Picking up home fermentation/brewing

PoolBrews

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Oct 16, 2019
306
The Villages, Florida
haha - I have 4 kegs and they generally get at their best when there is about a gallon or so left... I added the 4th keg to hopefully age some of my batches, but we go through it too fast. I'm on my 32nd keg since I retired about a year and a half ago.
 
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PoolBrews

Well-known member
Oct 16, 2019
306
The Villages, Florida
The issue with 10 gallon batches is that everything that is sold at a reasonable price is geared towards 5 gallon batches. The equipment to handle boiling and fermenting 10 gallon batches is vastly more expensive.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

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Jun 5, 2019
1,315
Corona de Tucson, AZ
I can do it in my keggle. It just depends on if you build or buy. Building -- it's pretty easy to find stuff in that size. Buying? One thing that the great Mr. Papazian actually apologized for was standardizing beer at 5 gallon batches. Initially it was larger than that, but the Pepsi Cornelius kegs ended up setting the standard. Which is annoying if you also do wine because the standard for that is 6 gallons and 5/6 is a pretty annoying fraction.

As far as then kegging... if you pitch in the boiling vessel after you run your chilling, with a pump running then you get a really effective yeast propagation split if you don't have a 10 gallon fermentation vessel (I don't)... I can do about 12 gallons in the 15 gallon Sanke keg if I need to and get 10-ish gallons out of it. My keggle keg, by the way, was dropped from garage rafters into shelving, it put a 1-inch slit hole through the top of it near the Sanke coupler. The supplier wouldn't take it back. So I paid scrap value for it. Probably gray as far as legal goes, but got it as legitimately as I could at the time, and I still think it was better than sending it to recycling which was going to otherwise happen. It's kinda "fun" cutting off the top with a angle grinder, but I did get it to work.

The other thing I did before I moved here was have a second setup for mashing (and unfortunately one of the movers now has it, it never made it here.. at least the electronics for it did, but not the marine grade cooler I used with the custom drain valve-- I do BIAB).. though not as efficient as 10 gallon setups it still makes a double batch about 50% more efficient. I simply don't drink enough beer anymore to rebuild the second setup though. Since our new brewer is using extract anyway, two in one day isn't horrible with a 5 gallon system.. maybe 5 hours anyway. He just needs a few more toys, another fermenter, some more kegs. He'll do it anyway. You know he will.

If a keg is getting popped that quickly, he will have to up the supply chain. Plain and simple.... :)
 

PoolBrews

Well-known member
Oct 16, 2019
306
The Villages, Florida
I like the 5 gallon size because I have limited room at my bar - room in the kegerator for either 3 corny kegs, or room for one full size keg. I have 3 taps, and like variety, so doing 5 gallon batches works out for me. Each keg normally lasts between 2-4 weeks... mainly because folks are drinking from all 3 taps depending on preference. I try to keep a stout, a red ale, and a wheat beer on tap, but mix in fruit beers and ciders once in a while. I find that if there are options, the cider doesn't go nearly as fast as the beers.

For fruit beers, blueberry and tangerine wheat have been big hits, but my peach grapefruit wheat has been by far the crowd favorite. That keg never makes it to week 3 once on tap,
 

jseyfert3

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Which is annoying if you also do wine because the standard for that is 6 gallons and 5/6 is a pretty annoying fraction.
That explains why I have 6 gallon carboys. I bought a set of winemaking stuff off a guy on craigslist a few months back as I do intend to make wine at some point. Two 6-gallon carboys, a brewing bucket, hand corker, and misc things like bottle washer and autosiphon.

I made almost 6 gallons in those carboys. I kegged what I could, we had three glasses of the leftover, and the remainer of the leftover filled an empty 1/2 gallon juice bottle we had laying around. It was slightly annoying to not just be able to keg everything. Next time I'll probably do 5 gallon cider batches so I can keg without leftovers.

As far as then kegging... if you pitch in the boiling vessel after you run your chilling, with a pump running then you get a really effective yeast propagation split if you don't have a 10 gallon fermentation vessel (I don't)... I can do about 12 gallons in the 15 gallon Sanke keg if I need to and get 10-ish gallons out of it.
Is that a circulation pump, so you pitch your yeast, let it circulate, then split it off into two smaller fermentation vessels?

He just needs a few more toys, another fermenter, some more kegs. He'll do it anyway. You know he will.

