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Vacuuming yeast out of the fermenter vs conical removal.

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brewman !

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Has anyone used a small vacuum pump to vacuum yeast out of a fermenter to harvest it or instead of racking it ?



If one can ferment wort without racking in a conical fermenter, why can't one vacuum the yeast from the bottom of a fermenter instead of racking ?

Of course it would help if the bottom of the vessel was conical so as to concentrate the yeast deeper in a smaller area. It would be easier to vacuum then.

?????
 

JJL

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I can think of 2 obstacles. Contamination and oxidation. But, if you can minimize these, I suppose you could do it.
 
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brewman !

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I can think of 2 obstacles. Contamination and oxidation. But, if you can minimize these, I suppose you could do it.
Lets say you stuck a sterilized racking tube into the fermenter vacuum out the yeast. Lets say there is a valve on the racking tube so that you can adjust the flow.

How would the racking tube contaminate the green beer ?

How does oxidation enter into the equation ? With a conical fermenter, when you drop yeast out the bottom, air enters the head space above the beer. The same would happen when you vacuum out yeast.

I think there would be way less oxidation with a conical or vacuming versus racking it.

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JJL

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I guess I don't get what you are going for here. Are you talking about trying to suction yeast from the bottom of the fermenter while the beer is still sitting on it? It would seem like that would be difficult without sucking a lot of beer with it or stirring up the yeast cake.
 
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brewman !

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I guess I don't get what you are going for here. Are you talking about trying to suction yeast from the bottom of the fermenter while the beer is still sitting on it?
Yes.

It would seem like that would be difficult without sucking a lot of beer with it or stirring up the yeast cake.
Why does it work to drain yeast out the bottom of a conical and not vacuum it up from the bottom ?

How much beer you lost would depend on a number of factors.

Furthermore, the yeast + beer vacuumed from the fermenter could be captured in a sterile vessel and left to sit overnight, whereby the excess beer could be poured back into the fermenter.

?????
 

weirdboy

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Why not just scoop the yeast up in a mason jar, or if you are using a carboy, rack it off using a racking cane? I don't see the point of investing in a pump like that just for that purpose.
 
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brewman !

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Why not just scoop the yeast up in a mason jar, or if you are using a carboy, rack it off using a racking cane? I don't see the point of investing in a pump like that just for that purpose.
The pump isn't just for that purpose. I am also going to use it to "pull" beer from keg to keg or from fermenter to keg when I need to move it through a filter.

If I am not using a filter, once the vacuum pump has started a siphon, I can open the recipient keg lid and let gravity do the work.

I know about using CO2 to push beer though filters. Its a bit wasteful to fill a keg with 8 PSI of CO2 so that you can filter the beer. And not all conicals will withstand the pressure to filter beer.

A brand new pump like that is $75 on Amazon and easier to set up than a CO2 cylinder.

It will work from fermenter to keg, whether the fermenter is an open bucket or a conical that isn't made to take much pressure.

Theoretically, if you had a low pressure conical fermenter you could ferment and dump the yeast out the bottom and then filter the beer into a keg using the vacuum pump to pull it. That is a 1 transfer process to from pitching the wort to drinking filtered beer. Very little chance of oxidation and not much manpower either.
 

JJL

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My guess is that as soon as your racking cane hits the yeast cake, it's going to stir up yeast no matter how careful you are. At that point, the yeast you've disturbed will be replaced by beer. So now you're sucking beer and yeast. But, regardless, yes you could probably do this and yes you could probably do it in a sanitary way. And yes you could probably capture the leftover beer and pour it back in, etc. But, I'm with Weirdboy, what's the advantage.

Not trying to discourage you. Try it out. See if it works. If it's a plausible solution for your individual brewing setup, by all means use it.
 
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brewman !

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Well it sounds like you already sold yourself on this idea. I am not sure what you want out of this thread other than a pat on the back.
I was just wondering if anyone else had done it before, thus the question
Has anyone used a small vacuum pump to vacuum yeast out of a fermenter to harvest it or instead of racking it ?
I'll order the pump and give it a try and report back.
 

