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I'm brewing on board a boat, so nothing here is ideal. I'm just trying to reduce some equipment and simplify the process. I want to add a spigot to the fermenter that will hold about 3.5 - 4 gallons.

Since I've never tried to brew this big of a batch all at once, I was hoping to get some advice on how high off the bottom should I place the spigot to ensure it will be clear of the sediment? I'd like to get it about right the first time.

Thanks for the help.

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Regardless of where you end up placing the spigot, you should research the different yeast strains to find the best one for your desired style which will produce a tight yeast cake. S-04, for example, is an English yeast that compacts into a very tight cake. This is obviously very desirable for you if you don't want the spigot below the yeast level. –  Graham Jul 1 '13 at 12:21
    
@Graham I appreciate that info. Usually I'm not in a location where I can special order anything. I have to take what I can find or in the rare case what someone can hand carry to me when they fly in. –  user6972 Jul 1 '13 at 16:43
    
Could you keep the second bucket by placing the fermentor in the bottling bucket during fermentation. Then when ready, temporarily move the beer into the second bucket. –  uSlackr Jul 8 '13 at 17:37

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Unfortunately there's not going to be a single right answer since the amount of sediment depends a lot on how much yeast there is, which is a factor of the batch size, O.G., yeast health, etc. Also there may be more or less hot and cold break depending on the rest of your brew process.

If possible I would try to brew a typical batch and then see how bit your yeast cake actually is.

If in doubt, I would mount the spigot a little higher than anticipated. You can always tilt the bucket to get the last bit of beer out, but if the spigot is below the yeast cake level you're going to have a tough time. You could also add a tip tube later on if need be.

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Having not brewed this size before I was going to guess two inches off the bottom. But I was hoping someone might have a typical range for a 5 gallon home-depot style bucket. I'll be using a wide variety of ingredients from where ever I can find them so there's probably not going to be a typical batch. –  user6972 Jul 1 '13 at 8:21
    
Well I would say the range is probably 1/2" to 3", but it really depends on all the factors I list above. (I did a pumpkin beer last fall with a lot of pumpkin in the boil and probably had 6" of yeast + debris from a 5 gallon batch.) I would definitely do higher than 2". You can always tilt the bucket when you're getting to the bottom to get the last inch or two of beer. If you install a dip tube, you can rotate it up or down depending on the yeast cake size. –  Henry Jackson Jul 1 '13 at 16:47
    
I met a brewer who tilted his fermentor so the trub was thiner on one side that the other. If you follow this idea, tilt away from the spigot and tilt back when ready to drain. –  uSlackr Jul 8 '13 at 17:35
    
@uSlackr: That seems like a clever way to manage if the spigot is too low, but I'd still rather have it too high and then tilt when draining. Otherwise you need to find a way to prop it at an angle for the entire fermentation, and guess where the yeast cake will end up. –  Henry Jackson Jul 9 '13 at 16:39
    
I doubt you'd see that much movement of the cake over a short period of time. But there no reason to keep it tilted the whole time. Start draining from the high side and move to level when it gets low. –  uSlackr Jul 9 '13 at 16:41

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