I always plumbed the gas post on the top Spike manifold into the OUT post of a corny keg.
I then plumbed that kegs IN post to the OUT post of a second keg.
IN post of that second keg plumbed to the OUT pose of a third keg.
Spunding valve on the IN post of the third keg.

I'd set the spunding valve to the minimum pressure for a few days to a week (I rarely make an ale). Then up the pressure for the last leg,
I consider that enough of a purge for the kegs to then close transfer to.

So now the dry hopper comes into play.
Plan is, dry hops in the sight glass right after pitching yeast, 4" valve slightly cracked and everything else same as before.
This plan sucks. Most of the hop aroma is lost with this practice. One and done.
 

Yesfan

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This plan sucks. Most of the hop aroma is lost with this practice. One and done.

I've wondered about making a hop tea with the dry hop additions. Then pour in the fermenter, dump the wort on top, pitch, and pressure ferment. I think this is called dip hoping. Supposedly, the aroma isn't lost and there's no particles to clog up the dip tube upon transfer.
 

jturman35

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Best move I ever made was when i quit dry hopping in the conical. As others said above i also use fermentation to purge my kegs but I leave the second keg vented to starsan. My dry hop keg has the dip tube run through the hop spider with hops loose. Now if i need to rouse hops i just shake the keg. My next goal is to figure out how to cool my DH keg, need to run the gas line from fermentation and move the DH keg inside my Keezer. I have just moved the DH keg inside the keezer for a few hours to keep it cold during the 24-48 hour DH period.
 

Yesfan

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Best move I ever made was when i quit dry hopping in the conical. As others said above i also use fermentation to purge my kegs but I leave the second keg vented to starsan. My dry hop keg has the dip tube run through the hop spider with hops loose. Now if i need to rouse hops i just shake the keg. My next goal is to figure out how to cool my DH keg, need to run the gas line from fermentation and move the DH keg inside my Keezer. I have just moved the DH keg inside the keezer for a few hours to keep it cold during the 24-48 hour DH period.

So... conical > keg (/w hop filter) > star-san container? Are you putting the hops in the keg right during active fermentation and if so, what do you mean by "rouse hops" if there's nothing but co2 in the keg?

I'm sure I'm not visualizing it the right way, but just curious about your layout.
 

sibelman

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I've wondered about making a hop tea with the dry hop additions. Then pour in the fermenter, dump the wort on top, pitch, and pressure ferment. I think this is called dip hoping. Supposedly, the aroma isn't lost and there's no particles to clog up the dip tube upon transfer.
@Yesfan: This idea inspired a thought about a variation in which the hop tea (instead of pellets) is dropped into the fermenter from a sight glass dry hopper, after primary fermentation has settled down.
 

jturman35

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Yesfan,

Here is a picture of my set up. The first keg next to the conical has the dry hop charge which is sitting all through the fermentation process. Note the conical clear tube is hooked up to the keg "out" post with the dip tube in order to push co2 through the entire keg and out the top through the gas post which runs to keg #2 out post.

I attached the second picture of the DH Keg with hop spider with loose hops which gets better contact with the beer, this is what it looks like after the dry hop process. The second keg (far right) is the serving keg which is empty, and also scrubbed of oxygen during the fermentation process. Remember NEIPA's hate o2!

When fermentation is done i will transfer from conical to DH keg (10-14days) and usually i try to move it to the keezer so i can cool it down some because most NEIPA's folks DH a little cooler 50-60ish deg or so. I don't like the idea of the hops sitting during the 10-14 days but this limits the most oxygen. I haven't bought all the stuff to make a site glass dry hopper, too much $$$, so this is what i have been doing.
 

