Catalyst Fermentor keg transfer train wreck! lol

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Floyd Adcock, Aug 19, 2019.

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Do you use a pump or gravity to transfer your beer?

  1. Pump

    14.3%
  2. Gravity

    85.7%
  1. Floyd Adcock

    Floyd Adcock New Member

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    Hey everyone I am just getting back into brewing beer so I purchased the Catalyst system. Last night I went to transfer a very hoppy IPA into my keg and hit a few issues and it was a train wreck!

    First off the cone you screw onto the bottom to transfer the beer clogs if you have any remaining pellet hops in the beer. I guess I will use a hop spider or strainer on the next batch and use some kind of bag for dry hopping.

    Second I have the fermentor inside a Vinotemp VT-188 fridge so its close to the ground so I needed a pump. I have never used a pump in the past and it sucked! First off its a hassle keeping the hoses clean especially the one going into the keg as the outside of the hose touch's the beer. Then the pump I had would not start without being primed again kinda of a hassle. I ended up inserting a smaller tube inside that I could use to start the suction then pull loose when the liquid starting flowing which also caught me off guard and made a mess.

    I also brew nitro coffee so all my kegs were in use I ended up buying a used keg last minute from my LHBS. Well being excited I did not look it over before trying to use it. I cleaned and sanitized it but did not pressure test if first. So you probably guessed it but once I hit it with CO2 beer came flying out of every fitting. I had to cut off the gas tighten everything clean sticky beer off everything!

    So the first 3/4 of brewing this batch was very smooth but I need some keg day advice. I was wondering if it would be better to move the Catalyst so I can just use gravity on keg day?
     
  2. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    - Always D/A a used keg before you use it. Clean and sanitize every part and replace all seals. Keep a tube of keg lube on hand.
    - Don't pump finished beer. It's just too hard to keep oxygen from getting in to the finished beer. Use gravity until you get a system
    that will accommodate pressure transfer.
    - Yes, use a hop spider in your fermenter if you're not siphoning and cold crash to help drop hop material to the bottom. I have a hell
    of a time with hop residue when transferring from my conical Unitank and it's got a racking arm that's supposed to help with that.
     
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  3. Floyd Adcock

    Floyd Adcock New Member

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    Thanks. So its better to move the fermeter to a higher spot on keg day than to pump it out. How cold do I need to drop the temp to cold crash an IPA when using an ale yeast like Safale US-05?
     
  4. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I use co2 to move finished beer. Once in a while I will use gravity to assist the co2 transfer. The co2 is kept at a very small positive pressure in the donor vessel (usually a glass or PET carboy) while gravity does the heavy lifting of moving the beer to a keg that has been completely purged of oxygen.

    I don't know of any homebrewers that use a pump for the very reason JA has mentioned above. It can be used to move beer, but precautions need to be taken to avoid oxygen ingress. co2 is easier for me.
     
  5. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I drop them to as close to freezing as I can, it clears faster and more complete. Once it's to that temp you can use finings like gelatin.
     
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  6. Floyd Adcock

    Floyd Adcock New Member

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    I never have used a pump before this train wreck but not sure if its possible use co2 with the catalyst? I agree it would not take much co2 pressure to get the beer into the keg. I may purchase a mash and boil then I could use the pump for recirculating.
     
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  7. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    When I first started kegging I transferred with an auto siphon, but soon after started doing pressure transfer with C02.
     
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  8. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    That's the same problem with carboys, you really can't pressurize them. So I would use gravity to move the beer with a lot lower pressure, I would put the carboy higher than the keg, apply just enough pressure to get the siphon started. I would keep a small amount of positive pressure on the carboy so air wouldn't be brought into the carboy. It's pretty simple, but it works well.

    I think you could do something similar with the catalyst. Don't get rid of the pump, you could use it to build a HERMS or RIMS. That's another rabbit hole to get into.
     
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  9. Floyd Adcock

    Floyd Adcock New Member

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    Talked to my LHBS he said drink the beer fast and move the fermentor to a higher spot for kegging with gravity. I am going to see if I can remove the control panel on my VT-188 so I can build a shelf inside. I don't want to move my beer every time I need to keg it.
     

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