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Fermenting in Kegs

 
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Victim



Joined: 09 Mar 2011
Posts: 43



PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:10 pm    Post subject: Fermenting in Kegs Reply with quote


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Hi Everyone!

I am considering moving to kegs for fermentation (primary, no secondary - I don't do that).
I like the idea of being able to fill the keg while it is sitting in chest freezer fermentation chamber, and then transfer it to another keg(s) while it is in that same fermentation freezer. It would make it easier to lift out to clean, etc.

Do many of you out there use kegs as your fermenters? If so, have you had good luck? Would you recommend it?
Any suggestions? Or words of wisdom from experience? I am currently fermenting in plastic buckets.

Thanks
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9931
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi!

I'm assuming you mean 5 US gallon corny kegs.

I don't recommend it because you can't ferment 5 gallons of beer in a 5 gallon container. This is why most plastic buckets are 7.8 US gallons (6.5 imperial gallons) or why fermenters are always larger than the amount of beer you want to ferment. For some yeasts you'll want a good 30% headspace for krausen.

Take a look here for recommendations: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/ferment-and-package

Kal

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GlennMcD



Joined: 07 Oct 2013
Posts: 50
Location: Louisiana


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ferment in 50 liter kegs. I use Nor-Cal Brewing Solutions Sanke Keg Cross Fermenter Kits. I have had great success with this setup even though you canít see whatís going on inside. Itís a little difficult to dry hop being i donít have much space in my fridge I ferment in. I also wish there was a way I could gravity reading samples. Iím about to purchase 2 slim quarter kegs to brew 5 gallon batches in.
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Victim



Joined: 09 Mar 2011
Posts: 43



PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Kal.
I assume that something like this one would be OK for 10 gallon batches, correct?

https://www.williamsbrewing.com/132-Gallon-Kegmenter-Actual-Shipping-P4223.aspx

If so, any other concerns with using a keg for fermenting.

Thanks again!!
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9931
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah! Sanke kegs, or at least it looks like a Sanke keg. Odd size however as most as 15.5 gallons (half barrel).

Size wise a 13.2 gallon fermenter should be fine for fermenting 10 gallons of just about anything. The worst I've experienced is WY3068 (weizen) as that yeast needs a good 30% headspace.

The usual concern with fermenting in kegs is that they're a bitch to clean. Some sort of CIP setup is usually recommended. They're also very heavy because they're meant to be tough and thrown around like kegs usually are. You don't need something that tough for a fermenter. Completely up to you of course. GlennMcD offered some other ideas.

Really what's important to keep in mind is that what's best for you depends on your needs and process. See the link I posted above for more information on this.

What I'm getting at here is that what works (or doesn't work) for one person as far as fermenters go doesn't mean that same applies to someone else. Someone may say "I love them" and then at your first step of using one you may think "this sucks because I can't dump my trub" (or similar). Or vice versa: Someone may say "I hate them" but not say give all the reasons and turns out none of them apply to you. So it really depends on you and your process.

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:24 am; edited 2 times in total
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Victim



Joined: 09 Mar 2011
Posts: 43



PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great advice, Kal. I am trying to maximize my available space - my wife has limited me on how much of the basement I may use. So, I am exploring options to see what might work best, along with controlling temps, etc. It certainly has forced me to try to innovate as much as possible.

Example: for cleaning in place, I am going to try adding a bulkhead to a plastic bucket and a 1/2" hose hooked up to the bulkhead, which dumps into a condensation pump, which then pumps into my sink. I have one of those wet/dry bucket heads. I am also putting a valve on the bulkhead so I can regulate flow, if needed. I don't know if it will work or not, but it's an inexpensive investment.

Yes,
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GlennMcD



Joined: 07 Oct 2013
Posts: 50
Location: Louisiana


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I built a rolling keg cleaner which I use to clean my sanke Keg fermenters, corny kegs, brew pots and hoses. I really have enjoyed brewing, but clean up has been one of those things I have been spending a lot of time with. I probably spend more time trying to come up with something to make clean up more efficient. Coming up with DIY equipment is part of the excitement.
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Victim



Joined: 09 Mar 2011
Posts: 43



PostLink    Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree!! All of the gadgets and ingenuity-driven home-rigging fixes that I have seen in parents and grandparents homes make more sense to me now.
Essentially, they make the repetitive tasks that have to be done more efficient and less labor-intensive. I have done more and more of that stuff myself.
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