Friday, November 8, 2019

Chapman Fermenter - Closed Transfer To Keg

I modified two seven-gallon Chapman UniVessels to support closed beer transfers several weeks ago. I have since used those closed transfer modifications to fill four kegs. In my experience, the entire transfer process was intuitive and easy to integrate into my brewing routine. The Co2 used to push the beer into the keg also prevented any oxygen from getting inside it. It also eliminated the need to lift beer-filled fermenters out of the chest freezer. The benefits of closed transfers will keep oxygen out and help beer stay fresher longer while keeping my back free of pain.

Before attempting to do closed transfers there are a few things you need to have in place. A fermenter that can hold at least three psi of pressure when sealed. A Co2 regulator that can be set to hold three psi of pressure. These two things are also required when fermenting and cold crashing beer in a sealed vessel. The addition of the gas port on the fermenter serves two purposes. It allows Co2 gas produced during fermentation to escape the fermenter. And adding Co2 pressure to the fermenter during cold crashing as the beer volume decreases.

Using 2 To 3 PSI Of Co2 Pressure To Transfer The Beer From Fermenters to kegs.

When fermenting (5.25 gallon/19.8 liter) batches of 1.055 gravity beers at (68F/20C) degrees the krausen remained well below the gas port in the lid. A plugged gas port would cause pressure to build-up and break the seal between the fermenter body and lid. Creating a mess if krausen were to spill out or worse yet damaging the integrity of the fermenter or lid.

The ball valve outlet port is located (1in/2.54cm) from the bottom of the fermenter. The trub layer remained far enough below the bottom of the ball valve port to allow the transfer of clear beer to the waiting kegs. And the removable lid helped make clean up easy enough to do using hot water and a soft cotton cloth.

Krausen Remained Several Inches Below The Lid Throughout Fermentation

Filling the kegs with StarSan purges them of oxygen before coming into contact with beer. Using Co2 pressure to empty the kegs of StarSan assures an oxygen-free beer transfer. To prepare for the transfer after fermentation completes disconnect the blow-off tube from the Co2 gas post on the lid. Then with the regulator set to 3 psi pressure connect the Co2 line to the gas post on the fermenter. To purge oxygen from the beer transfer line, connect one end to the ball valve on the fermenter. Then loosen the connection to the beer line connector on the other end. To prevent trub from getting into the keg, open the ball valve a little until the beer runs clear. Catching any initial trub laden beer in a small container to be discarded. To transfer the beer, tighten the connection to the beer line connector and attach it to the keg beer post. With the ball valve wide open the closed transfer should fill the keg in about fifteen minutes.

Oxygen-Free Closed Transfer Using Co2 Pressure To Move The Beer

Opening the pressure relief valve on the keg will allow Co2 to escape as the beer volume in the keg increases. The beer will continue to flow as long as the fermenter pressure exceeds the pressure in the keg. Closing the pressure relief valve and disconnecting the beer connector completes the transfer. Close the ball valve and disconnect the Co2 connector from the gas post on the fermenter. Then increase the Co2 pressure to fifteen psi and connect it to the keg to seal the lid gasket. The full kegs can then go into a refrigerator to carbonate and condition.

Still Looking Good As New After Fermenting Two Batches 

The fermenters were easy to clean using nothing more than a steady stream of hot water and a soft cotton cloth. A final soaking of hot Powdered Brewery Wash solution made the inside squeaky clean. Followed by a rinse with clean water and a spray of StarSan on the inside they were ready to dry and put away. The lid needed cleaning once the gas ports, thermowell and hole plug installations. Bar Keepers Friend made short work of restoring the outer finish and making it look like new. Both fermenters will continue to look like new for a very long time with minimal effort.

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