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Nate R

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@jturman35 :
The second keg (far right) is the serving keg which is empty, and also scrubbed of oxygen during the fermentation process.
Do you use this process to purge you 2nd keg of star san, OR have you already purged the star san rinse before you hook up this setup?
You have a very clever idea here.
Thanks.
 

cbier60

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And how are you purging the keg with the DH? Are simply assuming that you are passing enough CO2 from the fermentation to purge a keg full of O2? You can never purge a keg full of O2 by mixing in CO2. You will continue to reduce the percent of O2, but cannot eliminate it, since the gasses mix.
 

jturman35

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@jturman35 :

Do you use this process to purge you 2nd keg of star san, OR have you already purged the star san rinse before you hook up this setup?
You have a very clever idea here.
Thanks.



The serving keg has no star san, the gallon jib of star san acts as an air lock so oxygen can’t get back into the system. Fermentation produces enough co2 to purge the kegs.
 

blainem

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I just finished reading ALL 74 pages of this thread... that was an exercise to say the least!

Tons of posts about oxygen free transfer of dry hops into the fermenter. I've done two batches in my new CF5 and they both came out beyond expectations... one was a Pliny the Elder clone and the other was a NEIPA hazy. I didn't do anything to restrict oxygen exposure when dry hopping with no discernible impact to the final product. In fact, in a back-to-back taste test with the Pliny and a fresh bottle of the real deal, they were almost an exact match.

While I don't hesitate in buying new products to make the best possible brew, part of me is thinking I'll just flow CO2 into the fermenter (at around 2 or 3 PSI) via the PRV gas post as I dump the dry hops in (I have the lid with the three 1.5" TC ports being a newer purchase). Am I missing something? With CO2 flowing out the open TC port on my lid, I honestly can't imagine any oxygen getting into the fermenter.

I don't have the room under or over the fermenter to add a bunch of hardware, so this is my plan, but I'm interested in hearing why this possibly won't work.
 

Beholder

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I just finished reading ALL 74 pages of this thread... that was an exercise to say the least!

Tons of posts about oxygen free transfer of dry hops into the fermenter. I've done two batches in my new CF5 and they both came out beyond expectations... one was a Pliny the Elder clone and the other was a NEIPA hazy. I didn't do anything to restrict oxygen exposure when dry hopping with no discernible impact to the final product. In fact, in a back-to-back taste test with the Pliny and a fresh bottle of the real deal, they were almost an exact match.

While I don't hesitate in buying new products to make the best possible brew, part of me is thinking I'll just flow CO2 into the fermenter (at around 2 or 3 PSI) via the PRV gas post as I dump the dry hops in (I have the lid with the three 1.5" TC ports being a newer purchase). Am I missing something? With CO2 flowing out the open TC port on my lid, I honestly can't imagine any oxygen getting into the fermenter.

I don't have the room under or over the fermenter to add a bunch of hardware, so this is my plan, but I'm interested in hearing why this possibly won't work.
I don’t flow while adding (though not a bad idea, so might just switch to it!), but I do something similar in purging the headspace afterward by filling and pulling the pressure relief on my spunding valve. Have long lived hops flavor and aroma following this process.
 

jturman35

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I always have a hell of a time getting 6-10 oz of hops out of the conical which is why I do a cool crash then closed transfer to a keg with hop spider. So much easier.
 

Pacific Electric

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Took a couple weeks, but I finally made my way through this thread. Thanks to everyone for sharing your processes and for the popcorn material as well. Lots of good tidbits to incorporate into my processes and figure out over the next few brews.

I've been working with Spike the last few weeks to try to resolve a lid leak, hope they get me a resolution soon so I can brew this weekend!
 

OakIslandBrewery

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Took a couple weeks, but I finally made my way through this thread. Thanks to everyone for sharing your processes and for the popcorn material as well. Lots of good tidbits to incorporate into my processes and figure out over the next few brews.

I've been working with Spike the last few weeks to try to resolve a lid leak, hope they get me a resolution soon so I can brew this weekend!
Taking a few weeks to get through this thread seems reasonable but waiting a few weeks for Spike to resolve your leaking lid issue doesn't.

