Put away between 22 and 23 litres today, mostly filling a 5 litre mini keg and a 19 litre Cornelius. No real drama as such; this time I remembered to flush the filter line with CO2 after sanitising it and again I did the same with both kegs, so I’m looking forward to a really hoppy number with no oxygen contamination. Again I used the fully-closed system, feeding CO2 from the keg back up to the fermenter once I’d popped the PRV to get things going, but this time I didn’t drop the pressure in the Fermzilla (which had gone from 7 to 12 PSI since dry-hopping) instead matching it by increasing the keg to 12 PSI also.
On the subject of filters, I’m using the Bouncer again but this time with the finest mesh, which I had to order specially. It kept behind a fair bit of hop matter but we’ll have to see how good it really is when I draw off the first pints from those kegs. Admittedly it’s not going to be a true representation of the filter’s ability since I didn’t cold-crash the Fermzilla this time, so I expect there to be a fair bit of crap in the bottom of each keg just from crashing. One final note where the filter’s concerned, and I’m not 100% happy with the fit of the replacement element, it’s just very very tight and ended up being skewed slightly when I screwed the filter closed. Will have to see how that works in the long run – might be OK, might be its first and last outing.
One thing that was slightly disappointing (or rather it will be) is the hop utilisation, which I’m guessing is going to be nowhere near what I want. When I removed the collection jar at the end of transfer there was an almost solid green lump of lovely hops in there, full of gorgeous pungent aroma. They even stayed put when I turned the collection jar upside down, so how on earth have they imparted their goodness unto my brew? Maybe dry-hopping is better for flat-bottom fermenters, maybe there’s a reason after all why so many stateside brewers rack to secondary. I don’t know. I do know that I’m going to try the Hot French Randall (HFR) method a go next time around, and have ordered a 1 litre double walled cafetière specifically for this purpose.
Another thing I’m going to have to order is a new collection jar for the Fermzilla. After I tipped out the semi-used hops I reassembled it loosely in order to soak it in PBW, and I forgot the manufacturer’s advice about not using the two ports for leverage. I’m not normally too ham-fisted and like to think I’ve got a good level of mechanical sympathy, so I was rather surprised when one of my stainless carbonation caps came off in my hand, taking a chunk of plastic with it. Oh well, live and learn.