Headspace in no-chill cube

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Headspace in no-chill cube

Post by SubjectB » 1 year ago

It turns out the "5 gallon" HDPE cube I bought from US Plastics actually holds 6 gallons topped off. I'd rather not brew 6 gal. batches because I keg and a corny keg only holds 5 gal. So that means my no-chill cube will have a gallon of headspace. How bad is that much headspace?

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Post by Rick » 1 year ago

I regularly put 5.5G in 7G cubes, just squeeze out the air with your knees as you tighten the cap. Just be quick, or you will burn those knees!


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Post by SubjectB » 1 year ago

I've tried squeezing the cube, but I can only squeeze so much. There's still headspace left.

If the near boiling wort is hot enough to sanitize the inner surfaces of the cube, shouldn't the hot vapor trapped in it be hot enough to sanitize the air in the headspace? What am I missing here?

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Post by Mad_Scientist » 1 year ago

Squeeze out what you can and then turn the cube upside down for about 10 minutes, and make sure all areas get contact with the hot wort during the initial fill.

MS

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Post by ShorePoints » 1 year ago

SubjectB, I must get a no-chill cube in spite of added equipment and storage factors. Until then, I move my still hot kettle from the burner to a safe place and cover it with a sanitized cloth (overnight) until pitching temperature is reached, then transfer to a fermenter/aerate and pitch. I see headspace concern in your cube as different only if you plan to keep it there for some time longer than a day before pitching. Remember that more transfers come with costs. Will the trapped hot air be detrimental? Not if the cube was sanitized and hot liquid touched all inside surfaces, including the cap. Once sealed, contraction will reduce pressure in the headspace. If you believe that that quantity of air is bad for storage in the cube, then changes should be made - more liquid/smaller cube. How about a heat tolerant bladder keeping a second liquid (or even isolated air) separate from the hot wort and occupying the extra volume in the cube? Just a crazy idea?

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Post by thughes » 1 year ago

SubjectB wrote:If the near boiling wort is hot enough to sanitize the inner surfaces of the cube, shouldn't the hot vapor trapped in it be hot enough to sanitize the air in the headspace?
Yes, just make sure to turn it upside down for a few minutes to sanitize the airspace with hot liquid. As to squeezing it, you will be amazed at how soft the plastic gets when you fill it with hot wort.

---Todd
Last edited by thughes on 14 Jan 2016, 04:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Headspace in no-chill cube

Post by Contrarian » 1 year ago

There is no way to remove all air from any no chill cube so it is just a matter of how much. If the cube is cleaned and sanitised there shouldn't be an issue. As others have said, squeeze as much air as possible out and roll the cube around every 10 minutes to get contact with every surface.

A mate had a no chill cube that wasn't full stored for over a year and it was fine. If you plan on pitching within a few days there shouldn't be any issues at all!

The other option is to brew slightly bigger batches and bottle whatever doesn't fit in a keg. I quite enjoy having a few bottles to take on the road as well as having kegs and bottling a gallon won't take long!

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Post by Mad_Scientist » 1 year ago

Jumping in here late. I recently brewed and transfered the entire lot, 6 gallons hot wort, into my 6 gallon no chill. Afterwards transfered all but 2.1 L of trub. Nice thing is the cold break and other trub all settles. If we get 3 L of trub, what is wrong with fermenting 21 L / 5.5 Gallons?

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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

Contrarian wrote:There is no way to remove all air from any no chill cube so it is just a matter of how much. If the cube is cleaned and sanitised there shouldn't be an issue. As others have said, squeeze as much air as possible out and roll the cube around every 10 minutes to get contact with every surface.

A mate had a no chill cube that wasn't full stored for over a year and it was fine. If you plan on pitching within a few days there shouldn't be any issues at all!

The other option is to brew slightly bigger batches and bottle whatever doesn't fit in a keg. I quite enjoy having a few bottles to take on the road as well as having kegs and bottling a gallon won't take long!
Lots of things to say on this...

Firstly, of course, you can remove all air from a no-chill cube so I'm not sure where that comment came from??? One way of doing this is given in Para 3 above.

