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Old 04-18-2011, 03:36 PM   #1
MonkeyChops
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Default 20 Gallon Glass Fermenter

My buddy has a 20 gallon glass fermenter with the basket and a bottom valve. He wants $110 for it. Is that a good deal, he says they are ultra-rare and I'm inclined to believe him as I can't find hardly any info on them.

The other reason for this topic is for general discussion on how to properly use such a vessel. As I understand it, the carboy was made and used in Italy for wine fermenting. I have plans to try my hand at wine some day but I intend to use it for beer first. I'm hoping I can use this vessel as my primary and secondary, but not sure if that is possible. The bottom of the bottle is raised up in the middle and that is where the valve is. Is it possible to flip these babies upside down so it's conical? I was going to spend my money on one of these:
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/ite...=searchresults
so I could do the conical thing but Glass is better, about the same price, and ready to rock.

So if I strain my wort into the carboy and add nutrients, will I be able to bottle/keg from this fermenter without getting a ton of sediment in my beer. The raised area with the valve is raised about 3 to 4 inches I'd guess. The bottom of the bottle is about 24" diameter. I'm not sure if that will hold all the sediment from a 15 gal batch and keep it from being sucked through the valve or not. I know I could run it through a filter before bottling, and I may do that, but I don't want to buy the pump and filter system that I've been eying just yet. Although I may need the pump just to transfer the wort to the carboy, not sure yet.

I'm hoping someone here has used one of these big glass bad boys and can give me some pointers. Thanks.

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Old 04-18-2011, 04:19 PM   #2
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IMO, I would just go for the plastic conical. A 5 gallon carboy is heavy and dangerous enough, but a 20 gallon, even with the basket and bottom valve will be extremely difficult to move and clean.

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Old 04-18-2011, 04:22 PM   #3
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Personally, I wouldn't use it, I'd be afraid of breaking it at some point while it is full. You wouldn't be able to move it at all after filling it, figuring it has to weigh in at 40 pounds, and adding in 8 pounds per gallon for the contents. So, a 15 gallon batch in it would weigh in at 160 pounds or so.

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Old 04-18-2011, 04:43 PM   #4
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Four 5gal brand new carboys would be about $124. I would much rather do that or one conical than a giant glass carboy. Tough to clean, tough to transport, used, etc.

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Old 04-18-2011, 04:44 PM   #5
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is it a demijohn?

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/15-ga...demi-john.html

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Old 04-18-2011, 05:26 PM   #6
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It's similar in shape to the demijohn but it's 20 gal and has a valve in the bottom. The basket has a little door for the valve. The valve is actually attached to the basket and then a hose connects the valve to the hole in the bottom of the carboy. The basket is tan in color I believe and it is only the bottom half, no top basket lid.

@brewthruyou, I already have a bunch of 5 gal glass carboys but I want to ferment all in one vessel for consistency purposes.

About moving it and it being dangerous, I don't plan on moving it and the glass is very thick. Long term plan is to put it in a kegerator with a controller for a stable fermentation environment. For now I plan to put it in the corner, fill it with gravity through a long hose, cover it, and let it ferment where it sits. Getting the beer out of it for kegging and bottling does pose a challenge though. Yea, to make this work I probably will have to break down and buy a pump

Here's a question, if this thing doesn't work out for me, is there any interested people here that might want to buy it?

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Old 04-18-2011, 07:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyChops View Post
For now I plan to put it in the corner, fill it with gravity through a long hose, cover it, and let it ferment where it sits. Getting the beer out of it for kegging and bottling does pose a challenge though. Yea, to make this work I probably will have to break down and buy a pump
It would have to be a self priming pump otherwise its going to be hard to get a march style pump primed
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Old 04-19-2011, 04:45 AM   #8
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sounds super cool with i had one

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Old 04-19-2011, 05:19 AM   #9
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post some pics please

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Old 04-20-2011, 01:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyChops View Post
Here's a question, if this thing doesn't work out for me, is there any interested people here that might want to buy it?
That would be a PITA to ship. Not only is it heavy and you'd have to find a giant box, you'd have to be obscenely careful about it not breaking during shipment.

I'm sure you could unload it on craigslist, but not sure if you'd gain/lose money on it.
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