Author Topic: Plastic Conical Fermenters  (Read 8159 times)

Offline Gribble

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Plastic Conical Fermenters
« on: January 10, 2012, 11:13:25 PM »
I have been using 15 gallon plastic induction tanks for about a year now with great success.  The only modification I have made to them is using LD Carlson's Better Bottle Racking Adapter installed just as you would in a better bottle carboy.  I have not had a problem at all with this system as the racking adapter is easily removed for easy cleaning.  The only downside to these induction tanks is that they are not able to be pressurized, but on the small scale it is not that big of a hassle.  However, I am currently putting together all of the equipment needed for my 3 bbl brewery. 

Due to the low cost of these tanks, along with the approval from the Washington State Dept. of Ag, I have been thinking about using them.  Here's where I run into problems.  I'm fairly positive that I can get these to seal where they could hold up to 20 psi.  The problem lies in the holes that I'm going to have to port into a tank.  One for the racking arm, one for the thermowell, two for the immersion chiller, one for the co2 port, and one more for the cip.  That's six hole that are going to have to be drilled with at least two of them below the liquid line.  Times six fermenters, thats 36 holes I have to worry about sealing, not to mention the 12" lid. 

I have found some very nice SS pieces that are very sanitary that would work great, but I'm just worried that some time during the course of using any one of the tanks that I might run into problems with and I really dont want to have that happen with 100 gallons of beer sitting in it.  Anyone have any advice for me?  I really dont want to have to spend $1900 a pop for SS fermenters if I don't have to right away.

Thanks.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Plastic Conical Fermenters
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2012, 10:06:39 AM »
Like it or not.
You can not seal the fermenter.
I have tried but had to buy bright tanks.

You should use bulkhead fittings for your ports.
Something like this:
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=65992.
Plumb your racking port with 1 1/2" TC fitting.
You can use 1" for CIP
and 1/2" for cooling coil.
Your cooling coil HAS to be SS.
Tape the temp probe to the wall and insulate your fermenter.
No need for thermowell.
No need for CO2 port.

Good Luck.
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
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Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline Gribble

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Re: Plastic Conical Fermenters
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2012, 01:45:04 PM »
I looked at those and I was wondering if they are threaded on the inside of the bulkhead fitting otherwise how are you going to connect your racking arm to it. 
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: Plastic Conical Fermenters
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2012, 02:15:58 PM »
I looked at those and I was wondering if they are threaded on the inside of the bulkhead fitting otherwise how are you going to connect your racking arm to it. 

Something like this:
Inside


Outside
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Offline Gribble

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Re: Plastic Conical Fermenters
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2012, 02:33:13 PM »
Ok and how is your racking arm sealed, does it thread through the bulkhead fitting or is there an oring
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: Plastic Conical Fermenters
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2012, 02:35:34 PM »
Ok and how is your racking arm sealed, does it thread through the bulkhead fitting or is there an oring
There are 2 soft washer shaped gaskets. Google "polyethylene bulkhead fitting" Images & you should see what it looks like.

The bulkhead fitting is threaded on both sides. I have a 1/2" nipple on the inside & a 1/2" nipple on the outside. Both independent of each other.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 02:44:03 PM by hamiltont »
If Homebrew & BBQ aren't the answer, then you're askin' the wrong questions... Cheers!!!

Offline Gribble

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Re: Plastic Conical Fermenters
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2012, 02:46:25 PM »
ok that makes sense so the ID of the bulkhead is threaded.  if your nipples are independent of each other how do you adjust your racking arm?  I'm about to head down to my local industrial hardware store and take a look at some.  I was thinking if i did a 2" bulkhead fitting with a 1 1/2" racking arm that is threaded in from the outside that would give me adjustability and the ability to remove for easy cleaning.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: Plastic Conical Fermenters
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012, 02:56:04 PM »
Racking arm is fixed and above the bottom of the conical maybe a couple inches. Notice it's centered right over the dump port hole. I dump the yeast until beer runs, clear the yeast out of the racking port & fill kegs until I see yeast flowing again. All in all I lose maybe a quart of beer in the process. The yeast clings pretty good on the wall of the conical until you get down to the end.

Here's a pic of the yeast in the conical after I racked off the beer.


And then harvesting the yeast for the next brew
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Plastic Conical Fermenters
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2012, 04:26:08 PM »
Yes bulkhead fittings are threaded on inside.

Hamilton's solution works great on homebrew scale.
You will not be able to reach inside bulkhead fitting for racking port.

You would I stall 1 1/2 TC and inserted racking arm thu it.
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline Gribble

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Re: Plastic Conical Fermenters
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2012, 05:30:19 PM »
I went down to my local irrigation specialists and too a look at their 2" bulkheads and totally agree that this would work.  How well does the bulkhead fitting deal with the curvature of the tank?  Where did you find food grade gaskets for them?  Also was thinking about how you'd do your racking arm and was thinking custom build the arm and use a compression fitting to seal the arm in the fitting. 
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Plastic Conical Fermenters
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2012, 07:37:08 PM »
Bulkhead fitting comes with gasket.
It is quite thick and work just fine with curve tank.
I have to say that I have 350 gal tanks.

Racking arm.
You would buy something like this:
http://m.glaciertanks.com/product.cgi?group=1701&product=1702

Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline Gribble

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Re: Plastic Conical Fermenters
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2012, 10:40:52 PM »
Was thinking that, and then just use a 2"NPT to 1.5" TC into the bulkhead fitting.  How far up the tank did you port for the bulkhead?
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 10:44:24 PM by Gribble »
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