Secondary fermentation and conditioning in kegs.

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Re: Secondary fermentation and conditioning in kegs.

Unread postby leosardinha » Mon Sep 08, 2014 2:04 pm

I have a different approach which in my opinion is simpler and less risky.

I do the primary, secondary, dry hopping and clear the beer all at the primary fermentation vessel.

I use 30L HDPE fermenters like this one: http://www.br.all.biz/img/br/catalog/15760.jpeg

after I am done with all steps above I just transfer to the cornelius keg and I am done.

The benefits for me are:

1. No risk of aeration or contamination on transfering the beer.
2. Less steps so it is easier and no extra carboys to clean.
3. Clearing the beer in the primary leves 99% of the sediment behind, so no sediment on the cornelius keg.
4. All the extra additions(e.g. Dry hopping) are also done so no extra sediment on the cornelius keg.

On general this is my approach for everything, keep it simple.
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Re: Secondary fermentation and conditioning in kegs.

Unread postby Luis Coentrao » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:44 pm

I do the primary, secondary, dry hopping and clear the beer all at the primary fermentation vessel.after I am done with all steps above I just transfer to the cornelius keg and I am done.

Hi Leo,
Simple approach there. I've already had a same thought.
However, I still have some doubts:
- Do you repitch the yeast from the primary when you dry hop it?
- You still have O2 exposure when you transfer the beer from the fermentor to the keg and for bottling, right?

Taking these 2 questions into consideration, I decided to start with a "Simple" 3 step procedure (when dry hopping):
1. Primary and maturation in a glass carboy,
2. Transfer to keg under CO2 (Siphon Starter) to dry hop (with a suspended bag/sieve), cold crash plus forced carbonation afterwards
3.Transfer to a serving keg under CO2 (keg to keg) and bottling with beergun

If dry hop isn't necessary, I would do a 2 step procedure (just like you) plus bottling (if needed)
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Re: Secondary fermentation and conditioning in kegs.

Unread postby leosardinha » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:41 pm

Luis,

Find below the answer to your doubts:

- Do you repitch the yeast from the primary when you dry hop it?

I do not repitch, for me repitching is a "dumb" saving at our level. Yeast is the smallest part in value of the share of our ingredients. I prefer always to pitch fresh and quality assured yeast. It also goes in consideration with my general approach, keep it simple, repitching yeast gives a huge workload(collecting, washing, storing, tracking viability and etc) plus the inability to dry hop and clear in the primary.

Because if you dry hop and clear the beer at the primary your yeast/trub cake will be huge and you would need to wash the yeast multiple times(more than you would normally and increasing the risk of contamination, for reference I had to get almost 3L of trub/yeask cake to have in the end about 200ml of yeast.)

And before someone asks, I did repitch in the past when I had more time to brew but nowdays I think my time is more valuable doing other things.

- You still have O2 exposure when you transfer the beer from the fermentor to the keg and for bottling, right?

No, I don´t. If you dont transfer the beer, the primary is still full of residual CO2 from the fermentation plus I purge all my kegs with CO2 prior bottling(in fact kegging hehe). So the source of beer is CO2 "pressurized" and the destination(the kegs) have been purged, so the O2 exposure is minimal. Also I replace the airlock or blow off tube with a piece of cotton to avoid sucking in the liquid.

To bottle(when I rarely do) I use a beergun as well.

Like I always say, this is my method, the one I like the most. I am not saying that it is the only correct one or the best one, it is just the method which I prefer and for me, it gives the best results.
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Re: Secondary fermentation and conditioning in kegs.

Unread postby Luis Coentrao » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:29 pm

Hi Leo,

Good arguments 8)

do not repitch, for me repitching is a "dumb" saving at our level

Ok... kind of agree, but... let us take some simple maths for a 20L, 14 Plato, Lager batch:
- 5Kg grain, ~5€; 100g hops, ~4€; Dry yeast (3 packs) or Liquid yeast (1 vial plus starter), ~15€
- 31L water, forget it :?:; Electricity, forget it :?:
- Ok, 15€ is not so much, I agree. But, if we decide to make a "higher" gravity beer (Bock), repitch could be very usefull, agree?

No, I don´t. If you dont transfer the beer, the primary is still full of residual CO2 from the fermentation plus I purge all my kegs with CO2 prior bottling(in fact kegging hehe). So the source of beer is CO2 "pressurized" and the destination(the kegs) have been purged, so the O2 exposure is minimal. Also I replace the airlock or blow off tube with a piece of cotton to avoid sucking in the liquid.

Same procedure we're talking about. Transfer the beer from the primary to a keg, avoiding O2 (with a piece of cotton or with the Siphon Starter).
The difference here is, using a keg as an intermediate step for dry hop, cold conditioning and force CO2.
The keg-to-keg transfer is a "locked" procedure as well. So, no advantage/disadvantage.

To bottle(when I rarely do) I use a beergun as well.

Finally, we've got an agreement :beer:

Like I always say, this is my method, the one I like the most. I am not saying that it is the only correct one or the best one, it is just the method which I prefer and for me, it gives the best results.

Let me take a conclusion:
1. If we use the primary fermentor for fermentation + maturation + dry hop + cold crash, repitch the yeast is kind of difficult.
2. If we do want to repitch the yeast (some guys wanna save some bucks), it would be easier just to use the primary fermentor as a fermentation bucket. An intermediate step with a keg for dry hop + cold conditioning + carbonation and a final transfer to a serving keg or bottilng will be needed.

