Brewsus Yeast

FastFerment 3G - Initial Thoughts

15 posts in this topic

Hey there...  Gosh, it's been a while since I've been here.  The new FastFerment 3G fermenter grabbed my attention a few weeks ago, so I picked one up.  I haven't completed a batch yet, but I thought I'd throw out a few tidbits for y'all in the meantime.

 

First of all, the 3G is bigger than the LBK, for sure.  One of the nice things about the LBK is that I could put it in my mini fridge when doing a lager.  The 3G takes up much more vertical space, so using my mini fridge isn't going to happen. It looks like a hot air balloon. Maybe that should be it's nick name.  The original keg is the Little Brown Keg=LBK, and the FF3G is the Hot Air Balloon=HAB. ("Gretchen! Stop trying to make 'HAB' happen. It's not going to happen!"). Sorry for the Mean Girls reference.

 

Second -- Go to the FastFerment website and watch their assembly videos.  The videos generally are for the larger versions, but the concepts are the same. The big takeaway from the videos is that you need to break in the threads, being careful to not cross-thread anything.

 

Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth -- DO A LEAK TEST!!!!  Do not be impatient at this step. It took me about three tries and more teflon tape to seal than I thought it would, but I finally got the fermenter/union valve connection to stop dripping.  Let it sit overnight with a paper towel underneath so any leaks will be more obvious. In hindsight, I probably should have combined initial cleaning with PBK or One-Step with the leak test. No biggie.

 

Seventh - After you fill the fermenter with your wort and yeast on brew day, securely tighten the fermenter lid to get a good seal. I noticed that my wort was foaming within a few hours, but I didn't see any activity at the bubbler.  I sniffed the top of the bubbler and didn't smell anything, but when I sniffed around the lid, I could smell the yeast farts.   After I tightened the lid -- bingo -- the bubbler went into action right away.  A few minutes later, the activity stopped again.  I cranked down on the lid some more and the bubbler went back to work.  The lid gasket must be fighting back.  I'll have to keep my eye on this.

 

Eight - I can tell already that the little 1 foot hose included in the kit isn't anywhere near enough.  Scooting the 3G to the edge of my counter, I still just barely had enough hose to get over the edge of the counter.  Spend a couple bucks at your local home brew store for a few feet of hose.  I suspect that two feet of hose, combined with my bottling wand, should be good. Pick up some DME, hops, and yeast while you're there, too.

 

Disconnecting the wort-filled yeast collection jar from the bottom is surprisingly mess-free.  Be sure to close the union valve before removing the jar, of course! I used the wort in the jar to do my initial gravity test.  It was just enough to float my hydrometer. Excellent.

 

That's it for now.  If I have any more thoughts, I'll add 'em. My initial batch is a variation on the POTUS Honey Porter using a *really* old can of Black Tower Porter (Best by May 2014!).  I still have at least a half-dozen cans of expired HME.  I figure by adding some fresh DME/Grains and fresh hops, I should be good.

 

Merry Christmas

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I wouldn't count on a very good result using an HME that is 3.5 years past expiration.  In any case you will get a practice run on the new fermenter.

SilverBrewerWI likes this

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Oh, I used new yeast, and supplemented the HME with some new hops, and some new DME, so it's not completely old.   The HME can didn't even have the yeast.  Chances are, I used the old fromunda yeast to do the Sam Adams' co-founder Jim Koch's trick where if you want to drink beer without getting too blitzed, you down a packet of yeast just before you drink a beer.  The enzymes coating the yeast break down some of the alcohol in your stomach before it all gets absorbed.  But I digress....

 

So far I haven't had to retighten the lid.  It's bubbling away, and no leaks so far.  One thing I might not do next time is to use Whirlfloc.  I used half a Whirlfloc tablet near the end of the boil, and the Mason jar yeast collector is full of the Whirfloc.  I can see the yeast starting to collect at the bottom of the fermenter.   I might remove and dump the jar tomorrow to make more room for yeast cells. Hopefully, I'll remember to close the valve before removing the jar.

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Rather you supplemented or you didn't really won't matter.  HME that is basically 5 years old will not produce a beer with near as good of flavor as one that is fresh. 

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3 hours ago, RickBeer said:

Right.  It's going to taste like crap.

 

Well, you know, ummmmmmm, one man's crap is another man's delicious...yeah, that's the ticket......so, yeah,

 

 

 

what he said - crap  :P

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Re old HME.  The oldest I got is Cooper's 6 gal recipe can of Pilsener HME. Best used by 12/16. That is on the list for use quite soon.  

Both these versions I tried for last can were good. Both hop treatments gave similar results for me but the hop tea was less trouble and easier from sanitation viewpoint.

  • First drier and less malty.
  • 2nd maltier and noticeable stronger - the 1% makes a big difference.
HME + 8 oz pils malt + 6 oz booster  + 0.5 oz Saaz flameout aroma hop. Ferment below 68 deg with 1/2 supplied yeast 3.5g
Mod add 1/2 pkt 37/40 yeast as slow to start.
HME +16oz pils malt + 6 oz booster   Ferment below 68 deg with 1/2 supplied yeast 3.5g
 0.5 oz Saaz tea steep 30 min in boiling water poured over.
Mod add 1/2 pkt 37/40 yeast as slow to start.

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Finally got around to bottling today. Because of the holidays and a generally busy schedule, it sat in the fermenter for about 4 weeks.  All told, I emptied the yeast jar twice.  The first time it was mostly Whirlfloc, and the second time was full-on yeast.  In the end, the jar had less than a quarter inch of yeast, and I used most of the beer in the jar for my FG measurement.  I ended up with 23 bottles, and not a single sacrificial "trub" bottle.  The beer was clear from top to bottom. Very nice.  As I anticipated, a slightly longer hose would have been helpful, but I managed just fine with an attached bottling wand.

 

It was pretty easy to clean out, plus I could easily drain it into the sink by putting the whole contraption in the sink and opening the union valve.  It flushes out pretty fast.

 

So four weeks later... not a single leak...never opened the top...dumping the yeast jar is simple and non-messy.  Thumbs up, so far.

 

Now, that old HME...that might be another matter...  I'll check back in a few weeks.

Shrike and hotrod3539 like this

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5 hours ago, Brewsus Yeast said:

Now, that old HME...that might be another matter...  I'll check back in a few weeks.

 

Hopefully, we will hear back from you then.

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I was preparing to bottle a batch of Saison du Miel but a disaster dumped the whole batch down the drain. I hadn't made sure the ball valve was securely tightened in place. While I am glad the valve can be taken apart for cleaning, I had do idea it might unscrew along with the jar assembly. When I was taking the jar off to attach the bottling adapter, the ball valve parts all fell out. Before I could figure out what went wrong, an entire batch of beer an poured out of the FastFermenter.

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:P Good one, RickBeer.

 

I was just amazed and really pleased when MRB Tim just offered to send me a replacement for the Saison du Miel!

 

That's great service. I was just sending out a warning so others might not repeat my mistake. 

 

I'll be repeating the Saison du Miel in the Fast Fermenter very soon.

MRB Tim likes this

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