I read through a lot of these posts too and got some great info. I bought the CF10 several years ago and have not regretted the purchase, but I didn't have any issues with it as some of the others have had.

Making a purchase like this is a big investment, not being able to use it is a shame. Poor customer service is even worse. I hope they resolve your issue real soon.
 

Pacific Electric

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Taking a few weeks to get through this thread seems reasonable but waiting a few weeks for Spike to resolve your leaking lid issue doesn't.

I read through a lot of these posts too and got some great info. I bought the CF10 several years ago and have not regretted the purchase, but I didn't have any issues with it as some of the others have had.

Making a purchase like this is a big investment, not being able to use it is a shame. Poor customer service is even worse. I hope they resolve your issue real soon.

Yeah, I'm trying to be patient, with the 4th holiday in there and knowing people take extended vacations around this time, but I'm surprised at the time it's taking for this. At this point it should be a straight forward - couple of things to check/try with the lid and rim.
 

jturman35

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The picture below is a prime example of why I no longer DH in the conical. This is at 10days with my NEIPA. I have 10oz of DH sitting in the keg with hop spider sitting in the keezer. Bet it didn’t take a quart of wasted beer to get down below the pick up tube. If I had dry hopped in the conical it take probably at least a gallon of waste to get the beer low enough to transfer to the keg. I will crash this around 55 for 24 hours before transferring to the DH keg.
93379AED-7D22-436D-B55E-88E366AE9575.jpeg
 
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Yeah, I'm trying to be patient, with the 4th holiday in there and knowing people take extended vacations around this time, but I'm surprised at the time it's taking for this. At this point it should be a straight forward - couple of things to check/try with the lid and rim.
Spikes customer service has always been stellar in my experience.. that said I would maybe reach out to them again. In the meantime, what are you experiencing as a leak? Where at? Under pressure? What does your setup look like and how does the gasket appear?
 

Pacific Electric

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Spikes customer service has always been stellar in my experience.. that said I would maybe reach out to them again. In the meantime, what are you experiencing as a leak? Where at? Under pressure? What does your setup look like and how does the gasket appear?
Customer service is responsive, but the resolution is sitting with the engineering team, and there hasn't been a lot of visibility or communication. I've only heard they are trying to reconstruct the issue on their end.

The leak happens at 8-10 PSI at the gasket/band clamp. The leak will migrate from test to test as I move the clamp around (e.g. rotate from 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock, flip it over, etc...) and it's not always the same place on the clamp. I've swapped out the spare lid gasket I had and have the same issue. No visible damage or warping to the lip or lid. My hypothesis is it's a band clamp issue.
 

WESBREW

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Customer service is responsive, but the resolution is sitting with the engineering team, and there hasn't been a lot of visibility or communication. I've only heard they are trying to reconstruct the issue on their end.

The leak happens at 8-10 PSI at the gasket/band clamp. The leak will migrate from test to test as I move the clamp around (e.g. rotate from 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock, flip it over, etc...) and it's not always the same place on the clamp. I've swapped out the spare lid gasket I had and have the same issue. No visible damage or warping to the lip or lid. My hypothesis is it's a band clamp issue.
Can you put a stright edge or level around several places on the lip of the fermenter and on the lid to rule those out? Maybe take the gasket out too and run something around the groove to see if theres anything abnormal.
 

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Customer service is responsive, but the resolution is sitting with the engineering team, and there hasn't been a lot of visibility or communication. I've only heard they are trying to reconstruct the issue on their end.

The leak happens at 8-10 PSI at the gasket/band clamp. The leak will migrate from test to test as I move the clamp around (e.g. rotate from 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock, flip it over, etc...) and it's not always the same place on the clamp. I've swapped out the spare lid gasket I had and have the same issue. No visible damage or warping to the lip or lid. My hypothesis is it's a band clamp issue.
Yup, seems like you have zoomed in on the issue. Maybe a junk lid clamp that Spike should replace, send back your old one to them and they can play around with it.

