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Revisiting my conical

So I bought the fermentasaurus from NB a while ago, tried it once and basically misused it immediately. I didn’t open the butterfly valve immediately upon pouring in my wort, for some reason I waited to open the valve until a LOT of trub had formed. Then, I had to drain at least once or twice more (probably should have filtered the wort a little better before transferring to the conical). On top of that, the valve leaked, which also probably let in O2 (NB sent me a replacement valve, haven’t tested it yet, still hesitant). The end result, as I posted here on this forum, was a very oxidized beer that tasted like cardboard, and dumped down the drain. I then remade the same beer going back to bucket primary and carboy secondary, turned out to be my best recipe/brew yet.

So here I am with an expensive toy, and I’m not even using it due to fear. Assuming I can stop the leaks, here are my thoughts and questions:

  1. all the videos online show people using this fermenter (9+ gallons) with a 5 gallon brew. BUT they ferment under pressure… Seems like the only way to make that much headspace be OK. Sounds like I just need to buy the pressure kit, and don’t need to hook up to a CO2 canister, just basically lock the CO2 produced by fermentation inside the vessel. Thoughts?

  2. I’m thinking about using a bigger collection bottle. It comes with a 500ml collection bottle, but the butterfly valve happens to have the same size/threads as a soda stream. If I sanitized a soda stream bottle, made sure there were no leaks, then I could definitely collect 1L of trub, which would reduce my amount of trub drainings. Does this sound ok?

  3. assuming the above all works, if I need to do a second draining before moving onto secondary, I would have to purge the collection bottle with CO2 (probably with the soda stream) , try to cap it as quickly as possible, then bring it over to the conical. That, along with keeping the tank pressurized during fermentation, should prevent oxidation, IMO. Does this sound right?

I guess I just never really learned how to use this toy before I tried to use it, and now I’m just gun-shy. Any help would be appreciated!

A side valve would have been nice on that. If I collect yeast it is from my side valve that is part way down the cone. To dump trub I just pull the bubbler and put a small bucket under the bottom valve then let it rip until it clears a little. It’s stainless so I can’t see like with your fermentasaurus. I figure and hope the CO2 still being generated will scub any O2 that enters from dumping. When emptying it all the wort goes through the side valve to leave remaining trub behind.

From the photo the bottom has a small hose attachment. Is that removable to make a larger opening for the collection ball? Don’t give up on it. Looks like a cool brew toy that just needs some experience to figure out the quirks.

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At the moment, no side valve. My goal is to just get the beer to clear up, be able to free up my other fermenters for more brews at the same time. I don’t harvest yeast, so even that aspect isn’t important to me right now.

The bottling spigot is removable. It’s a decently sized opening for the collection ball, probably close to 1" diameter or so. Like I said, the collection ball port can handle a soda stream bottle.

I just want to prevent oxidation. I know some of it was my fault for misuse. But there was definitely some stuff that I was not at fault for, I feel like I would always have failed. Not giving up, trying to get some guidance on how to use it properly so that I can try it again. I think I need to buy the pressure kit for the top, ensure the leaks are resolved… But then I still need to find a way to remove all the trub without oxidizing

I hear a lot about removing the trub. You can get clear beer without removing trub. I never remove trub, although there are some exceptions. Trub is healthy, trub is natural… I don’t secondary, but see the other thread for a variety of approaches to, should I secondary or not: When to use a secondary fermenter?

I wonder if you could just use it as an extra fermenter and ignore removing the trub to reduce the chance of oxidation.

This guy does a review of the Fermentasaurus(you probably have seen this?) and he also thinks removing the trub is complicating the process unnecessarily, at about the 26:40 mark in the video: fermentasaurus - Bing video

I have seen that before, but I didn’t watch all the way through (i’m impatient).

I only secondary when adding additional things (dry hopping, fruit, etc.) So I basically just thought it would be neat not to need to transfer to another fermenter to do this. Plus, even if it’s just “marketing mumbo jumbo”, the possibility of clearer/better beer is worth the effort. I know there are various arguments whether to secondary or not… not trying to say what is right, I just prefer to do it when there are flavor additions.

If I just use is as a regular fermenter, then that is a REALLY expensive plastic fermenter. about 8-9 times as expensive as a plastic bucket… That doesn’t even include the pressure kit, which I deem necessary on 5 gallon batches because there would be 4.25 gallons of headspace. I would be pretty disheartened to find out I spent over $100 on something that could have been 12-15.

I’m about on a journey with my wife so I’ll look into this afterwards… Even if you could look at spunding valves… Give you something to plott and scheme with…

So looking at this… The fermentasaurus uni-tank… I don’t see any reason why you can’t add fittings to the top screw on assembly to add a spunding valve and be able to apply CO2 for transferring… As far as the bottom dump port… I would be pulling off spent yeast during active fermenting a few times… Yeast can clean up any O2 that may enter… Or… You could with modest 2-5 PSI’s push out the spent yeast… Then as all quiets down to within 5 points of finishing… Have the bottom valve open to collect yeast for future use…
A tilt would be a grand gizmo but then a finishing hydrometer put in there on brew day can help you monitor fermenting activity…
Maybe it’s just me, but I see so many options for improvement… :beers:. :mask:

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You absolutely can do closed loop CO2 transfer with the Fermentasaurus, using a carboy cap similar to what I do with my setup. Also this reduces a problem that seems to recur with this product, a bubbling up/ out of solution of CO2 which was mentioned by several users…
Found this video showing this process: Fermentasaurus Closed Loop Transfer. No Foaming, No Oxidation, Oxygen Free Transfer - YouTube

So the pressurization kit comes with a fresh lid and a spunding sort of pressure relief valve, plus a dip tube attached to a ball lock valve. At this point, my idea is to:

  • get this kit, do not connect to a CO2 cannister
  • attach big collection bottle, previously used on a soda stream
  • open butterfly valve, then move wort in, put in my TILT
  • let everything settle into the bottle. With the spunding valve closed, all CO2 produced by fermentation stays inside the conical
  • Close valve, remove trub. If there is anything left at the bottom of the conical… purge collection bottle with CO2 from the soda stream, reattach, then open valve again. This would prevent any O2 from being introduced to the system, and wouldn’t pull a vacuum since it would just decrease the already existing CO2 pressure
  • shouldn’t need to repeat again, but if I wanted to dry hop during secondary I could add that to the collection bottle, purge again with CO2, then open the butterfly valve

overall, I just want to make it so I can remove trub/spent yeast without oxidizing my beer.

Your plan looks good… It may take a few tweaks to it as you see how it responds… Clearing out the collection bottle before the fermentation is complete… Should leave enough active yeast to scrub what, if any O2 gets into solution… And yes, you have a solid plan to not let it occur in the first place…
We will be waiting to hear how the maiden journey goes… You’ve got a good plan!!

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