Whether you are starting a winery on your own land, have invented a new tea, building a small micro brewery, adding great tastes to your restaurant menu, trying your hand at distillation or just making great taste for your own consumption, we refer to everyone as a brewer and the product you are making as brew. We hope you don’t mind. We think fermenting as brewing. With a MiniBrew fermenter you have the opportunity to brew great taste. If you are a restaurateur, micro brewery or brew pub, our small fermenters are an easy less expensive way to get started. You can develop the taste and the customer following before spending huge sums of hard earned cash on fancy stainless steel tanks. Once you gain the reputation and following, up grade to a larger unit, save our small vessel for yeast propagation and product development. If you are planning on making just enough for family and friends, you have purchased the right product. By following the simple directions your MiniBrew fermenter will last a lifetime. Please fill out the registration card and give us your comments on our products. If you have a good idea or improvement to our product line, give us a call. All ideas we use will be rewarded with a free gift.
Advantages of the MiniBrew Fermenter:
- Fill directly through the bottom and reduce the risk of infection. No more siphons.
- The large bottom valve will drain the thickest of yeast.
- Wine makers add a nice blanket of CO 2 rather than top off or float the lid.
- No need for secondary transfer - brew like professional brewers - no more siphons.
- Prevent off-flavors by draining dead yeast cells daily without disturbing the brew.
- Use the racking port to fill kegs and bottles or for specific gravity samples and tasting. Measure specific gravity and temperature without risk of infection.
- Lager the wort by placing the fermenter in the refrigerator.
- Build a cooling system by wrapping tubing around outside and circulate cold water.
- Now gravity can do the work of moving the brew.
- Cleaning is easy. No more awkward bottle brushes or little tops to squeeze into.
- No more messy overflow – The stand is enclosed below the valve.
- Collect yeast for reuse and flavor consistency. Create a trademark a unique flavor.
- Open ferment in the proper (clean) environment. Make a Lambic style beer.
- The ring around the fermenter and stand act as handles - moving is easy. Ever drop a carboy? Brew more flavorful and tasty beer and wine. Good beer makes great whiskey Now you can aerate with clean oxygen while filling the fermenter.
About the Fermenter
All fermenter orders include the main fermenter vessel, stand, lid and all valves and parts necessary to ferment. Please check all parts delivered with the model you ordered. If fittings or parts are missing, ask the retail dealer where you purchased the product or notify the Hobby Beverage Equipment Company. All you need to get started is clean thoroughly, sterilize and start brewing. See parts list and assembly instructions in back. The large 1" valve at the apex of the cone is designed so the thickest of yeast will flow and for filling directly from the kettle, or a primary red wine fermenter or cooling device. The 1/2" thread on the side of the cone is for the racking port valve. It is used for racking to either kegs or bottles, tasting and specific gravity testing without distributing the settled yeast or exposure to bacteria. The 1/2" thread on the side of the cylinder is for a thermometer. The two 1/2" threads in the lid are for an airlock and for CO 2 injection. Thank you for purchasing the MiniBrew fermenter.
HOW TO USE
Cleaning the equipment
Clean everything thoroughly with a good detergent. Rinse until all traces of soap and chemicals are removed. Sterilize with any of the standard agents available. We prefer 180 degree water as it sinks into the plastic, valves and fittings killing all bad bacteria. A diluted solution of bleach works well. Filling the Fermenter. Gravity is the best way. However, pumps will work also. The lid should be in place on the fermenter and all parts cleaned and sterilized before proceeding. If you purchased our air lock it should be in place. Place the kettle or container holding the juice on a stand or table above the fermenter. Make sure the temperature is close to pitching temperature. Connect a hose from the container or kettle to the filling valve at the apex of the cone. Open the valves and gravity will do the work. A closed hose system is ideal because it protects the sensitive juices or wort from outside bacterial infection and provides an opportunity in the case of beer for programmed aeration. Once all liquid has drained from the container, close the bottom valve on the fermenter and disconnect the hoses. Using quick connects makes changing hoses easier. The lees or hops that transfers from the kettle or wine vessel can be removed in a few hours after it settles to the bottom. If you crush your own grapes you may want to use a vessel matching your recipe size where you can punch down the grapes then drain the juice into the fermenter.
Aerating the wort
Boiling removes air from the wort and the yeast needs air to survive and work. Air, or better yet, clean oxygen needs to be replaced. The ideal way is to inject clean oxygen used for medical applications into the wort as it drains from the kettle into the fermenter. This can best be accomplished by inserting a “T” fitting in the hose in-line between the kettle and the fermenter. The clean air needs space to mix with the wort. Therefore, place the “T” at least five feet away from the fermenter. The oxygen flow rate needed is approximately 2 PSI. With this idea there is no need to shake the fermenter as is recommended by some. Wine does not need aerating because it has not been boiled.
Pitching the yeast. Once you have the wort or wine juice in place and the right pitching temperature, pitch the live yeast. Replace the cover or air lock immediately after pitching. Fermentation should start within a few hours. The best way to tell when fermentation starts is by the smell of CO 2 or by placing your hand on the side of the fermenter or you can hear it.
