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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: gymrat on August 15, 2013, 02:56:30 PM

Title: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gymrat on August 15, 2013, 02:56:30 PM
Stout charges an arm and a leg for shipping so both of these are very close to the same price. I am looking at the 14.5 on each. On the stout I would want the one with the thermometer.

http://conical-fermenter.com/products/conicals/

Would it be better to buy this one?

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/the-fermenator-stainless-steel-conical-fermentor-14-5-gallon.html

Or this one?
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: thebigbaker on August 15, 2013, 03:02:08 PM
Stout charges an arm and a leg for shipping so both of these are very close to the same price. I am looking at the 14.5 on each. On the stout I would want the one with the thermometer.

http://conical-fermenter.com/products/conicals/

Would it be better to buy this one?

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/the-fermenator-stainless-steel-conical-fermentor-14-5-gallon.html

Or this one?

I currently do not have a conical, but many members here love their Fermenators.  If I eventually pull the trigger on a conical, a Fermenator is what I'll probably get.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gsandel on August 15, 2013, 03:05:32 PM
Stout Tanks come with Tri-Clamp fittings.  This could be a plus or minus.

on the plus side, they are professional level semi-sanitary fittings (only as clean as the operator, of course).

On the minus, it is a pain to introduce new fittings into the brewery.

I own Stout Tank HLT and have high opinion of it, but not any conicals.

Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: blatz on August 15, 2013, 06:26:15 PM
I have 2 fermenators.  I have had great experiences with them.

The triclamp fittings are better, but as gsandel said, changing your fittings can be a hassle.

I've never had an issue that I could attribute to the fittings - I soak with hot PBW, sanitize with iodophor or star san after every batch and once or twice a year, I break it entirely down and do an extended soak on all parts, and an acid soak to get the beer stone off.

I'm sure the Stout one is just as good, they just weren't around when I got my first blichmann.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: james on August 15, 2013, 07:22:32 PM
Don't forget about the Brewhemoth (http://www.brewhemoth.com) 

I've got a pair of them I ferment in
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gymrat on August 15, 2013, 07:55:07 PM
Don't forget about the Brewhemoth (http://www.brewhemoth.com) 

I've got a pair of them I ferment in

Those are 22 gallon fermenters. Good prices and free shipping. But I dont want that big of one.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: djsanta on August 15, 2013, 08:29:27 PM
I've been looking at these models too (in addition to the MoreBeer conical).  The Stout doesn't appear to be pressurized...in other words you have to gravity feed to your keg as opposed to transferring by CO2 as the Blichmann and MoreBeer are capable of doing.  Is this correct?  What about the Brewhemoth?
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on August 15, 2013, 08:52:52 PM
FERMENATOR.

Here's a few reasons:

1. First thing's first - the Stout Tank doesn't have a pressure relief valve. Not safe. These things aren't rated for very much pressure so its not hard to overpressure, especially when pressure transferring or if your blowoff gets clogged.

2. I don't like the downward-facing dump on the Stout. It would be tough to get an elbow in there for a tube connection, and you would be really limited in container size otherwise.

3. Why do you need a digital thermometer? Just another port to clean.

4. The domed top of the Fermenator allows for more head space.


Either way - definitely go with Tri-clamp. Stainless threads will significantly reduce the life of the unit.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: blatz on August 15, 2013, 09:08:37 PM
Either way - definitely go with Tri-clamp. Stainless threads will significantly reduce the life of the unit.

not the unit - those parts maybe - not downplaying the triclamp, but just saying you would only have to replace an elbow or ball valve $20-$30 not $800.

to be honest, I've been using my first one since i think 2007 or 8 and it still looks and works like brand new (when clean  ;D)

john recommends using the silicone barbs rather than SS to not wear out the threads, FYI.

again triclamp is best, just saying...
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gymrat on August 15, 2013, 10:14:25 PM
All of the stouts are pressurized so you can push the beer with CO2. And they are rated at 4lbs psi where the Blichmanns are rated at 3 from what I understand. and the Blichmann 7 gallon chonicals do not pressurized at all. Which brings me to the tri clamps seeming to make the stout a better purchase. Unfortunately due to customer service at midwest supplies I will miss out on the fiftyfifty deal. And that will be a big factor in my final decision. I called to ask what I would need to order with the conical to pressurize it. The guy didnt know so he said he would email Blichmann and ask. The sale ended today.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gymrat on August 16, 2013, 05:55:18 PM
I was pretty set on the Blichmann as I am so impressed with their over priced burner. Just kidding it is a fantastic piece of equipment.

