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Old 02-26-2010, 11:30 AM   #1
apd1004
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Default Good deal on Chinese Conical Fermenters

Listerines,

I know there have been many threads on the Chinese conical fermenters, but I swear I saw the horse twitch a little...

There is a guy on Ebay with the username of "homebrewhousediscount" selling the 7.2 gallon ones for $235 Buy It Now with FREE SHIPPING. I just bought one because usually those things are running in the $275 range and cost anywhere from $25-75 to ship. For that price, I'll take the chance on the quality. This particular model comes with s/s threaded ball valves and the thermometer well with included thermometer. I would have rather had the tri-clamp fittings, but this will be fine for me.

Here's the link, although I imagine within a few days this will no longer be valid.

http://cgi.ebay.com/CONICAL-FERMENTE...item439d9d964c

FWIW, I have had a 8 gallon Mini-Brew plastic conical for about 3 years now and have made several batches with it, and so far it has worked well for me but I do have a couple issues with it. First is the trub collects along the sides of the cone and does not completely run down whenever I blow the cone, so when I have racked off the beer and finally open up the fermenter, there is still a good amount of trub stuck to the wall of the cone. I'm hoping that switching to smooth stainless may reduce/eliminate that, but we'll see how that works out.

Second issue with the Mini-Brew is even with the lid gasket in place (which was a PITA to get to fit...), there is still not a good enough airtight seal to allow an airlock to bubble. Not sure if that is because of too much volume of headspace between the 5-6 gallons of liquid and the 8 gallon capacity, or if it is because of the nature of everything being plastic that it just doesn't get airtight enough. I suspect the latter.

Finally, say what you want about sanitization, but I can't help but wonder if there is still some bacteria remaining in all of the nooks and crannies and probable scratches in the plastic. I have not had an obviously infected batch with it yet, however, so I don't really have a smoking gun on it. My last batch, a California Common, did have a slight sour apple/acetaldahyde taste which went away over time but which I know can be a product of infection, but I cannot say for sure if that is what caused it because there are other ways to get that too.

If anyone is interested, I will post a review of the fermenter with my first use. Heck, I may post a review of my first batch even if nobody is interested . First batch will be a Bohemian Pilsner.

Cheers

Jeff Leslie
Akron, OH USA

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Old 02-26-2010, 12:22 PM   #2
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My friend has one of those, he likes it. I think you are still going to have some trub on the wall, it's kind of sticky sludgy stuff.

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Old 02-26-2010, 02:00 PM   #3
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I have one of those (I mistakenly got the one without a thermometer... doh!!!) I like mine a lot. the welds are not as pretty as blichmanns, but i have not had a problem yet. I think i am going to hit the weld with a mapp torch every so often to kill any nasties that could have gotten into the weld crannies. I figure a few seconds at 400 degrees should kill anything that may have taken hold

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Old 02-26-2010, 02:29 PM   #4
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I have the 14.5gal version and like it a lot. silicone gaskets, ti-clovers, what's not to like?

I don't see the need for a thermometer myself. If you are really worried about it you and easily drill a hole in the lid and insert a thermowell.

BTW, compared to the Blichmann, being able to take just the tank out of the stand for cleaning is a big improvement, IMO. The stand is quite heavy.

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Old 02-26-2010, 11:31 PM   #5
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They look like they may be a good deal... My only nit to pick is = "Also included is a stainless brewers temp gauge, ( weldless of course ) for easy cleaning and sanitizing which is optional, frankly I never remove mine. Both valves are 3 piece and also stainless."

Not to knock weldless fittings as I have them as well, but the "of course" part seems like he is reaching a little... While my weldless is in a BK, so I tend not to worry too much about the cooties that may lurk in the nooks and crannies, I would think that in a post boil situation, one should probably clean them every once in a while... Also, those are two piece ball valves, not three piece...

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Old 02-27-2010, 10:31 PM   #6
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I have one also, put many brews through it and am very happy with it to date..

