Posts Tagged ‘keg’

the great fermenter debate

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

so after some research and deliberation, I have been unable to confirm the “food-grade” nature of my current fermentation barrels.

  • the seller claims they are “food grade,” but told me they were used to ship guava juice, with the juice in (presumably) a food grade liner.
  • the kicker is that the cap of the barrel has that signature strong plasticky smell, which honestly freaks me out.  luckily my last 2 beers I fermented in these barrels didn’t pick up any off-flavors or smells, but my experience had me looking for alternatives.
  • some background here – in the near future, I plan on not only turning over some quick batches (homegrown hop pale, etc.) but also whipping up some more long term 10-gallon+ projects (3-year lambics for a geuze, maybe a solera setup, another barleywine or quad) that need a stable (oxygen-resistant) environment.
  • I initially looked at truly food-grade barrels as an option.  they are inexpensive and look promising for short-term fermentations (around a month or less).
  • however, for long-term aging, plastic doesn’t seem to be the way to go.  specifically, on pps. 218-220 of wildBREWS, Jeff Sparrow makes a convincing argument against using plastic due to its permeability, stating that “plastic fermenters exhibit a high permeability to oxygen – actually too permeable for wild fermentation.”
  • I then researched glass – specifically, 15 gallon glass demijohns, which included light-shielding plastic baskets and seemed to be a good option.  that is, until I envisioned one of those suckers breaking…
  • I also considered conical options such as the fermenator, which would definitely be in the cards were it not for the price (I would probably need at least 3 in the long term for a geuze).
  • my current plan is to go with with slightly modified sankey kegs – I’m thinking of using a rubber carboy cap and racking cane (which can be pressurized to rack from) or large stopper in conjunction with an airlock up top, and maybe trying to finagle a dip tube/spigot at the bottom for racking.
  • another option is to modify a sankey coupler, which would get me into pressurized closed-system fermentation.
  • since a sankey won’t fit into my fermentation fridge, I would just split 10 gallon batches into 5-gallon corny kegs when I wanted a controlled fermentation temp.  I don’t like the idea of splitting a starter up, but I can’t think of another option.
  • anybody have anything to add? personal preferences?

kegging, smoking, tasting, and some breweriana (WIR 05/21-05/23)

Monday, May 24th, 2010

this last weekend was packed with some brew-related activities.

  • on saturday I kegged the alt.  I took a sample and it tasted pretty damn good, but I forgot to get a final gravity reading.  will have to remember to grab it when the keg is tapped.
  • on saturday night AP and I unveiled a metric shitton of smoked 2-2-1 pork ribs (this time I took some pics).  to celebrate I cracked open a couple beers with a summer feel – the collaborative saison du buff and victory’s wild devil.
  • saison du buff was good, but I could have easily gone with a 2-3oz taster instead of a full pour.  it was definitely an interesting spin on a saison, and had some medicinal notes but had a cleaner finish than, say, a gruit.
  • victory’s wild devil was great – it was an awesome blend of bretty funk with a clean bitter pale ale finish, and went well with the smoky ribs.
  • on sunday AP and I ventured over to alpine village for their swap meet and beer hall.  I’ve been heading out here ever since I was a kid, but I never fully appreciated this place until recently.  suffice it to say that the spot is awesome and will be reviewed in greater depth soon.
  • AP and I shared a dunkel and an alt after an afternoon of flea digging, where I managed to scoop up a pretty neat piece of breweriana for some pocket change.
  • after cleaning it up and tightening the bulb, the sign didn’t look half bad, and it was a neat tribute to an SF beer of the past.
  • also, on the hop front – the cascade is topping 6 feet and is still climbing, and the mt hood is in close pursuit.  gotta get the second year plants going though…