I eventually gave up on boiling starters in my flask. My problem was that the design was the perfect shape to shoot wort onto the ceiling above the stove. My method now is to boil in a pot and then pour the cool wort into the sanitized flask.
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This is my buddy Mason. Yes, he's pretty big - 22 lbs (10 kilos). His nicknames are "Big Guy" and "10-K"
...I couldn't get the stopper to stay on the flask.
Open fermenters are used most of the time. You can find some breweries with conical fermenters.
I have seen one small brewery that beer was fermented in open wood barrels and lagered in closed wood barrels. Beer was fantastic.