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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: stevefry on July 30, 2014, 02:59:25 PM

Title: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: stevefry on July 30, 2014, 02:59:25 PM
I am brewing a dopplebock and plan to both ferment and condition in corney kegs, in the fridge.  After fermentation, how is the best way to transfer to from primary to secondary kegs?
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: beersk on July 30, 2014, 03:27:11 PM
Are you planning to primary ferment in the keg? If so, you can make a jumper hose with two (black) liquid disconnects, 5 feet of 3/16" beer line, and hook up from liquid out to liquid out and do a closed transfer. It's how I ferment, and I love it.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: Jimmy K on July 30, 2014, 03:33:10 PM
Are you planning to primary ferment in the keg? If so, you can make a jumper hose with two (black) liquid disconnects, 5 feet of 3/16" beer line, and hook up from liquid out to liquid out and do a closed transfer. It's how I ferment, and I love it.
That's what I was thinking... but why 5 feet of line? I'd use shorter line and maybe 1/4 to make transfer go faster - unless the beer is carbonated after primary?
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: denny on July 30, 2014, 03:34:07 PM
Are you planning to primary ferment in the keg? If so, you can make a jumper hose with two (black) liquid disconnects, 5 feet of 3/16" beer line, and hook up from liquid out to liquid out and do a closed transfer. It's how I ferment, and I love it.
That's what I was thinking... but why 5 feet of line? I'd use shorter line and maybe 1/4 to make transfer go faster - unless the beer is carbonated after primary?

Yep, my xfer line is only about 2 ft.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: ajk on July 30, 2014, 03:50:47 PM
Whatever approach you use, make sure the destination keg is purged of oxygen.  I do that by filling it completely with sanitizer, then pushing it all out with CO₂.

I ferment in cornies as well.  I've bent the dip tubes of the cornies I use for primary so they're effectively shorter so as to leave behind yeast, trub, etc.

When I'm ready to transfer from primary to another keg, I pressurize the primary keg with CO₂ and move it to the top of a workbench or freezer.  Then I take two jumpers and connect gas post to gas post and liquid post to liquid post.  I give the destination keg a quick pull on its relief valve to start the siphon, and gravity takes care of the rest.

I don't know that this method is especially better than the others, but I do suspect it saves some CO₂.  I definitely prefer it when transferring beer that's already carbonated to avoid foaming.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: beersk on July 30, 2014, 04:27:18 PM
ajk - I do essentially the same thing. Except, I'm starting to think I should do the fill the keg with sanitizer thing to purge all the O2. I had a recent pale ale get a little butterscotch thing that I think may be from oxidation from possibly not purging the keg enough as it's only 3.5 gallons of beer in there. I may not be purging my kegs well enough. But, I maybe try doing the gravity thing like you're doing as well. I've just been using 10 PSI to push beer from the primary to the serving keg.
I don't know if that really is what caused the butterscotchyness or not. I hope so, because I've had to track down infections this last year and a bit and man, does it make you consider quitting brewing...
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: ajk on July 30, 2014, 04:56:18 PM
I don't know if that really is what caused the butterscotchyness or not. I hope so, because I've had to track down infections this last year and a bit and man, does it make you consider quitting brewing...

Funny you should mention that; I just replied in another thread (https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=20038.0) about a recurring diacetyl problem I once had that I attributed to infection.  It was every bit as demoralizing for me.  On the plus side, I put a lot of controls in place that improved my brewing in other ways.

Also, and I think this is what you might have been getting at, I believe a precursor to diacetyl, acetolactate, is odorless and flavorless.  It oxidizes to diacetyl.  So you can have the potential for diacetyl in your beer and not know it.  Then when you rack it and introduce a little oxygen, suddenly you have diacetyl.  You can test for acetolactate by heating up a sample in the microwave and then looking for butter.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: stevefry on July 30, 2014, 06:15:57 PM
Thanks for the good replies.  Another question, I am using White 833 German Bock Yeast.  Should I start fermentation at room temp and then move to fridge?  Or just start it in the fridge?
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: beersk on July 30, 2014, 06:17:21 PM
So, did you boil all your poppets and what not to get rid of the infection? I am highly doubting this is infection for me, but not ruling it out. But it seems equally as unlikely it's oxidation too, but also not ruling that out. I'm guessing I either didn't purge my keg enough OR it's a combination of the special B and victory malts (albeit there was only about 4% of each in the grain bill, along with rye and just plain 2-row) making me perceive this character after some hop aroma/flavor faded. Not sure. But if it persists in other beers...well I'll know.

