Brewtech Conical Fermenter

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Paddington
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Brewtech Conical Fermenter

Post by Paddington » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:36 am

I'm thinking of investing in one of these or similar, but it will be a big outlay for me. Can I ask people's opinion of these, specifically why I should buy one! I'd also be interested if there's a cheaper, just as good alternative (Klarstein at £80 looks OK but is not conical). I'm looking at a 25 litre fermenter.

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Kev888
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Re: Brewtech Conical Fermenter

Post by Kev888 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:00 pm

If you would use the conical aspect then great - they can be most helpful in things like dumping rubbish, harvesting slurry and avoiding transfer to secondary FVs. But if you don't collect slurry, don't worry about trub, and don't feel the need for secondary FVs then they could be detrimental rather than beneficial. Also, sometimes having only one costly conical FV can be less convenient than multiple cheaper ones.

I've not tried the modern plastic conicals like fermentersaurus or fastferment. Most of the budget stainless DIY conicals I've seen are fairly ordinary - quite thin, no cooling jacket, just pointy tanks really. But they're quite usable and a considerable step up from the previous budget alternatives (like italian olive oil ones) and quite a bit cheaper than things like blichmanns. They can offer welded triclamp bulkheads too, meaning one thing less to strip and clean.

FWIW I've currently got a brewbuilder conical, which I understand is quite similar in manufacture to the SS brewtech ones. It is fine, though for me needs some accessories to really make it work well in practice - such as extra triclamp fittings, racking arm, a stand etc. You'd need a solution for temperature control, too.
Kev

Paddington
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Re: Brewtech Conical Fermenter

Post by Paddington » Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:33 pm

Hi, Kev - I control temperature in the usual fridge style contraption, so it would need to fit in that. I do collect yeast and I'm not sure why the conical is better for that? Is it just because it's easier to drain or does it help separate the trub from the yeast? I like the idea of being able to use the FV for racking. EDIT - just looked at the Brewbuilder one and that is a serious bit of kit!

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Re: Brewtech Conical Fermenter

Post by Kingfisher4 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:47 pm

The fastFerment plastic conical is well designed as a budget alternative, but seriously let down by the moulding quality, particularly of the threads.

Even with it’s insulating jacket and a purpose built and designed stand on casters, temperature control is very hit and miss. It would be awkward to fit in a brew fridge, but clearly not impossible. It has been a great starting fermenting vessel, great for bottling and transfers and okay for yeast and trub dumping but the build quality seriously lets it down, at least for my individual piece of kit bought last year. It also wastes 700 mls of beer each time you dump the trub / yeast.

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Re: Brewtech Conical Fermenter

Post by Paddington » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:45 pm

I'm tempted by the fermentosaurus after reading these comments plus a bit more research.

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Kev888
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Re: Brewtech Conical Fermenter

Post by Kev888 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:06 pm

Paddington wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:33 pm
...I do collect yeast and I'm not sure why the conical is better for that? Is it just because it's easier to drain or does it help separate the trub from the yeast? I like the idea of being able to use the FV for racking. EDIT - just looked at the Brewbuilder one and that is a serious bit of kit!
It might pay you to do a bit of research into the use of conicals, and so work out how they would/wouldn't work for your own particular needs. But yes, with respect to harvesting yeast slurry, they let you dump all the rubbish and failing yeast that settle out early, before later collecting the quality yeast you want (and discarding stuff that falls out later). If you wish to leave the beer in the FV for a while, the ability to dump stuff also means getting at the yeast sooner/easier (and avoids the beer sitting on rubbish and old yeast).

Though there are complications: if the timing is wrong this selectivity can accidentally select less desirable cells instead - like those that flocculate too early or late. There can also be a conflict of interests between when to harvest clean slurry and when to dry hop. There are other methods of harvesting yeast (such as top-cropping with some strains) that have their own benefits and each have their place.

The BrewBuilder conical is very convenient if you make use of the features, but its just a relatively budget pointy tank really (much like the SS brewtechs). There is sometimes a 'must have' perception of these things, but of course they don't imbue the beer with any special qualities or anything like that.
Kev

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orlando
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Re: Brewtech Conical Fermenter

Post by orlando » Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:24 am

Kev has provided enough reasons to justify stainless steel fermentors over plastic with conical versions adding more. I will add some more. Cleaning, sanitation and retention of value. In the long run plastic is a waste of money and the advantages of cleaning and sanitation is justification enough for me. I also find I can recover enough yeast of high quality and quantity so there is very little need to buy new yeast unless you want to try a new strain. If you buy fresh liquid yeast each time you brew that can be a considerable saving over time. The ability to dump the yeast without transferring to a separate vessel means you can ferment, cold crash and condition all in one vessel, reducing risks of oxygenating or contaminating the beer in doing so. Transfer to keg or bottle can be done from the racking port if it has one. This is a significant advantage over flat bottomed fermentors, particularly those without a bottom tap.

If you decide to stop brewing for any reason you will sell on your SS fermentor far easier than plastic. A racking arm can be useful but positioning of it is important if you don't want to lose a lot of Beer, in smaller FV's this can be surprisingly important, particularly if the head room is small. If you chill your Beer for sufficient time before racking, and fine it, then again not really a problem. Chilling brings significant benefits anyway. Finally, although not all SS conicals can take it, pressurised transfers confer a number of advantages too, albeit some plastic conicals can do this too.

To the question do they make better beer? Other than reducing the chances of an infected Beer, I would say no too.
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting: I Am A Patriot (Lacons Patriot clone)
Conditioning:
Drinking: From Russia With Love (RIS), Peaches, Reasons To Be Beerful, Someone, Somewhere, In Summertime

Up Next: Twist & Stout, Reasons To Be Beerful (Part Two)
Planning: Autumn drinking Beer.

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Re: Brewtech Conical Fermenter

Post by Paddington » Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:30 am

Thanks guys. I'm now torn between carrying on for now with buckets, getting a fermentosaurus because MM has a good deal on them or going for broke and getting a SS conical.

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orlando
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Re: Brewtech Conical Fermenter

Post by orlando » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:01 pm

Go for broke. You won't regret it. :wink:
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting: I Am A Patriot (Lacons Patriot clone)
Conditioning:
Drinking: From Russia With Love (RIS), Peaches, Reasons To Be Beerful, Someone, Somewhere, In Summertime

Up Next: Twist & Stout, Reasons To Be Beerful (Part Two)
Planning: Autumn drinking Beer.

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Re: Brewtech Conical Fermenter

Post by chefgage » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:31 pm

orlando wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:01 pm
Go for broke. You won't regret it. :wink:
This. I have one. I dont really use it to its full potential with regards yeast harvesting, pressure transfer, heating and cooling. I have done a couple of yeast harvests from it, one of which was very successfull.

But it certainly looks good stood there all shiney and fermenting away.

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