Closed Transfer From Bucket to Corny Keg

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I thought I'd add this here as a work in progress. After brewing for nearly 3 years I'm now in the process of getting started with corny kegs and I was struggling to find a "how to" on the web to do a closed transfer from a bucket without a tap at the bottom.

I'll state for the record that I'm learning/figuring out as I go - if there are any obvious better ways to do stuff, suitable gadgets or gizmos, or obvious problems I've not thought of then all input is welcome! Currently I haven't tried it with anything more adventurous than water - certainly not actual beer with hop bits, trub and yeast cake to contend with!

If and when I've got it sorted then I can add a proper "how to" in the how to section. Until then.....

Essentially what we're doing is kind of a closed syphon, and also kinda like turning the bucket into a corny keg, with a short gas-in tube and a long liquid-out tube - but using much lower pressure! In my case, as the pressure in the bucket changes I see the lid bulge and fall, like the rise and fall of a sleeping baby's chest. If the lid pops up like a balloon you've overdone it with the pressure!

Before you start I'm assuming you've already somehow purged your corny keg of air. Put the bucket up somewhere higher than the corny keg, e.g bucket on a desk or workbench, ready purged corny keg on the floor.

20210627_101401.jpg

Pic 1 - Here's the FV in "fermentation mode". Airlock fitted on the right - this will be our liquid out side. On the left I cut an extra 13mm hole to take a rubber grommet which is just the right size for a short length of 3/8in beer line fitted with a valve (closed during fermentation) - this will be our gas-in side.

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Pic 2 - I've connected the 3/8in gas line to the valve on the left, valve still closed.

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Pic 3 - Remove the airlock, open the valve and very slowly and carefully open up your gas regulator to deliver a small amount of CO2 - really not much at all, maybe only 0.5-1.0psi, just enough to make sure CO2 is coming out and air isn't getting in.

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Pic 4 - Insert 3/8in beer line into the "liquid out" opening on the right, but don't push it all the way down under the liquid yet. We'll let a bit of CO2 run through the line first to purge it of air. Once you're happy the line is purged you can shut off the gas (I do this at the regulator rather than using the valve as I find it more controllable) and connect the line to the black corny disconnect shown.

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Pic 5 - Open the pressure release valve on your corny keg and lock it open, then attach the black corny disconnect to the beer-out post.

N.B. My long term plan is to add an in-line filter to this liquid line between the bucket and corny keg to catch any hop bits etc. I have one on order I found on eBay (search eBay for something like "inline filter water beer")

20210627_101952.jpg

Pic 6 - Back at your bucket, make sure the valve on the left is open. Now you can push the liquid-out line on the right down under the liquid to the bottom of the FV (or maybe not quite the bottom to avoid the worst of the trub, yeast hops etc!).

Then, very slowly and carefully start to open up the regulator. Again, we don't need much pressure, maybe just 0.5-1.0psi. Really we need just enough pressure to push liquid up the tube to start the syphon.

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Pic 7- At this stage I'm gently adjusting the regulator up and down, keeping one eye on the liquid line to see if the liquid is coming up the tube, and the other eye on the lid of the bucket to make sure it's not bulging too much. You can just see the water coming up the tube in this pic.

Once the transfer has started it's just a case of making sure enough gas flows into the bucket to take up the space left behind the liquid.

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Pic 8 - 4L.....

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Pic 9 - 3L.....

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Pic 10 - 2L..... and eventually done. Once the transfer is complete don't forget to close the pressure relief valve on your corny keg, then you can go ahead an carbonate as normal 👍🍻

(I say that like I know what I'm talking about, I've still yet to figure out exactly what that particular "normal" means! :laugh8: )
 

Broken Toe

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I have been thinking the exact same thing but I couldn't for the life of me think of a sensible way to do it. Thank you.

My thought was to ferment in another corny, fermented at an angle to reduce cake uplift when righted for transfer. Other than taking up corny real estate, is there any reason that this wouldn't work as well?
 
