Turning your Fermonster into a complete closed transfer system for cheap!

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Dgallo

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I've done this mod (though with the plastic posts because the metal version of the pressure kit was backordered everywhere), and so far I love it's impact on my beer. Soooo much less degrading of my beer over time. But lately, I've been having issues getting the last six inches or so of beer to transfer. Once it gets to that point, it will just stop (or go so slowly, I can't see any movement). I'm pretty sure at this point that it's not a clogging problem because I've tried everything I can think of to address that. I've switched to a filtered diptube, I've cold crashed for a week before transferring, I've filtered my wort before it goes into the fermenter to reduce trub and hop debris, I've blown CO2 into the diptube to clear out any possible obstructions during transfer. But still the same issue, and usually at the same level of beer (with about a gallon left).

It's getting really frustrating because I brew 2.5 gallon batches, and I'm not cool with losing nearly 1 gallon each time. I've started putting the excess into soda bottles with a carb cap, or into my 1.5 gallon keg when it's available (not often, it's usually full of kombucha). But I have to do that with an open transfer using a siphon, and those beers usually end up with oxidation. Plus it's just annoying to have to do two different transfer methods and have beer in all these different containers.

Has anyone else had this problem? Could it be that the amount of pressure required to move the beer once it gets that low is more than my fermenter can handle? Would I get better results if I switched to metal posts that had o-rings on the underside, instead of using the plastic posts that don't have any seal?

I'm thinking about drilling a spigot into my fermonster and transferring through that with some tubing hooked up to my beer post. That will at least let gravity do more of the work, in case the pressure is the problem. Any downsides to doing it that way? It's not as contained, but I can't think of another solution. Any advice y'all have would be great!
Sounds like psi/gravity issuse. Is you keg lower than your fermenter? If not, you’ll need too. If so, you can increase the verticals drop which will lower the pressure needed to transfer and increase the rate of flow .

What psi are you transferring at? You should also check for potential leaks in the system that are preventing full pressure.

Also, I will tilt the fermenter forward towards the dip tube
 
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Knightshade

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+1 with the tilt thing. I’ll usually get a pretty good transfer, then some random time towards the end I’ll just have to tilt it for some reason.
 

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Sounds like psi/gravity issuse. Is you keg lower than your fermenter? If not, you’ll need too. If so, you can increase the verticals drop which will lower the pressure needed to transfer and increase the rate of flow .

What psi are you transferring at? You should also check for potential leaks in the system that are preventing full pressure.

Also, I will tilt the fermenter forward towards the dip tube
Yes, my fermenter is usually on my kitchen counter, with the keg on the floor. And I also tilt it, especially when it gets stuck. I usually do a few psi to transfer. It sounds like a leak may be the issue, although I do remember the fermenter suddenly getting more rigid and seeming to take on more pressure when the transfer starts having issues.
 
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Yes, my fermenter is usually on my kitchen counter, with the keg on the floor. And I also tilt it, especially when it gets stuck. I usually do a few psi to transfer. It sounds like a leak may be the issue, although I do remember the fermenter suddenly getting more rigid and seeming to take on more pressure when the transfer starts having issues.
All good things. How are you allowing air to escape from your keg that your transferring to? Are you pulling the PRV or do you vent through the co2 post?
 

palmtrees

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All good things. How are you allowing air to escape from your keg that your transferring to? Are you pulling the PRV or do you vent through the co2 post?
I vent through the gas post, with a tube leading to a carboy of sanitizer. Essentially an enormous airlock.
 
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I vent through the gas post, with a tube leading to a carboy of sanitizer. Essentially an enormous airlock.
Hmmm. You’re doing everything that I do, I push my with about 10psi at that point. Is the floating dip tube getting stuck to the side at all? Other than that, all I can suggest is to get more vertical distance between the fv and keg
 

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I've done this mod (though with the plastic posts because the metal version of the pressure kit was backordered everywhere), and so far I love it's impact on my beer. Soooo much less degrading of my beer over time. But lately, I've been having issues getting the last six inches or so of beer to transfer. Once it gets to that point, it will just stop (or go so slowly, I can't see any movement). I'm pretty sure at this point that it's not a clogging problem because I've tried everything I can think of to address that. I've switched to a filtered diptube, I've cold crashed for a week before transferring, I've filtered my wort before it goes into the fermenter to reduce trub and hop debris, I've blown CO2 into the diptube to clear out any possible obstructions during transfer. But still the same issue, and usually at the same level of beer (with about a gallon left).