Time is a factor that Contrarion mentions above and it is a very important one. Pitching a sealed, passively chilled wort (wort in a cube) has many different outcomes. Firstly, if you don't have a chiller and want to pitch as soon as your wort gets to ambient then you are better off chilling in the kettle and following some basic trub practices I won't explain here.

If you are planning to hold your wort in a "cube" for some period of time, many other factors come into play. I've held some beers for 18 months with no problems in a "cube" and, at other times, been totally shafted. I now know the reason why.

....

Have to end this here sorry as am running way behind on other things.

:dunno:
PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 31 Jan 2016, 23:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Headspace in no-chill cube

Post by Contrarian » 1 year ago

I think you can remove most of the air from a cube but with handles on top it is practically impossible to remove all the air from a cube, at least with the cubes I have there is no fill angle that completely fills the cube with wort and no air.

You can get it down to a very small amount but not zero.

I've only had 2 cubes that had issues and in both cases I knew that I hadn't cleaned them up to standard and I was taking a risk. With a properly cleaned and sanitized cube I have never had an infection.

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Post by Goodtime » 1 year ago

I had the unfortunate issue last night at the completion of a brew where the cube would not seal.

Things were getting hectic with multiple attempts all failing, replacement lid still not sealing, etc.

I quickly transferred the still very hot wort into another cube and sealed as quickly as possible losing around 500ml onto the floor!

The only problem is I had to do an extreme rush job on the sanitizing of the replacement cube so I'm now mega paranoid that there will be some nasties in there...I even woke up in a panic at 4am this morning thinking about it.

It all looked good as I left for work earlier today but I think I might get it into the fermenter tonight to mitigate any risk and get the yeast to do its thing.


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Post by PistolPatch » 1 year ago

So much to discuss here :scratch: :think: :dunno:.

Let me try and break it down... [EDIT: Don't have time to go into detail atm but here are just a few of the headings that we should address more fully.]

Timing
Circumstances
Oxidisation
Beer Style
Colour
Equipment


Just one quick thing on the last one...
Goodtime wrote:I had the unfortunate issue last night at the completion of a brew where the cube would not seal.
You are dead right on that one Goodtime.

In fact, it gets more complicated. I have had no-chill cubes stored for well over a year but, the next time I used the same cubes, the seal was no good.

Definitely, lots of things to elaborate on or explore here :drink:.
Last edited by PistolPatch on 06 Jul 2016, 22:55, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Muggy Dawson » 1 year ago

Just had a similar problem with the lid not sealing tight, just screwing around and around. The thread on the container doesn't seem to have held up to the heat. I'm going to explore some different brands and experiment a bit more until I put more precious nectar into the ones I've got.
Next - Bohemian Pilsner.
Cubed - Sierra Pale.
F.V's - Smokey Dark Ale, Basic Stout.
Briefly Bottled - Basic Stout II, Basic Stout III, Stock Stout, Victory Stout, Southern Cross Pale, Smoked Porter.


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Post by Streamer » 11 months ago

ShorePoints wrote:SubjectB, I must get a no-chill cube in spite of added equipment and storage factors. Until then, I move my still hot kettle from the burner to a safe place and cover it with a sanitized cloth (overnight) until pitching temperature is reached, then transfer to a fermenter/aerate and pitch. I see headspace concern in your cube as different only if you plan to keep it there for some time longer than a day before pitching. Remember that more transfers come with costs. Will the trapped hot air be detrimental? Not if the cube was sanitized and hot liquid touched all inside surfaces, including the cap. Once sealed, contraction will reduce pressure in the headspace. If you believe that that quantity of air is bad for storage in the cube, then changes should be made - more liquid/smaller cube. How about a heat tolerant bladder keeping a second liquid (or even isolated air) separate from the hot wort and occupying the extra volume in the cube? Just a crazy idea?
I'm always learning something on this forum, and boy do I have a lot to learn. SP, if your system of letting the wort cool as you describe has been working for you, why switch? Covering the boiled wort with a sanitized towel and transferring to a FV when cooled makes so much sense. I'm doing this my next batch. I can see using the cubes in the summer maybe, although I'm not sure it's much better than using a copper immersion chiller - depending on where you live. 
Last edited by Streamer on 27 Nov 2016, 14:58, edited 1 time in total.
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