Volume for Priming Sugar

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IchLiebeBier

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Hi all,
I'm trying to come up with a good way to figure out the volume of the beer in the SS Brewtech before I transfer it to the bottling bucket. That way I can measure the sugar and add it to the bottling bucket before transferring. I feel it mixes up better that way, instead of waiting until it's in the bucket and stirring the sugar in. Plus, I don't like risking oxidation.

When I do a secondary in a glass carboy, I have a measuring stick I made that I can put next to the carboy and tell the approximate volume of beer before transferring. But with some beers, like a Hefeweizen, I don't do a secondary. So that's what I'm trying to figure out.

The SS Brewtech has volume markings in it, but I don't know how much of the bottom will be the yeast that won't get transferred out.

Does anyone have a good method of getting a total volume minus the yeast cake and trub out of a conical?

Thanks.
 

hotbeer

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Nope!

I never reliably have been able to estimate the volume of beer before I bottle other than get it into the bottling container and see what it is. Partly because I tend to have a lot of trub in my FV.

I also am of the opinion that no matter how well you swirl the beer into the priming solution that you'll never thoroughly mix the priming solution without additional stirring. If you can see wavy patterns of light in the beer, then it hasn't mixed with the denser sugar solution yet.

So I just continue to figure it all out after I've emptied the FV. I have transferred the beer into plastic bags so as to keep air from directly contacting the beer as much. They are flexible enough to let you see the volume marking on the pot you put the bag in or just weigh them to calculate your volume as I do.
 

ncbrewer

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I keep track of how much trub loss I get with various styles (with many styles combined into groups, so I'm really only using three groups). I use the average from the previous batches to figure bottling volume. It's not perfect, but it's the best I've come up with. Some brewers add priming sugar or syrup into each bottle in advance, but my memory isn't good enough for that - I'd double up on some and not prime others. But the individual priming can be good for reducing oxygen - siphon directly from the fermenter into bottles.
 
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IchLiebeBier

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I figured that would be the answer I got. I guess getting the volume in the bottling bucket is the best way then.
My next batch is getting kegged. So that will be easier anyway.

Thanks guys.
 

Deadalus

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I don't own a conical, so maybe I am missing something here, but aren't there dumping and racking ports? If you were to dump the trub out initially it would be gone then if the yeast were higher than the racking port you could dump some yeast or all of it. Using the racking port would always leave a fixed volume below it which you could measure and subtract from the volume measurement if you were to go to a bottling bucket. If you were drawing yeast out of the racking port, maybe just draw enough to clear it then you know pretty much the bottom underneath is all yeast. Then maybe adding the priming sugar into the conical would be just fine without the bucket. Again though, wouldn't you just dump the yeast?

The yeast layer in my experience isn't particularly thick in a secondary carboy. My carboys are marked on the outside with duct tape so I can see how much yeast and trub are in there. I could subtract it out but generally I use a bucket and stir when I bottle so I go with the bottlng bucket volume as it is more precise. What you could do though is to estimate a minimum volume, say four gallons and add the priming sugar for it to the bottling bucket. Then top off with the remainder of priming sugar for the excess beer volume over 4 gallons. The initial and lion's share of priming sugar would be mixed a little better requiring less stirring in my opinion. Or resolve to take out an exact volume, like 4.5 gallons to the bottling bucket. I'm a miser so I don't do that, I'm always skimming the top of the trub/yeast layer.

I like @ncbrewer idea as well about measuring and then using an average for that style or recipe. The amount is likely in my off the cuff opinion to be related strongly to the amount of grain and type of grain/adjuncts, and perhaps to mash temperature or more broadly the mash process (time and temperature for instance). Temper that with how variable the volume of trub is by recipe and how much that volume loss might affect the overall volume and CO2 volumes desired. Same thought about the yeast if the trub is removed, what range of final yeast volume are you seeing and is that significant overall to the possible variation in CO2 volume if you used say an average.
 

Deadalus

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How much difference might it make?
If you have 5.0 gal, want 2.4 vol CO2, you'd use 4.5oz corn sugar.
If it were 4.5 gal, and still used 4.5oz, you'd have ~2.5 vol CO2.
I guess it's a matter of how much difference makes a difference.
Thanks that's a much simpler way to put it! That's of no difference to me at all, plus I am comfortable with estimating between the gallon marks to quarts so I am just going to add first based on the difference when I do decide to bottle.
 
