Author Topic: Cornies as fermenters?  (Read 1929 times)

Offline dean

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Cornies as fermenters?
« on: January 06, 2010, 11:06:20 AM »
What are the benefits of using a cornie for fermentation? 

I'm a little interested but need something to push me over the edge to do it.

What about volume and headspace for the krauzen?  Trub etc?  The dipstick (Johnny!) seems like it would suck a lot of trub and clog or don't you use the dip tube while fermenting? 

Offline denny

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2010, 11:15:13 AM »
Small footprint, no light exposure of the beer and unbreakable are the biggies for me.  You can do 4-4.5 gal. in a 5 gal. corny using Fermcap.  I have 10 gal. cornies that I use for fermenting.
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Offline tom

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2010, 01:27:12 PM »
I agree with Denny! I like to split batches and try different yeasts, etc., so it works for me. I love being able to transfer with CO2, etc. I only get about 4+ gallons per corny. I have some 10 gallon cornies, but they just don't fit in my fermentation fridge and would be a bugger to get down the 100 year old stairs into the basement. Although I am thinking about trying some "slim" 1/4 kegs. They are 7.75 gallons and the same height as a regular 1/2 barrel keg.

I have an extra diptube that has been cut 1" shorter that I use for transferring. I also just got some thermowells made from diptubes that work great.

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Offline mrdrysdale64

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2010, 03:01:50 PM »
I to use 10 gallon cornies for my fermenter. I cut the dip tubes to keep from pulling the sediment off the bottom. I ferment and then transfer the beer to a 5 gallon cornie. I brew 5.5 or 6 gallon batches and they are perfect to move to a serving cornie. I will never go back to carboys. The 10 gallons are expensive but well worth the investment. You can ferment in them or use them are serving kegs. I even store water in them when I am not fermenting.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2010, 03:41:36 PM by mrdrysdale64 »
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Offline dcbc

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2010, 03:45:12 PM »
I've been doing ten gallon batches in a 15 gallon corny keg for the last 9 months or so.  All the pluses previously mentioned apply.  The only downside is weight.  So I put some casters on my chest freezer and roll it over to the brew stand to pump the wort from the BK.  I had to put a 12" collar on my chest freezer to accommodate it. 
I've consumed all of my home brew and still can't relax!  Now what!

Offline wilypig

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2010, 11:32:43 AM »
I love using 5 gallon cornies for fermentation. I take the guts out of the in connection and a ball lock fitting, I then attach a blow off hose and drop in a bucket of sanitizer. I just did a 20 gallon batch with 2 different yeasts that way. I also use an anti-foam product to keep the krausen under control. Fermcap-S is a common product for beer. I have access to Atmos 300 which is commonly used for maple syrup. I believe the products are similar in composition. I filled each of the cornies up to 5 gallons, pitched the yeast, added 3 drops of antifoam. Close it all up and let is go. I had no blow off from any of the 4 fermenters. To transfer I just put the guts back in the fitting and use a bit of CO2 pressure to move it to another corny. I blow off about a cup of yeast then connect to another keg. I fill my kegs with sanitize and then empty them with CO2 pressure. No O2 pick up and no light. I also like the smaller footprint  than carboys. I have also used a spunding valve set up to finish my beers fully carbonated. Kettle to glass in 5 days. My next project is to build a Burton union - like set up and do away with the no foam.
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Offline Beertracker

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2010, 11:40:35 AM »
I'll be the "odd man out" on this one, as they wouldn't be my first choice for primary ale fermentation due to the lack of surface area. That being stated, I know many a homebrewer that make fine beers using them as fermenters. I'll stick to my buckets & carboys thanks!  ;)
CHEERS! Jeff
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Offline denny

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2010, 11:52:18 AM »
Jeff, what's the significance of surface area?
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2011, 04:08:41 AM »
Bringing this topic back FROM THE DEAD. I just ordered an extra 5-gal corny (35 euros, seemed like a good idea at the time). As it is my kegerator can only handle 2 cornys, so I figure I might just use this one for fermenting.

Is the surface area thing a big deal? I'm planning to lager in these guys - how do you handle krausen/blowoff - it seems like people are just sticking tubing into the CO2 out, but I can't visualize how exactly you'd do this. Does anyone have photos?

Thanks!
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2011, 05:11:21 AM »
Answered my own question re blowoff tubing: attach a CO2 outlet valve with a bit of hose attached. Easy peasy. Still, is this a good way of fermenting?
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Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2011, 06:29:24 AM »
There was a story on the main AHA page a couple weeks ago by Joe Klink (SP) that had his technique to ferment in cornies.

I can't find it this morning, not enough coffee yet.
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Offline tom

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2011, 10:34:19 AM »
Answered my own question re blowoff tubing: attach a CO2 outlet valve with a bit of hose attached. Easy peasy. Still, is this a good way of fermenting?
Yep.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2011, 10:54:02 AM »
I do like all the plusses listed above, especially the small footprint which allows me to ferment in the temp-controlled fridges.  I use modified corny keg lids (vent valve drilled out) and a rubber stopper with a 3 piece airlock.

Your situation and available resources will determine if this is a significant issue for you or not.

I have a TRUE fridge that can hold four 5-gallon cornies or two cornies and one 6.5 gallon plastic fermentation bucket.
I also have a second regular fridge that can hold the other 7.9 gallon plastic fermentation bucket.
Both have been modified for temp control (Ranco).

Here's the reason I don't routinely use the corny keg:  plastic buckets are easier to clean.
I hate taking apart my cornies and getting the trub/dried krausen off of every nook and cranny of the corny keg.
Plus, I have two fridges for fermentation and serving.  And two more fridges for food and commercial brews.

I did have "headspace concerns" like you do, but IME, they aren't significant unless you're not using an anti-foam agent (e.g., FermCap-S).
I use Fermcap-S in the boil kettle and in preparing the wort for the yeast starter. 
By boiling it, it is guaranteed to be sanitized that way, as opposed to dropping FermCap-S straight into the fermentor.

I am not sure you want to trust the CO2 "In" port to be your blow off tube--it might get clogged.

Offline phillamb168

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2011, 10:59:11 AM »

I am not sure you want to trust the CO2 "In" port to be your blow off tube--it might get clogged.

I haven't found an antifoam agent at Brouwland, and so I never use it. Would this be a big, big no-no in that case?

Re the CO2 port, perhaps if I were to put some nylon mesh on the end, that would solve the clogging issue? I'd prefer to avoid drilling through a perfectly good (and expensive) lid if possible.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Cornies as fermenters?
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2011, 11:24:48 AM »
I am not sure you want to trust the CO2 "In" port to be your blow off tube--it might get clogged.
You definitely want to check and make sure it is bubbling and doesn't suddenly stop, but at least the keg can handle the pressure.  I would remove the poppet and take the stem/spring out of the fitting to keep things flowing better.
Tom Schmidlin