But after researching both that and the Stout conical I decided on the Stout for the following reasons. Originally the price was going to be about the same for a 14.5 gallon conical. But I called midwestsupplies and asked some questions about anything I would need to purchase with the Blichman to be ready to go when I buy it. They didn't know the answers and needed to email Blichmann and ask then get back with me. In the mean time while doing that the $50 off sale ended. midwestsupplies is still my favorite online homebrew business. But they carry a vast array of inventory and they simply can't know everything about all they have in stock. Where as buying directly from a manufacturer I have expertise to draw on when I have questions.

I emailed Stout with the same questions and a few others. They promptly emailed me back, as in real time, with the answers and pointed out two conicals not on their website. This type of customer service to me is a big thing. As soon as I hear back from them on a question I asked when I got home from work last night I am fairly certain I will be ordering a 10 gallon conical for around $400.

Other selling points. On both the AHA forum and the brewtalk forums several said tri clamps are far superior to threaded fittings for both cleaning and durability. Tri clamps are standard on all Stout conicals but they are an extra $150 on the Blichmanns.

The Stouts come with the hose barbs on them, with the Blichmanns I would have to purchase them seperately. At least that is my understanding.

Stout Tanks custom builds commercial equipment for commercial breweries, the home brew versions are just miniaturized from those designs. The owner and founder of Stout Tanks has been a home brewer for 20 years.

Blichmann is an engineer and home brewer and builds the very best you can buy of what he builds. But it looks to me like the Stout equipment is not that far of a cry from what he does. It is certainly still an enormous step up for a guy who has been working with plastic buckets. I just can't justify the difference in price between the two. Also this way I will be dealing with the manufacturer and not a middle man.

Even though it is one more thing to clean around and sanitize I am going to get the one with the thermowell and thermometer. After talking on the phone with Stout Tanks I learned that the thermometer never actually touches the wort. There is a "well" that bubbles into the tank and the thermometer fits into that. So I will just have to clean the "bubble" that is molded or welded into the tank. The "thermowell" is an option, you can buy any of their conicals with it or without it.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: repo on August 16, 2013, 07:10:46 PM
I have 2 of the 7.3 stout conicals. I got them off ebay brand new for a pretty good deal. I've had them for a couple years now. Here are my thoughts. They are manufactured in China, Stout is not the manufacturer. I have never lost beer or had to have any work done on them. I have had to file done some sharp edges here and there. They are not high quality built products. They are not terrible either. I have fermometers on both of them and they work perfectly-3$ each. I set them on a counter to rack. 

The only benefit I find is the ability to dump/harvest yeast easily. If money were no object, I don't know that I would buy more. Buckets are easier to clean, sanitize and stack/store, or get into a fridge. I don't want to dissuade you but just offer my experience and feeling about them. They are very cool to look at.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gymrat on August 16, 2013, 07:54:15 PM
I appreciate that input. I haven't found anything that candid anywhere else. One thing I am looking at in a conical vs a bucket is the ability to push with CO2 as it eliminates lifting a full bottling bucket.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gymrat on August 16, 2013, 08:01:11 PM
Repo bottom line...would you pay 200 to 300 dollars difference for a Blichmann?
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: repo on August 16, 2013, 10:18:42 PM
Repo bottom line...would you pay 200 to 300 dollars difference for a Blichmann?

No I don't think I would. It's like getting a Mercedes vs an average car, one is just nicer. But if money were no object, I'd go with the best.I got mine for about 275$ each after shipping. I'm sure  I could get close to that selling them now after 2 years. Kinda like kegs I think they will hold their value if not increase as stainless steel becomes more and more expensive.  Yeah the co2 push is another benefit , I don't need it with mine but anything bigger and it would be an absolute must.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: ibru on August 17, 2013, 02:04:18 PM
I've had a Stout 14.5 conical for about 4 years. I have been very happy with it. I know there are better conicals out there for more money, but I'd do it again. I love the ease of dumping yeast and clean up with the tri clamps. As stated earlier, there isn't a lot of room under the dump valve but putting 2 X 4 blocks under the legs solve that. I can get a quart jar under it.
At the time I bought mine pushing with CO2 was an option with this model so I put the conical in a converted freezer that sits on top a Harbor Freight scissors cart so I use gravity to fill kegs. This also allows me to wheel it around my shop.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gymrat on August 17, 2013, 03:11:22 PM
Thankyou Ibru. I have been googling and reading everything I can find on Stout, Blichmann, and Stout vs Blichmann. One thing I have noticed consistently is that Stout owners are anywhere from satisfied to happy with them. One guy on the beersmith forum owned both a stout and a Blichmann. He didn't think one was any better than the other. He said each had advantages and disadvantages. One advantage he gave to the Stout was that it comes off of the legs which makes it easier for him to clean than the Blichmann with the legs attached.