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IchLiebeBier

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To answer a few questions:
1. I own an SS Brewtech. It has no yeast dumping port.
2. I go between 2.5 and 5 gallon batches, so the yeast/trub layer will be different per style and per amount.
3. I never put the math to it to see there wasn't that much difference between a half gallon with carbing. I just assumed it would be more pronounced.
 

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Tare (weigh empty) your kegs and write the tare weight on each keg in permanent marker. Makes it a lot easier to measure the contents (8.34 lb/gal).

I always prime in a keg and then optionally bottle from it directly.
 

Deadalus

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To answer a few questions:
1. I own an SS Brewtech. It has no yeast dumping port.
2. I go between 2.5 and 5 gallon batches, so the yeast/trub layer will be different per style and per amount.
3. I never put the math to it to see there wasn't that much difference between a half gallon with carbing. I just assumed it would be more pronounced.
SS Brewtech is a company which makes different products. Do you have their "Brew Bucket" with the conical bottom? The current version of that has a racking arm that rotates for clear beer.
 

BongoYodeler

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Try this, it's fool-proof.

 

mashpaddled

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To answer a few questions:
1. I own an SS Brewtech. It has no yeast dumping port.
2. I go between 2.5 and 5 gallon batches, so the yeast/trub layer will be different per style and per amount.
3. I never put the math to it to see there wasn't that much difference between a half gallon with carbing. I just assumed it would be more pronounced.

If you measured the volume of trub across several batches, I suspect you would find the difference among batches of the same size isn't that significant--at least not enough to substantially change the carbonation of your beers. If you crash a lot of hops into the trub, then you would have a lot more but if that's the case either account for the hop volume before dry hopping or bag your dry hops so you can pull them out.

Alternatively, you could commit to always leaving behind a certain volume in the bucket of trub and beer (at least the same volume per batch size), which would give you an easy way to use the measurements to determine your output volume.
 

Deadalus

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Try this, it's fool-proof.

Most of that thread discusses using a set amount of cane sugar as measured in teaspoons to individually prime bottles. That may not allow sufficient room to change the desired CO2 vol. A tenth of a vol isn't particularly noticeable (to me at least) but several tenths is going to be. I suppose it could be changed in increments of 1/8tsp but note that a 22 oz takes 1/2tsp and 1/4tsp per the OPs instructions. It could be a fine enough gradation to use 1/8 on the other hand. As mentioned a syrup with a syringe would be more easily measurable for changing volumes. I will check out that video in the end of the thread.

I'm getting multiple references for 1 Tbsp of cane sugar as 12.5 grams. With 3 tsp to a Tbsp that's 2.08 g for 1/2 tsp. Using Beersmith's calculator for carbonation at 48F and 53.33 bottles of 12 oz beer per 5 gallons, that's 53.33 x 2.08 g=111 g =3.91 oz. If using that much cane sugar at that temp, that's about 2.8-2.9 vol. That's on the higher side in general. So trying 1/4 + 1/8, which is 75% of 1/2 tsp and weighs 2.93 oz for the five gallon reference, you get about 2.4-2.5 vol of CO2. Not too bad then to use 1/8 changes. Continuing you get about 2.0-2.1 for 1/4 tsp. If you don't have a separate beer fridge though you are probably around 40F or a little less and with the weights of cane sugar suggested the CO2 volumes go UP.
 

BongoYodeler

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Most of that thread discusses using a set amount of cane sugar as measured in teaspoons to individually prime bottles. That may not allow sufficient room to change the desired CO2 vol. A tenth of a vol isn't particularly noticeable (to me at least) but several tenths is going to be. I suppose it could be changed in increments of 1/8tsp but note that a 22 oz takes 1/2tsp and 1/4tsp per the OPs instructions. It could be a fine enough gradation to use 1/8 on the other hand. As mentioned a syrup with a syringe would be more easily measurable for changing volumes. I will check out that video in the end of the thread.

