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Fermenting under pressure


PhilboBaggins
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13 hours ago, kmar92 said:

I have tried plastic models, they do work but being plastic they can be a pain in the behind to get a good seal and being a pressure vessel they have a limited life (they have an expiry date printed on them). SS kegmenters are good and are very durable, they have a 4" tri-clover opening that seal really well and a SS lid with posts and PRV just like a keg. Of course they are considerably more expensive than the plastic but should have a very long life.

@disgruntled I would very much concur with @kmar92 at least with the Fermzilla w separate chamber...  am not at all happy with it tho I do use it... and recommend chasing the SS with tri-clover sealed opening... much better.  And longevity.  My Plazzi fermy had some great statement on it that it is only pressure rated for like 18 months or something as daft... 

I also believe @Red devil 44  Reddler king of Gas and Pressure was not that happy with it and was keen to move to SS and when it comes to all the tricks for sealing vessels well he has the knowledge...

The big 58L one @iBooz2 Boozer has would allow big vol production as well... 

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15 hours ago, kmar92 said:

@disgruntled I have fermented a lager with W34/70 up to 25° with no ill effects at all, I reckon you could probably take it higher. I have never tried it, but with ale yeasts you could probably go much higher.

I reckon @disgruntled Disgr that Dubbya could potentially go up to 25 with nil bad effects...  I have done Dubbya normal non-pressure ferment and had it up to 23-24 for some of the ferment with nil perceived bad flavours...  just have to try it I guess... 

 

@kmar92 when you said 25 no bad effects for Dubbya - were you meaning under pressure or just normal Coopers FV type ferment?

 

This fella has an interesting 10 deg vs 21 deg Dubbya experiment:

To evaluate the differences between 2 beers of the same recipe split into separate fermentors and fermented with the same yeast with half fermented at traditional lager temperatures (50˚F/10˚C) and the other half fermented much warmer (70˚F/21˚C).

https://brulosophy.com/2016/02/08/fermentation-temperature-pt-4-lager-yeast-saflager-3470-exbeeriment-results/

 results suggest tasters in this xBmt were unable to reliably distinguish between pale lagers of the same recipe fermented 20˚F/11˚C apart.

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14 hours ago, Greeny1525229549 said:

Or you can use a keg as I have a few times. Only need a spunding valve then. 

I was thinking of doing this @Greeny1525229549 but probs would want to have a reasonable size vessel or leave a fair bit of freeboard so as the Kräussen fluffly top doesn't get pushed out the spunding valve?

I have had "the dummy spit" happen with the Fermzilla PFV on a couple of occasions and is a pain to clean-up and in summer would attract flying creatures... 

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12 hours ago, ChristinaS1 said:

Hi @kmar92. Just curious, have you actually pressure fermented Nottingham at 25C and it was clean, or are you assuming that because of your experience pressure fermenting W34/70 at 25C?

Cheers,

Christina.

 

I did an English bitter a few weeks ago with Nottingham and it was pressure fermented at 24°. It was finished in 5 days and the finished product tastes great and is very clean. I am sure that it could be fermented at a higher temperature, under pressure, and still turn out clean.

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2 hours ago, Graubart said:

@disgruntled I would very much concur with @kmar92 at least with the Fermzilla w separate chamber...  am not at all happy with it tho I do use it... and recommend chasing the SS with tri-clover sealed opening... much better.  And longevity.  My Plazzi fermy had some great statement on it that it is only pressure rated for like 18 months or something as daft... 

I also believe @Red devil 44  Reddler king of Gas and Pressure was not that happy with it and was keen to move to SS and when it comes to all the tricks for sealing vessels well he has the knowledge...

The big 58L one @iBooz2 Boozer has would allow big vol production as well... 

Yes as @Graubartsaid I am not happy with the Fermzilla, last brew I did with it the damn thing dumped all its pressure overnight as the PRV decided to let go ( the pressure was not even anywhere near PRV release pressure )., plus it’s a bit fragile, the catch container at the bottom is a pain in the a%se to remove also. 

‘So I’ll be ordering the 58L SS Vessel for pressure fermentation when I also order my 65L BIAB Digiboil, double batches which will save me some time, and improve my brewing efficiency. AG here I come 🤣

 

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  • 2 months later...

I dug this one out again because I have am considering a pressure fermenter, if it gives me what I want.