JonK331

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Why don't you try it with a siphon first and see if you can get all the yeast/trub out without disturbing the whole thing. A siphon IS a vacuum.
 

weirdboy

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What kind of fermenters are you using now? How big are they?

One thing where I could see a pump being useful is I have these big ass 15 gallon containers that are a bit unwieldy, especially when filled with 10-12 gallons of beer. I could see myself getting tired of lifting them up at some point.
 
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brewman !

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What kind of fermenters are you using now? How big are they?
I have always used 10(?) gallon plastic pails for primary fermentation and 6 gallon Better Bottles for secondary fermentation.

I'm just getting back into brewing after a ~5 year lapse and I'm throwing around some ideas to make things simpler. I'm not exactly sure what my final fermenation system will look like. I know that aside from racking issues I really like the plastic pails and Better Bottles. I'm hoping that a vacuum pump might improve how I feel about them.

I'm building a dual 11 gallon boil kettle brewing system, whereby I will brew batches between 5 and 16 gallons.

I have (accidentally) siphoned yeast into the recipient vessel. I've never purposely tried to do it and especially not with a purposely designed yeast "racking" cane.

A siphon vacuum is 2 to 3 feet of water column. A little pump like that will be 20 feet and I can control the flow with a valve.

I think all this warrants testing.
 

JJL

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I could definitely see pumping the beer from vessel to vessel, so long as you're not introducing air into the mix in some way. I'm already getting tired of lifting 5 gal batches. I don't envy you guys that are brewing with those big a$$ keggles.
 
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brewman !

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I could definitely see pumping the beer from vessel to vessel, so long as you're not introducing air into the mix in some way.
As long as the racking cane and the recipient vessel don't have any air leaks, the beer isn't going to see any air at all. You could even purge the recipient vessel with CO2 so that its a CO2 environment when it arrives.

If I want to continue using carboys, I'll probably have to replace my BBs with glass carboys. I don't think a BB will withstand vacuum. I'd be fine with glass carboys if I never had to lift them full of beer. I'm a big strong guy, but I still hate doing it.

I've never used a conical, but I still like the idea of racking the beer off the primary fermentation trub. Bucket to carboy (via vacuum racking), a bit of yeast vacuuming, to keg (via filtered vacuum racking) seems like a nice process to me, thinking out loud.
 

Bsquared

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I got a Vacuum pump a long time ago to do just what you are talking about, it was a bit over kill. Now what i have is this little hand Vacuum pump

the way I have been using it is first I purge my keg with CO2, then I use the hand pump connected to the gas disconnect of the keg to pump out the CO2 and start the siphon. Once its started I pull the pressure relief valve and let gravity work.

This is a good method for top cropping yeast I have used many times now with great results.
Top cropping yeast from a carboy. - ALEiens Homebrew Club
 
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brewman !

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I agree that your hand vacuum pump would work great for starting a siphon.

But I don't think you can rely on a siphon to filter your beer, unless you are going to put the fermenter on the roof of your house. As far as I know, when you start filtering beer you either need a pump or CO2 to push it.
 

Bsquared

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I agree that your hand vacuum pump would work great for starting a siphon.

But I don't think you can rely on a siphon to filter your beer, unless you are going to put the fermenter on the roof of your house. As far as I know, when you start filtering beer you either need a pump or CO2 to push it.
oops, I must have over looked the filtering part of your application.
 

audger

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you never want to pull/vaccum beer, you always want to push/pump it. the reason is cavitation and foaming. pulling a vacuum on any carbonated liquid is going to give you insta-foam.

i think your idea would work as well as siphoning for harvesting yeast (if cost of the pump was not considered), but not very well at all for transfering/filtering beer with any amount of carbonation (even unpressurized beer at room temperature has around 1 volume of CO2 in it simply from fermenting).

to filter beer, you need to push it thru the filter. you can not pull it thru.
 
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