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Modding the FERMENTASAURUS

Discussion in 'DIY Projects' started by The Punt, 11/4/18.

 

  1. The Punt

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    Posted 11/4/18
    I recently acquired a 35L Fermentasaurus and the pressure lid kit from the good folks at Beerco. Its an awesome piece of equipment. The ability to ferment from start to finish in one vessel, and then transfer under pressure to a keg, makes the process so much easier, and is sure to result in a better beer. I currently have a kolsch fermenting under pressure (5psi), so I can't wait to see what kind of difference that makes. However, after my first batch in it, I noticed a couple of features of the fermentasaurus that could use some tweaking to make it even more user friendly. And as many of us brewers are inclined to be constantly improving our gear, and are unable to just leave stuff alone, I thought I would have a go at improving the dump valve and dip tube.

    Fermentasaurus 1.jpg
    Fermentasaurus valve.jpg

    The valve that comes with the fermentasaurus will do the job, but it is a bit fiddley, and impossible to reach at the bottom of the chest freezer. Also, the yeast collection bottle is too small and makes a mess everytime. The thread coming out of the valve (at the bottom) is unique to only sodastream bottles (so i'm told) and the yeast collection bottle. But thankfully, the top thread that connects to the seal is a standard 1" BSP thread, so I decided to do away with the standard valve altogether, and replace it with a shiny (and much easier to use) tri-clamp butterfly valve.

    The bits I needed to do this, I found on Ebay (from a Chinese supplier) and cost me a total of about $90. And despite Ebay telling me they could take up to 3 months, I received everything about 2 weeks after I placed the order. The important part to get here was the Female Threaded Pipe Fitting, which must have a 1" female BSP thread to match the seal on the fermenter. With a bit of teflon tape and keg lube, I screwed the fitting on as tight as I could by hand, which formed a tight seal. You could probably use multigrips to get it tighter, but I was concerned about damaging the original plastic thread. Also, its easy to crossthread the plastic when screwing on a stainless fitting, so take care.

    fermentasaurus 2.jpg fermentasaurus 3.jpg fermentasaurus 4.jpg

    The opposite end of this fitting suits a 1.5" tri-clamp, to which I attached an elbow and the butterfly valve. You could do away with the elbow, but bringing the valve out to the side makes it much more accessible, and prevents a lot of mess when dumping trub and collecting yeast. I also attached a barbed hosetail to fit 12mm ID silicone hose which I can use for transferring the beer and taking samples. You could also attach a tri-clamp sight glass and end cap to catch the trub/yeast the same way the original yeast collection bottle would.

    fermentasaurus 5.jpg

    The other mod I did was to the dip tube/hose that comes with the pressure lid kit. The silicone hose attaches to the underside of the lid by fitting INSIDE a small length of tube (that is identical to a gas dip tube out of a corny keg) and floats on top of the wort/beer by attaching to a stainless float. This allows you to draw the beer from the top of the fermenter (which is clearer), but the ball has a habit of sticking to the sides of the fermenter, which sucks up a bit of crud, and the hose VERY easily detaches from the float and the tube under the lid. If this happens, you can still get the beer out via siphoning, or through the dump valve, but both of these are less than ideal.

    So, I decommissioned an old corny keg that had a dodgy lid seal, took the long dip tube out and used it to replace the short dip tube attached to the beer out post on the fermentasaurus pressure lid. This dip tube works the same way as the dip tube in a corny keg, but ends about 10cm from the bottom of the fermenter, which, due to its conical shape, is only about 2L of dead space. Depending on how much trub has settled in the bottom of the fermenter, the last 2L in the conical is usually no good anyway. You could always buy a longer dip tube for a 25L corny keg, then its just a matter of dropping the trub to below where the dip tube ends. You could also attach a mesh screen to the end of the dip tube to filter out hop particles if dry hopping your beer.

    Pressure lid 1.jpg

    After these mods, I filled the fermenter with some sanitizer, and slowly bumped up the pressure to check that it was air-tight and had no leaks. All I can say is so far, so good.

    Pressure lid 2.jpg pressure lid 3.jpg

    Cheers,
    JW.

    :phew:
     
  2. meathead

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    Posted 11/4/18
    Wow!
    #justsayin
     
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  3. wide eyed and legless

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    Posted 11/4/18
    Exactly what I would have done, if I had a Fermentasaurus.;)
    Seriously, a top idea, wait till KK see it.
     
    The Punt likes this.
  4. markp

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    Posted 12/4/18
    Great idea, can you post the eBay seller and parts list for the stainless bits.
    Cheers
     
    wheat and hops and The Punt like this.
  5. Schikitar

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    Posted 12/4/18
    Wow, cool mods and thanks for sharing! I'm curious, if pressure fermenting how would you add dry hops? I have brewed once with a Fermentasaurus (loaned to me by my brother) but it was a horrible experience ending up with an oxidized beer (long story). I'm still keen to to go this route though and ferment/transfer under pressure, but need to retain the ability to dry hop..
     