I'm getting multiple references for 1 Tbsp of cane sugar as 12.5 grams. With 3 tsp to a Tbsp that's 2.08 g for 1/2 tsp. Using Beersmith's calculator for carbonation at 48F and 53.33 bottles of 12 oz beer per 5 gallons, that's 53.33 x 2.08 g=111 g =3.91 oz. If using that much cane sugar at that temp, that's about 2.8-2.9 vol. That's on the higher side in general. So trying 1/4 + 1/8, which is 75% of 1/2 tsp and weighs 2.93 oz for the five gallon reference, you get about 2.4-2.5 vol of CO2. Not too bad then to use 1/8 changes. Continuing you get about 2.0-2.1 for 1/4 tsp. If you don't have a separate beer fridge though you are probably around 40F or a little less and with the weights of cane sugar suggested the CO2 volumes go UP.
Be that as it may, but in my experience for the rare times I've bottled batches the @TwistedGray method has worked far better, for me, than pre-mixing a priming solution based on an assumed volume of beer going into the bottling bucket. YMMV.
 

GoodTruble

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What I want is a laboratory grade adjustable click stop pipette dispenser for simple syrup into bottles.

For about $5.

Not quite, but this is what I use.....

20 Packs Plastic Syringe with Measurement Oral Liquids Measuring Syringes Without Needle for Medicine Resin Epoxy Dispensing Watering Refilling 20 Packs Plastic Syringe with Measurement Oral Liquids Measuring Syringes Without Needle for Medicine Resin Epoxy Dispensing Watering Refilling: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

But totally ignore the "do not reuse". I just sanitize before each bottling day, then measure the sugar-to-water ratio so that it's 5 ml for a small bottle (12 oz), 10 ml for medium (18-22), and 15 ml for a large bottle (1 qrt or L).
 

balrog

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Deadalus

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Be that as it may, but in my experience for the rare times I've bottled batches the @TwistedGray method has worked far better, for me, than pre-mixing a priming solution based on an assumed volume of beer going into the bottling bucket. YMMV.
I clipped another paragraph I had because it was after the numbers section and experience tells me people fall asleep at that point in similar discussions.
Anyway, when I was a new brewer I was absolutely fine with having homebrew carbonated with a not too thin layer of foam or greater as long as it wasn't a gusher. While I may currently attempt to hit certain carbonation levels when I occasionally bottle, I'm still mostly happy if that's where the carbonation lands. It is disappointing to crack open a bottle that's flat. I haven't tried priming individual bottles but leveling a spoon of sugar ought to be very consistent (it works for baking) so I don't doubt it leads to uniformity. It even appears that reasonable changes could be made to CO2 volumes using 1/8 tsp. increments. (This I added though.) In my experience, I have noticed variable carbonation levels, and I have always added dissolved DME (occasionally corn sugar) after determining actual volume. My opinion on that is that it may not have been properly mixed as I try to minimize stirring. On my carboys, I can see what the trub and yeast levels are so I would not be assuming anything, I would be estimating between gallon marks to 1/4 gallon. I think the OP could estimate with different methods but they aren't clear on what exact FV they have. @balrog showed it's pretty negligible to be off by as much as 1/2 gallon, at least in my view as 0.1 vol of CO2 isn't much. Whether the primer will mix well even if added into a bottling bucket first, I don't know. I always also dissolve the DME in a small amount of finished beer. It's easier to measure one time for the whole batch but tossing a mass of sugar on the bottom of a bottling bucket, I can see that not dissolving if not stirred well as opposed to a bottle which you can shake if needed. Absent so far is mentioning that cold beer or water on top of sugar doesn't dissolve the sugar particularly well. I've made many many starters over time, heating the liquid makes a big difference. I think it may mix better though having the primer solution introduced at the bottom and then filling the bucket up vs adding at the top. If so, calculations show a finer gradation of CO2 vol even when estimating than when using measuring spoons. Personally I don't have space for 50 bottles on the counter, I use a tree, and I wouldn't want to shift a little funnel around 50 times while measuring twice for each bottle. (I don't use 2.9 volumes very often.) It's tedious enough filling up the whiskey in my flask. I can see bottles getting knocked around too. YMMV.
 
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IchLiebeBier

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SS Brewtech is a company which makes different products. Do you have their "Brew Bucket" with the conical bottom? The current version of that has a racking arm that rotates for clear beer.
Yes, the Brew Bucket. But I've only done a couple of half batches in them so far, so I don't know how much the yeast/trub layer will cover the level of the port, if at all, in a full batch.
 

Deadalus

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Yes, the Brew Bucket. But I've only done a couple of half batches in them so far, so I don't know how much the yeast/trub layer will cover the level of the port, if at all, in a full batch.
It's a 7 gallon right, not a 14?

