Author Topic: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter  (Read 609 times)

Offline ajw1221

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Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« on: April 18, 2018, 11:34:32 AM »
Hi everyone,

I am looking to increase to larger batches of my all grain brewing.  I am shopping around for a larger fermenter.  I can't afford stainless at the moment so, I have been exploring the possibility of going hdpe or mdpe plastic.  I own the 7 gal version of Speidel and love it, so I am also looking at the large 30 gal version.  I know that some breweries and homebrewers will also use the plastic conical chemical tanks and "modify" them so they seal and can be used to ferment.  I was was looking for everyone's opinion of which is really worth putting the time in.  2 Speidel 30gal fermenters are more expensive as compared to 1 plastic 30gal conical, but I know they are not truly designed for fermenting.

Let me know what you think!  Thanks!

Offline Robert

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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2018, 12:05:12 PM »
One "pro" to consider for Speidel (I also love my 30L) is that you can get NorCal to fabricate any mods you can possibly imagine, if they don't already have them on the shelf. 
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Offline ajw1221

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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2018, 12:09:53 PM »
I did see they fabricate and offer numerous awesome add-ons.  The forced co2 attachment looks great.  I know that one thing is, Speidel can handle forced co2, where I heard the conical cannot.

Offline Robert

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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2018, 12:30:53 PM »
I have the gas post and prv on top.  For the bottom port, I had them make up what they call a "dip tube" (really a racking arm, you just have to set the position before filling the fermenter) combined with a thermowell, and a liquid ball lock post on this.  So for transfers it's gas in the top, liquid out the bottom, all standard ball lock connections.  All the functionality of a conical for cheap.  I can see on a 30 gal just hooking up the disconnects and jumping to a keg would be even more of a welcome feature.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/18NENcbG78DfZBf0TZ_hwKToANrtgad62/view?usp=drivesdk
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 12:36:08 PM by Robert »
Rob Stein
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Offline ajw1221

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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2018, 12:38:56 PM »
That sounds awesome.  Do you need a second fermenter to rack into or does your gas racking arm combo take the yeast and trub out like a conical would?  Of course never having to rack from a fermenter is always the selling point of a conical.  I also heard some people say that if you are only doing 30 gallon batches, it's not even worth trying to save the yeast. 

Offline Robert

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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2018, 12:47:52 PM »
I repitch yeast for many generations.  That's the one difference from a conical, you can't dump yeast.  I set the draw off to above where the the level of the yeast will be, which leaves the cake and some beer behind at racking. Then I have to swirl it up and pour it out. Old school.  But the thing is plastic.   So light weight, I'm sure even with the 120L this would be easier than doing it with an old glass carboy. All in all I don't see what greater functionality I'd get for the money with a stainless conical, or something I had to custom fab myself.
Rob Stein
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Offline ajw1221

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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2018, 01:04:17 PM »
My concern is with the plastic conical, I have to custom seal it myself, put my own ball vales in, then it will maybe work.  I just see big breweries that seem to have success using them, but I have a fear of them becoming contaminated.  Even though I would only have to buy one conical, having the two speidels would give me an extra fermenter to use after I rack.  It's ready to go and also the accessories, so I think I am leaning toward the speidel fermenters.

Thanks for the input!   

Offline Robert

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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2018, 01:05:22 PM »
Couple more thoughts.  If you wanted a rotating racking arm, I would not be at all surprised if Jay at NorCal could conjure up a solution, he's a wizard.   And for another idea, look at this thread, klickitat jim had them build a totally different solution for racking under pressure from a Speidel.

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=31119.0
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Offline Wilbur

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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2018, 09:41:25 PM »
Couple more thoughts.  If you wanted a rotating racking arm, I would not be at all surprised if Jay at NorCal could conjure up a solution, he's a wizard.   And for another idea, look at this thread, klickitat jim had them build a totally different solution for racking under pressure from a Speidel.

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=31119.0

The Speidel looks great when it's all said an done, but the cost at the end...Looking at Norcal, it looks like it costs around $130? Or $150 if you end up doing the top mount racking cane option? That's starting to get in the realm where I start wanting stainless steel. I'm kind of thinking about getting the Anvil fermenter, silver soldering a keg post on the lid and adding a PRV. That'd end up being about $150 plus the cost of the silver solder.

