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Best size fermenter for 3 corny kegs?

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Hodgo71

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Hi all,

Newby here so I apologise if I am repeating a topic which has been answered in the past. I have had a look through past threads and can't find anything which directly answers my question, plus there is a lot of lingo I don't understand (e.g. cubes..??? etc).

Anyway a quick background. I used to home brew years ago and got right into it and was running 5 x 30lt fermenters with 9 corny kegs. It was hit and miss, some great and some ordinary. Looking back it was the simple brews which were the best. I then went to our local micro brewery who filled and brewed your kegs for you. I used to leave the 9 kegs there and he'd use them for his surplus which worked out well for me as well as him....UNTIL he went bust and when I went into town to grab my kegs the premises was all locked up. So yeah I lost all 9 kegs with the bankruptcy.

I now have 3 corny kegs and am running the kegerator beer fridge which fits the 3 kegs perfectly. I plan on keeping it simple and was hoping to do just one brew (as in one fermenter) to fill the 3 kegs. I also am most likely going to stick with the 3 coopers brews which used to work so well for me, plus the misses likes them (unlike many of my past 'experiments').

So very simply, my way of thinking was that a 60lt fermenter would be perfect to fill the 3 x 19lt Corny kegs.
Is this correct and if so, is a combo of two brew tins the correct combo bearing in mind that 1 tin is designed for a 30lt fermenter???

I really would appreciate any help on this one and look forward to getting back into it. No doubt I will experiment but I really am keen on just the one fermenter.

Cheers,
Hodgo.
Coffs Harbour NSW
 

QldKev

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My mate does a 60L fermenter into 3 kegs all the time. What he did was filled up the 3 kegs with water and tipped them into the fermenter, allowed some vol for the left over yeast cake and put a mark in it with a marker/niko. He does all grain brewing so the rest if different from waht you are looking at.

A kit is designed for 23L of beer. Most people will agree that 23L is the MAX vol for a kit, not the minimum. I would look at 3 kits per brew, and then adjust the brewing sugars to suit.

Also look at temperature controlling the fermenter using a fridge, it will make a great improvement. Have a search on here for "stc-1000".

A cube is just a plastic container (think jerry can) to put all grain beer into to allow it to cool and then be stored. Since you are looking at kits, you don't need to worry about it.


Welcome to the site.


QldKev
 

Hodgo71

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Thanks QldKev,

I appreciate that mate. I woll look into this temperature thing for sure. I had a feeling about the 3 brew mixes, so much so I have already bought them even without the fermenter!
At least now I can search online and order the fermenter and research whilst it is arriving.

How do you reckon I work out how much brew enhancer to go with?

I did get three with the can brew but figured if I used it all it would create a lethal brew!

Would it be more of a trial and error thing?

Cheers
Hodgo.
 

mxd

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no it's kit and kilo, so 3 kits = 3 kilo of sugar or Brew enhancer, a 60 ltr fermenter may be a little small with the kreuzen you'll get.

I would think about going for a triple to start, then go back to a single, so when 1 keg is empty you just keep fermenting a single batch.

you could look at better yeast as well as temp control, what are you going to brew ?
 

QldKev

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There's kit spreadsheet on here, somewhere; try searching, but hopefully one of the kit brewers will jump in with details of it. It allows you to plug in the ingredients and work out what you want. It's been years since I've done a kit, but at a guess if you did 3 kits, with 3 x 1kg brew enhancers (mixes) into 60L it should get you up to a 5.2 to 5.5% beer. So you could drop back to 2 or 2.5 packs of enhancers. I prefer full flavor lower alcohol beers, so I would try 3 kits and just 1 brew enhancer to start with. That spreadsheet can work it out for you. Also remember you are kegging, so if you are using CO2 to gas up the keg you get no addition abv% from it. In bottles, the spoon of sugar added to the bottle to carbonate it will add between 0.33 and 0.5%abv. You need to get that sugar into the main brew.

Also have a search on here for "Toucan". It's just using 2 Cans/kits, where you just use 2 cans and no extra sugars. Then you can mix and match then to get interesting results.