It's getting really frustrating because I brew 2.5 gallon batches, and I'm not cool with losing nearly 1 gallon each time. I've started putting the excess into soda bottles with a carb cap, or into my 1.5 gallon keg when it's available (not often, it's usually full of kombucha). But I have to do that with an open transfer using a siphon, and those beers usually end up with oxidation. Plus it's just annoying to have to do two different transfer methods and have beer in all these different containers.

Has anyone else had this problem? Could it be that the amount of pressure required to move the beer once it gets that low is more than my fermenter can handle? Would I get better results if I switched to metal posts that had o-rings on the underside, instead of using the plastic posts that don't have any seal?

I'm thinking about drilling a spigot into my fermonster and transferring through that with some tubing hooked up to my beer post. That will at least let gravity do more of the work, in case the pressure is the problem. Any downsides to doing it that way? It's not as contained, but I can't think of another solution. Any advice y'all have would be great!
A couple of things come to mind which may (or may not) be your issue. As @Dgallo mentioned earlier, is your dip tube getting stuck to the side of the fermonster? This can slow the flow a ton. But this would also not explain this issue when you use a filter. Also, what is "a few PSI" exactly that you are pressurizing with to transfer? 2-3 psi may be enough to get it started when you are relying really more on the siphon but as it gets close to the bottom, the CO2 pressure really can help squeeze that last drop. Ive been using 6-7 psi with no issues and when it gets to around the gallon mark and the dip tube starts to face the side, I tilt the fermonster to help avoid it and keep the dip tube free floating and not in any yeast/trub. Regarding leaks, here's what I do to make sure the setup is as "leak free" as possible: pressurize the fermonster with 6-7psi, then shut the CO2 tank off and then wait a few minutes and spray the lid down with star san looking for bubbles. I actually have a gauge on my fermonster lid through a spunding valve to monitor fermonster pressure too. If I have a leak, will see bubbles/and/or hear a slight hissing sound and/or see the gauge drop ever so slightly over the course of a minute or two. If confident there's no leak then you should be good to start the transfer.

Hope this helps
 

ihavenonickname

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@palmtrees Hmm hard to tell exactly what your issue is. Like you I would strongly suspect clogging, but if you are using a filtered floating dip likely ruled out.
I would only suspect the plastic posts if you are unable to hold a seal at a high enough psi. So you’ve got to do a little experiment. Put 5-8 psi on it and attach a spunding valve, if it holds the pressure for more than 10 minutes you know you have a good enough seal and plenty of pressure to be able to transfer out of. I suspect you have a leak though because I can’t think of any other cause. Also putting your keg a few feet lower that the fermentor will help reduce the pressure needed to hold the transfer.

Your spigot transfer is a fine solution and will work, but if you have a leak (in the posts or the lid) you should want to solve that problem regardless.

Edit: whoa you got a lot of fast responses on here! I didn’t see their answers till after I posted this.
 

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IME, having the correct length of dip tube is important but not often mentioned as a possibility. Too long of a tube can kink. It should be close to the height of your vessel.
 

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why not just buy an all rounder? Its pretty inexpensive and is actually rated to hold pressure
I thought the title of this thread was "Turning your Fermonster into a complete closed transfer system for cheap!" not "How to spend $80 on a new fermenter!" ;) Plus, you still need to add a pressure transfer kit to that as well, right?

