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German Brewing • Techbrau's low oxygen brewing system
Page 1 of 5

Techbrau's low oxygen brewing system

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:01 pm
by Techbrau
I live in a small urban condo, so I try to keep my system as compact as possible. I brew 3 gallon batches on my stovetop!

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This is what my mashing system looks like. It's an 8 gallon stainless steel kettle with a tri clad bottom. With a false bottom and a pump, it becomes a directly heated, recirculated no-sparge system. I also utilize an inset lid which can "float" on the surface of the mash with less than 0.5 liters of airspace (edit: I've since replaced this lid with a 14" diameter, 2" tall, circular, stainless steel cake pan. It floats very nicely and eliminates all airspace). So it's sort of a pseudo-closed system. The fact that it's directly heated also means that I can perform the pre-boil in the mash tun itself. My boil kettle is identical to the pot I use for my mash tun, so I only ever have to do one transfer on the hot side - gently pumping the clear wort from the mash tun into the boil kettle. I'm using a simple 25' stainless steel immersion chiller fed by my kitchen sink to chill the pre-boiled liquor as well as the post-boil wort.

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This is my fermentation setup. I'm using a 5 gallon corny keg as my primary fermenter, but the dip tube it cut to sit about 2" from the bottom of the keg. I run a line from the gas-in post of the 5 gallon keg to the liquid-out post of what will eventually be my lagering/serving keg (the 3 gallon keg on the right). The 3 gallon keg gets a spunding valve set to 0.1 bar attached to its gas-in post during the primary fermentation, which effectively serves as the airlock. CO2 from the fermenting beer flows up and out of the 5 gallon keg into the bottom of the 3 gallon keg, where it purges the air out over the course of the ferment. When the beer is 1-2% extract above the expected final gravity, I'll employ a closed simple siphon between the kegs by simply putting the 5 gallon keg on a chair, the 3 gallon keg on the floor, and connecting the liquid lines together and the gas lines together. I can leave it and come back in 20 minutes and the beer is now in the 3 gallon keg. By the way, all of my 3 gallon kegs have their gas-in dip tubes cut short so that they can fill nearly to the brim with as little headspace as possible. At this point, I'll reattach and set the spunding valve to 0.8 bar and continue on with the lagering process in the 3 gallon keg.

I use a minifridge with a Johnson A419 as my fermentation chamber, and a 5 cubic foot chest freezer with its own controller for long term storage.

Re: Techbrau's low oxygen brewing system

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:04 pm
by Owenbräu
Damn near a closed system. Good work!

Re: Techbrau's low oxygen brewing system

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:03 am
by narcout

Re: Techbrau's low oxygen brewing system

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:06 am
by Techbrau
There's a tiny gap between the side wall and the lid and I can stick my thermapen in there. With recirculation I've verified that the readings are representative of the whole mash so nowadays I just leave the cap on the whole time.

Re: Techbrau's low oxygen brewing system

Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 3:56 am
by bootlegnjack
Can I ask how you go about minimising O2 during mash in with your system? Great system by the way, I love the idea of doing 3 gal brews so you can use Corny's as the fermeter.

Re: Techbrau's low oxygen brewing system

Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 8:40 am
by Brandon
I have recently been using a 6.5 Gallon corny as the fermenter, so the method is scalable.

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Re: Techbrau's low oxygen brewing system

Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 12:04 pm
by caedus
Where can I find one of those 6.5 gallon cornies? I have been looking around for a while with little success.

Re: Techbrau's low oxygen brewing system

Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 12:11 pm
by Kit_B

Re: Techbrau's low oxygen brewing system

Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 12:16 pm
by Brandon

Re: Techbrau's low oxygen brewing system

Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 12:32 pm
by narcout
Is your mash kettle an off the shelf version from one of the various homebrew retailers or did you drill the top hole and weld the coupler yourself? Do you have any kind of special fitting on the inside for the wort return?