After spending a day in the cold I’ve decided that not much more is going to drop out of this beer, so it’s time to hit the keg and free up the fermenter for my next concoction. There being just under 22 litres in the Fermzilla I opted for a fully closed transfer to a 19 litre Cornelius keg and the rest into bottles, and it almost went without a hitch.
Starting a fully closed transfer was as simple as connecting the liquid out posts of the two pressure-balanced vessels with my newly rigged transfer line (2 bits of silicone hose and a large Bouncer filter) and then briefly popping the PRV on the lowered keg in order to start the syphoning process. As soon as beer is in motion the two gas posts were connected with a straight pipe between two disconnects – simple. Naturally the keg was purged of air beforehand by filling it with sanitiser and then pushing that out with bottled CO2, doing the same with the filtered beer line and also flushing the gas line in the process.
I initially gave both the Fermzilla and the keg just 5 PSI because I didn’t want to risk blowing the silicone hose off my filter’s barbs, but increased it to 12 PSI when I noticed that the piece of hose downstream from the filter was ¼ full of tiny bubbles which I first took to be an air leak despite the enthusiastically tightened plastic union. Seems that it wasn’t an air leak but carbonation escaping my beer as it rushed through the filter, and increasing pressure back to serving PSI fixed that.
Using the Blichmann Beer Gun was less successful, largely because even the slightest bit of pressure caused beer to squirt out of the muzzle due to the design of the silicone bead at the end. To get any level of control I had to purge the Fermzilla of pressure entirely and rely on gravity to dispense the already carbonated beer, which wasn’t nearly as clean as it sounds and resulted in just two bottles filled, barely justifying the amount of cleaning that was necessary afterwards.
Ending on a positive note, I rigged a clumsy arrangement of silicone and carbonation cap so that I could use the beer gun with the same transfer line as I’d used for the kegs, which was relocated from the floating pick-up tube to one of the posts on the Fermzilla’s collection jar. By a happy coincidence the level of settled trub was just below this post, and I was able to draw quite a bit more beer than the floating dip tube would have given me.
I’d like to say I’ll use this method again, but chances are that if I’ve used the Fermzilla then my beer will be at least partially carbonated by the time it’s ready to bottle, and unfortunately this really isn’t the beer gun’s strong side. Nice try though.