Author Topic: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube  (Read 3612 times)

Offline stadelman

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Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« on: January 06, 2011, 08:20:43 AM »
I ferment in a 10 gallon keg.  It works great most of the time.

I have three dip tubes cut off at various lengths.  I use a different length of dip tube depending on how much hop/trub material I believe will be in the fermenter.  Again, works well most of the time.

The last beer I made called for just over 6 ounces of dry hops.  I used my shortest dip tube.  I cold crashed and waited for the hops to settle.

As you can imagine from the title of this post, it didn't go well come racking time.  Clog after clog.  I finally did get the beer to transfer, but when I went to serve it, that keg clogged too.

So, I'm looking for a way to avoid this.  I'd rather not cut the dip tube even shorter.

My current best idea is to get a Better Bottle with a racking arm for these kinds of beers.  I've thought about a screen but from what I've read, these clog too with pellet hops.  I would really like to develop a technique to vary the height of the dip tube (and still transfer under pressure).  I recall a forum post that talked about a way to do this, but I have not been able to find that.

Any ideas?  Thanks in advance. 

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2011, 08:57:47 AM »
Well, you can always go back to taking off the lid and inserting a siphon tube down to the top of sediment and drawing off the old way.
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Offline hoser

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Re: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2011, 09:19:41 AM »
Stadelman,
I too ferment in a 10 gallon keg and dry hop with loose pellets.  This is the solution I came up with.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/default/surescreen.html

I just place it on the end of my dip tube before I sanitize and fill my keg.  It is a little bit of a trick to hold it onto the tube as you insert it into the keg, because it will fall off occasionally.  Once it is in place you are good to go.  I have a dip tube that I have cut off the last inch and one that is normal length.  With the sure screen or similar screen I have never had an issure with the out tube clogging with pellent or dry hops in any amount or length of tubing.  It may not be of help in your present situation, but I would definitely do this for future batches.  You could certainly attach the sure screen to a racking cane to get your latest batch out of the fermenter, although I don't think it works as well.  

Hoser
« Last Edit: January 06, 2011, 09:24:57 AM by hoser »

Offline stadelman

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Re: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2011, 10:05:45 AM »
Hmmm.... sounds like a good idea.

The description says that hop pellets may cause clogging, but that's not your experience?


Stadelman,
I too ferment in a 10 gallon keg and dry hop with loose pellets.  This is the solution I came up with.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/default/surescreen.html

I just place it on the end of my dip tube before I sanitize and fill my keg.  It is a little bit of a trick to hold it onto the tube as you insert it into the keg, because it will fall off occasionally.  Once it is in place you are good to go.  I have a dip tube that I have cut off the last inch and one that is normal length.  With the sure screen or similar screen I have never had an issure with the out tube clogging with pellent or dry hops in any amount or length of tubing.  It may not be of help in your present situation, but I would definitely do this for future batches.  You could certainly attach the sure screen to a racking cane to get your latest batch out of the fermenter, although I don't think it works as well.  

Hoser

Offline richardt

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Re: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2011, 11:39:37 AM »
How big is your opening into your fermentation keg?  A small opening (like a carboy) limits your options to those that can fit through the hole.  The SS pickup tube screen (or cheap panty hose) really won't work well for a substantial load of hops (be it pellets, leaf, or whole) or spices/fruit additions because there's too little surface area and too much suction force at the opening of the dip tube or pickup tube. 

The ideal solution involves 1) increasing your screen's surface area, and 2) distancing the screen/separator away from the opening of the pickup tube, thereby decreasing the chances of clogging the screen due to too much suction force.  The latter is somewhat analagous to controlling your runoff speed in order to avoid a stuck lauter.

I remember a holiday ale where I had problems with the orange peels in the secondary clogging my racking cane--I used a sanitized nylon mesh bag over my racking cane to complete the transfer.  I still noticed significant tendencies to clog due to the suction force at the tip.  However, since the bag was long enough, I could simply tug on the side of the bag and move the tip to another location within the bag and thereby relieve the obstruction (the water column within the tube maintained the suction and allowed me to restart the siphon).

