Author Topic: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels  (Read 1206 times)

Offline yso191

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How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« on: October 18, 2013, 08:42:00 AM »
OK, admittedly the answer is probably 'You can't,' but we're a creative bunch.

The specific issue is that I recently bought a stainless conical from Stout Tanks.  I have always used gallon marks on my Better Bottles or my Speidel fermenter to see when I need to shut off the transfer from the fermenter to the keg so as to not have beer bubble out of the pressure relief valve on the corny keg.  The issue is that I want to do all my transfers with no exposure to air, so I can't just look inside.

So now as I see it, the only way to be sure of that is to watch the volume going into the conical from the boil kettle - one step removed hence a greater chance of mistakes.

I know this isn't a critical issue, but I have some time to work out the details of using the conical since I can't use it until I purchase an upright freezer for a fermentation chamber.  How do you all make sure of the volume going into your keg from a conical?
Steve

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2013, 09:00:19 AM »
OK, admittedly the answer is probably 'You can't,' but we're a creative bunch.

The specific issue is that I recently bought a stainless conical from Stout Tanks.  I have always used gallon marks on my Better Bottles or my Speidel fermenter to see when I need to shut off the transfer from the fermenter to the keg so as to not have beer bubble out of the pressure relief valve on the corny keg.  The issue is that I want to do all my transfers with no exposure to air, so I can't just look inside.

So now as I see it, the only way to be sure of that is to watch the volume going into the conical from the boil kettle - one step removed hence a greater chance of mistakes.

I know this isn't a critical issue, but I have some time to work out the details of using the conical since I can't use it until I purchase an upright freezer for a fermentation chamber.  How do you all make sure of the volume going into your keg from a conical?

put the keg on a scale? watch the weight till it hits ~40lbs less the tare weight of the empty keg (with connection to the conical in place).
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline yso191

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2013, 09:05:09 AM »
Hey I was just cruising eBay for brewing stuff and found this:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/DRAFT-BEER-KEG-READER-Bar-Restaurant-Home-Brew-Brewer-Gauge-Volume-Temperature-/290802299683?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43b52af323

It is a little more expensive than I'd like, and it wouldn't give 'real-time' levels, but with a few checks during the final bit, it might work!
Steve

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2013, 09:12:29 AM »
If you had crashed the beer cold enough to start with that should work but if it's close to ambient it would probably not work as well.
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Offline harbicide

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2013, 09:43:20 AM »
How do you all make sure of the volume going into your keg from a conical?

I purge my kegs with CO2 before filling.  Then my fill hose is inserted to the bottom of the keg being filled and I gradually raise it keeping about 1 inch of the fill tube below the level of the beer.  When it looks like I am about 2.5 inches from the lip of the opening I shut off the flow, withdraw the tube, and put the lid on the keg.  Two inches from the lip is about 5 gallons in a ball lock corny.
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2013, 10:02:16 AM »
How about filling through the liquid out tube (fill from the bottom) then hook up a tube to the gas in post (to release pressure as it fills). Put the tube in a glass and stop transferring when beer comes out.

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Offline kramerog

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2013, 10:13:06 AM »
Hey I was just cruising eBay for brewing stuff and found this:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/DRAFT-BEER-KEG-READER-Bar-Restaurant-Home-Brew-Brewer-Gauge-Volume-Temperature-/290802299683?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43b52af323

It is a little more expensive than I'd like, and it wouldn't give 'real-time' levels, but with a few checks during the final bit, it might work!

You could probably cut those things in two or three pieces so you can use one gauge for two or three kegs as you probably are not that interested in knowing how empty the keg is.  Essentially you could do the same thing by feel or if the air is humid enough looking at condensation.  This all assumes that the beer being transferred at normal refrigeration temperatures.

I think Mort's scale idea is a good one too. 

My first thought was a flow totalizer but that is probably expensive.

Another possibility is to rig up a circuit tester like one built into a multimeter and when the beer closes the circuit you know to turn the beer flow off.  This is how many simple level alarms work.  You would have to remove the pressure relieve valve to do this unless you are willing to put a bulkhead fitting into your corny.  This would greatly reduce but not eliminate exposure to air.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2013, 10:16:02 AM »
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Offline yso191

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2013, 10:41:21 AM »
I'm thinking that Mort's idea of the scale may be the cheapest and easiest.  Just weigh a corny filled with water, then sit the empty keg on the scale and watch until it hits the right weight.  I like it.
Steve

Offline denny

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2013, 11:39:31 AM »
How about a sight glass?
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Offline Jeff M

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2013, 03:52:26 PM »
WHy dont you calibrate a stick or some such on your BK to know how much is in it before you chill?  then just calculate how much wort you lose to hoses etc with water and you are there.

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2013, 04:31:01 PM »
WHy dont you calibrate a stick or some such on your BK to know how much is in it before you chill?  then just calculate how much wort you lose to hoses etc with water and you are there.

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+1.  My method. Cheap and effective.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2013, 05:10:02 PM »
WHy dont you calibrate a stick or some such on your BK to know how much is in it before you chill?  then just calculate how much wort you lose to hoses etc with water and you are there.

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+1.  My method. Cheap and effective.

except he wants to measure beer out of a fermenter into a keg.
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Offline Mark G

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2013, 06:48:10 PM »
I like to do closed transfers with CO2 as well. I just chill the beer down to near freezing, then when I'm filling the keg, I just follow the condensation on the side of the keg up to the top (or almost, I stop at that weld line). If you don't have a way to chill the beer first, I would try the scale method.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How to tell volumes in opaque vessels
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2013, 07:41:57 PM »
WHy dont you calibrate a stick or some such on your BK to know how much is in it before you chill?  then just calculate how much wort you lose to hoses etc with water and you are there.

2cents
+1.  My method. Cheap and effective.

except he wants to measure beer out of a fermenter into a keg.
Yep, my mistake. Thought it was a different thread.
Jon H.