The All Rounder does look nice if you want to pressure ferment. I really like the shape of the Fermonster and the 7 gallon capacity is a better fit for my typical 5.5 gallons of wort, where 7.9 gallons is getting a bit overkill. The Fermonster has crept up in price a bit, but at under $40 for one with a spigot, I still think it is the best deal in fermenters. I also love that the same lid and accessories work on the 7, 6, 3, and 1 gallon versions!
 

palmtrees

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You can't beat the price of the fermonster. And for those of us who brew small batches, the 3 gallon fermonster is a much better fit than the all rounder! Though if I did larger batches and wanted to try pressure fermenting, that's definitely what I'd do.

Thanks for all the responses about my transfer issues, everyone. My fermonster is currently full of a hefeweizen, but when I keg that, I think I'll run some of these pressure tests to check for leaks. And may bump up the height differential when I transfer this hef. I'll report back if I figure out what's going on or if I implement that spigot.
 

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Has anyone mentioned hose length / width? I found when I started gravity transferring from a low/no pressure fermenter that was hard to lift up for height, I had to cut back to a 40cm liquid hose to keep it transferring. A shorter, larger diameter hose made a big difference. Could hose friction be the issue?
 

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Has anyone had their O-ring come out when they open the lid? It was definitely lubricated. Not ideal when trying to quickly add dry hops... I might get a few extra rings online, it feels like mine is too large for the lid.
 
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Has anyone had their O-ring come out when they open the lid? It was definitely lubricated. Not ideal when trying to quickly add dry hops... I might get a few extra rings online, it feels like mine is too large for the lid.
I put in cold sanitizer before installing it so the ring is less flexible. Goes in easier that way
 

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To anyone who has recently put this together, does the below part work in place of the part in the original post that now has a dead link (FermZilla instead of FerMonster)?


In addition to:

 

CascadesBrewer

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To anyone who has recently put this together, does the below part work in place of the part in the original post that now has a dead link?
I don't think so. Those posts are designed to screw onto the threaded posts at the top of the FermZilla. MoreBeer sells the Gas and Beverage Bulkhead (like this Ball Lock Post Bulkhead - Bev Out | MoreBeer), but you would need to add in the floating dip tube, and a connection for the line to the bulkhead (you can probably use a short gas tube with that bulkhead, but I am not positive).

On the other hand, if you want to transfer out of the spigot, you can just add a bulkhead to the solid lid. This is basically how I have mine setup now. It does not have all the features of the full setup, but it meets my needs.
 

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@Knightshade I am glad I asked, I was so close to pulling the trigger.

Would this work:
1. Solid lid
2. 2 of those bulkheads (one for liquid one for gas)
3. Floating dip tube, connected to fermenter liquid bulkhead
4. Liquid to liquid tube for connecting liquid on fermenter to keg liquid
 

Knightshade

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@RyPA I actually ended up purchasing the fermentasaurus kit, but as you mentioned it doesn’t appear on morebeer atm.

I think those will work, but you’ll need some shortened dip tubes to extend further than what they provide with those bulkheads in particular. You can see that they’re kinda shoved up on there…

I’d go ahead and get a floating dip tube filter as well. Helps keep the float down, at least for me. And make sure to get enough tubing to accommodate for gravity transfer. You’ll typically have the fermonster up in the counter and keg at floor level. There should be some examples in this thread.
 

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Thanks. Do these bulkheads come with a barbed fitting for connecting the floating dip tube line?

I'm not sure what this corresponds to: "The included short dip tube can be replaced with a longer dip suitable to your needs. "
 

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I'm not sure what this corresponds to: "The included short dip tube can be replaced with a longer dip suitable to your needs. "
What product is that info from? The Torpedo floating dip tube comes with a gas post: Torpedo Keg Buoy ™ Floating Dip Tube | MoreBeer

I have a couple FLOTit floating dip tubes I got off eBay that come with dip tubes as well.
 

CascadesBrewer

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That info is in the last sentence in the bulk head description: Ball Lock Post Bulkhead - Bev Out | MoreBeer
Ahhh....I also see this comment "Works great only flaw the dip tubes that come with them does not extend past the threads. Kinda makes it hard to connect a floating dip tube set up. Now I need to buy a bev out dip tube."
 