Finally with 3 kegs if you time it right, you could ferment for 2 kegs and still be drinking the 3rd keg.

QldKev
 

carniebrew

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This will be what QldKev is talking about: http://aussiehomebrewer.com/topic/29655-kit-and-extract-beer-spreadsheet/

Plug your kits and brew enhancers into there, along with the volume you want in the fermenter. You'll need to know what's in your brew enhancers to get it completely accurate...if it's Coopers BE1 then it's 600 grams of dextrose and 400 grams of maltodextrin, both of which you'll find in the "Adjuncts" rows of the spreadsheet. If it's Coopers BE2 then it's 500gm light dried malt, 250gm each of dextrose and maltodextrin.

One problem with the spreadsheet is that it only caters for 2 kit cans in a brew....what you can do is overwrite the 1.7kg that appears automatically when you choose a coopers kit from the drop down list to be 5.1kg of kit...but remember you're overwriting a formula so it won't auto-populate from then on....you'll have to manually change the number for subsequent brews. Also, the IBU still assumes just 1 can, so you need to triple the number shown in the final IBU field.

As an example, if you plug all this into the spreadsheet, as a 50 litre brew;

Coopers Australian Pale Ale - 5.1kg
Light Dry Malt (under DME) - 1.5kg
Dextrose - 750gm
Maltodextrin - 750gm

You should end up with 50 litres of 4.9% beer with 25 IBU.

EDIT: Also, expanding on what QldKev said, you might be in a position here to do a "fivecan" brew, an expansion on the toucan kit brews many kit brewers do. 5 cans of Coopers Australian Pale Ale into 50 litres, with nothing else added (i.e. no brew enhancers) should give you a 5.2% beer with a little over 40 IBU...so up in the area of an American Pale Ale style. OG of 1052, FG of 1013. You'd need 2 packs of something like US-05 yeast (I think the pack says it'll ferment 20-30 litres, so 2 should cover 50, but I haven't done it myself).
 

Hodgo71

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Thanks guys!!! Looks like I have heaps of research to do. I should have got on here last time I brewed. No wonder my stuff was so hit and miss!!!
I will check out to see which brew enhancer I have at home. I reckon that spreadsheet will be a great help.

I have found a few 60lt fermenters on the net but anyone got any recommendations??? I remember there was always people in the know about this stuff!
 

sp0rk

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Hooray, another coffs local!
Those microbrew blokes are back and you SHOULD be able to go back and claim your kegs
Also, if you ever want a hand, or to give BIAB/AG a go, give me a yell and you can come witness my next brew day :)

Also, go see Geoff at Coffs Homebrew in Max Murray Mall for your fermenters and kit/extract cans, his prices aren't the cheapest, but he's a great guy
 

Bribie G

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I use a 60L for double keg batches. Here's what a double looks like right at this moment.

double batch in FV.jpg
 

Nick JD

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No reason you can't put less than 19L in each keg...
 

Hodgo71

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Thanks guys,

Some unreal info here. I really appreciate it!!

Also Carniebrew I really like the sounds of this.......

EDIT: Also, expanding on what QldKev said, you might be in a position here to do a "fivecan" brew, an expansion on the toucan kit brews many kit brewers do. 5 cans of Coopers Australian Pale Ale into 50 litres, with nothing else added (i.e. no brew enhancers) should give you a 5.2% beer with a little over 40 IBU...so up in the area of an American Pale Ale style. OG of 1052, FG of 1013. You'd need 2 packs of something like US-05 yeast (I think the pack says it'll ferment 20-30 litres, so 2 should cover 50, but I haven't done it myself).
 

Hodgo71

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sp0rk said:
Hooray, another coffs local!
Those microbrew blokes are back and you SHOULD be able to go back and claim your kegs
Also, if you ever want a hand, or to give BIAB/AG a go, give me a yell and you can come witness my next brew day :)

Also, go see Geoff at Coffs Homebrew in Max Murray Mall for your fermenters and kit/extract cans, his prices aren't the cheapest, but he's a great guy
Yeah I used to get my stuff from the original Jeff. All the pics in his most recent book were done by me, and was my misses hands with and old setup I used to have. I shall have to go back there. Been slack since going to Yourbrew...! Also I think I'll def take you up on that sp0rk!! Be good to see that in action mate.