I know some swear by them, others swear at them, I don't know yet 🙂 

I have read a few tests and seen videos of pressure fermenters being used to brew at much higher temperatures than would normally be considered healthy. Lagers at almost room temperature, ales above room temp and supposedly all without ill side effects. It does sound too good to be true but this is what got me thinking:

I have started brewing the occasional lager and one thing I find annoying is that it takes up a spot in the kegerator, in order to lager properly. I need both my ferment fridges as I have some serious catching up to do in terms of brewing. IF however I could brew under pressure at ambient temps, I could free up one ferment fridge to lager. That'd be a win. Of course another fridge would do the trick but it's easier to sell the idea of a pressure fermenter, than the one involving another fridge 🙂 

So, can I do what I would like to do with it? If so, and here comes the philosophical question, which fermenter is recommended. Ideally something I can use to harvest yeast easily would be a bonus.

 

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3 hours ago, Aussiekraut said:

So, can I do what I would like to do with it? If so, and here comes the philosophical question, which fermenter is recommended. Ideally something I can use to harvest yeast easily would be a bonus.

The SS ones are very expensive from what I have seen - the transparent PET ones seem a much better bet if you're just dipping a toe and they do it all, including having a bottle underneath for the yeast collection.

I got the Fermentasaurus Gen 3 and although I haven't used it enough, it works great. 

Pressure brewing is also much faster with FG in 3 or 4 days. You do need to work out how to dry hops, do SG testing and yeast collection - that sucker is under pressure so FIRST release the pressure THEN take the bottle off. 😄 I use a magnet in cloth hops sock (to avoid scratches) inside and outside again wrapped in cloth) for the hops.

I understand the KL one you can add a post to the collecting bottle, so you can seal it off then maybe use a disconnect to extract the trub? The Ferm G3 is a bit different.

I like the central plunger because I can attach the floating dip tube to it and keep it away from the walls.

Having said that I've yet to try a room temp lager in it. 

The main hold up has been clearing cupboard space for it - like all brewing what matters is STABLE temps - yes you can brew a lager (from all reports) at normal ale temps but yous till don't want it jumping around with night/day or warm/cold weather coming through.

There is another issue to consider - cleaning. KL have a pressure washer thing (bucket blaster?) with pump - turn the FV upside down on the bucket, sit the pump in the bucket with sod perc and turn it on. Much simpler than trying to get your hand in there. 

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@Journeyman  has suggested fermentasuarus g3 

however keg king  are not pushing that line hard anymore as they have moved to the Apollo range

apollo 30l unitank fermenter 

30l_apollo_unitank_new.jpg.af795f29af99f83fdafa626a6e693562.jpg

or you can look at the opposition (they will be bringing a new fermzilla out but dont hold back as its likely early next year now)

fermzilla 27l    which has the collection jar  

kl06835_-_fermzilla_-_27l.png.5adc512aa6e7fa1f93c80945e927c3c2.png

the advantage you have  over the apollo 30litre tank   is you can dry hop  through the collection jar and you can purge the jar before you open the butterfly  valve  and can do it all through there..  thats how i dry hop with my fermzilla


hand cleaning the fermzilla is far easier the Apollo range  but as @Journeyman mentioned  a keg washer is perfect for these to fermenters 

both come  with stands  and the down side to the fermenters   is  you will find it hard to fit in the fridges due to the height  unless you have good decent size fridge with out freezer compartment

word of Warning  don't attach a heat belt to these fermenters  as you will melt them.

to get around this you will need to either use a couple of towels around the fv's 
or what i do  is attach it  to the stand 

the metal stand will not get to hot to melt but enough to keep your beer at temp

The good thing with the apollo 30l  unitank it comes with  thermowell in which you attach the dip tube like @Journeyman said but also  you can place your  temp controller prob  
down the thrmowell into the heart of the brew rather then  having to use a stubby holder to tape on the side of the FV

i have the 35l snubby  from keg king    and i love that as its perfect fit for my fermenting fridge and kegerator (if i need to use the kegerator for a ferment fridge)

i am looking at getting the apollo 30l snubby  very soon


 

Edited by ozdevil
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@Aussiekraut I probably ferment 70% under pressure and I really like the method and the results. A particular advantage of pressure fermenting is being able to ferment at higher temperatures, and therefore with a much faster ferment time, without introducing any unwanted flavours. You can definitely ferment at ambient under pressure to save fridge space although I prefer to still use a fridge as I feel that a constant temperature yields the best results. That said, if you have a space that maintains a fairly constant temp pressure fermenting is a great way to go.