If a keg is getting popped that quickly, he will have to up the supply chain. Plain and simple.... :)
Yup, for sure. I already intended to buy a few more carboys for cider, now I definitely need to. I'm thinking I'll go with PET carboys, glass is really heavy. I certainly need to up the supply chain on the cider so it can age a few months.

To be clear, three days is probably a bit unusual for draining a keg. I had a number of friends up to help build the fence for our pool over the long weekend. Then again, once we get the pool, I'll have friends coming up again, not to work, but to float in the pool and drink, so...
 

Rattus Suffocatus

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Jun 5, 2019
1,315
Corona de Tucson, AZ
A keg is only two cases more or less of 12 ounce cans... 47 or so IIRC. Divide that by 5 and then 2 days, and *poof*.

Six gallon carboys are actually usually used for 5 gallon batches, usually. 7.5-8 gallon is usually used for wine (or at least in my experience). Unless you are one of those nutty low-dissolved oxygen guys the you want the head space so you don't blow the airlock. I suggest the Vintage shop Fermonster XL PET (which is the wine sized ones, yes) carboys with lids. Products > FerMonster™ PET Fermenter | The Vintage Shop | Wine & Beer Making Supplies (many places sell these.) The only thing bad about them is that you have to be very careful not to over tighten the lids. Like you want it to be less than hand tight. Once the threads are backed down then you are done, no extra quarter turn! Unless you want to add a very large channel lock pliers to your tool collection later. Any PET fermenter can not handle more than about 140F or so. So if you are going to fill directly from a boil kettle, you must be less than, say 100F, when you transfer. Buckets you can get away with hotter if need be.

I won't use glass above one gallon. I have seen extensive medical work more than once because of glass carboys. I don't think it's worth it even though they are likely the second best fermenters if you don't break them (after stainless steel).

The pump I use is just a run of the mill "chugger". I have used the "solar pumps" for the second setup in the past and though they are more finicky they do work if you are on a budget.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

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Jun 5, 2019
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Corona de Tucson, AZ
By the way, if you ever decide to run a pump at mash or boil, make sure you use spring type radiator clamps for your lines. I had a very bad month a few years ago due to 2nd degree burns from a regular hose clamp wiggling loose and a hose falling off. The hot cold cycles will back a regular worm clamp loose. If you insist on using a worm clamp or for some reason you have to, the put 90 degree angle adapter on the lines so they point straight down, and make sure before EVERY brew you tighten those clamps down. I don't want to scare anyone off, but the cuts from carboys and burns from lines popping off are common issues when brewing.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
1,315
Corona de Tucson, AZ
I like the 5 gallon size because I have limited room at my bar - room in the kegerator for either 3 corny kegs, or room for one full size keg. I have 3 taps, and like variety, so doing 5 gallon batches works out for me. Each keg normally lasts between 2-4 weeks... mainly because folks are drinking from all 3 taps depending on preference. I try to keep a stout, a red ale, and a wheat beer on tap, but mix in fruit beers and ciders once in a while. I find that if there are options, the cider doesn't go nearly as fast as the beers.

For fruit beers, blueberry and tangerine wheat have been big hits, but my peach grapefruit wheat has been by far the crowd favorite. That keg never makes it to week 3 once on tap,
My favorite sized keg is the 2.5 Gallon Coke that I have converted to ball. They are impossible to find now. I am kicking myself that I didn't buy four of them at the time. You can buy commercial 3 gallon ones as well, but they just are not as nice. But talk about a nice size for entertaining...
 

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jseyfert3

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I'm working on wrapping up the pool fence today, but I intend to hopefully take apart the CO2PO regulator to clean and lube. What did you use to lube your regulators? Silicone based would be my first guess for an appropriate lube?

I may take apart the reg early afternoon when I start watching the SpaceX manned launch coverage. Most of that will likely be pretty boring until it gets close to the actual launch.

I also plan to start the freezer to kreezer conversion so I can have proper faucets, keg that second batch of cider, and perhaps brew that extract kit I got.

I should also pick up more apple juice and get more cider fermenting!

Unless you are one of those nutty low-dissolved oxygen guys the you want the head space so you don't blow the airlock.
Forgot to mention I ran across those guys on HBT. They are, wow.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

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Jun 5, 2019
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At the time I used some silicone based O ring lube I had. Hardware store buy IIRC. It's not critical. Vaseline probably would work. Or even a petroleum grease of some sort. Gun Oil or Teflon line might even.