:cheers:
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Re: Secondary fermentation and conditioning in kegs.

Unread postby dinnerstick » Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:05 am

repitching yeast is not about saving bucks. if i need a big pitch of yeast for a big beer, the best way to get it is to make a smaller beer and harvest nice fresh yeast. and if i'm making a few consecutive beers with the same yeast, why would i grow the strain up from scratch each time, which i have more than i need at the bottom of the fermenter? also as a general rule, although with exceptions and high variability from strain to strain, the behavior of the yeast often seems to change over the course of a few re-pitches, i'm not sure why, but on the second or third pitch it is often at its best.
one workaround for those who want to use the primary fermenter for all steps (something i like to do when possible but it's not always practical in my situation) but still want to dry hop and harvest healthy yeast (and don't have a conical), get a cheap auto-siphon, when fermentation is about done stick the autosiphon in the yeast cake, mix it up for a minute, and then pump out enough slurry for your next pitch. depending on the thickness of the slurry it will probably not siphon properly, but indeed you use the autosiphon as a pump, collect in a sanitized bottle or whatever, a few pumps and you've got your 500ml of loose slurry. you can then pitch directly, store in the fridge, rinse it, sell it to the dog food industry, whatever you like.
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Re: Secondary fermentation and conditioning in kegs.

Unread postby leosardinha » Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:01 pm

Luis,

We have different prices hehe, here I spend about R$ 40 in malts, R$ 30 in hops and R$ 16 in yeast(R$ 10 if I go dry), so it is roughly 15% of the cost.

If I need a higher pitch I just go for a starter, I never used more than two packs or two vials of yeast. Also I rarely do beers with an OG over 1.080 and until that point one vial + a 2L starter solves the problem.

Nevertheless your conclusion it perfect Luis.

Dinnerstick,

Another solution would be a conical fermenter, simpler and less risky.

But guys, I repeat, I am not advocating here. I am just leaving my procedure and everyone is free to choose its own. Like I said multiple times, my approach is to keep it as simple as possible.
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Re: Secondary fermentation and conditioning in kegs.

Unread postby dinnerstick » Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:28 pm

leosardinha wrote:Another solution would be a conical fermenter, simpler and less risky.


indeed, but that's like if i complain about a flat tire on my bike, one could say why not get a jaguar!

if i had the space i'd have a BM50 and two conicals in separate fridges, and a large conditioning fridge/kegerator, and a team of bikini-clad serving girls, and a jet pack. but, on a serious note, as you suggest, we all do things differently, so knowing your system is of utmost importance in getting consistency. fine tuning can be done by tinkering with recipes, temperatures, pitching rates, etc.
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Re: Secondary fermentation and conditioning in kegs.

Unread postby leosardinha » Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:40 pm

The jet pack just because it is cool right? haha

But here in Brazil we can find some HDPE conicals relatively cheap, about 300 BRL, while the blue one which I posted costs about 100 BRL.
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Re: Secondary fermentation and conditioning in kegs.

Unread postby Luis Coentrao » Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:59 pm

Hi Leo,

I didn't know you were from Brazil :D
Tudo bem cara ?! :beer:
Bom falar portugues de vez em quando...
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Re: Secondary fermentation and conditioning in kegs.

Unread postby leosardinha » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:13 pm

Tudo tranquilo Luis!

Realmente hehe

Boa sorte no procedimento, da um retorno se der tudo certo ;)
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Re: Secondary fermentation and conditioning in kegs.

Unread postby McMullan » Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:58 pm

dinnerstick wrote:repitching yeast is not about saving bucks. if i need a big pitch of yeast for a big beer, the best way to get it is to make a smaller beer and harvest nice fresh yeast. and if i'm making a few consecutive beers with the same yeast, why would i grow the strain up from scratch each time, which i have more than i need at the bottom of the fermenter? also as a general rule, although with exceptions and high variability from strain to strain, the behavior of the yeast often seems to change over the course of a few re-pitches, i'm not sure why, but on the second or third pitch it is often at its best.
one workaround for those who want to use the primary fermenter for all steps (something i like to do when possible but it's not always practical in my situation) but still want to dry hop and harvest healthy yeast (and don't have a conical), get a cheap auto-siphon, when fermentation is about done stick the autosiphon in the yeast cake, mix it up for a minute, and then pump out enough slurry for your next pitch. depending on the thickness of the slurry it will probably not siphon properly, but indeed you use the autosiphon as a pump, collect in a sanitized bottle or whatever, a few pumps and you've got your 500ml of loose slurry. you can then pitch directly, store in the fridge, rinse it, sell it to the dog food industry, whatever you like.


Totally agree with your comments here, dinerstick. Yeast need to be fresh, healthy and fit for purpose. Not necessarily how they arrive in a pack or tube. They need to be nurtured carefully at home for full, complete fermentations, IMO. Not sure why they seem to peak around 3rd generation. I don't buy the speculation about mutations. I think it's more likely they adapt quickly to our small brews and methods at home, but soon become colonised by wild types. It's practically impossible to maintain a sterile environment in a domestic 'lab'. I like the auto syphon tip. I'm a one-fermenter man myself. It's all about the yeast (enzymes). And, occasionally I want to harvest some before my beer's finished. :cheers:
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