As you have mentioned, lagers really shine with pressure fermenting as you can run much higher temperatures and thus have much shorter ferment times. You also do not require a diacetyl rest.

Another plus with pressure fermenters is that you can do closed transfers to kegs under pressure and eliminate oxygen exposure of the beer.

AS far as actual ferment vessels, this is a bit of a minefield in my experience. I have used both the KL conical and all rounder Fermzillas and the KL 29l s/s kegmenter. I have had mixed results with the plastic Fermzillas, most of the time I had success with them but they are fiddly to use and sometimes difficult to get a reliable seal. I guess that is due to them being plastic and therefore not 100% rigid. In my experience with the conical I found the bottom collection chamber complex to assemble and use and it also introduces more joins and seals etc that are prone to leak. The Fermzillas also have a limited life as a pressure vessel although replacing the plastic pressure container is relatively inexpensive. I much prefer the s/s kegmenter, yes it is considerably more expensive but in my experience it proves the adage - you only get what you pay for. Seals up perfectly everytime and with a tri-clover lid with gas a and liquid post it is very easy to use. With a floating dip tube it is easy to take samples via a beer line and picnic tap. The s/s units are also very durable and should last a lifetime with maybe a few inexpensive tri-clover seals over time. The only disadvantages of the kegmenter I find are that you are unable to see the wort fermenting (not a big deal) and to clean off a krausen ring inside you have to get your arm through a 4" hole or use a pressure washer.

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@Aussiekraut , AK your idea of fermenting lagers at ambient Bris Vegas temps would be ok but you still have to/should cold crash it to help clear it up and drop most of the yeast out of your lagers.  So you would need to lift the Kegmenter into a fridge for this stage of the process which means say a 30 kg lift.  The SS Kegmenter's are less cumbersome to manhandle and lift than a 27 Fermzilla and the like and also less bits to clean and sanitise.  A 29 L SS Kegmenter is not that much more expensive than a PET setup and it will be a Christmas present that will last for years and years and just keep giving.  I AM sure you can convince Mrs AK.😁

If you are just looking at single batches then I would suggest you get the 29 L Kegmenter, a floating dip tube kit and a couple of spare EPDM seals and you are good to go.  Basically the same as one as @kmar92 has.

See my thread here re the SS Kegmenter and its challenges albeit I have the big 58 L one.  I found it easy to harvest the yeast using pressure and the dip tube (with float removed) and to clean as its a simple squirt out with the garden hose then a good dose of SP, tip it on its head and that gets rid of any Krausen scum.  It’s just a bit of a manhandle issue but so is a Fermzilla anyway.

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6 hours ago, iBooz2 said:

  I found it easy to harvest the yeast using pressure and the dip tube (with float removed) and to clean as its a simple squirt out with the garden hose then a good dose of SP, tip it on its head and that gets rid of any Krausen scum.

Until you do a 35° ferment with Kviek yeast, then Boozer you will not shift that krausen ring with a garden hose or sodium perc! Bakes on like sh... to a blanket!

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The Fermzilla range has a s/s curly thing that attach's to the lid to pump cold water thru for summer brewing, I'm setting one up to a Coopers FV lid to give it a go, but, you could also use something like a fish tank heater, inkbird doings & pump warm water thru it for winter, wrap a windscreen sun shield around FV & your away.

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5 minutes ago, Geoff S said:

The Fermzilla range has a s/s curly thing that attach's to the lid to pump cold water thru for summer brewing, I'm setting one up to a Coopers FV lid to give it a go, but, you could also use something like a fish tank heater, inkbird doings & pump warm water thru it for winter, wrap a windscreen sun shield around FV & your away.