I suppose it's a better deal if you get the larger Speidel.

Offline Robert

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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2018, 09:51:18 PM »
Dunno.  I know I came in under $200 with my whole setup IIRC,  couldn't get into stainless for twice that.  But if you can get a better deal on stainless, cool.
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Offline Wilbur

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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2018, 03:47:37 AM »
Not trying to knock your setup, it's pretty sweet. I wish more fermenters were set up for closed transfers to begin with. Trying to not derail this whole thing, but how do you feel about your setup versus Jim's? I had a sterile siphon setup similar to Jim's that worked well (in my glass carboy before I dropped it six inches).

I'm partially just trying to verify think out my next move, a rotating ranking cane is nice, but once I open up my brew buckets to see if I'm picking up yeast/trub, I've exposed it to oxygen. I'm liking the fermenesaurus setup/clear beer with the floating dip tube.

OP, any thoughts on the other fermenters?

Offline Wilbur

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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2018, 03:58:48 AM »
Side note: I'm an idiot. Glossed over the 120 liter thing.

Other note: I still want thoughts on my questions. Still the coolest part is this forum: it's a bunch of different opinions on the internet.

Offline Robert

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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2018, 12:12:57 PM »
Wilbur,
 I'm VERY happy with my setup.  One difference between mine and Jim's is that he has to open his up to install his racking rig, whereas mine is closed all the way, my brew is sealed off from the environment from pitching until it comes out of the tap to my mug.  (That was one of three major criteria I had when I switched from glass carboys: no more glass to drop and break or that couldn't take pressure, no more opening up to install racking rig --mine was a carboy-cap type -- and I wanted a thermowell.  Got it all.)  But Jim does some open fermentation anyway, so it's not a concern for him.  I suppose there are other configurations possible with the Speidel.  I just used minimal imagination with the inspiration of a conical: gas at the top (doubles as an airlock) and liquid at the bottom.  It is also very easy to take samples in a sanitary way during fermentation.  I just pop off my "airlock" (QD to tube into jar of StarSan) and give a little bump of gas, and use a short picnic tap to draw a sample.  One last thing about Speidel:  flat bottom and no legs.  I imagine there might be times when that might be something you wish you had if you had a Fermentasaurus. Also, can you put gas onto the Fermentasaurus?   No gas, no "closed" transfer with any setup.   
« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 12:17:25 PM by Robert »
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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2018, 03:53:01 PM »
Also, can you put gas onto the Fermentasaurus?   No gas, no "closed" transfer with any setup.

You could still gravity transfer as long as there's a balance line tying the headspaces together.
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Offline Wilbur

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Re: Speidel 120L Fermenter vs Ace-rotomold Conical Fermenter
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2018, 04:28:41 PM »
Wilbur,
 I'm VERY happy with my setup.  One difference between mine and Jim's is that he has to open his up to install his racking rig, whereas mine is closed all the way, my brew is sealed off from the environment from pitching until it comes out of the tap to my mug.  (That was one of three major criteria I had when I switched from glass carboys: no more glass to drop and break or that couldn't take pressure, no more opening up to install racking rig --mine was a carboy-cap type -- and I wanted a thermowell.  Got it all.)  But Jim does some open fermentation anyway, so it's not a concern for him.  I suppose there are other configurations possible with the Speidel.  I just used minimal imagination with the inspiration of a conical: gas at the top (doubles as an airlock) and liquid at the bottom.  It is also very easy to take samples in a sanitary way during fermentation.  I just pop off my "airlock" (QD to tube into jar of StarSan) and give a little bump of gas, and use a short picnic tap to draw a sample.  One last thing about Speidel:  flat bottom and no legs.  I imagine there might be times when that might be something you wish you had if you had a Fermentasaurus. Also, can you put gas onto the Fermentasaurus?   No gas, no "closed" transfer with any setup.

I think the bigger issue for the fermentasaurus is the size-won't fit in a mini fridge. They do have a pressure kit for ~$80, bringing to total to ~$200. That does give you a nice little floating transfer tube. It's rated for 35 psi, so you could probably carbonate in it.