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Cube as fermenter


rodge
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I've been using a 20Lt cube as a fermenter for the past several brews. Primarily this is because it fits best in the bar fridge I have for temperature control. Its been working well for brews where I limit the boil knockout to 20lt, with sufficient headspace for the ferment. I've used the lid, loosened a quarter turn, to manage co2 exchange.

I was hoping to increase the knockout slightly to maximise the capacity I have in my kettle, to say 23-25lt. To do so I'd need to increase to a 25lt HDPE cube.

I can only fit a 25lt cube in my ferment fridge if I place it on its side, with the tap pointing towards the roof of the fridge. If I use the tap, or the yellow plug insert, in the same manner I've been using the lid, can anyone envisage a problem?

One issue I can forsee is getting the finished brew out. I'll need to rotate the cube back to its usual orientation in order to transfer it to a keg, which would disturb the trub etc. If I leave sufficient time (for example during a 48-hour cold crash) for it to settle again, would that work?

  

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36 minutes ago, rodge said:

One issue I can forsee is getting the finished brew out. I'll need to rotate the cube back to its usual orientation in order to transfer it to a keg, which would disturb the trub etc. If I leave sufficient time (for example during a 48-hour cold crash) for it to settle again, would that work?

Sure would. I actually transfer to the keg when the CC get to about 6 degree and add finings when doing it and finish the CC in the keg. Never had a problem with it. 

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47 minutes ago, rodge said:

. If I leave sufficient time (for example during a 48-hour cold crash) for it to settle again, would that work?

  

Hang on, so you have another fridge you can do a cold crash in. Why dont you use this for the ferment?

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4 minutes ago, Titan said:

Hang on, so you have another fridge you can do a cold crash in. Why dont you use this for the ferment?

The rest of the family unreasonably want to use that as a fridge.

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5 minutes ago, rodge said:

The rest of the family unreasonably want to use that as a fridge.

Right, yeah how unreasonable lol. Ok send me the inside dimensions of the bar fridge. I have some cubes here i can measure up. A photo would also be nice.

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@rodge  I have a similar problem with my wine cooler fridge and cubes.

Before your next batch, if you were to drill a hole in the cap and fit a duotight 8mm to ¼ BSP male thread through the cap (they come with “O” ring seals - see pic) then some beer line to a duotight 8mm ball shutoff valve then that would convert the lid which is now at the bottom edge of the cube into a tap.

My cubes when lying on their side with the bung vertical always have the cap on the lower edge so that would work for mine and maybe yours too.

When you finish CC, simply attach some 8mm beer line to the closed ball shutoff tap and put the other end right down into you keg then siphon the beer into the keg.  Obviously you would have to crack the bung open a bit or remove it to allow air in and the siphon setup to work.

Alternatively you could fit a ball lock liquid connector to the other end of the 8mm beer line and simply click it onto the OUT ball lock connector on the keg then just let the beer siphon in (burping the PRV) until full, that is if your cube arrangement is a bit higher than the top of the keg

The new lid tap arrangement in the cube lid will be above the trub line so you will not have to move the cube or tip it or rotate it.

Hope that idea helps.

Cheers - AL

Duotight 8mm to quarter inch BSP male.PNG

Duotight 8mm ball lock valve.PNG

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14 hours ago, Titan said:

Right, yeah how unreasonable lol. Ok send me the inside dimensions of the bar fridge. I have some cubes here i can measure up. A photo would also be nice.

Internal dimensions are 420w x 440d and the height is 330 from where the compressor hump is. 

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12 hours ago, iBooz2 said:

@rodge  I have a similar problem with my wine cooler fridge and cubes.

Before your next batch, if you were to drill a hole in the cap and fit a duotight 8mm to ¼ BSP male thread through the cap (they come with “O” ring seals - see pic) then some beer line to a duotight 8mm ball shutoff valve then that would convert the lid which is now at the bottom edge of the cube into a tap.

My cubes when lying on their side with the bung vertical always have the cap on the lower edge so that would work for mine and maybe yours too.

When you finish CC, simply attach some 8mm beer line to the closed ball shutoff tap and put the other end right down into you keg then siphon the beer into the keg.  Obviously you would have to crack the bung open a bit or remove it to allow air in and the siphon setup to work.