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Old 02-27-2010, 10:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apd1004 View Post
Listerines,
Finally, say what you want about sanitization, but I can't help but wonder if there is still some bacteria remaining in all of the nooks and crannies and probable scratches in the plastic. I have not had an obviously infected batch with it yet, however, so I don't really have a smoking gun on it. My last batch, a California Common, did have a slight sour apple/acetaldahyde taste which went away over time but which I know can be a product of infection, but I cannot say for sure if that is what caused it because there are other ways to get that too.
Jeff Leslie
Akron, OH USA
Ok, you've established you've never had an infection yet you need to point out you worry about it? No need to spread the worry around.
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:58 PM   #8
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Default Hello, 1st post for me.

I wanted to share the best idea and price I have seen on a (big) tank for fermenting. I just ordered one. $375 + $273 shipping to Alaska. I would be interested in your opinions of this. Thanks
[URL="http://www.plastic-mart.com/class.php?item=192"]

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Old 03-13-2010, 03:22 AM   #9
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birchslap:
A lot of brewers on this forum are using the plastic conical induction tanks for fermenting and have good results. Welcome to the forum.

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Old 03-13-2010, 08:17 PM   #10
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Update:

Received my Chinese stainless steel conical via US Mail about a week ago. The seller on Ebay mentioned in my original post above was very prompt getting it out the door and answered all my questions. Packaging was excellent, and the huge box arrived it didn't have a scratch on it. Quite remarkable considering when I was in Afghanistan last year, every box I received was smashed.

I should mention again that the seller had FREE shipping and a great Buy it Now price, which is what pushed me over the fence on buying this in the first place.

Initial impressions:

The fermenter is well constructed and made of a good gauge stainless, thicker than I thought it would be. The legs are probably the weakest parts and appear to be of a thinner gauge steel, but I don't foresee any issues and with 5 gallons water inside they seemed sturdy enough. I must admit that the Blichmann conicals look like they could take an IED blast, where this one just looks "cheaper" in comparison, but I hate to use that word because this one really is well constructed. There are three holes in the fermenter, one for the thermometer well and one for the dump valve and one for the racking valve. There is no racking tube inside so I'm sure I'll get some trub out the racking port like I did on my plastic Mini-Brew. The thermometer well is just a hole, but both the valves have a short piece of threaded pipe welded into the housing, and the inside weld is not ground down smooth but I should be able to scrub it with a toothbrush no problem. Other than that the inside is clean. The lid is the heaviest gauge steel for some reason, but it has a nice rubber seal around it and the top lip of the fermenter has the same rubber seal, and when you use the top clamp to clamp down the lid, it appears to make a good seal. You can torque down on the clamp pretty tight too before the top bar starts to flex.

I tested the thermometer by filling the fermenter with water and putting both my floating thermometer inside and also by taping the probe of my Ranco controller right onto the outside of the fermenter. All temperature readings were within one degree F of each other.

I also tested the Ranco along with an electric heating pad that I wrapped around the cone of the fermenter and secured with a bungee cord. by keeping the heating pad on low, I was able to warm up the fermenter gradually and holding a temperature was no problem. Once the Ranco kicked on during a temperature hold and a +/- 2 degree setting, it took several hours for the heat pad to pick up the 2 degrees and shut off, which I think is good. Not sure if applying direct heat to only the cone where the yeast will be is the way to go, but with it on low power there really wasn't much heat coming off it so I doubt it will have any serious affect on the yeast inside.

Like I mentioned above, I have the 7 gallon plastic Mini-Brew and my complaints were the height and diameter of it which prevented me from putting it in my spare fridge for lagering. The new stainless fits perfect in my fridge, and there is room for 2 soda kegs in there along with it. I also could never get an airtight seal on the lid of the Mini Brew even if I clamped it down.

Today is Brew Day, and since the fermenter fits in my fridge, the beer will be an amber lager and I plan on fermenting at about 54 degrees. I may try a diacetyl rest and warm it up to 58 degrees at the end of the ferment to test the heating pad, but I haven't decided if I really will do that yet.

This will also be my very first all-grain batch, so hopefully everything turns out.

Cheers

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