Theoretically, if your opening is large, one could make a cheap and more effective solution using one clean and sanitized plastic whiffle soft-ball (pre- drill extra holes if you wish), a clean and sanitized nylon stocking (full length), and one clean and sanitized racking cane.  Put the ball inside the stocking (all the way down to the foot), insert racking cane (with or without the protective end cap) and get the end within the ball, and advance the stocking all the way up to the bend in the racking tube and secure.  Sanitize in StarSan and drip dry for two minutes before use.  Now you have 1.) massive surface area for screening and 2.) significant distance between the screen and the pick up tube entrance.  You should not have a clog.  If your opening is narrow, you'll have to use a CPVC tube with multiple perforations and employ a tube within a tube approach along with the mesh bag or nylon stocking.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2011, 11:42:47 AM by richardt »

Offline stadelman

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Re: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2011, 12:19:38 PM »
It's a 10 gallon cornelius keg, so I have a good sized opening.

Not sure I want stick all that stuff in my keg. :)  I have thought about a diy mesh filter kind of like the hop stopper.  The goes along the same lines as your idea.  Increase surface area to lower the chances of clogging.

Ideally, I'd like to have a variable height dip tube, like this- http://www.brewershardware.com/American-Sanke-Keg-Fermenter-Kit-with-Thermowell.html

Start racking slowly at a high height under co2 pressure.  Slowly lower the dip tube until some trub shows up.  Finally, pull the dip tube up a bit so the beer runs clear.

I can drill a hole in a lid and I can use a standard stainless racking cane.  The thing I'm missing is some sort of grommet or o-ring to make it pressure capable.

Offline richardt

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Re: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2011, 04:49:10 PM »
Not sure I want stick all that stuff in my keg. :)  I have thought about a diy mesh filter kind of like the hop stopper.  The goes along the same lines as your idea.  Increase surface area to lower the chances of clogging.

Understandable.  You need more surface area than you think.  That's why I had to resort to mesh bags or nylon panty hose AND something to keep the tip of the racking cane away from any one area of the screen.  It doesn't take much pellet hops to clog a screen, so maximize the surface area.

Offline narcout

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Re: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2011, 11:17:16 PM »
Have you tried bagging your dry hops? If necessary, you can use dental floss to suspend the bags in the fermenter, and you will still be able to get an airtight seal through the keg lid.

I ferment in an 10 gallon corny keg as well, but I usually dry hop in the serving keg (and use mesh hop bags).

Offline onthekeg

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Re: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2011, 10:04:36 AM »
I have a prototype item that I am still perfecting that I use in this application.  In essence, what I have done to my 10 gallon fermenting keg is took the beer out tube out, put in another gas in tube, attached 4 feet of plastic line to the replaced tube, and put a float on the end of the tube with a screen. 
In essence what this does is pulls liquid out of the keg from the top layer of the liquid in the keg and gradually goes down as the level in the keg is emptied.  I have a few issues to work out so its fool proof, but it works for the most part.  If I get it all perfected I will sell them as beerbobbers.
Here is a crude paint picture of what I am doing.

Offline stadelman

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Re: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 02:34:27 PM »
That's a great idea!

If you think about it.. bump this thread when it's available.

Offline tom

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Brew on

Offline richardt

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Re: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2011, 08:32:13 PM »
Looks neat. Any stateside prices/suppliers?

Offline euge

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Re: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2011, 12:14:26 AM »
I have a prototype item that I am still perfecting that I use in this application.  In essence, what I have done to my 10 gallon fermenting keg is took the beer out tube out, put in another gas in tube, attached 4 feet of plastic line to the replaced tube, and put a float on the end of the tube with a screen. 
In essence what this does is pulls liquid out of the keg from the top layer of the liquid in the keg and gradually goes down as the level in the keg is emptied.  I have a few issues to work out so its fool proof, but it works for the most part.  If I get it all perfected I will sell them as beerbobbers.
Here is a crude paint picture of what I am doing.


I've seen this on HBT. Thought it was a good idea. Have they beat you to the punch with the caskwidge?
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline stadelman

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Re: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2011, 09:03:42 AM »
Looks like these guys distribute this product.

http://www.ukbrewing.com/

Offline Mark G

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Re: Hop Pellets clogging fermenter dip tube
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2011, 09:22:21 AM »
I have a prototype item that I am still perfecting that I use in this application.  In essence, what I have done to my 10 gallon fermenting keg is took the beer out tube out, put in another gas in tube, attached 4 feet of plastic line to the replaced tube, and put a float on the end of the tube with a screen. 
In essence what this does is pulls liquid out of the keg from the top layer of the liquid in the keg and gradually goes down as the level in the keg is emptied.  I have a few issues to work out so its fool proof, but it works for the most part.  If I get it all perfected I will sell them as beerbobbers.
Here is a crude paint picture of what I am doing.

Nice. And instead of seeing brilliantly clear beer for the last few pints out of the keg, now you get it to start. When you see cloudy beer... start carbing the next keg!
Mark Gres