I was lucky enough to take part in a small group that obtained a Bourbon Barrel for the use of aging beer. For our first batch, we brewed an Abbey Dubbel and I contributed 10 gallons to fill the 55 Gallon Barrel. The beer aged in the barrel for about 4 months until we pulled the Dubbel and replaced it with a Russian Imperial Stout. This left me with 2 5gallon corny kegs full of Abbey Dubbel.
Since I had 2 kegs of the same beer, I wanted to do something different in one of them. I decided to blend two types of Brettanomyces. I chose one package each of White Labs Brettanomyces Bruxellensis and Wyeast Brettanomyces Lambicus. I’ve used Brett B before and really like the taste. I decided to play around with a blend. The hope is to get some of the flavors I loved of the Brett B and add to them the more potent flavors and aromas Brett Lambicus.
To do this, I didn’t want to have to take the beer that was already in a corny keg and transfer it again into a carboy just to referment with the Brettanomyces. So I threw the two wild yeasts into the corny keg. In about a week, once the Brettanomyces grows a little, I will add some D2 Dark Candi Syrup to build some more complexities to the flavor. Since I am not trying to prime the beer with the sugar, I needed a way to vent any of the CO2 that gets built up in the keg. To do this, I built a small homebrew gadget to fit a 3-piece airlock to the gas side of a corny keg. This is how I built it. Parts List for Corny Keg Airlock:
1 – White ball lock (Gas Side)
1 – Stainless steel hose barb for the gas line
2 – Stainless steel hose clamps
1 – 2” Piece of ¼” OD soft copper tubing (used for water lines to fridge)
1 – 5” Piece of ½” OD vinyl tubing
1 – 3-Piece airlock
Screw the hose barb to the ball lock and tighten. Place the piece of copper tubing inside the hose barb.
Place the vinyl tubing over the copper and onto the hose barb. Secure tubing with 1 hose clamp.
Bend the soft copper tubing to angle the tube straight up and down.
Cut the tubing to allow enough room for the airlock to fit in snug up against the copper tubing with leaving enough vinyl around the airlock. Secure the airlock with the second hose clamp.
Place the ball lock on the gas out of the corny keg and fill the airlock with water/sanitize/vodka. Happy Fermenting.
- While there is no reason this can’t be used as a primary fermenter, keep in mind the headspace. You would have to ferment less than 4.5 gallons if used as a primary. Beware of blow off too.
- I am using a keg with about 1 ½” of the dip tube was cut off. This is a good idea to leave behind any of the fallen yeast or tub. Since I am using this as a secondary, I will throw in a fining agent like gelatin or sparkolloid before I am ready to transfer to clear the beer. With a shorter dip tube, I don’t need to worry about sucking that stuff off the bottom of the fermentation keg and into the serving keg.
- Fermenting in a keg has benefits. It is completely dark inside and has a pretty air tight seal. Once the fermentation is done, the beer is easily transferred from keg to keg in a closed system flushed with CO2. There is less chance of oxidation transferring in this closed system.
- Since corny kegs are metal, there is no scratching like in plastic buckets or breaking like in glass carboys.