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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: bigfatjoey on April 30, 2010, 05:19:52 AM

Title: Conical Fermenters
Post by: bigfatjoey on April 30, 2010, 05:19:52 AM
Just a quick survey on who (if anyone) uses Conical fermentnters.

Is it worth the money?

If I'm looking to step up my brewing is this a good step forward?
Title: Re: Conico Fermenters
Post by: majorvices on April 30, 2010, 05:27:30 AM
I use one for large batches. For small batches I still use carboys and buckets. The pros are they are easy to clean, you can collect yeast very easy and they are easier to transfer from. The only cons are they are expensive. My .02 is if you only brew 5 gallon batches they aren't worth the price. 10+ gallons and maybe they are, if you have the money.
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 30, 2010, 06:09:36 AM
I have a conical and think it was an improvement to my system.  Many pluses, can't think of any minus.
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: blatz on April 30, 2010, 07:09:31 AM
I have a conical and think it was an improvement to my system.  Many pluses, can't think of any minus.

+1 - one of my favorite 'toy' purchases.
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: majorvices on April 30, 2010, 07:27:42 AM
 Many pluses, can't think of any minus.

Expense? That's what keeps most from purchasing them. I makes collecting easier. It won't necessarily make you beer better, though.

What I will say, and this may not apply to the OP, is a better way to spend money is on temp control. A chest freezer and a temp controller will make a profound difference in the quality of your beer. Conicals sure are nice though.
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: blatz on April 30, 2010, 07:35:17 AM
well, yeah, I can't see how it would make your beer better - its just something that makes like a little easier in the handling.

I especially like being able to dump cold break (I know some of you leave it in the kettle, but I haven't figured that one out yet)  and being able to rack to keg with much less yeast cake making its way like the autosiphon.
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: majorvices on April 30, 2010, 07:37:40 AM
For some reason I never can get a good dump on the break in my conical. It comes out like ... well ... a bad dinner at captain d's. I just feel like I am wasting beer.
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: blatz on April 30, 2010, 07:57:01 AM
LOL!!!

that's why I make 12gal batches - I realistically get 11-11.5 or so in the conical, and then don't mind dumping a half gallon or so.  gotta let it really compact, in my experience - takes several hours - and I admit, I never get it all, but its highly reduced. 

I did a visual comparison once of jars of yeast saved from APA and IPA batches - the APA I'd dumped the CB and then reused the slurry on the IPA - I'd forgotten to dump on that one.  The saved yeast slurry did *look* more pure on the APA but of course there are many variables at play, but it was enough for me to say, yeah, it does some benefit.
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: mikeypedersen on April 30, 2010, 07:59:33 AM
What do you guys do for temp control on the conicals?  Upright fridge?
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: majorvices on April 30, 2010, 08:38:08 AM
I have an upright freezer.
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: hamiltont on April 30, 2010, 09:01:40 AM
I built a Fermentation Box about 4'X6'X6' & use a RANCO controller with a 5200BTU A/C unit. ~$200 I built the conical out of a 15 gallon inductor tank ( http://www.norwesco.com/page.cfm?menu=47 )& made the cart with scrap wood for a total of ~$100.
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 30, 2010, 09:40:18 AM
For me cost was not a minus - it was my retirement gift from the folks I worked with!

I bought a temp control set up, and it is in the big 6 month/year fridge, also called the garage.
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on May 01, 2010, 07:20:17 PM
What do you guys do for temp control on the conicals?  Upright fridge?
I use large fridge.
Works well.
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: skynyrd on May 06, 2010, 06:31:38 AM
I have 2 - 7 gal. stainless steel conicals that are fermenting their 2nd batches.  After busting carboys and plastic bucket fermenters going bad (cracking and leaking from the bottom seams)(probably from extended use in lagering freezers)  Anyway, the conicals are the finishing touch to my equipment.  The 7g. ones are pretty easy to handle.  Lifting them in and out of the chest lagering freezer.  (Note: I did have to cut the legs of the stands so that they will fit in my chest freezer with out any freezer modifications.)  If you are buying a temp. controller... buy the digital one.  As soon as I can find some place with a "stopper thermowell" in stock where I can use the temp. controller probe to moniter the actual wort temp. (the digital one is the only one that will work with the "thermowell". 
I'm new to the yeast harvesting from the conicals... see my new post in this forum under yeast & fermentation...  waitin for replies.
BTW:  I found my ss conicals on ebay.  Less than 300.00 ea.  ....that make the decision easier?
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: dak0415 on May 06, 2010, 07:49:56 AM
Lee,
Check out http://www.stirplates.com/tWellStraight.htm

I got a thermowell from him a few months ago, works great.  I just put a small rubber stopper in the open end when sanitizing and cleaning to keep the well dry.

Dave Koenig
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: blatz on May 06, 2010, 08:03:35 AM
not trying to talk you out of it, but I have tested a thermowell (borrowed from a friend) versus a foam insulation sleeve against the steel near the cone, and frankly the temp was within a half degree as measured by my thermocouple reader (dual readout handset with 2 probes measured over an 8 hour period). 

the tape and foam insulation to create the sleeve for my temp control probe cost me about 3 cents, so I go that route instead  ;D ;)
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: capozzoli on May 06, 2010, 04:09:53 PM
Ive been thinking about something like this.

(http://www.oilybits.com/images/uploads/TANK,%20CONICAL%20120%20SCREW%20CAP.jpg)

http://frugalconicalfermenter.blogspot.com/

But I have a long way to go. I have to start kegging before I would ever consider one of these things.
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: skynyrd on May 07, 2010, 02:56:24 PM
Thanks Dave....  I've been searching for one everywhere.  Might just try the foam and tape deal first...  And thanks to blatz too.  There is info here!
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: dak0415 on May 07, 2010, 06:45:06 PM
Thanks Dave....  I've been searching for one everywhere.  Might just try the foam and tape deal first...  And thanks to blatz too.  There is info here!
What temp controller do you have?
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: skynyrd on May 18, 2010, 07:50:46 PM
I've got both.  The anolog and the digital on the other freezer.  I also have 2 cordless indoor / outdoor thermometers to make sure of the temp in the freezers.  (a must for the anolog one)
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: mabrungard on May 19, 2010, 10:35:01 AM
I've had a 12 gal SS conical for about 5 years.  I don't think they make my beer better.  The main reason I use one is to avoid glass carboys and the inherent danger they pose if dropped. 
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: IHBHS on May 20, 2010, 12:52:36 PM
Out of necessity for brewing more beer, I had to build my own.  I started with a half barrel, cut the top off a corny, welded that to the half barrel, put two valves in it and whammo, 16.5g fermenter
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: glitterbug on May 20, 2010, 12:55:54 PM
Out of necessity for brewing more beer, I had to build my own.  I started with a half barrel, cut the top off a corny, welded that to the half barrel, put two valves in it and whammo, 16.5g fermenter

got any pics of this?
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: realbeerguy on May 20, 2010, 08:22:52 PM
I picked up a B3 temp controlled 12 gal conical on Craigs LIst.  It's good because I make 10 gal batches of my house beers, but wouldn't have bought it retail.  I'd get the Blichman and an upright freezer  if I had to do it again.
Title: Re: Conical Fermenters
Post by: skynyrd on May 22, 2010, 04:39:13 AM
Thanks Blatz for the foam insulation as a thermowell.  I've tried it & like it!  1 thing less to clean and sanitize!