Good luck on the collar build. You can go very fancy with it if you like. I would have if the wife wasn't dead set against me doing it and let it in the house. In a basement then in the garage the whimsy ghetto motif I did works.
 

JayRi

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I home brew as well. Been brewing for 7 years. I was a propane brewer but recently rebuilt my brewery and switched to electric. Man it is the best. Brewed a few batches in the new system, still dialing it in. But it’s going great so far. Here’s a pic of my setup. :cheers:
 

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Rattus Suffocatus

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Jun 5, 2019
1,315
Corona de Tucson, AZ
I home brew as well. Been brewing for 7 years. I was a propane brewer but recently rebuilt my brewery and switched to electric. Man it is the best. Brewed a few batches in the new system, still dialing it in. But it’s going great so far. Here’s a pic of my setup. :cheers:
oooh, rich boy, eh? The Spike Brewing stuff is beautiful though. I think I've posted my home made single kettle PID-controlled water heater element BIAB ghetto setup on this board somewhere, but I agree, electric is the way to go once you get serious.

Beautiful setup for both the keezer and the electric three kettle setup...
 

JayRi

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May 13, 2020
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Thanks, I love Spike equipment. Nothing wrong with homemade gear. That’s my favorite part of the hobby. I bought the controller parts as a kit but assembled it myself. I enjoy the diy aspect as much as brewing. My first controller was a Diy pid rims controller. But that was 110v and I was never satisfied with it.
oooh, rich boy, eh? The Spike Brewing stuff is beautiful though. I think I've posted my home made single kettle PID-controlled water heater element BIAB ghetto setup on this board somewhere, but I agree, electric is the way to go once you get serious.

Beautiful setup for both the keezer and the electric three kettle setup...
 

jseyfert3

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So, can't remember if I mentioned but NB sent me a second regulator after I contacted them about issued on my first regulator (issue being if set to 10 psi, does not flow till the oressure drops to 6-7 psi, so terrible regulation).

Second regulator had the same issue. Note also these were dual regulators, and both regulators had the issue.

I took apart one of the original pair of regulators and I didn't fine tons of junk (a couple brass shavings but not terrible), and nothing that looked like it should need grease. Put it back together and same issues. I figure with what is four refulators it's just a cheap, bad design.

NB asked how the second regulator was, after I reoorted issues they refunded me $110 off of the $320 of the dual keg kit I bought, which is the price of the dual regulator. So I now have two dual CO2 regulators that don't work very well, for free, as they didn't ask me to send back either one.

I purchased a used general purpose airgas regulator off eBay with a 0-30 psi low pressure gauge and the appropriate CGA 320 fitting which I will swap when I get both. Should have by the weekend. I expect that an industry standard regular will operate much more reliably then the cheap CO2PO regulator ever could. Downside is I have a sibgle regulator vs the dual I had before, but I could modify for a second regulator if desired later on.

Anyway, I really should get up and get working on the collar build and painting for my kreezer...
 

Rattus Suffocatus

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Jun 5, 2019
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In general that is why the beer community recommends Taprite but I got a creeper right out of the box because of several brass shavings in the unit. So my personal experience wasn't good but taking it apart and fixing it worked. The Chinese one from the fire extinguisher company worked fine but I thought it was a little touchy to adjust so I took it apart too and it was better when back together. My stuff is probably five years old now and I would not be surprised if the quality in general has come down.
 

jseyfert3

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I test fit a collar yesterday, then glued it with caulk to the freezer.
full


The collar is made with a 2x8. It is not tall enough for a connected keg to sit on the compressor hump, but unconnected kega could sit there. So I'd have space for 5 connected kegs and then two unconnected kegs or a fermenter (if I wanted to cold crash).

I am planning to put a small fan or two inside to assist with more rapid cooling of new kegs and even temp distribution. I'll also be putting in some rechargable silica gel to adsorb moisture and keep condensation from buding up like it does now.
 

JayRi

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May 13, 2020
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If you don’t open your freezer much you shouldn’t get much moisture. I applied some reflectix insulation padding to the inside of the collar. Use the foil tape they use for HVAC. And run the insulation past the bottom of the collar. That should drastically reduce the moisture.
 

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