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Old 06-22-2013, 09:54 PM   #1
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Default 30L Speidel fermenter

Last September I purchased the 30L Speidel fermenter and have now used it for 12 batches. Because I have benefitted greatly from users’ experiences on this forum I figured I should share what I have learned about this fermenter.

Summary: it works as advertised and I’m not sorry I bought it but if it disappeared tomorrow I probably would not rush out to buy another one.

Background: Over the years I have fermented in plastic buckets, glass carboys and Better Bottles. I have never used a stainless steel conical. For most of that time my preferred fermentation vessel was the 6-gallon Better Bottle. The light weight, virtual indestructibility and being able to see the fermentation were the main reasons why I prefer it.

Speidel Pros

  1. Size - It’s much larger than 6-gallon Better Bottles so no worries about foaming over when adding oxygen and no need for blow-off tubes, etc. I can make 5.5 to 6.0 gallon batches and completely fill a 5 gallon secondary with minimal headspace and I get a full 5 gallons in my kegs.
  2. Easy to clean - even the thickest kraeusen ring seems to fall off by just spraying the fermenter with water. After soaking in PBW the fermenter is spotless, without any scrubbing. But the large opening on top makes it easy to reach inside if you need to.
  3. Built-in spigot - no cleaning/sanitizing of auto-syphons, racking canes, etc.
  4. Handles - very sturdy, easy to move around.
  5. Top cropping - the top unscrews easily and the opening is large enough for me to reach in with a stainless steel spoon and quickly harvest yeast from the kraeusen.
  6. Well made vessel that was designed to be used as a fermenter.

Cons
  1. Spigot is very close to the bottom without an adjustable pick-up tube. The amount of yeast transferred is substantial enough that I wouldn’t want it in my kegs or bottling bucket.
  2. Spigot size - too small for 1/2 inch tubing and too large for 3/8 inch. Luckily the first time I used the fermenter I needed to transfer to a 5 gallon carboy. I was using 1/2 inch tubing and I noticed some very fine bubbles in my carboy. Closer observation showed that I was sucking air at the spigot because the tubing was not a tight enough fit. Almost aerated an entire batch of beer. 3/8 inch tubing is tight enough but it’s a pain to get on the spigot.
  3. Spigot leaks - there is a *very* small leak in my spigot. It’s just a few drops during the 7 to 10 days I usually leave the beer in the primary if I’m transferring to a secondary. I’m not concern with the loss of beer, I am concerned about bacteria. To reduce the risk of bacteria I cover the spigot with a plastic bag that I attach with a rubber-band. I spray the spigot with Star-San before racking but I don’t believe it can reach all the places that bacteria could hide without removing the spigot from the fermenter.
  4. Opaque - I like to watch. (Hmmm, sounds kinda perverted now that I read that.)

Many of the “Pro” features I list can also be said for a plastic bucket. If you prefer to ferment in a bucket is it worth the difference in cost? I guess that depends on your budget.

Conclusion

First and foremost the taste of my beers has not improved because I purchased this fermenter. There is no magic bullet here.

I use the Speidel fermenter for batches that I plan to transfer to a secondary or if I want to top crop the yeast. For me, this is approximately 1/2 the beers that I brew. Generally these are beers I want to dry hop or stouts and barleywines that I want to bulk condition for a month or more. For these beers I don’t mind that I will be transferring some extra yeast and the spigot does simplify the racking. For all other batches I still use a Better Bottle.

As I said in the summary, if it disappeared tomorrow I probably would not rush out to buy another one. By comparison, I purchased my first March pump around the same time I bought this fermenter and if my pump disappeared I’d buy a new one before brewing another batch.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:30 PM   #2
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I won't rush out to buy another one either. After fermenting about 5-6 batches in mine, I stated using the closed cap at the bottom, instead of the spigot, and using my auto siphon to rack my bottling bucket, just like I would with a better bottle. I do like the size, but I've still had to hook up a blow off tube on some batches (bee cave porter anyone???). Though standard silicone tubing works as the perfect size for blowoff on the Speidel bung (if anyone was curious).

I do like them and will continue to use them as primaries, but mostly because of the 7.9g size, over anything else....

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Old 11-30-2013, 05:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for posting this info. I was considering buying a Speidel and appreciate real world honest feedback from an end user on HBT.

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Old 11-30-2013, 07:02 PM   #4
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you wrote that the spigot picks up too much yeast from the bottom and that no adjustment is available, but my speidel 30L spigot is adjustable. The pickup tube is off centered so when I rotate it, it picks up the wort from a higher point , or vice versa if I rotate the other direction (which can work for removing break material). When I rotate the spigot to it's highest point, I feel that it's high enough to get a quality transfer after fermentation. Maybe this was a modification that speidel made ... not really sure though.

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Old 11-30-2013, 08:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bctdi
you wrote that the spigot picks up too much yeast from the bottom and that no adjustment is available, but my speidel 30L spigot is adjustable. The pickup tube is off centered so when I rotate it, it picks up the wort from a higher point , or vice versa if I rotate the other direction (which can work for removing break material). When I rotate the spigot to it's highest point, I feel that it's high enough to get a quality transfer after fermentation. Maybe this was a modification that speidel made ... not really sure though.
When did you get your Speidel?
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:07 AM   #6
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When my conical is full, i love mine!!!! i have an 8 gal and a 15 gal. i hope to never use a carboy or a better bottle again. super easy to clean, easy to transfer from.....

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Old 12-01-2013, 06:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainBrew View Post
When did you get your Speidel?
About 3 months ago
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bctdi View Post
you wrote that the spigot picks up too much yeast from the bottom and that no adjustment is available, but my speidel 30L spigot is adjustable. The pickup tube is off centered so when I rotate it, it picks up the wort from a higher point , or vice versa if I rotate the other direction (which can work for removing break material). When I rotate the spigot to it's highest point, I feel that it's high enough to get a quality transfer after fermentation. Maybe this was a modification that speidel made ... not really sure though.
My spigot is also off centered but it does not have what I would call a pickup tube, only the opening to the spigot. Just semantics?

So you use it with the spigot outlet pointing up? Interesting idea, I'll give that I try the next time I use it.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:37 PM   #9
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I ripped my last plastic bucket lid and already have had a doofus brewbuddy break 2 glass carboys cleaning them.

I'm about to pull the trigger on 2x 7.9gal Spiedels. Thanks for the writeup!

Anyone considered a fabrication project.... raised pickup tubes for the spigot? Sounds like you'd have some buyers.

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Old 12-01-2013, 11:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kja View Post
My spigot is also off centered but it does not have what I would call a pickup tube, only the opening to the spigot. Just semantics?

So you use it with the spigot outlet pointing up? Interesting idea, I'll give that I try the next time I use it.
Exactly. With the spigot between horizontal and up with a tube hooked up gravity still does the job.
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