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Using a keg as my primary

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Dark_Ale

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I found a corny keg that I was going to use a primary. The fittings that I found to fit has a relief valve that lifts a 1psi with a hose attached that runs into a sanitary solution. Does anyone see any problem using this as a primary. I guess it will always have positive pressure unless its greater than one pound. I dont think it will be a problem reaching 1psi as long as the brew is fermenting well. Anyone see any problems with this?
 

Kephren

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I don't think there would be a problem except that there wouldn't be much head room. Plus, you wouldn't get to see your beer fermenting, which is half the fun! :)
 

Scott Steiger

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Dark Ale - did you try this? I have been contemplating the same idea. I read some information on probrewer.com. The author of that article offerred that the "beer in" fitting could be removed such that a hose could be easily attached for the fermentation pressure to be releived. Its a good point that the "beer out" fitting cant be used (if it were, beer would be forced through it from the fermentation pressure).

I can't understand why primary fermentation (particularly for Ales) could not be accomplished in the keg, and just use standard fittings to attach a hose to the "beer in" fitting, and run into a beer bottle full of sanitary water. I'd appreciate any information you may have if you tried this and had any results.

Thanks,

Scott
 
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Dark_Ale

Dark_Ale

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no I never did. I still have everything to fit my keg. instead of having a blow off tube I found a relieve valve for a swedge lock fitting that relieved at 2psi or a very low pressure I was just going to put that on but I never got around to it the keg is still in my closet.
 

david_42

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No reason, except size. No room for the krausen to form. Racking might be a little tricky, since you can't see the trub level.
 

jrp3

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I always thought a cornie would serve well as a secondary. Better than a carboy because: more easily transportable, not breakable, & can use gas to push out into final keg. I would love more information on the valves you are talking about that release at 1 or 2 psi. That would eliminate having to try to modify the keg for an airlock.
 
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Dark_Ale

Dark_Ale

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I will look at the fittings and see if they have a name or some type of number. Most anyone who carries stainless swedge lock fittings should have them but they are rather expensive. I dont remember the exact poundage that they relieve at but you can blow into it and lift the relieve valve so its not much. You might could even do a web search for swedge lock fittings and find them
 

Scott Steiger

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When I look at the 15 bbl tanks in brewpubs or other small breweries, it would almost seem more natural to ferment in a SS keg. I can understand the geometries are different, and perhaps those brewers have a few moves we don't, but in the end they are guaging the fermentation process based of the CO2 release (bubbles) and the Specific Gravity.

Obviously our goals are to get out of cleaning and reduce the possibility of contaminants, make good beer and save time wherever possible. Generally I like to produce beers with primary and secondary fermentation phases, and in some cases I filter between the secondary and the serving vessel. The filtration operation is done under pressure and requires me to move from Secondary into a keg if the secondary fermentation is not done in a keg.

Doing a primary in a keg, begs the question - would the sludge in the bottom of the tank be effectively separated from the beer or would it move with it? The fermenters in the breweries seem to have a conical bottom, and the "beer out" opening is just above the sludge level. It crossed my mind that perhaps we'd need to take the same mentality, and tip the corny to the side during fermentation (at about a 30 degree angle) and that would keep any sediment from being under the draw tube. This would be done at the expense of leaving some beer in the keg perhaps.

Next hurdle is a chemical question. If the beer is moved from Primary to secondary using CO2, will there be enough oxygen in the secondary for the fermentation to continue. In a recent batch of wheat beer, I moved from primary in a carboy to a corny keg for the secondary. The beer was moved by siphon, not by pressure. The keg, however, had been charged with CO2 right up to the moment I began to siphon into it. For whatever reason, I could not get the fermentation to resume. The beer was still good but cam out with a higher than target specific gravity (lower than target alchohol content) Could be a fluke, but it did open the question for me if the secondary was short on oxygen, due to having head space filled with CO2.

:tank:
 
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