Like Bailey Mountain Brewer said, I hope they get it resolved so you can get back to brewing. Good Luck!
 

Yesfan

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Yesfan,

Here is a picture of my set up. The first keg next to the conical has the dry hop charge which is sitting all through the fermentation process. Note the conical clear tube is hooked up to the keg "out" post with the dip tube in order to push co2 through the entire keg and out the top through the gas post which runs to keg #2 out post.

I attached the second picture of the DH Keg with hop spider with loose hops which gets better contact with the beer, this is what it looks like after the dry hop process. The second keg (far right) is the serving keg which is empty, and also scrubbed of oxygen during the fermentation process. Remember NEIPA's hate o2!

When fermentation is done i will transfer from conical to DH keg (10-14days) and usually i try to move it to the keezer so i can cool it down some because most NEIPA's folks DH a little cooler 50-60ish deg or so. I don't like the idea of the hops sitting during the 10-14 days but this limits the most oxygen. I haven't bought all the stuff to make a site glass dry hopper, too much $$$, so this is what i have been doing.


Very nice setup! I may try to copy that. The grommet for the hop spider, same size as on a typical fermenting bucket lid? Never thought the keg's dip tube fit so snug like that. Ingenious!
 

jturman35

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I had to drill the hole in the hop spider for the diptube. Any oring that will fit around the dip tube will work. This is just to keep hops from getting past the hole in the lid. If you drill the hole small enough may not even need it.
 

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Can you put a stright edge or level around several places on the lip of the fermenter and on the lid to rule those out? Maybe take the gasket out too and run something around the groove to see if theres anything abnormal.
I just did this, thanks for the recommendation. There is an ever so slight deflection in the lid, a couple of mm at best. The lip seems to be flat. I'll bring this up to Spike. Thanks for the suggestion.

Yup, seems like you have zoomed in on the issue. Maybe a junk lid clamp that Spike should replace, send back your old one to them and they can play around with it.

Like Bailey Mountain Brewer said, I hope they get it resolved so you can get back to brewing. Good Luck!
Thanks, I'm sure they will resolve this soon.
 

ihavenonickname

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The picture below is a prime example of why I no longer DH in the conical. This is at 10days with my NEIPA. I have 10oz of DH sitting in the keg with hop spider sitting in the keezer. Bet it didn’t take a quart of wasted beer to get down below the pick up tube. If I had dry hopped in the conical it take probably at least a gallon of waste to get the beer low enough to transfer to the keg. I will crash this around 55 for 24 hours before transferring to the DH keg.
Man thanks for posting, I'm with you and its good to hear I'm no the only one! Dumping out big dry hops is a big pain in the butt, you loose a bunch of beer, and its RISKY! If you don't dump enough, crash long enough and put the dip tube high enough you clog the poppet on the serving keg and its just a disaster from there (ie there is not a great oxygen free solution for salvaging the transfer.) Granted if you do all those things right its a breeze and a beautiful thing.

I thought I was the only bothered by this so glad you are also working on some solutions. When I was fermenting in kegs (usually a 10g keg) I did it just like you do and had great results. Floating dip tube in the kegmenter and I got the filter from utahbiodeisel that worked well for the dry hop keg. I got the CF10 thinking it would be a big upgrade but so far it really hasn't, its fun and cool but my process is more complicated, not better.

What I've come up with on the CF10 is slightly different: I added a floating dip tube (a double filtered floatIT) with a a bal lock liquid out post on a 1.5" port on the lid. Then I just pressure transfer out the top like its a keg. I still get to crash out dry hops and the floatIT get all the beer above the hop cone without risk of clog or excess beer waste. I'll try to add a picture but I think you get it. No I don't get to easily rouse the hops like you do by shaking the keg (which I think this is underrated!) but i've got one less keg to clean.

On the other hand, my method is kinda a waste of a conical (except I still get to harvest yeast, but big woop) I could be doing everthing else with my 10g kegmenter... I miss that thin never should have sold it!
 
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