Cheers,
Hodgo.
 

Hodgo71

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G'Day all and Carniebrew,

I've been looking all through the toucan threads and on the forum but can't find anything about a 5 can brew (five can)....?? After reading all the threads I realise just how much of a 'PUNTER/NOVICE' I am....!
I have no idea about all the terminology used, so most of it goes over my head....! (Now I know how people feel when I get technical with photography!!!).

Anyway, from what I understand...well I wouldn't say understand....but if I just use 5 cans of Coopers Pale Ale and nothing else...won't it be bitter????? Like I said I am prepared to give this a crack next brew!!! Any help would be much appreciated. All the terms and abbreviations I don't understand yet so I need it real simple....! If I added a brew enhancer 2 would this help???

Thanks Hodgo.

carniebrew said:
This will be what QldKev is talking about: http://aussiehomebrewer.com/topic/29655-kit-and-extract-beer-spreadsheet/



EDIT: Also, expanding on what QldKev said, you might be in a position here to do a "fivecan" brew, an expansion on the toucan kit brews many kit brewers do. 5 cans of Coopers Australian Pale Ale into 50 litres, with nothing else added (i.e. no brew enhancers) should give you a 5.2% beer with a little over 40 IBU...so up in the area of an American Pale Ale style. OG of 1052, FG of 1013. You'd need 2 packs of something like US-05 yeast (I think the pack says it'll ferment 20-30 litres, so 2 should cover 50, but I haven't done it myself).
 

Hodgo71

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Hey Sp0rk,

I've got a 60lt and 3 kegs, so was thinking about 50lt or so??? I'll be guided by you experts. As I said I'm clueless/punter/novice/beginner!!!!!

Cheers,
Hodgo.
 

carniebrew

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If I'm working this out correctly, 1 can of Coopers Australian Pale Ale into 10 litres would give you 5% abv with 42.5 IBU. So putting 5 cans in 50 litres should give you the exact same alcohol content and IBU.

If 42 IBU is too high for your liking, you could do 4 cans of Aust Pale Ale, and a can of Coopers LME into 50 litres, that'll back the IBU off to the mid 30's.

And yep, nothing else, no brew enhancers, dex etc. 2 packs of US-05 yeast, re-hydrated as per instructions, then ferment as close to 18 as you can.
 

Hodgo71

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Thanks Carniebrew! This is going to sound like a silly questions....isn't Coopers LME a brew enhancer....???? I'm guessing IBU refers to bitterness too....!

I love a good bitter beer but the misses is somewhat fussier so I reckon I will go the 4 can and the can of Coopers LME!
Once I give this a crack I shall let you know. Thanks heaps for the tips....
 

carniebrew

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Hodgo71 said:
Thanks Carniebrew! This is going to sound like a silly questions....isn't Coopers LME a brew enhancer....???? I'm guessing IBU refers to bitterness too....!

I love a good bitter beer but the misses is somewhat fussier so I reckon I will go the 4 can and the can of Coopers LME!
Once I give this a crack I shall let you know. Thanks heaps for the tips....
That's a fair question, because many brew enhancers contain dried malt extract along with adjuncts such as dextrose and maltodextrin. But generally no, LME (and DME when added on its own) is considered part of the malt bill in a recipe.

And yep, IBU is International Bitterness Units, how a beer's bitterness is rated. As a reference, Fat Yak is 25 IBU, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is 38. It's not quite as easy as that, as other characteristics of a beer will change the way you perceive the bitterness. The only way to work out what you like is to try it for yourself, then adjust next time around. e.g. if 4 kit cans and and LME can is still too bitter, next time do 3 kit cans and 2 LME cans...
 

Hodgo71

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Legend thanks mate. I do love a bitter beer...! I think I will give the 4 can a go and then 5 can next!

What does LME actually stand for?? Is it the initials of what it contains?
 

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