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My Conical Fermenter

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j-dunn

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Thought that I would share my build of a 30 lt conical fermenter.

I purchased a 30 lt cone bottom tank from Rotamold WA. It has 4 x mounting bolts, a sealed lid, a 25mm threaded hole in the base and can be pressuriseed to aprox 10 PSI.


The goal was to have as few penetrations to the fermenter as possible. To achieve this I have fitted a 1" Ball cock to the bottom of the tank. All other penetrations are in the lid of the fermenter.

I fitted 1 x gas post , 1 x liquid post with a long dip tube , and 1 x liquid post with a short dip tube.

I assembled it and filled it to the 30lt make, gassed it up to 10PSI and presto, no leaks!!

The frame was some recycled shelving frames that I cleaned up and painted with kill rust.

The idea is to ferment under pressure (after 3 /4 days through air lock bubbler). hydrometer samples are drawn from the short tube by simply clicking on the liquid post a quicklock fitting with a hose and tap. The pressure from the ferment is enough to push out the sample. The reason for the short sample tube is to not draw any of the sediment.

The pressure of the fermenter is regulated with a pressure relief valve that is adjustable. A mate of mine who was a chemist/brewer at one of the big commercial breweries suggested between 5 to 7 psi after 3/4 days of "open" fermenting should be the go. (He then started to explain why but I get confused with words that contain an alphabet!

Secondary fermentation is simply open the ballvalve and remove the gunk.

Transfer to the keg is just as easy, first I purge the keg with CO2. The pressure reliefe valve is then snapped onto the kegs gas post. The liqid post with the long dip tube is connected to the kegs liquid post. Adjust the pressure reliefe valve and the golden juices will flow. All done without seeing the light of day!

I have my first brew in the beast and she is churning away nicely.

 

pmastello

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Nice one. How much did it end up costing you?
 

Robbo2234

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keen to see how this goes to see if the hop flavour starts to fade. looks good too!
 

Logman

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Gingerbrew said:
Nice one. How much did it end up costing you?
+1


How far did you go down with the beer out dip tube?

I was thinking that you could brew an extra few litres, then decant those to a small secondary after you filled the keg - then bottle those a couple of days later. Are you planning something along those lines, or tossing a few litres or is there minimal waste?

Edit - also, what's the total height needed including working space etc.
 

j-dunn

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Logman said:
+1


How far did you go down with the beer out dip tube?

I was thinking that you could brew an extra few litres, then decant those to a small secondary after you filled the keg - then bottle those a couple of days later. Are you planning something along those lines, or tossing a few litres or is there minimal waste?

Edit - also, what's the total height needed including working space etc.
Hi logman

The long tube goes down to the middle of the cone about 75mm from the bottom. The short "sample" tube is down to about the 15lt mark on the tank.

I do exactly that, minimal waste and I get some take aways for when I go out to bbqs.

The total height is about 1100 mm. that could change if you used a90 deg elbow on the bottom ball cock. I will measure it tonight and give you an exact height.

cheers
 

j-dunn

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Robbo2234 said:
keen to see how this goes to see if the hop flavour starts to fade. looks good too!
Hi Robbo

I shall let you know if the hops diminish. Hop they dont as I am a bit of a hop head!!

The brew that I have put down is hopped to buggery!! Heres the hop bill:

[SIZE=medium]Hop 1: 5.00 gm Chinook [11.40 %] (60 min) 5.9 IBU
Hop 2: 10.00 gm Centenial [9.75 %] (20 min) 2.8 IBU
Hop 3: 10.00 gm Chinook [11.40 %] (20 min) 7.1 IBU
Hop 4: 15.00 gm Centenial [9.75 %] (10 min) 2.5 IBU
Hop 5: 15.00 gm Chinook [11.40 %] (10 min) 6.4 IBU
Hop 6: 25.00 gm Centenial [9.75 %] (5 min) 2.3 IBU
Hop 7: 25.00 gm Chinook [11.40 %] (5 min) 5.9 IBU
Hop 8: 20.00 gm Centenial [9.75 %] (Dry Hop 5 days) -
Hop 9: 20.00 gm Chinook [11.40 %] (Dry Hop 5 days) –
[/SIZE]
[SIZE=medium]Finnings: 1 Wirlfloc Tablet (5min)[/SIZE]

Gryphon Brewing said:
[SIZE=medium][/SIZE]

[SIZE=medium]Good to see that all worked out and I like the idea of pressure fermentation.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=medium]Nev[/SIZE]
[SIZE=medium]Hey Nev[/SIZE]
Bloody beautiful mate!! Needed 3 x o-rings on the liquid posts and 2 on the gas.

Thanks for the help

Cheers!
 

Logman

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Is dry hopping going to be difficult? I was wondering if you could buy another lid and have it on for the first 4-5 days, dry hop, then pressurize etc.
 

j-dunn

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Logman said:
Is dry hopping going to be difficult? I was wondering if you could buy another lid and have it on for the first 4-5 days, dry hop, then pressurize etc.
I had thought about that Logman.
What I did in the "normal"fermenter was hang the dry hops inside the fermenter with a loop of cotton thread and when the time came just pulled the cotton and the hop bag fell in. I ran the thread under the lid through the air lock grommet.

I shall put some thought into it.
 