First, you can measure how much the conical section volume is by filling it with water to the top of the conical section. I'm not 100% certain you need this but bear with me a sec.

From the looks of it, it appears that the racking tube points straight up (it's maximum height) when the handle to the valve is facing you like a clock face. When you rotate the entire valve 90 degrees (not the handle) the pickup tube I expect is horizontal. I also think it is about level with the top of the conical section but it could be off a little. If you rotate the valve 180 degrees, the pickup tube should be pointing down and the valve handle is pointing down. I don't know if it reaches the bottom point of the conical, probably not quite but it looks long in the picture. At those three points, measure how much liquid is in the bottom of the conical. You could add in two more points, at 45 and 135 degrees on the valve and measure the liquid at those points. That would give you five points to test where you can draw clear beer from. It's like North, Northeast, East, Southeast, South. The lowest of those points corresponds to the point at which there is yeast, trub, and or hops below it. Subtract that volume from the recorded total volume of the brew when you put it in the fermenter. That's your volume of clear beer. Leave your valve at that position and drain it into your bottling bucket. You know exactly how much beer you have and can prime accordingly. The difference between any two consecutive points is the maximum amount of potential clear beer you might be losing. It's not a fixed amount because you are taking measurements on a cone not a cylinder. On average, that difference won't be a maximum, the clear beer line will be somewhere between the two points.

I don't think you can skip the bottling bucket by priming in the Brew Bucket because you need to stir it. You could patiently wait for the trub to settle when brewing and rack off the wort but you are still going to have yeast in the FV and maybe hops too. You could use the bottle priming method if you choose to go direct from the FV.
 
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IchLiebeBier

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It's a 7 gallon right, not a 14?

First, you can measure how much the conical section volume is by filling it with water to the top of the conical section. I'm not 100% certain you need this but bear with me a sec.

From the looks of it, it appears that the racking tube points straight up (it's maximum height) when the handle to the valve is facing you like a clock face. When you rotate the entire valve 90 degrees (not the handle) the pickup tube I expect is horizontal. I also think it is about level with the top of the conical section but it could be off a little. If you rotate the valve 180 degrees, the pickup tube should be pointing down and the valve handle is pointing down. I don't know if it reaches the bottom point of the conical, probably not quite but it looks long in the picture. At those three points, measure how much liquid is in the bottom of the conical. You could add in two more points, at 45 and 135 degrees on the valve and measure the liquid at those points. That would give you five points to test where you can draw clear beer from. It's like North, Northeast, East, Southeast, South. The lowest of those points corresponds to the point at which there is yeast, trub, and or hops below it. Subtract that volume from the recorded total volume of the brew when you put it in the fermenter. That's your volume of clear beer. Leave your valve at that position and drain it into your bottling bucket. You know exactly how much beer you have and can prime accordingly. The difference between any two consecutive points is the maximum amount of potential clear beer you might be losing. It's not a fixed amount because you are taking measurements on a cone not a cylinder. On average, that difference won't be a maximum, the clear beer line will be somewhere between the two points.

I don't think you can skip the bottling bucket by priming in the Brew Bucket because you need to stir it. You could patiently wait for the trub to settle when brewing and rack off the wort but you are still going to have yeast in the FV and maybe hops too. You could use the bottle priming method if you choose to go direct from the FV.
That's a great idea. I'll have to work that out. I need to do some etching on the inside anyway. I think the min marking on it is 4 gallons, but I like to do half batches when I do wheat beers. I don't tend to drink them fast enough before they start going stale.

For brewing, I took an aluminum flat bar and etched out the gallon marks with a dremel, measured in the GrainFather. Then, I etched out the tenths in between. So when I'm brewing, I can dip the bar down into the wort and get an accurate measurement. Since I dremel etched it, I wouldn't dip it into the fermented beer, but for the boil, I'm not worried about it.
 

Deadalus

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Have you seen this etching idea before? I've been meaning to try it it myself on the inside of my keggles. Your bar works too although I am unsure if you have any transfer loses or beneath the pickup tube on the Grainfather maybe.
 
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IchLiebeBier

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yeah, I've done it to several of my brew pots. I didn't mean to imply I would use the dremel on the Brew Bucket.

I saw a youtube video where a guy used magnets to mark the water level prior to etching. I'm going to try that one, too.

I also account for the losses in BeerSmith.
 
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