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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: BrewinSB on March 30, 2012, 10:25:00 pm

Title: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: BrewinSB on March 30, 2012, 10:25:00 pm
I know this has been brought up many times and have read up a lot on this topic.  However, I was wondering this..I normally ferment in my carboy and just do a longer primary, cold crash then transfer to the keg.  If I fermented in a corny keg, could I just cold crash it in that keg, push out the trub and other gunk with CO2, then just carb up and serve in that same keg; or would the dip tube just get all clogged?  Anyone every tried this? 
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: tschmidlin on March 31, 2012, 12:18:36 am
I would rack to another keg for carbing.  There will be a pretty good pile of stuff in the bottom, and blowing it out won't really work.  You'll blow out some of it, sure, but then I think more will fill in as the keg sits.  I could be wrong.  Primary in a keg, rack to another keg for carbing and you'll be fine.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: euge on March 31, 2012, 01:58:28 am
You could but it's not a great practice. Better to get the beer off the yeast in the long run.

So while it is possible and someone probably does this under certain conditions there are simpler methods. Shorten the diptube a bit, cold crash and and use a fining agent. Then transfer.

I don't think you'll get all the gunk out otherwise.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: tom on March 31, 2012, 06:37:19 am
You won't be able to get all the trub out.  I just transfer off the trub into the next keg.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: BrewinSB on March 31, 2012, 11:05:53 am
Alright, thanks for the replies.  Looks like I will have to purchase another keg, darn...   :)

Then, maybe this will allow me to have something lagering while I am serving an ale.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: DaveR on March 31, 2012, 07:33:27 pm
Corny kegs are great for a lot of things. One can never have too many  :) !

I'm going to ferment in carboy but carbonate in a corny in order to make a cask ale. I have a beer engine that I rebuilt. The last few places I've been that served cask ale - most recently Jack of the Wood in Asheville - served cask ale from a corny. It was delicious. I assume the beer was conditioned in the corny.

 I was going to get a pin keg but after reading up I think corny's are fine for fermenting. But I agree that you will want to transfer after fermenting. I'll be interested to see how much trub there is from carbonating a cask ale.
Title: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: amico414 on April 01, 2012, 12:03:21 am
So forgive me if I'm missing something obvious...  What does one use for an airlock when fermenting in a corny?  Modify one of the posts to affix a blowoff?
Title: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: ajk on April 01, 2012, 07:03:27 am
In my corny fermentors, I bend the dip tube so it touches the side of the keg about where the bottom seam is.  A friend showed me this.  After racking off the beer, you can then tip the keg on its side and blow out almost all of what was left behind.  I use this technique to collect yeast for repitching.  I wonder if you could use a similar technique *before* racking.

Instead of an airlock, I use a blowoff hose.  It's just a length of tubing connected to the gas post of the keg with the other end in a jar of sanitizer.

(http://img.tapatalk.com/6b0af8fe-520c-a281.jpg)
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: DaveR on April 01, 2012, 08:51:57 am
So forgive me if I'm missing something obvious...  What does one use for an airlock when fermenting in a corny?  Modify one of the posts to affix a blowoff?

Use a standard airlock. Run a sort piece of vinyl tubing from a quick connect on the "in" post to the airlock. Use a piece of wire to hold the airlock above the quick connect.

I had an extra lid. I drilled a hole in one for a rubber grommet and airlock. I haven't used it yet. I doubt it works any better quick than using a quick connect.

The downside of fermenting in a 5 gallon corny is you can only do about 4 gallons allowing for headspace.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: denny on April 01, 2012, 10:01:47 am
Instead of an airlock, I use a blowoff hose.  It's just a length of tubing connected to the gas post of the keg with the other end in a jar of sanitizer.


After trying a few things, I've also settled on that method as the easiest, most straight forward way.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: euge on April 01, 2012, 11:53:30 am
I was listening to JZ&JP on Brewstrong and Jamil was really down on using a cornie keg as a fermenter.

Ultimately he gave his reason as thee were too many nooks and crannies in there for bacteria to hide and are difficult to clean. I remember thinking that this doesn't make sense- that it's ok to store your fermented beer but is not good to ferment in a cornie keg? I think the nooks and crannies point is BS and a cop-out.

I say do it and use a blow-off hose. Might be the best approach for some folks.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: denny on April 01, 2012, 01:10:31 pm
I gotta agree, euge.  His points don't make sense to me, either.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: tomsawyer on April 02, 2012, 05:59:14 am
I have started doing some ferms under pressure in cornies.  First time I tried pushing yeast out.  It wasn't terribly effective, you get a lot of beer along with the yeast and it keeps coming out in lumps.  What I did after that experience was to cut the dip tube off about 1.5" for my fermentors.  Then I can rack clean beer to a second serving keg using pressure.  After that I open the corny and harvest my yeast last.  That worked well.  I didn't cold crash but I think that would help the yeast make a firm cake.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: beersk on April 02, 2012, 07:46:16 am
Instead of an airlock, I use a blowoff hose.  It's just a length of tubing connected to the gas post of the keg with the other end in a jar of sanitizer.


After trying a few things, I've also settled on that method as the easiest, most straight forward way.
So you are fermenting in cornies now?

I still don't understand how you'd get the yeast out of there for repitching if pushing it out doesn't work well.  I would think dumping it from the opening of the keg would be risky.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: tomsawyer on April 02, 2012, 08:08:37 am
It pours well enough into a quart jar, especially if you add a little boiled water to make a nice slurry.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: Pinski on April 02, 2012, 08:33:57 am
Has anyone that uses a quick connect to attach a blowoff hose ever had any clogging problems?  I was thinking this could be an issue so I was thinking of removing the poppet from the IN port and just attaching some silicone tubing to that with a pinch clamp.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: tomsawyer on April 02, 2012, 09:27:19 am
I use a pressure relief valve attached to a QD and I've had some krausen blow into/through the valve, it didn't clog.  You probably have a 50-60psi pressure relief valve on the lid that would prevent something really bad from happening.