The only negative reviews I have found on them have been from non owners. So I am convinced I won't be disappointed and went ahead and ordered a 10 gallon one last night. The biggest downside I could see is that, as another responder in this thread pointed out, it doesn't have a relief valve. My regulator has one so I am going to look into finding out whether or not I can get a 5lb relief valve to change out on my regulator when pushing my beer into my bottling bucket or keg.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: micsager on September 04, 2013, 08:34:32 PM
I just bought a couple used 42 gallon Blichmann's.  Of course I had to spend some time cleaning, but Love these things.  But, I have nothing to compare to, other than a plastic bucket.  LOL
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: corkybstewart on September 04, 2013, 10:44:46 PM
The biggest problem with owning a conical is that temperature control just got complicated.  I had to build my fermentation chamber with a window AC mounted on an insulated plywood box the size of a fridge.  It works great, especially with a thermowell and digital temp controller, but it's a pretty big space waster if you don't have plenty of room.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: BrewArk on September 04, 2013, 11:05:14 PM
The biggest problem with owning a conical is that temperature control just got complicated...

Precisely the reason I stuck w/a 7 gallon over a 14.  I can fit the 7 in my beer fridge. 8)
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gymrat on September 05, 2013, 05:34:16 AM
My question is, all things being the same, why is temperature control a problem with a conical but not with a bucket?
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: BrewArk on September 05, 2013, 05:55:24 AM
My question is, all things being the same, why is temperature control a problem with a conical but not with a bucket?

I'd say temperature control IS important with a bucket.  (That is why I used my limited funds to get a beer fridge a couple years before I got a conical.)   I think most would agree that temperature control has more impact than fermenter shape.

Steel conicals can conduct heat quicker than plastic buckets, but over the time the beer ferments, I don't expect that to be much of an impact.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gmac on September 05, 2013, 12:02:28 PM
Can someone tell me more about the Brewhemoth?  I go to St Louis regularly and I'm thinking about 3 of them. I like the price and the 1/2 barrel capacity.
Pressurize?  Clean out? Anything else? 
For the money I can't a lot more capacity compared to the Blichmann and Stout never returned my inquiries.
Thanks
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gymrat on September 05, 2013, 02:11:11 PM
Can someone tell me more about the Brewhemoth?  I go to St Louis regularly and I'm thinking about 3 of them. I like the price and the 1/2 barrel capacity.
Pressurize?  Clean out? Anything else? 
For the money I can't a lot more capacity compared to the Blichmann and Stout never returned my inquiries.
Thanks

I never heard of these before I bought my Stout. Looking at it I am amazed at the price for the capacity. Though you do have to buy all of your fittings separately where all of mine came with my conical. But for a 22 gallon capacity that you can pressurize that would certainly be worth it.

http://brewhemoth.com/tri-clover-brewhemoth

Theirs even has an immersion chiller attachment.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gymrat on September 05, 2013, 02:44:51 PM
My question is, all things being the same, why is temperature control a problem with a conical but not with a bucket?

I'd say temperature control IS important with a bucket.  (That is why I used my limited funds to get a beer fridge a couple years before I got a conical.)   I think most would agree that temperature control has more impact than fermenter shape.

Steel conicals can conduct heat quicker than plastic buckets, but over the time the beer ferments, I don't expect that to be much of an impact.

This makes complete sense to me. I had a lot of people on different forums telling me if I get a conical I need to find a way to keep it cool. I never could figure out what would make the conical any different than the bucket. They are both doing exactly the same thing. They are just different shapes and different materials. I reasoned that if my beer seems fine now coming out of a bucket why would it be any different, in the same conditions, coming out of a stainless steel conical? I have never checked the fermenting temperatures on my buckets as I always felt there really wasn't much I could do about them without buying a freezer or building an insulated room for them and cooling it. They sit in 67 degrees ambient temperature and the finished product comes out just fine other than a few of my American Wheats having a Hefewiezen character to them. Now I know that from time to time I must have had some warm fermentations that caused that.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: repo on September 05, 2013, 03:06:07 PM
My question is, all things being the same, why is temperature control a problem with a conical but not with a bucket?