Alternatively you could fit a ball lock liquid connector to the other end of the 8mm beer line and simply click it onto the OUT ball lock connector on the keg then just let the beer siphon in (burping the PRV) until full, that is if your cube arrangement is a bit higher than the top of the keg

The new lid tap arrangement in the cube lid will be above the trub line so you will not have to move the cube or tip it or rotate it.

Hope that idea helps.

Cheers - AL

Duotight 8mm to quarter inch BSP male.PNG

Duotight 8mm ball lock valve.PNG

Yes, I think that would solve the issue of getting the brew into a keg. Thanks. 

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1 hour ago, rodge said:

Internal dimensions are 420w x 440d and the height is 330 from where the compressor hump is. 

Yep, see the issue. I have a variety of cubes but none go down to that size.

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1 hour ago, Titan said:

Yep, see the issue. I have a variety of cubes but none go down to that size.

This is my current solution, I can't find anybody who makes a larger jerry can size with the same dimensions (the only 25lt ones appear to be wider).

image.thumb.png.4f0e5e16496f52d6f0c9e0a3742e5252.png

Edited by rodge
photo display
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  • 3 weeks later...

So I've not been able to find a 25 litre (or bigger) HDPE container (Cube or shaped otherwise), that I can fit the dimensions. The one I bought, which after much searching seemed the best hope, sadly doesn't fit (by about 20mm).

So, another option I considered was using two cubes simultaneously for the same brew. The blue one pictured above (which is 20 Lt, but has about 3lt of headroom when you fill it to 20lt), and then a second 10lt jerry behind it, sitting on top of the compressor hump.

I was wondering the best way to manage that. Usually I use dry yeast and sprinkle in, but it would the split system really only work if I started using a yeast starter, and splitting it between the two jerry cans based upon the volume of wort? The only alternative I could think of was to sprinkle the yeast in, and then transfer some of the wort a short time later, but not sure when or whether that runs a risk with infection.

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Hi @rodge, not sure where you are at with your brews, but if you are doing Coopers cans, after a few you will amass a few spare packets of yeast.  It would not be too much to drop a 7g packet into the 10L jerry.  This might be easier than weighing out the right amount for the 20L and 10L brew.  If you produce 30L of wort you will need more than a standard Coopers yeast packet anyway.

If you use different yeasts between the 20L and 10L jerrys you might do some interesting side-by-side comparisons of the finished beers.

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11 hours ago, Shamus O'Sean said:

Hi @rodge, not sure where you are at with your brews, but if you are doing Coopers cans, after a few you will amass a few spare packets of yeast.  It would not be too much to drop a 7g packet into the 10L jerry.  This might be easier than weighing out the right amount for the 20L and 10L brew.  If you produce 30L of wort you will need more than a standard Coopers yeast packet anyway.

If you use different yeasts between the 20L and 10L jerrys you might do some interesting side-by-side comparisons of the finished beers.

Good suggestion, it seems like I can avoid learning a new technique.

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  • 1 month later...

I found a solution to my fermenter problem. A 25lt cube I bought that doesn’t fit in my bar fridge, but does fit in my esky. I’ve added a heat belt and inkbird and gained a second fermentation chamber.  Works much better than I thought. Day 3 of ferment and good bubbling through the blow off tube and stable 18deg temp. 

9FC18576-C357-46C7-BBEC-14F822E802CA.jpeg

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2 hours ago, rodge said:

I found a solution to my fermenter problem. A 25lt cube I bought that doesn’t fit in my bar fridge, but does fit in my esky. I’ve added a heat belt and inkbird and gained a second fermentation chamber.  Works much better than I thought. Day 3 of ferment and good bubbling through the blow off tube and stable 18deg temp. 

9FC18576-C357-46C7-BBEC-14F822E802CA.jpeg

If the lid will shut with the tap in place, try a bit of tubing that will fit in the tap, or cut a piece off an old bottling wand, and leave the tap open. Closes up the whole deal.

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Yes, started with setup you suggested but the tap was too tall, particularly once co2 built up, because the tap didn’t seem to allow as much gas exchange (and the cube expansion). 

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