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What are everyone's thoughts on blowoff is the krausen gets too high using this set up? I use a gas out disconnect with a tube going into a jug of water, but I had a strong ale with crazy krausen clog up the disconnect one time. I had to switch out the lid for one with a regular blowoff tube. Now I feel the need to watch every batch so closely so that the whole fermenter doesn't explode.
 

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Edit: Revised parts list, does this look like everything needed? It comes out to a bit over $100, plus shipping.

2 x
5 ft 3/16 liquid line
 
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secretlevel

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Edit: Revised parts list, does this look like everything needed? It comes out to a bit over $100, plus shipping.

2 x
5 ft 3/16 liquid line
Looks pretty good! I had to buy a drill bit as well since mine were nowhere as big. This one worked well: IRWIN 1870963 7/16" Impact Hex Shank Drill Bit 42526914591 | eBay

For your disconnects, I'd recommend the screw-on ones rather than the barb types. While barbs will definitely work, I enjoy the ability to be able to unscrew the hose and connect it elsewhere if needed... For this you'll need the extra barbs that screw onto the disconnects.
 

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Regarding those fittings, you'd then need the same style fittings on every component you'd like to share the hose with, right? I'm personally going to make a dedicated line for this, and will not need to share the floating dip tube with other parts of my brew house.
 

RyPA

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Do you guys find the spigot version of this fermenter useful, or does anyone have any issues with it? I am thinking that having less holes in the fermenter is better but wanted to get some opinions.

If I rig this setup using the non-spigot version, I could pull FG samples through the floating dip tube, with the help of CO2 if needed.

Also, with my experience this past sunday with my stout blowing through my air lock, I am now trying to figure out a plan based on
anteater8's comment regarding krausen clogging the fitting. I wonder if they make emergency one-way valves that can hold up to say 10-15 psi before releasing. Would need to get creative with placement to prevent this from getting clogged too.

Thanks
 

ihavenonickname

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I got the version with the spigot but now regret it. It’s just another thing to keep clean - especially a concern in a plastic fermenter where sanitization can become an issue.

I would prefer to just get a sample through the floating dip tube. But I also ferment in kegs a lot and am well set up for it. Co2 nearby, duotight based jumper line to valve so easy to rinse out right after. But to be fair I often can’t be bothered to take samples until I’m transferring to a keg anyways.
 

RyPA

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Agree, cleaning aspect is another good point. It's keeping a seal, additional cleanup, something else that can break.

I never take samples until kegging either but may begin while fermenting, in hopes to be able to drink beer sooner than later. Lately I've been waiting 3 weeks to keg..but maybe I can shave a few days off once I see FG stabilize, then maybe allow a few more days for good measure before going to the keg.
 

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I have used this closed transfer method for 8 brews now and it has always gone well while putting about 3-5 lbs of Co2 pressure on the Fermonster. However, during my last transfer, the Fermonster first contorted inward when I connected it to the purged keg, so I determined gas wasn't going in because the ball valve wasn't firmly seated. I adjusted the connector, gas went in, and it sprung back out but then started bulging at the bottom and lid, looking like it could explode, with what read to be about 5 lbs pressure. Maybe my gauge is flaky, I don't know. How susceptible to exploding is the Fermonster when using this process, obviously for which it wasn't intended? Besides making a heck of a mess, would such a catastrophic event be dangerous? I was rather afraid to approach it :)
 

ihavenonickname

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“Would a catastrophic event be dangerous?” Uh yeah. These things really can be dangerous especially in closed tanks with a clogged blowoff or PRV but this is mostly relavent during fermentation where pressure is building up unmonitored. Big explosions do happens and pieces of metal fly across the room.
This is conjecture, but I wouldn’t be too worried about a fermonster especially during transfers when you are there to react. It’s likely going to leak pressure at the lid seal or at the BLQDs some time around 30 psi. But why risk it!? Get a spunding valve or working regulator and figure out what kind of pressure you are dealing with.
 
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