My issue was a moldy gas disconnect before. Tore apart the entire gas side of my system, cleared that problem right up. And it was VERY demoralizing for about 2 years.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: beersk on July 30, 2014, 06:20:04 PM
Thanks for the good replies.  Another question, I am using White 833 German Bock Yeast.  Should I start fermentation at room temp and then move to fridge?  Or just start it in the fridge?
It's best to pitch the yeast at or below your planned fermentation temperature. Put the fermenter in the fridge over night to let it cool down to the upper 40's or low 50's, then aerate and pitch.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 30, 2014, 06:29:20 PM
Thanks for the good replies.  Another question, I am using White 833 German Bock Yeast.  Should I start fermentation at room temp and then move to fridge?  Or just start it in the fridge?
It's best to pitch the yeast at or below your planned fermentation temperature. Put the fermenter in the fridge over night to let it cool down to the upper 40's or low 50's, then aerate and pitch.

+1
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: ajk on July 30, 2014, 06:44:22 PM
So, did you boil all your poppets and what not to get rid of the infection?
Yes.  I replaced all tubing, boiled everything small, and hit everything else with a sanitizer I don't normally use.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: erockrph on July 30, 2014, 07:15:21 PM
Thanks for the good replies.  Another question, I am using White 833 German Bock Yeast.  Should I start fermentation at room temp and then move to fridge?  Or just start it in the fridge?
It's best to pitch the yeast at or below your planned fermentation temperature. Put the fermenter in the fridge over night to let it cool down to the upper 40's or low 50's, then aerate and pitch.

+1
+2 My SOP for lagers is to cool the wort to 45F, pitch, then set my fermentation chamber to 50 to start.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: beersk on July 30, 2014, 07:29:55 PM
So, did you boil all your poppets and what not to get rid of the infection?
Yes.  I replaced all tubing, boiled everything small, and hit everything else with a sanitizer I don't normally use.
I see. I just cleaned my racking jumper and disconnects with BLC recently, I would think that would take care of the problem, if there were bacteria in there. Poppets could probably be boiled though to be safe.
After a keg empties, the crud on the bottom of the keg is kinda brown and flakey looking. It's doesn't look like yeast that settled out...I wonder if that's a sign of something...
I don't want to derail the thread here though.

OP, I bought a pump that I can recirculate ice water through my chiller with. It works great for getting down to lager pitching temps.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: ajk on July 30, 2014, 09:10:36 PM

After a keg empties, the crud on the bottom of the keg is kinda brown and flakey looking.
I get that too, and I think it's normal. Just expired yeast and trub.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 30, 2014, 09:44:59 PM

After a keg empties, the crud on the bottom of the keg is kinda brown and flakey looking.
I get that too, and I think it's normal. Just expired yeast and trub.

+1.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: beersk on July 31, 2014, 12:32:16 AM
Oh, good. So it's not just me then...

Cheers, fella. I won't hijack the thread any longer. Sorry, OP!
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: Hooper on October 26, 2014, 03:58:43 PM
It seems to take quite a bit of pressure to seal my corney when I put it in the keezer. Aren't you folks concerned about not getting a good seal when fermenting in a corney? I've thought of putting some kind of strap on the lid to pull up on the seal. Have any of you thought of this or am I missing something?
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: denny on October 26, 2014, 04:05:57 PM
It seems to take quite a bit of pressure to seal my corney when I put it in the keezer. Aren't you folks concerned about not getting a good seal when fermenting in a corney? I've thought of putting some kind of strap on the lid to pull up on the seal. Have any of you thought of this or am I missing something?

I don't see why it would be a problem,  It's not like anything is gonna fall into the corny as you ferment.  Kinda the same way as a loose bucket lid doesn't matter.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: Hooper on October 27, 2014, 01:06:45 PM
denny...thanks for the reply!

I ferment in buckets and try to match the lid to the bucket to get the best seal possible. I am concerned with oxygen uptake at or near the end of fermentation and/or during aging.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: morticaixavier on October 27, 2014, 02:43:11 PM
denny...thanks for the reply!

I ferment in buckets and try to match the lid to the bucket to get the best seal possible. I am concerned with oxygen uptake at or near the end of fermentation and/or during aging.

it's not much of an issue. If you are ageing for any length of time in plastic you will get o2 pickup through the plastic anyway.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: Hooper on October 27, 2014, 04:25:01 PM
That would be the reason to secondary in a corny...if it were air tight.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: morticaixavier on October 27, 2014, 04:37:29 PM
That would be the reason to secondary in a corny...if it were air tight.

or not to secondary. but yeah keg is a good place for ageing. On the other hand most of the styles that actually benefit from ageing also benefit from some small amount of o2 ingress so I like glass with a silicon breathable bung. it minimizes o2 pickup while still allowing for some micro aeration during ageing.
Title: Re: Fermenting in a corney keg
Post by: beersk on October 27, 2014, 08:06:42 PM
What I've been doing lately is fermenting 6 gallon batches in 2 cornies, then transferring and combining them in the serving keg. It's been great. Just bend your liquid dip tubes on your fermenter cornies so there's about 1/2 gallon deadspace and you don't have to worry about trub pickup. Yeah, it's two vessels to clean, but they're really easy to clean and make sure they're sanitized.
This way, if there's any beer left over after transferring to the serving keg, I can use a couple grams of honey in a bottle and fill with a picnic tap/bottle wand and bottle condition what is left over. That's been really awesome too.