Author Topic: Best Fermentation Vessel  (Read 1945 times)

Offline goose

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Re: Best Fermentation Vessel
« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2018, 08:35:49 PM »
After 25 years of fermenting in 5 gallon glass carboys, I recently converted to a stainless steel cylindroconical fermenter. I made the switch after an accident with a broken carboy (my 1st ever) almost cost me my thumb! No more glass carboys for me!
I hear you.  Been brewing about as long.  I almost lost a thumb once to a friggin' iced tea jar (sudden temperature change taking it out of the fridge to the hot back yard)... but kept using glass carboys for a couple decades after that lesson for lack of a better idea.  Then a couple  of years ago I went to doing a closed process with pressure transfers using a carboy cap-based rig.  A fellow regular at LHBS about that time was doing the same,  and luckily he turned away just as his carboy, with clogged dip tube,  exploded.  He had a lot of stitches in his back,  but it could have hit his face and neck.   That started my urgent quest for something  else.  Glass  is evil, no question.

I think I know who that guy is.  He was at a SAAZ meeting talking about his injury from an exploding carboy.

I only use carboys for 5 gallon batches or if my conical is full of another beer.  However, a word to the wise.  If you have to do a pressurized transfer from a glass carboy, USE NO MORE THAN 2.5 PSI!!!!  I also use the orange carboy caps that vent CO2 when the pressure exceeds a little over 3 PSI.  I sometimes have to turn the gas up to about 3 PSI for a second or two to get the beer flowing into the keg, but it immediately goes back down to between 2 and 2.5 PSI which is sufficient to accomplish the transfer.  Glass is dangerous and carboys are not pressure vessels.  It you want to be totally safe with pressure transfers using a glass carboy, wrap it with a blanket and use a ratchet strap to GENTLY hold the blanket in place being careful not to over tighten it. That should provide some additional protection.
Goose Steingass
Wooster, OH
Society of Akron Area Zymurgists (SAAZ)
Wayne County Brew Club
Mansfield Brew Club
BJCP Certified
AHA Governing Committee Member

Offline Bad Bubba

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Re: Best Fermentation Vessel
« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2018, 09:36:55 PM »
I use a 14 Gallon Chronical.   I have been using it also for 5 gallon batches - about 6.5 into the fermentor.   I am thinking about downsizing to a 7 gallon.   I really like the cone bottom to dump trub and rack into the keg.   I also have a 7.9 gallon Speidel.  I usually do pressure transfers into the keg. 

I use a 3 gallon fastferment for my test batches and it works well. 

The stainless is easy to clean since the lid comes completely off.   

Offline tommyb709

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Re: Best Fermentation Vessel
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2018, 10:02:36 PM »
i've tried quite a few fermenters.  like most, i began with a bucket, difficult to open, but cheap.   mine is now a sanitizing bucket.  the large size allows sanitizing most everything in one go.

i have two pet big mouth bubblers, and two glass ones.  these i find to be problematic.  the old style lid (screw on with gasket) never sealed well for me, and the new style (with silicone ring with 3 flanges)  gets pushed out of the fermenter with my active fermentations.  the solution here is to put an olympic bar 5 lb. weight on the lid.  (the olympic bar has a hole large enough for the airlock). i now use these only for primary for sours.

the glass big mouths are hand blown, and prone to bubbles and flaws.  i cut my hand seriously in three places cleaning one (i swear i never even bumped it on the sink... it just shattered in my hands).  i got rid of the other one.  i won't use one of these ever again.

i have two 7.5 g. fermonsters.  i mostly like these a lot.  i have two issues.  first, the lid can be damned hard to get off.  you may want their lid wrench.  secondly, if you ever take out the o ring, it can be nearly impossible to get it back in due to stretching.  you may want to keep a spare handy.

for secondary, i use pet 5 g. carboys for clean beers, and i use glass 5 g. narrow mouth (machine blown) carboys for long term storage of sours. i wash all carboys with the mark ii keg washer and pbw, to prevent scratching the pet, and to keep me from harm's way with the glass.  i also handle all glass fermenters with kevlar gloves.  may be paranoia, but after my accident, i don't care.  i don't want a repeat of bloody sunday.

stainless steel interests me, but i thought that it was too expensive.  after reading this thread, i may try the brew bucket.  it seems quite reasonably priced.  however, i can't see replacing all 12 of my fermenters with stainless. 
in theory, theory is the same as practice, but not in practice.

Offline yugamrap

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Re: Best Fermentation Vessel
« Reply #33 on: December 06, 2018, 09:40:41 PM »
I started with buckets and glass carboys.  I don't like plastic, am afraid of glass, and wanted better temperature control.  So, something stainless was the answer.  I thought about going the 10-gallon corny route like others, but didn't have a fridge/freezer it would fit in for temperature control.

I ferment in these 8-gallon stainless milk-can like vessels from Brewhaus that they sell as distilling pots. https://brewhaus.com/8-gallon-stainless-steel-moonshine-still-kettle/    They sell a 15-gallon version, too - but I typically brew 5-gallon batches,

The 2" sanitary fitting on the lid is perfect to to attach one of these Sanke Fermentor Kits from Brewing Hardware https://www.brewershardware.com/American-Sanke-Keg-Fermentor-Kit-with-Thermowell.html  Of course, this kit can also be used on a 1/2-barrel Sanke Keg or even a sixtel with the spear removed - but those would be tough to clean.

The combo has a thermowell for temperature control and is short enough to fit into a 5 CuFt chest freezer without adding a collar.  The fittings allow for pressurized transfer by sending CO2 through the blowoff port to push beer out of the integrated racking cane.  The whole lid comes off for easy cleaning, and the whole thing can go on a burner if I want to sanitize with steam (I just sanitize with a spray bottle of StarSan).  I was able to set up two of these combos a few years ago for less than the price of one 7.5-gallon conical.

...it's liquid bread, it's good for you!