I only got krausen from a 4.25gal batch of weizen.  I try and keep batch sizes closer to 3gal.  If you're fermenting 5gal I think your idea of removing the poppet would be a good idea because there will definitely be a lot of blowoff.

Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: denny on April 02, 2012, 09:34:26 am
So you are fermenting in cornies now?

I still don't understand how you'd get the yeast out of there for repitching if pushing it out doesn't work well.  I would think dumping it from the opening of the keg would be risky.

Sometimes.  If I make a batch larger than 5 gal., I use a 10 gal. corny to ferment in.  I just pour the leftover yeast out.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: denny on April 02, 2012, 09:35:01 am
Has anyone that uses a quick connect to attach a blowoff hose ever had any clogging problems?  I was thinking this could be an issue so I was thinking of removing the poppet from the IN port and just attaching some silicone tubing to that with a pinch clamp.

Nope, never.  But you certainly could remove the poppet to be safe.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: tom on April 02, 2012, 01:22:53 pm
Has anyone that uses a quick connect to attach a blowoff hose ever had any clogging problems?  I was thinking this could be an issue so I was thinking of removing the poppet from the IN port and just attaching some silicone tubing to that with a pinch clamp.

Nope, never.  But you certainly could remove the poppet to be safe.
Me neither!   :)
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: dcbc on April 02, 2012, 02:30:14 pm
Has anyone that uses a quick connect to attach a blowoff hose ever had any clogging problems?  I was thinking this could be an issue so I was thinking of removing the poppet from the IN port and just attaching some silicone tubing to that with a pinch clamp.

This is what I do and never had a problem with blowoff.  I have a fair amount of headspace though.  I have a 15 gallon corny for 11 gallon batches and use a 10 gallon corny for the occasional 7 gallon batch.  If I were running tight on space, I might consider other options I suppose.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: richardt on April 02, 2012, 02:48:59 pm
A conical fermenter now seems so ...practical.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: dcbc on April 02, 2012, 06:05:16 pm
After 3 years of no trouble with my 15 gallon corny, I can't imagine something much more practical.  Large, stainless, fits in chest freezer, costs under $300, liquid and gas ports included.

Only downside is that it's heavy when it's full.  But there are easy ways to get around that hurdle.

In a perfect world, a 27 gallon heated and cooled conical next to the brew stand would be wonderful.  But for the price, the big keg is a pretty sweet deal.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: tomsawyer on April 03, 2012, 07:04:42 am
Where do you all score these giant cornies?

Edited to add: never mind I found some on ebay.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: dcbc on April 03, 2012, 10:06:07 am
Got mine as a second from kegglebrewing.com

Chico Company has them as well.
Title: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: ajk on April 03, 2012, 04:43:56 pm
Has anyone that uses a quick connect to attach a blowoff hose ever had any clogging problems?  I was thinking this could be an issue so I was thinking of removing the poppet from the IN port and just attaching some silicone tubing to that with a pinch clamp.

Never any clogging here.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: tomsawyer on April 03, 2012, 07:51:53 pm
$200 for 10gal or $300 for 15gal isn't bad considering you already have an opening for cleaning and gas/liquid QDs for easy maneuvering of liquids and pressurized fermentation and/or carbonation.  A similarly sized conical is quite a bit more expensive.  Seems like a 15gal would be cheapest since you can brew an 11gal batch and fill two carboys.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: dcbc on April 04, 2012, 09:11:26 am
Just a quick heads up for anyone considering the 15 gallon corny to ferment.  They are heavy when full.  My chest freezer required a 12" collar to accomodate the 15 gallon corny and wheels to move it around since I put the corny into it empty and then pump the wort to it.

Once you get past that, it really has been a great fermentation vessel for the money.  Been using it for about two-and-a-half years and have been very happy with it.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: stadelman on April 04, 2012, 10:34:53 am
Have been fermenting in a 10 gallon keg for quite a while.  It works great!  I use a cask widge flow when transferring to reduce/eliminate sediment pickup all the while not wasting any beer.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: tom on April 04, 2012, 11:44:03 am
Have been fermenting in a 10 gallon keg for quite a while.  It works great!  I use a cask widge flow when transferring to reduce/eliminate sediment pickup all the while not wasting any beer.
Awesome idea!  I bought one to try for serving, but using it in the corny fermenter is genius!  Just pop a little gas-in diptube on the beer-out side and push the silicone hose on?
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: stadelman on April 04, 2012, 12:26:03 pm
Pretty much.  I've got a write of it here...
http://www.homebrewfinds.com/2011/02/new-product-for-us-homebrewers-you-can.html

It works really, really well.

Have been fermenting in a 10 gallon keg for quite a while.  It works great!  I use a cask widge flow when transferring to reduce/eliminate sediment pickup all the while not wasting any beer.
Awesome idea!  I bought one to try for serving, but using it in the corny fermenter is genius!  Just pop a little gas-in diptube on the beer-out side and push the silicone hose on?
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: tom on April 06, 2012, 12:35:10 pm
Thanks.  Did you end up cutting off some of the silicone tubing?
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corny keg
Post by: stadelman on April 06, 2012, 12:46:57 pm
Not for a 10 gallon keg, the stock tubing is a perfect length for that.  The tubing does need to be trimmed off for using in a 5 gallon keg.