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I think a floating dip tube might work here rather than having to edge the tubing down as you go.
Nice idea, I like it 👍

This might be wishful thinking but I think the flow rate is so low (haven't timed it but I estimate 4-5mins to transfer 10L, certainly much slower than my usual syphon to bottling bucket) I don't think an open tube is going to hoover up all the trub. So hopefully I can just shove the tube in near the bottom of the bucket at the start and be done with it.

(and the inline filter when it turns up will deal with any bits that do get through).

That said, my usual practice with a bottling bucket has been to gradually lower the tube down. Maybe I can just mark the transfer tube with a Sharpie with depth markers.....

Oh, by the way, I initially tried with a straight and rigid bit of racking cane but it was sucking in air where it joined the hose = bad! So I figure as few joins as possible is best 👍
 
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I have been thinking the exact same thing but I couldn't for the life of me think of a sensible way to do it. Thank you.

My thought was to ferment in another corny, fermented at an angle to reduce cake uplift when righted for transfer. Other than taking up corny real estate, is there any reason that this wouldn't work as well?
I don't have the experience to say but it sounds plausible. Try it and report back! 👍
 

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Nice idea, I like it 👍

This might be wishful thinking but I think the flow rate is so low (haven't timed it but I estimate 4-5mins to transfer 10L, certainly much slower than my usual syphon to bottling bucket) I don't think an open tube is going to hoover up all the trub. So hopefully I can just shove the tube in near the bottom of the bucket at the start and be done with it.

(and the inline filter when it turns up will deal with any bits that do get through).

That said, my usual practice with a bottling bucket has been to gradually lower the tube down. Maybe I can just mark the transfer tube with a Sharpie with depth markers.....

Oh, by the way, I initially tried with a straight and rigid bit of racking cane but it was sucking in air where it joined the hose = bad! So I figure as few joins as possible is best 👍
I closed transfer from a bucket WITH a tap and a float tube inside the bucket. There is a floating dip tube in the beer line of my PB as well. 5 gallons takes about 45 minutes to transfer.
 

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So I thought I might give this a go as a wee bit of an experiment... From the esteemed Aliexpress Kegland store with yonks and yonks as a delivery time I've ordered some ball lock posts on bulkhead fittings and a floating dip tube. I'm going to have a go at converting a brew bucket into a not-really-pressurised fermenter. Now I've only the several weeks it will take for this to arrive to think about how to keep the blow off tube situation simple and still use my CO2 collection balloons 😁.

I really really have to stop buying more brewing stuff... sigh...😞

[EDIT @matt76 I'm going to blame you for being all encouraging and the like 😜]
 
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I closed transfer from a bucket WITH a tap and a float tube inside the bucket. There is a floating dip tube in the beer line of my PB as well. 5 gallons takes about 45 minutes to transfer.

@Buffers brewery In your set up, how do you connect the floating dip tube to the fermenter tap?

@matt76 Your method, using an inexpensive bucket, is ingenious and elegant but I’m puzzled why you don’t simply use a tap like @Buffers brewery? It does need care with cleaning and sanitisation but so does a syphon.
 

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how do you connect the floating dip tube to the fermenter tap?
Hi @Wynne Some might say my connection method is “complicated” :laugh8: but it evolved over a period of time and “bright” ideas.

I fitted my tap through the flat bottom of a standard bucket (there’s a reason, but I won’t go into that now).
435C0B1C-EF4D-440C-8A4C-D683CDB47F5F.jpeg

In order to connect my float tube on the inside I had a connector made to fit inside the stainless steel nipple and connect to the float.
A6FF1620-567B-4939-93D4-2BE63A61BB4C.jpeg

I only use a short length of tube, enough to keep the intake above the trub.
CD6D09FA-F5F0-4C77-B639-7F03072B6437.jpeg
 

