whoa! I don't love/promote my conical to justify the price
, I love it for the convenience. then again, I got mine for half the cost from a friend who went pro
. I built a cart for it (for <$30), attached to the legs to wheel around the brewhouse aka garage, and it fits nicely in my stand up chest freezer.
frankly, there are a lot of benefits to it such as cold break dumps, better yeast harvesting, easier racking, fermenting one batch all in one vessel etc. but is it necessarily going to make better beer, no - its just easier to use (though I have won 2 golds + entry into MCAB out of the three conical fermented submissions I have made since I got my conical in June, coincidence, I think not j/k).
if you don't mind spending the cash, it can be a really fun toy to have, but it certainly isn't necessary - I did just fine with carboys and then better bottles after that. But would I do it all again, you betcha, and would I pay full price - sure. I guess I'm just not as cheap as these guys, or perhaps I don't need to justify my cheapness by saying the benefits aren't worth it
. I do believe Denny didn't need a pump at one point...now he's got one foot into the dark side...
Keith - I think your problem might just be the plastic. "get yourself a new map" (see if anyone can get that movie quote).
Kai - interesting idea; IIRC, there was a company that would sell the shell of a conical for dirt cheap, then you would just need a welder to help you do the rest - I remember reading a bunch of folks doing that a few years back.