How to use a conical fermenter?

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How to use a conical fermenter?

Postby apd1004 » Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:17 pm

I have the Minibrew 8-gallon plastic conical fermenter.

http://www.minibrew.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=5

I've used it once already for an IPA, which turned out pretty good but it had a faint sour apple aftertaste to it, probably acetylaldehyde that didn't get fully converted into ethyl alcohol. I attribute that to my fermentation temperature which was about 59 degrees, a little low I think for ale fermenting and thus possibly resulting in incomplete coversion of the acetylaldehyde.

Anyway, that is not the reason for this post.

The instructions with the conical say to dump the trub ("blow the cone") once a day. I open the bottom drain valve and extract the thick trub until it thins out and beer can be seen running out. With my first batch, 1-2 cups was usually what I pulled out. That's pretty much all the instructions say.

I have 2 concerns with the conical.

1. What happens to the kraeusen? When I brewed with a carboy, I used to use a blowoff tube to get rid of most of the kraeusen and usually ended up with a pretty good beer. I am worried now though, that with the conical I am not removing the kraeusen at all and it is recirculating through the fermenting beer causing all kinds of nasty things.

2. Lager yeast is bottom fermenting - does that change anything with removing the trub through the bottom? I am getting ready to brew a Bohemian Pilsner, because right now I have a room in my basement where water in a plastic bucket is 50 degrees. Nice temperature for a lager ferment. I worry that when I remove the trub daily from the bottom that I may be removing a lot of good stuff as well as the bad.

Anybody else using a conical?

Am I just worrying too much?

Thanks
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Postby cozrulz » Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:41 pm

The krausen sinks to the bottom after a couple days of fermentation. It should be being removed when you open the drain valve.
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Postby apd1004 » Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:14 pm

Thanks

Sounds like I'm worrying too much...
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Postby brewer13210 » Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:01 am

Blowing the cone once a day may be a bit excessive. You don't want the beer sitting on trub for too long, but you'll probably end up loosing more than a little beer by doing it once a day.

Also don't worry about making lagers in a conical fermenter. During fermentation, the yeast is circulating throughout the beer, and only settles to the bottom after fermentation is complete (just like ale yeasts). There are plenty of micro and larger breweries making lagers in conical fermenters.

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i have a minibrew 6.5

Postby warthog » Mon Feb 19, 2007 1:40 pm

i loose about .5 gallon every time i dump the trub. which is about the same amount i loose to racking. i have been scaling up my recipes to 6 gallons to compensate for 1 dump and racking. i rarely do lagers, and since i got the conical, i don't rack to a carboy for secondary... i just dump.

one of the concepts with a conical is that the trub gets taken out of circulation by the conical shape. that is the convection cells don't get down there, since the cells prefer to be vertical.

as far as results go, my beer is very clear. i don't miss my carboy at all. i now only use it if i am lagering. when i lager, i rack and don't dump.
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