I am So Done With Cold Crashing in the Fermenter

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by dharmadog, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. dharmadog

    dharmadog New Member

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    I have done about 20 BIAB brew sessions so far this year and have made some nice beers, but my biggest frustration is cold crashing in my fermenter. The fermenter can suck up to about a half quart of sanitizer into the beer when I drop the temperature from around 68 degrees F to about 34 degrees F. I really don't want that much non-beer in my beer.

    I usually transfer 6 gallons of cooled wort into my SS Brewtech Bucket fermenter and attach a blow-off hose to a container of Star San solution inside my fermentation chamber (see photo). After fermentation is completed in a week or two, I drop the temperature to about 34 degrees F. In a few hours the sanitizer is drawn up half way up the blow-off tube and continues rising if I don't release the pressure inside the bucket.

    My dilemma is to either let outside air into the fermenter by releasing the vacuum pressure or let a large volume of sanitizer dump into the fermenter. Unless there is nothing wrong with either approach, then maybe I have nothing to worry about. The choice is either O2 or sanitizer in my beer.

    Or perhaps a third choice would be not cold crash in the fermenter at all, and keg it at 68 degrees and store the keg in my 35 degree keezer for a longer period of time.

    Any suggestions?

    IMG_0650.JPG
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Cold crashing is purely aesthetic - you can skip it altogether for top-fermented beers if you don't mind some haze. That's suggestion #1. I use an airlock so the most that can be sucked into the beer is an ounce or two, have never had problems with contamination if the beer sucks in too much.
     
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  3. west1m

    west1m New Member

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    I am a noob but I tried the cold crash one time and I did not want that to happen so I filled a one gallon ziplock bag with CO2 and taped it around the hose...
     
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  4. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    #4 HighVoltageMan!, Aug 13, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
    I have since stop crash cooling or fermenting in a vessel that can’t be slightly pressurized.

    I did use a Mylar balloon several times to capture cO2 during fermentation with a carboy. I used a airlock along with it. The orange caps for carboys allow for 2 ports, airlock in one and balloon in the other. The airlock stops until the balloon is inflated, once the balloon is fully inflated the airlock takes off. When the beer is crashed the 18” ballon completely collapses. I realized the carboy drew in about 1-2 quarts of air without the balloon. It worked but it’s a pain to deal with the balloon. Now I ferment in kegs and I pressurize to 5 pounds before crashing. My beers since I started both with the ballon or the keg method has been an improvement, especially if the beer is kept for longer than 3 weeks. A lot less oxicidation for sure.

    Some beers benefit a great deal by crash cooling, IPA’s for instance, you can drop out all the hop debris. Lagers do as well.

    Edit: You could pressurize the fermenter you have. If that's a 2" tri-clover, you could use a 2" tri-clover with a corny gas post on it. Brew Hardware sells them. https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/tc2blg.htm (of course their out of stock at the moment). They also sell a 1.5". A corny ball lock gas disconnect is put on to vent during fermentation just like your doing now, you can then use that same port to add co2. I have a Ss conical that I pressurize to 2-3 pounds before crashing and I add another 2-3 pounds after crashing for 12 hours. I believe that bucket can be pressurized to 5 pounds just like their conicals if I'm not mistaken, but I don't like getting above 2.5 pounds.

    Posts can be added to blanks if the tri-clover is not 1.5" or 2".
     
  5. 56 Firedome

    56 Firedome Member

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    So I guess the 1st question is, Why do you Cold Crash with a Blow Off Tube in the 1st place?
    The purpose of the Blow Off Tube is to catch the excess Krusen & keep it from making a mess on the floor during FERMENTATION. The other reason for a Blow Off Tube in the Fermenter is to catch Yeast for reuse in the next batch.
    Once the initial surge of Krusen is caught I switch to an Air Lock & continue fermentation until I achieve Target OG. Then I move from the Fermenter to a Secondary with an Air Lock & push the temp down as low as my Conditioning Chamber can go, about 45 Deg.
    I use an air tight sanitized brew bucket with its own Air Lock to catch my blow off so I can reuse the Yeast in the next batch.
    Works for me.
     
