Conical Vs Keg fermenter
14.2 Gallon Conical Vs 15.5 gallon Keg fermenter (Sabco style fermenter)
Ok I have recently upgraded my whole system to a 10 gallon All Grain for my mash and boil.
Now it’s Time to get a new larger ferment or, probably a conical but I am trying to justify to cash
So I am looking for what other people love and use and what the pros and cons maybe
Some things I have come across and herd
1. No need to secondary
2. Able dump trub
3. Easy to harvest yeast
4. Able to pressurize for transfers
1. Price $800+ for tri clamp versions
2. Ĺ" dump valve always blocking making trub dumping and yeast harvesting difficult
3. Large size for fitting in fridge
15.5 gallon Keg Pros:-
1. Easy to sanitize Steam sanitize on system
2. Pressurized transfers
3. Tri clamp rotating racking arms
4. Smaller able to fit in fridge
1. Not able to secondary
2. Not able to harvest the yeast so easy
I don't see any point in using a keg as a fermenter. Conical wins on dumping/harvesting alone. Ease of cleaning and everything else is just a bonus.
EDIT: You can always add the tri-clovers later
Check here for a 14.5 gal conical fermenter for $410, including tri-clamp connections.
Here's an excerpt from a post I did last week on mine:
I have this one from synergymetalworking.com. It is 15.5 gal. I am doing 13+ gallons in it at present with a blow-off vessel (corny). It's working quite well and I know I can do more (gonna try 14 next).
I can fit my whole arm down the 4" triclamp to the bottom to clean (and the top as well) since I'm no he-man. Sure it's not a 60 degree cone, but with a sanitized spatula, I can harvest the whole cake very conveniently and separate it in a glass container (with some sterile water). Even without doing that, I got about 2 vials worth of yeast out the 1.5" bottom dump with just one purge.
Best things about this are:
1) It can be pressurized to 60 psi, unlike all others I've seen on the market (EDIT: Well, I guess except the Sabco which is like the same thing). My last batch was fermented, cold crashed, boost carbed, and served from the same vessel, just like a brew pub. My current batch is seeing a pressurized ferment.
2) It's American made. Well, the keg is actually French, but it's not a Chinese import (not that there's anything wrong with that but,....)
3) On mine, I have only one weld below the beer line (the 1.5" dump) and zero threads. Having everything accessed (even thermowell, racking port, etc. except the dump) from the top makes using a chest freezer a preferred choice. Very low profile. I just put a 90 degree triclamp elbow so I could reach the dump valve in the chest freezer.
It was about $450-ish +/-.
I also bought a 15 gallon corny keg for ~$200 (factory second) as a lagering/second primary vessel. This thing is really cool. It's easily half the weight of the Sanke and has a nice thick rubber bottom. Haven't used it yet, but going to shortly. That's a pretty good price for stainless with posts and dip tubes already present. Again, just harvest the whole damn yeast cake this time out the bev out post with a little CO2 and separate in a different container.
The other con of a conical is that you can't pressurize. To me that is a shame for as much as you lay down for those vs. keg. I'd change that as a Pro in your keg list (not just pressurized transfer, but full pressurization).
I don't really get what you mean by "not able to secondary". I can secondary.
And, with my bottom dump, you sacrifice a 60 degree cone for a 1.5" tri-clamp. I made out the better with that trade-off, I think. Yeast harvesting is just as easy as with a conical. I may not get 100% of the yeast out the bottom, but it doesn't clog for sure.
I also steam sanitize with my "dome-ical".
I have a 15gal conical but prefer to use my 4 sanke fermenters. On brew day i put a gallon of water in each and boil the crap out of it, much easier to sanitize than the conical. As for harvesting yeast I find it safer and easier to just buy it and build it up in a starter, when harvesting yeast you need to pull from the middle because the first pull will be the yeast that drop out to early and if you pull from the end its yeast that doesn't want to floc out. The vials are just way more consistent.
Love the kegs... nothing like being able to carbonate in the fermentation vessel during fermentation.
I am surprised by the fact that not a lot of people talk about 15 gallon cornies. The thing is sweet. I'd choose it any day over a plastic conical. It's even cheaper than a mini-brew.
If you're a kegger already and don't care about the 60 degree cone/dump thing, it's a no brainer IMO. The thing is so light that to pick it up and pour the yeast cake out into another container is almost a one hand job (like 'some' other things).
I run 7 of them currently (4-15gal, 3-10gal) and have never had an issue. You may not be able to "secondary" in the same container, but there is little danger of contamination during racking between cornies with basic sanitation practices. I've done this constantly for over 8 years now with the current system.
That said I've been sniffing the conical offerings lately as there is a basis for why the cones might have an advantage for certain aspects of fermentation. I'm also going to bet that the difference in the beer produced is not measurable at our hobby level and the conicals are more for our inherent geekiness than the promise of making better beer. (with all other factors being equal)
Plastic conicals, under $100: http://www.plastic-mart.com/category/19/cone-bottom-tanks
Stands not sold, so just rig something up via your local hardware store
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