Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

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MarkF_2703
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Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by MarkF_2703 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:37 pm

Looking at the Brewbuilder 33l Fermenter ATM wondering if there are any benefits/drawbacks?

Easier to clean/sanitise than Plastic?
Better temp control in a fridge?

That sort of thing, obviously cost is a drawback but then new shiny thing is a positive :D depends where you sit, but as its a hobby I don't mind splashing out a bit.

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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by Jim » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:49 pm

How much!!!!! ;)

Seriously, I think cost is the only down side. I'd love a SS fermenter, but can't justify spending so much on it given how often I brew these days.
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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by Fil » Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:02 pm

Consider how often you retire plastic fermentors to dedicated storage or other duties when deciding f its a financially justifiable expense :)

but with SS fermentor your top benefits imho is its longevity of life and the fact if necessary you can apply heat/flame to sanitise.

Unless you need the ability to maintain pressure in the FV (for vessel transfer against gravity?) i would suggest a basic cheap stock pot could provide you with a nice SS fermentor option. circa £30-35 if bought direct from the ebay.fr suppliers

Fwiw i employ a 80l thermopot as a FV for my larger brews as the insulation is ample to contain the temperature of the brew requiering only a chilling input via an IC hex even in winter. Dont consider a thermopot without a plan for active chilling tho..

edit Hwever a basic stock pot will not support its mass when full by its handles. so dont buy one planning to lump it from floor to waist height by its handles.. a webbing strap guided thru the handles under the base however should work a treat ...
ist update for months n months..
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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by TheSumOfAllBeers » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:14 pm

With stainless you have a lifetime product. And stainless means never having to worry that your fermenter is going to spoil your current batch.

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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by IPA » Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:17 am

I bought a Brewtech stainless fv and it is nowhere as convenient as a Brewferm plastic one. The much vaunted revolving racking arm is worse than useless and it far more difficult to clean and store.
Shun the shiney give me fantastic plastic every time.
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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by chris2012 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:06 am

IPA is that the brewbucket that you're referring out of interest?

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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by MarkF_2703 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:55 pm

Thanks so far, yes I realise the expense is the big issue, but if I wanted cheap beer I would just buy 20 tins of the cheapest lager in Sainsburys, with just the basic kit I have it will take a few years to get near that cost I reckon :D

I have been giving it some thought too, the ability to lift into the fridge is a must, also the transparency of the plastic buckets allow me to see a rise and also the level of trub collecting. So far after 2 years cleaning has been easy, as has sanitising, whipping the taps off and soaking them independently etc.

Got my eye on a Grainfather anyway ;)

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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by Hogarth » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:43 am

I prefer stainless, but there's a lot to be said for plastic. You can fill a plastic fermenter with bleach and not worry you're going to start pitting the surface. You can crash cool it without sucking in oxygen -- the plastic should have enough 'bag' in it to compensate for the decrease in volume. You don't need a sight glass or dip stick. And if it's clear plastic, you get to the watch the show in real time. It's almost worth it just for that alone. :D

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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by IPA » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:17 pm

chris2012 wrote:
Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:06 am
IPA is that the brewbucket that you're referring out of interest?
Yes do you want to buy it? :D :D
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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by Kev888 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:31 pm

MarkF_2703 wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:37 pm
Looking at the Brewbuilder 33l Fermenter ATM wondering if there are any benefits/drawbacks?

Easier to clean/sanitise than Plastic?
Better temp control in a fridge?
It depends on what you want from one, but the BB flat bottomed fermenters are pretty good IMO. They have hygienically welded bulkheads, so no threads to worry about disassembling, and the seals (with any valve etc) release quickly with the triclamp system. Similar for the lid's blow-off port. The only real downside compared to plastic buckets is obviously cost - of the FV itself and of the triclamp fittings/taps - but it is good value compared to other stainless.

You're unlikely to see huge advantages from heat transfer in a fridge, there will be a little improvement but the air is still a key limiting factor. It could be noticeably beneficial if you wanted to use external cooling coils and probes, though. It is somewhat easier to clean wrt the welded bulkheads and triclamps mentioned, and also the material is harder and more impervious so it doesn't need such long soaks in strong chemicals, it can even be gently scrubbed with a non-scratch cloth or scrubby pad if needed.

Stainless isn't perfect of course: it won't make better beer, it costs more up front, can rust and pit if something goes wrong, and the thin stuff is more prone to permanent dings if dropped etc. For home-brewing, plastic is still a very good choice. But if price is not a factor and if you are able to look after it, then IMO the bulkheads and impervious nature of the stainless option make it preferable, all else being equal.
Kev

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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by McMullan » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:32 pm

Main benefit: resale value. There are some great SS FVs on the home-brew market these days. However, SS FVs are really commercial grade products, in my mind, engineered for continuous abuse. I'd recommend food-grade plastic FVs for home brewers, ideally with wide openings for primary fermentation, allowing easy access for thorough cleaning. The transparent jobbies, 'betterbottle' type, make excellent 'secondaries', or bright vessels, or ageing vessels, depending on what we're calling them these days. I've been considering SS FVs for years, but I'm still using plastic. It works fine.

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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by TheSumOfAllBeers » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:35 pm

The ability to use an exterior cooling coil is a big advantage of stainless.

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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by McMullan » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:52 pm

TheSumOfAllBeers wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:35 pm
The ability to use an exterior cooling coil is a big advantage of stainless.
What do you cool it with?

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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by TheSumOfAllBeers » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:08 pm

Maxi cooler. But I did initially cool it with a coolbox full of ice and a solar pump.

Have pics somewhere, should write up

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Re: Stainless Fermenter - Benefits/drawbacks?

Post by McMullan » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:18 pm

Sounds it bit inconvenient with additional costs, over a fridge?

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