  6. 4Bentley

    4Bentley Member

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    I use the mylar balloon and put it on when krausen subsides. I wait till the balloon is almost full then cold crash. If you don't pressurize or use a balloon then you will either suck in air or sanitizer. Since I just dump in hops for dry hopping I need to cold crash.
     
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  7. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    I stopped cold crashing in my fermenter long ago. I do it from keg now. I do my transfer and start chilling and carbing. First pour or two is a dumper and the rest is usually fine unless I go moving stuff around, and then it usually settles back out pretty quick.
     
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  8. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    That's a good point, but cold crashing also draws a lot of air even with an airlock. There has been a lot of homebrewers who see a big benefit from crashing the beers but want to avoid oxygen ingress and are becoming aware of the bad effects of oxygen getting into their beers.
     
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  9. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Active Member

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    I follow your method pretty much to a tee. Works great if you're using a keg in a keezer.
     
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  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Honestly I don't even worry if I pull some air in during the cold crash.
     
  11. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    I cold crash in the fermenter without issue. My 5.25 to 5.5 gallon batches are fermented in 7 gallon Fermonsters with Fermcap-S and I use S type airlocks exclusively. No problem with blow off and no problem with suck back. No ill affects from the air drawn in either.
     
  12. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    This has inspired me to try racking to keg then crashing. I don't find much suck back if any but crashing in the fermentor. I use those senior air locks and find it just works in reverse sometimes the air lock liquid freezes as well if I crash cold enough. But I'm going to transfer the BF community recipie this arvo so will try this method.
     
  13. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    The best way is to rack directly to the keg, set the keezer to 34F add your C02, pull the release valve 4 times in a 30 minute period wait till the kegs are cold and do it again and your cold crashed, nothing more to it
     
  14. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    You're all set up to use something like this:
    https://www.norcalbrewingsolutions.com/store/Sanke-Keg-Tee-Fermenter-Kit.html
    I've used this sort of system dozens of times. You can close off the blowoff when the fermentation is done and keep or add pressure while the beer is cooling. You won't necessarily need a racking cane, but there are other ways that you can adapt this sort of fitting to suit your needs.
     
  15. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    I have that setup. When it’s time to cold crash, I just pop the tri clamp and slide in a plate with a 5 lb PRV and a gas-in post and put about 4 lbs of CO2 pressure on it.

    I keep saying it’s time for me to try skipping the cold crash. Next batch maybe...:)
     
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  16. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Do you know why you're cold crashing? If not, your decision not to do it is the right one. Reversed, you should always know why you're doing a thing and have an hypothesis as to the action's result. Because some goofus, myself included, said to isn't a good enough reason.
     
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  17. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    My decision was less about suck back and more about why in the hell do I keep moving my 5.5 gallons of heavy beer around just to muck things up again. It was much easier and made more sense for me to rack right to keg and kill 2 birds with one stone. I move my beer once in keg now and done.
     
  18. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    #18 Group W, Aug 14, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
    I cold crash in the fermenter cuz most of my beers are IPAs that are heavily dry hopped in the fermenter and I want those hops to settle out in the fermenter rather than in the serving keg.
     
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  19. dharmadog

    dharmadog New Member

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    Thank you all for your collective wisdom. It is amazing to me how much my brewing has been driven by habit, guided by good and sometimes misguided information.

    I have cold crashed in my fermenter because that is what was told to me by others. And I use a large blow-off hose because I have had some messy experiences with S-type and 3-piece airlocks. Having crystal clear ales, I have learned here, is not necessarily as important as making a good tasting beer.

    For my next few brews, I am going to take the advice of thunderwagn and go directly to a keg and pressurize before I drop the temperature. That should simplify my process a bit.

    Thanks again
     
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  20. Nola_Brew

    Nola_Brew Active Member

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    I also use a mylar balloon when cold crashing. Going to try fermenting in a keg using a blowtie spunding valve and I'll also cold crash in the keg to see how that works out.
     
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