This is what your talking about @Geoff S  which is a temp twister
img_20190725_172101.thumb.jpg.25e5b060516208a6b15ba681219b344d.jpg

which can be used with a glycol unit and can do up to 2 fermenters at once   but i dare say you will have to have 2 temp twisters to do that

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11 hours ago, ozdevil said:

This is what your talking about @Geoff S  which is a temp twister
img_20190725_172101.thumb.jpg.25e5b060516208a6b15ba681219b344d.jpg

which can be used with a glycol unit and can do up to 2 fermenters at once   but i dare say you will have to have 2 temp twisters to do that

That's the one, I don't have mains power, solar & generator only, so no glycol units for me, first one will be proof of concept then set up other FV's if it works better than dumping FV in a tub of water.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 3/13/2020 at 1:25 PM, PhilboBaggins said:

Okay, so I went to take my first gravity reading last night and had a hell of a time getting anything to come out of the picnic tap. I reckon the floating dip tube is clogging with hop debris.

I did my 1st attempt at FG 2 days back and had the exact opposite issue. After 4 days at 12 psi, the beer is so heady I couldn't get a read for all the foam - and that was AFTER I swirled the hydro, poured it back & forth in cups several times. 24 hours later the head was low enough I could guesstimate the level but swirling the hydro stirred it up again!

It's in CC now and will pressure transfer later.

1 question though... I plan to pressure the keg to 2 psi below the kegmenter to push the beer through slow enough to avoid head issues - if I hook a gas-to-gas line up back to the kegmenter will a siphon effect keep it running or will pressure equalise and I will need to burp the keg?

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No, as long as you have liquid to liquid and gas to gas lines between the kegmenter and keg and the kegmenter is higher than the keg it will siphon quite happily. Just be careful that you do not overfill the keg, I weigh my keg to establish when it is full.

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2 hours ago, Journeyman said:

did my 1st attempt at FG 2 days back and had the exact opposite issue. After 4 days at 12 psi, the beer is so heady I couldn't get a read for all the foam - and that was AFTER I swirled the hydro, poured it back & forth in cups several times. 24 hours later the head was low enough I could guesstimate the level but swirling the hydro stirred it up again!

this is one reason why i use a tilt  or kegland pill  when i order that

the problem with pressure fermenting  the wort starts to carbonate as it absorbs the co2  you have in the vessel

and i dont think there would be a huge difference if you let it settle  to take the reading either

maybe   put your s.g reading and let that ferment out with  the wort   will give you that f.g with out  it frothing up

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1 hour ago, ozdevil said:

maybe   put your s.g reading and let that ferment out with  the wort   will give you that f.g with out  it frothing up

I do that normally, and in fact did it this time. But there's a problem - the sample is nowhere near as quick to ferment and a major part of why I want to ferment under pressure is the saving in time.

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Ok pressure guys and girls. I am under-utilising my all rounder. I use it nearly all of the time but only really use it on ales for the oxygen free aspect. I've never pushed the temp or the pressure up that much.

I have a lager ready to go and some Diamond Lager yeast. Anyone used this on a pressure ferment?

I've had a read through this thread. Some good info on pressure and temps. Does 25°C and 15psi sound about right for this? Pressure on from the start?

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@Popo, yes that temp regime and pressure sounds great. I have never used the yeast before but if 25c is the top of the range it should be fine. If not do it at the top of the range for a couple of days then increase it to 25c.  I have been exclusively pressure fermenting now for a couple of years and done over 50 brews in that time. 1st year I played around with temps and really pushed them and found the results quite variable .  At he start of this year I changed the strategy and  set the temp at the top end of the range before increasing.  I found the results repeatable with no off flavours. I hope that  makes sense.  Also with all lagers set pressure at pitch.   I do about a 50/50 mix of lager and ales. 

 

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12 minutes ago, Popo said:

Cheers @Marty_G.

Top of the range sounds good. The only info I can find for this says 12-15°C. So, start at 15 and then let it ride after a couple of days? Sound good?

 

@Popo I use Diamond Lager Yeast all the time, under normal conditions the top of yeast temp range is 15 C.  When pressure fermenting I pitch it at 17 C with temp controller set for 18 C and then pump up the FV immediately to 10 psi (initial start pressure which is very important for a lager).  I have already set my spunding valve to release CO2 at 15 psi (via gas bottle test) and connect it so that when the pressure in FV builds up to 15 psi it just starts to blow off into the jar of sanitiser.  After a few days I up the temp to 22 C but keep psi setting on spunding valve at 15 psi.

I have never used DL yeast at a higher temps or pressures than above and always been very good results.  In fact  this is now my go to lager yeast for pressure fermenting.  Hope my info helps you.

Edited by iBooz2
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