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Thread: Racking out of Totes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Southwest, VA, USA
    Posts
    38

    Racking out of Totes

    Looking for a creative solution:

    I've got 8 bbls souring in an 330 gal IBC tote. Haven't decided on packaging yet, but it's either going to get put into bombers or I'm going to try and feed it into a fermenter to carb and keg later. The issue of trying to get to the fermenter is that I don't currently have a set up to put head pressure on the tote, and I'm not sure that's greatest idea since they're plastic and not meant for that kind of thing. My initial thought was to outfit the tote with a quick disconnect on top so I could push at a very low pressure (<5 psi) and keep the fermenter pressure equal so I can get a full purge and keep that pressure constant by venting. The other option, would be to jack the tote up with a fork truck and gravity feed into the fermenter, then bubble through with CO2 post-transfer to scrub out any O2, but I wouldn't be able to keep pressure in the tank during the transfer, not ideal.

    Just wondering if anyone has any experience with this, or has ideas that might prove viable. I don't want to be picking up O2 in the transfer, and I don't want to explode the tote.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    BEMIDJI, MN
    Posts
    93
    Do you have access to a diaphragm pump? You could pump out of the tote while running a CO2 drip into the top of it to minimize O2 pickup. I like the forklift idea too - could do the same thing with a CO2 drip into the headspace of the tote while you gravity feed it into the tank. I would highly advise against putting any CO2 pressure on the plastic tote to try and push the beer. Especially in a non-round container.

    Good luck - let us know the outcome!

    Cheers,
    Tom

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Burnaby BC Canada
    Posts
    296
    I sell pumps but still like the gravity idea.

    CO2 is heavier than air so if you purge your fermenter slowly from the bottom all the oxygen will be pushed out the top. Then I would leave a little CO2 pressure in the tank, 1 psi or so. Raise your tote with the forklift about 6 feet off the ground and gravity feed into the fermenter from the bottom port. You could add a CO2 blanket to the top of the tote, just a couple of PSI to keep oxygen away. Transfer slowly so as not to disturb the atmosphere in the fermenter.

    Does that make sense?
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Southwest, VA, USA
    Posts
    38
    Thanks all, I think gravity is the way to go. I'll be racking out in the next couple of weeks, I'll let you know how it goes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Frankfurt, Germany
    Posts
    1
    Any news here? Just thinking about the same problem, we want to ferment in IBCs and still have no good solution for putting our beer in Kegs for maturing/carbonisation.
    So, any advices are very appreciated :-)
    Cheers,
    Dominik

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Southwest, VA, USA
    Posts
    38
    Quote Originally Posted by dpiet80 View Post
    Any news here? Just thinking about the same problem, we want to ferment in IBCs and still have no good solution for putting our beer in Kegs for maturing/carbonisation.
    So, any advices are very appreciated :-)
    Cheers,
    Dominik
    It worked out pretty well. I kept a CO2 line on in the top of the tote, let it purge for about 20 min, then raised the tote with a fork lift for a gravity transfer. I did need to brace the tri clamp reducer because of the weight of the line, didn't want that snapping off. All in all worked pretty well. I would suggest buying some breather caps for the totes though. Without an airlock you have to burp the tanks everyday or they will start to blow up like balloons.

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