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@matt76 Your method, using an inexpensive bucket, is ingenious and elegant but I’m puzzled why you don’t simply use a tap like @Buffers brewery? It does need care with cleaning and sanitisation but so does a syphon.
A comment if I may on the issue of taps. I don't like the way they draw liquid off at a set level in the fermenter, which might be too high and leave too much fluid behind, or too low and pull off sediment. Nor am I keen on trying to clean and sanitise them, taking the tap to pieces to clean in a separate container, reassembling then recleaning and sanitising in place for the rest of the bucket. Taps are annoying that are sticky out bits that get in the way of other things in the fridge or moving around. Yes, ok I have a thing against taps, it's not the most critical thing to have prejudices about 🤨.

Anyway... the opportunity to pimp a plastic bucket with some shiny chrome is hard to resist 😆.

[EDIT - @Buffers brewery, lovely to be reminded I'm not the only one who likes to complicate things!]

Anna
 

Buffers brewery

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A comment if I may on the issue of taps. I don't like the way they draw liquid off at a set level in the fermenter, which might be too high and leave too much fluid behind, or too low and pull off sediment. Nor am I keen on trying to clean and sanitise them, taking the tap to pieces to clean in a separate container, reassembling then recleaning and sanitising in place for the rest of the bucket. Taps are annoying that are sticky out bits that get in the way of other things in the fridge or moving around. Yes, ok I have a thing against taps
1F8F37FE-BE1D-4F5D-A3B3-1CF03ADFD2B0.jpeg

:confused.:

:laugh8:
 
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Hi @Wynne Some might say my connection method is “complicated” :laugh8: but it evolved over a period of time and “bright” ideas.

I fitted my tap through the flat bottom of a standard bucket (there’s a reason, but I won’t go into that now).
View attachment 49895
In order to connect my float tube on the inside I had a connector made to fit inside the stainless steel nipple and connect to the float.
View attachment 49899
I only use a short length of tube, enough to keep the intake above the trub.
View attachment 49900

@Buffers brewery - thank you. The key part in your setup that I’m missing is the connector to the inside of the tap nipple. Is this a push fit or threaded? who made it for you and from what components?

@DocAnna - thank you, that’s interesting, Taps certainly do have projections which can prove inconvenient at times but I do like the direct control over the flow that a tap gives and find syphoning a faff,
 

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@Buffers brewery - thank you. The key part in your setup that I’m missing is the connector to the inside of the tap nipple. Is this a push fit or threaded? who made it for you and from what components?
The connector is my own design that I had 3-D printed (at great expense). It’s a push fit with an o-ring providing the seal between the bore of the nipple and the connector.
E65E00FA-995B-4FEE-9D2F-968744A43B3E.jpeg
 
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But honestly man, why wouldn't you just buy a tap.
@matt76 Your method, using an inexpensive bucket, is ingenious and elegant but I’m puzzled why you don’t simply use a tap like @Buffers brewery? It does need care with cleaning and sanitisation but so does a syphon.
A comment if I may on the issue of taps. I don't like the way they draw liquid off at a set level in the fermenter, which might be too high and leave too much fluid behind, or too low and pull off sediment. Nor am I keen on trying to clean and sanitise them, taking the tap to pieces to clean in a separate container, reassembling then recleaning and sanitising in place for the rest of the bucket. Taps are annoying that are sticky out bits that get in the way of other things in the fridge or moving around. Yes, ok I have a thing against taps, it's not the most critical thing to have prejudices about 🤨.
To be honest @DocAnna has already summarised it right there. As with all designs there's a trade-off. If I find this syphon arrangement doesn't work so well in the longer term it's not hard to add a tap later on.

If you find a tap works well for you then that's great. I had some reservations about adding a tap - sanitising, leaks etc - so decided to go with this syphon arrangement. The purpose of this post was more to show that if you want to do it this way then it can be done, and more specifically how to do it since I had trouble finding any examples out there that didn't use carboys or taps. It's certainly not to say you should do it this way 👍🍻
 

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