Do not worry, you will get used to the feel and the sound of fermentation. Another and more accurate way is to take a specific gravity reading.
Removing the dead yeast
Dead yeast cells may give your beer or wine a bad flavor. Place a container under the bottom valve and open carefully. Do not open full. Remove the dead cells daily. You can’t remove all of them, don’t even try. A spray bottle filled with a mixture of bleach and water is needed to spray the valve end each time before opening and after closing. This procedure will wash out any excess yeast and disinfect the valve. The live yeast in suspension will become more active each time old cells are removed. Remove A small amount, a coffee cup full, or less of wort daily Wine can be done less often. The dead yeast cells can be used for tasting and specific gravity reading. Record the specific gravity and liquid temperature in a log daily. Sometimes very active beer yeast will bubble ever the top. The excess will run down the sides into the bottom. When this occurs, spray the outside of the fermenter and inside the stand with a bleach solution after soaking up excess with a clean cloth.
Inject CO 2 on top of the wine to protect it from bad bacteria. Because CO 2 is heavier than air, a layer will settle on top of the wine protecting it from bacteria. There is no need for a floating lid or topping off.
Once you have reached your projected specific gravity and you are satisfied fermentation is complete, prepare for racking. The valve on the side of the cone is for specific gravity testing, bottling or keg filling, called racking. If you choose to save live yeast for your next batch, do not remove the yeast from the bottom the day before you rack. About 30 percent of the yeast in the bottom is alive. Check with your local retail store for instructions on cleaning and saving yeast. You can rack directly to bottles or a soda keg. Use a bottle filler and racking hose to fill bottles. The plastic bottle filler tube is much easier than other methods of bottling. Kegging Connect the racking hose ball lock to the side with the stainless steel tube inside. Press the other end of the hose onto the barb connector or quick disconnect on the racking port valve. Open the racking valve and fill the keg. Once the keg is full, close tight and in the case of beer pressurize to 22 PSI, shake and place in a cold room or ice box. With wine, hook a racking cane to the end of a hose with the opposite end hooked to the racking port valve. Use the cane to fill the bottles, cool and serve.
The final yeast left in the bottom after racking can be reused. Brewers like to use the same yeast over and over again for three reasons. One: Provides consistency to a product. Two: Reduces cost. Three: The yeast will grow and develop into a unique product; a special taste that is yours alone. It becomes your personal trademark. The most important issue that you must be aware of is the yeast can easily become infected and needs to be checked regularly with a microscope. Professional brewers have access to laboratories with a microscope. They check for bacteria daily. The local wine or brew club might be interested in a joint purchase of a surplus microscope. The volume of yeast needed for reuse is very small. The yeast left in the bottom of the fermenter will layer. The middle layer is the best. This good yeast has a color that is almost white with a slight yellow cast. Therefore, drain off the bottom and watch for the color to change. Collect the middle layer, just a scoop full is enough. Place in a sterile jar and save at 38°f. This slurry of cropped yeast should last about two weeks. You will need to propagate the slurry up to the required volume a day or two before your next ferment. This will also ensure that your yeast is healthy and viable. Wash away the excess. Now you are on the road to creating your own unique flavors and tastes. Ask your local retail store for more information on yeast propagation.
Care and Cleaning
Clean all parts before assembly. Once assembled, remove the top and clean again. Rub the inside thoroughly with a soft cloth and a nonabrasive cleaner. A Teflon© type cleaning pad can be used. Always be careful to remove all residues from inside the MiniBrew fermenter after use. The last step is to sterilize. Pour hot water at 180° temperature down the sides or use two gurgles of bleach diluted with water. Miscellaneous Now you can brew with all the convenience and the options of a Master wine maker or brewer. Ask your local home beer and wine store for details on future MiniBrew products. They will assist you if you want to connect a pump, change fittings or need a recipe.
A billion dollar pharmaceutical company purchases our 8 gallon fermentation tanks (without the label) for use in a blood plasma separation device they manufacture. The United States Geological Survey has purchased our 40 gallon fermenters for use in checking on polluters of our river and streams. A new bioscience company buys our fermenter to assist them is developing a product that will detect minute blood in fecal matter. The businesses mentioned here can afford stainless steel. However, they find our plastic provides a superior product at a reasonable price. Manufacturing MiniBrew products are manufactured from high density food grade polyethylene. Threads are molded separately for added strength and quality. These inserts are then spin welded in after the molded tank cools. Some say a scratch will ruin plastic. If this is true, will a scratch also ruin stainless steel? Scratches in plastic can be repaired easily with a dull knife. The plastic resins used are HD-8600 series Escorene linear high density polyethylene. This tough plastic is resistant to all chemicals used in the brewing process. Our plastic melts at 240°. Your new equipment will last a lifetime with proper care. The next time you have the opportunity look at the bio science, medical, research labortories or any place that sterilization is important. You don’t see much stainless steel do you!