I believe what the person who made that comment was referring to was the size and shape of the conical. It does not easily conform to the usual fridge/freezer options for temperature control. It does require more space and lifting it into or out of a freezer is not an option, and it is too tall for most fridges.  I have not noticed any difference in the temperature of the beer when fermenting side by side, a bucket and conical.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: corkybstewart on September 05, 2013, 03:15:06 PM
My question is, all things being the same, why is temperature control a problem with a conical but not with a bucket?

I believe what the person who made that comment was referring to was the size and shape of the conical. It does not easily conform to the usual fridge/freezer options for temperature control. It does require more space and lifting it into or out of a freezer is not an option, and it is too tall for most fridges.  I have not noticed any difference in the temperature of the beer when fermenting side by side, a bucket and conical.
That's exactly the issue I meant to raise, not that it's more important for a conical, it's just more complicated.  You have lots of options for cooling buckets and carboys, but conicals are large and just don't fit inside many standard appliances or tubs of cool water.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: AmandaK on September 05, 2013, 06:08:10 PM
That's exactly the issue I meant to raise, not that it's more important for a conical, it's just more complicated.  You have lots of options for cooling buckets and carboys, but conicals are large and just don't fit inside many standard appliances or tubs of cool water.

I believe this is why many people use a stainless steel coil with circulating ice water inside their conicals.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: klickitat jim on September 05, 2013, 08:58:00 PM
I was about to start a thread asking why I need to switch to conicals and now I know the answer. I don't. I'll bet they're awesome if you're doing nano or bigger, but for 5 gallon batches I can't see beating a bucket
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: morticaixavier on September 05, 2013, 09:43:25 PM
I was about to start a thread asking why I need to switch to conicals and now I know the answer. I don't. I'll bet they're awesome if you're doing nano or bigger, but for 5 gallon batches I can't see beating a bucket

heck there are a lot of nano's that have come to the same conclusion as you for 20 gallon batches.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: klickitat jim on September 05, 2013, 11:04:28 PM
I'll bet that's true. I'm not anti conical. I'm just not seeing enough reason to switch
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gymrat on September 06, 2013, 12:16:37 AM
I decided to switch when I read about pushing the beer out with CO2. This will eliminate lifting a bottling bucket. I am an old decrepid gymrat who has had 3 hernia surgeries and is going in for a new hip in October. I eliminated a lot of lifting with a hydraulic jack table and this, I am hoping, will eliminate the rest of it.
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gmac on September 06, 2013, 03:56:27 AM
I decided to switch when I read about pushing the beer out with CO2. This will eliminate lifting a bottling bucket. I am an old decrepid gymrat who has had 3 hernia surgeries and is going in for a new hip in October. I eliminated a lot of lifting with a hydraulic jack table and this, I am hoping, will eliminate the rest of it.
Get a home forklift.

I have a bunch of buckets but I've had infections issues and I'm sick of moving them around etc which is why I'm looking at conicals. I want to get to 1/2 barrel batches of my common brews and I'm not looking forward to moving all those buckets around. I really want to add a filter system and the ability to move beer under pressure is appealing.   
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: gymrat on September 06, 2013, 05:19:38 AM
I decided to switch when I read about pushing the beer out with CO2. This will eliminate lifting a bottling bucket. I am an old decrepid gymrat who has had 3 hernia surgeries and is going in for a new hip in October. I eliminated a lot of lifting with a hydraulic jack table and this, I am hoping, will eliminate the rest of it.
Get a home forklift.

I have a bunch of buckets but I've had infections issues and I'm sick of moving them around etc which is why I'm looking at conicals. I want to get to 1/2 barrel batches of my common brews and I'm not looking forward to moving all those buckets around. I really want to add a filter system and the ability to move beer under pressure is appealing.

This looks right up your alley http://brewhemoth.com/tri-clover-brewhemoth
Title: Re: opinions on which conical is better solicited
Post by: james on September 06, 2013, 06:14:10 AM
I decided to switch when I read about pushing the beer out with CO2. This will eliminate lifting a bottling bucket. I am an old decrepid gymrat who has had 3 hernia surgeries and is going in for a new hip in October. I eliminated a lot of lifting with a hydraulic jack table and this, I am hoping, will eliminate the rest of it.
Get a home forklift.

I have a bunch of buckets but I've had infections issues and I'm sick of moving them around etc which is why I'm looking at conicals. I want to get to 1/2 barrel batches of my common brews and I'm not looking forward to moving all those buckets around. I really want to add a filter system and the ability to move beer under pressure is appealing.

I've got a pair of the brewhemoth conicals that I like, but before I had them I would ferment in 1/2bbl sanke kegs with stem removed.  Put sanitized empty keg in chest freezer, pump wort in, ferment, then use co2 to push out.