    The Punt and meathead like this.
  6. brewgasm

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    Posted 12/4/18
    I would vent the pressure open the lid and dry hop as usual. I have seen someone on YouTube put the hops in the little bottle then open the value. I'm pretty sure that they purge the oxygen somehow. I think that it was gash slug or bbq & beer Larry
     
  7. BrutusB

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    Posted 12/4/18
    +1 please!
     
  8. Schikitar

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    Posted 12/4/18
    Yeah, this is how I did it (used my sodastream to flush the little bottle with CO2) - I just feel like venting the pressure and dry hopping from above (in a hop sock?) would introduce more-than-desirable oxygen and negate/compromise the benefits of a closed fermenting system.. My concerns could be completely unfounded, I'm no expert!!

    Maybe it would be better to dry hop in the keg? I currently bottle but am looking to keg at the same time as moving to a fermentasaurus..
     
  9. brewgasm

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    Posted 12/4/18
    Through the hatch will introduce oxygen, especially if you are using a hop ball /sock. I would drop them in loose, re pressurise and purge or better yet use the method with the sodastream or some other method to purge out the co2
     
    Schikitar likes this.
  10. brewgasm

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    Posted 12/4/18
    I currently dry hop in the keg, I put the ball and chain in attached to the lid, purge the co2 then rack the beer into the keg
     
    Schikitar likes this.
  11. BrutusB

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    Posted 12/4/18
    You'll find a lot of craft breweries replicate this method (or extremely similar) but at scale of course.
     
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  12. The Punt

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    Posted 12/4/18
    Hey, thanks for the positive feedback! I'll definately put up a post with the ebay seller and the parts i used as soon as i get home tonight.
    As for dry hopping, i'm yet to do a serious IPA in the fermentasaurus (we really need an abbreviation for this thing...) I have been thinking maybe a hop-back or randall type setup using a growler or mini-keg to recirculate the beer in a closed circuit... Might be a project for when i've got some more funds.
    Cheers.
     
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  13. The Punt

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    Posted 12/4/18
    Right, I got all the bits for this mod from 2014online (http://stores.ebay.com.au/2014online/) EXCEPT the actual valve, which I got from 2008mysky (http://stores.ebay.com.au/2008mysky/) but I have seen these valves on KegKing's website.
    The parts are:
    1 X DN15-DN50 1/2"-2" Sanitary Female Threaded Ferrule Pipe Fitting Clamp Type SS316 (112697116225) (Make sure you get the 1" thread)
    1 X 38MM 1-1/2" 1.5" Sanitary Ferrule Elbow 90 Degree Pipe Fitting SS316 Tri Clamp (121338690388)
    1 X 1/2"-2" 12MM-57MM Sanitary Hose Barb Ferrule Pipe Fitting SS316 Tri Clamp Type (112693304117)
    3 X 1.5" Tri Clamp Clover Sanitary Fits 50.5MM OD Ferrule Flange Stainless Steel 316 (122864193442)
    3 X 1-1/2" 1.5" 38MM Silicon Gasket Fits 50.5MM OD Sanitary Tri Clamp Type Ferrule (122864199623)
    And the valve : 1-1/2" 38mm SS304 Stainless Steel Sanitary 1.5" Tri Clamp Butterfly Valve (401385200948)

    Just check that all the fittings are 1.5" tri-clamp, as some of the listings let you choose between different sizes. Hope this helps.
    Cheers.
     
  14. wide eyed and legless

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    Posted 12/4/18
    If KK don't get on to this they have got to be either mad or both, optional extras if ever there was.
     
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  15. Mr B

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    Posted 12/4/18
    Are the butterfly valves a true no disassembly for cleaning (unlike a ball valve)?
     
  16. BrutusB

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    Posted 13/4/18
    Thanks! Order placed.
     
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  17. steveoonline

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    Posted 13/4/18
    Genius! I ordered this stuff last night.

    The std valve would get blocked for me. The increase in size should make a big difference. Will be able to fill it from the bottom too.

    Now if only they'd make a 50lt fermentasaurus...
     
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  18. The Punt

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    Posted 13/4/18
    Maybe I should've got the design patented...:question: Maybe Kegking will offer me a job:fallingoffchair:
     
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  19. The Punt

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    Posted 13/4/18
    The butterfly valves are much more sanitary than the ball valves as they don't trap any beer/wort/liquid/germs inside the bore of the ball when closed. But using the butterfly valve under pressure on the fermenter MAY cause a small amount of wort to get pushed up between the seal and the axle that connects to the handle. If the seal is in good condition, this probably shouldn't happen. The valve is easy to disassemble though, for the occasional clean (if only for peace of mind). Next time i've got it apart, i'll take a couple of photo's to show you what I mean.
     
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  20. S.E

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    Posted 13/4/18
    You could use a short gas post and floating dip tube here. The advantage apart from being able re assemble your corny keg is you would be drawing beer from the top so you could keg the first 19Lbefore the rest has cleared. You have probably noticed that as the yeast drops the top clears first.

    I have a 15 gallon (holds about 58litres) corny with a floating dip that I ferment in occasionally.
     

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