Logman

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Maybe you could tie the hop bag to a piece of fishing line and thread it through the poppet hole on the gas post. Then at dry hop time hold the post down, pull the fishing line up a bit and snip it with scissors so the bag falls in. Will keep plenty airtight while not under pressure.

One last question as I'm very interested in doing this, what did you use to connect the posts to the lid and where did you source those items?
 

j-dunn

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Logman said:
Maybe you could tie the hop bag to a piece of fishing line and thread it through the poppet hole on the gas post. Then at dry hop time hold the post down, pull the fishing line up a bit and snip it with scissors so the bag falls in. Will keep plenty airtight while not under pressure.

One last question as I'm very interested in doing this, what did you use to connect the posts to the lid and where did you source those items?
Logman said:
Maybe you could tie the hop bag to a piece of fishing line and thread it through the poppet hole on the gas post. Then at dry hop time hold the post down, pull the fishing line up a bit and snip it with scissors so the bag falls in. Will keep plenty airtight while not under pressure.

One last question as I'm very interested in doing this, what did you use to connect the posts to the lid and where did you source those items?
Nev from gryphonbrewing.com.au
he is on this site. He was super helpful too.
 

j-dunn

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mikec said:
What do you have against TODD?
LOL! Todd was a guy that used to surf with us on the coast.
He was 10/15 years younger than most of us and was a paddleling machine!
He moved to Tassie to catch up with Uncle Dad so when he came back to visit (at the time of the No Dam movement here in QLD) we printed up 100's of these stickers and put them on most of the beach access paths. He thought it was so funny that even though he was living in Tassie with Aunty Mum, we still thought of him.
 

zoigl

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Just a couple of thoughts, I have a couple of the 50 L USA plastic conicals as advertised in Brew your own, I have not found the need to pressurize them, the lid slips on easily. I don't even use a bubble thingy. The carbon dioxide which is a byproduct of the fermentation process protects my fermentation like a blanket so long as I do not lift the lid. I have not had any problems.
I travel to Germany each year and it is common to see the beer fermenting in open SS vats.
While I am not suggesting that you shouldn't be using a closed/sealed/pressurized system, it seems to me to be a bit of overkill, especially if your cleaning/sanitizing processes are in order. Probably, more surprising to me would be if you aim to brew lambics in this system.
Your system looks a lovely piece of kit, I just had another look and at the heat sensing probe that you have taped on the side. I have my sensing probe inside the wort. I use PBW to clean the probe and Starsan to sanitize it. I love to see the temperature of the fermenting process so that I can control it precisely.
Cheers
spelling and added a comment
 

Online Brewing Supplies

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There are fermentation gains to be had by pressure fermentation, it can reduce unwanted fermentation by products and can aid in reducing maturation times.
Nev
 

j-dunn

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zoigl said:
Just a couple of thoughts, I have a couple of the 50 L USA plastic conicals as advertised in Brew your own, I have not found the need to pressurize them, the lid slips on easily. I don't even use a bubble thingy. The carbon dioxide which is a byproduct of the fermentation process protects my fermentation like a blanket so long as I do not lift the lid. I have not had any problems.
I travel to Germany each year and it is common to see the beer fermenting in open SS vats.
While I am not suggesting that you shouldn't be using a closed/sealed/pressurized system, it seems to me to be a bit of overkill, especially if your cleaning/sanitizing processes are in order. Probably, more surprising to me would be if you aim to brew lambics in this system.
Your system looks a lovely piece of kit, I just had another look and at the heat sensing probe that you have taped on the side. I have my sensing probe inside the wort. I use PBW to clean the probe and Starsan to sanitize it. I love to see the temperature of the fermenting process so that I can control it precisely.
Cheers
spelling and added a comment
hi Zoigl

I believe that the lambic styles are open vat fermented, relying on wild yeasts to impart that unique flavor. I saw a show on European beers a while back, may have had James May in it, and some old brewery had these open wood vats with spider webs on the ceiling just above them to kill the fruit flies!

Personally I am not a fan. I put a brew down a while ago, did nothing different and when I poured the first one it had that lambic taste. I asked my chemist mate what has happened. He came by, poured a pint, smelled it and explained the lambic thing, said it had been "infected" by some wild yeast in the air! He was a fan of the style and proceeded to settle in and have a few!

cheers
 

zoigl

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Hi Joe
I am not a fan of lambics either. I spent a few days in Belgium and could not get the hang of the flavours.
The Berliner Weisse is drunk with raspberry cordial or woodroof syrup. You've got to ask why Louis Pasteur discovered how to make perfect beer and now so many new brewers reject his ideas.
 

j-dunn

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Just a quick update. I put a brew down in the new fermenter and its 5 days into its fermentation. First 3 days through the air lock bubbler, now i have it with the pressure relief valve attached. This pic was taken about 5 minutes after I snapped it on, Great to see the pressure is showing on the gague. It will be set at 7PSI for the rest of the fermentation.

In regards to the dry hopping, I did this at then same time by opening the fermenter and using a tea ball for the hops. Put the lid backmnon and put the air lock on for a couple of hours. The idea was to expel the air that would have entered when I opened it up. Then fitted the relief valve.

I also took a sample from the short liquid post for hydrometer testing and it worked a dream!
 

zoigl

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I am curious, do you have a reading, a book. or a magazine article, or a web page reference that I could read on pressurized fermenting?
Cheers
 

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