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billtzk 12-14-2007 03:02 AM

Usage of conicals
Those of you who use conicals, would you mind explaining what brand and size you have, how many, how big your batch sizes are, how often you brew, and how you put them to use?

What I mean about how you put them to use is do you primary and condition in your conical, then bottle or keg, or do you primary in the conical then transfer to cornies to condition so you can get another batch going in the conical sooner. And is your process the same for lagers and ales?

As I understand it, one of the benefits of a conical is to be able to primary and condition in the same vessel. But if you do that you'd need two or you'd only get to brew every three to six weeks depending on the beer. Bummer that.

Finally is there anything about your conical you don't like, or do you wish you'd bought another brand, and why?

Hill Country Brewer 12-14-2007 12:27 PM

I have recently acquired a Blichmann 14 gallon for which I use for both primary and secondary fermentation. I have only been doing ales and I leave them in there a total of 3 weeks.

I have two small boys and a lot of competing priorities so I only get to brew about once a month so it works out fine for me.

As for the conical, it was definitely something that was a "nice to have" but I got it second-hand at a good price and couldn't pass it up. It is definitely the nicest looking part of my brewing process.

Nate 12-14-2007 12:47 PM

Also have the Blichmann mentioned above and love it. The only downside that I see is what you've already mentioned... it's harder to run multiple batches.

bigben 12-14-2007 01:45 PM

I dont want to hijack this thread, but I just have a quick question...

If you are using a conical, can you bottle/keg right from the conical??? That would be wonderful :)

Edit: I guess you couldn't bottle directly from the conical because you have to prime. so nevermind :)

abracadabra 12-14-2007 02:26 PM

Blichmann 14 gal usually 10 gal. batches

One of the nice things about a conical is that you can do a variety of things. You can use it for both primary and secondary fermenters or you can rack to a corny keg for secondary and conditioning. Then dump a new batch on top of the old yeast cake. Concial usually have 2 dump valves 1 on the bottom where you can dump the trub and 1 higher up where you can rack above the yeast cake and trub.

You can also use co2 to rack to a higher level if it sits low or gravity feed if it sits up high.

Here are some of the advantages: It's rugged, sanitizes easily, you don't have to shield the beer from light, it's easy to dry hop, easy to rack, easy to repitch on top of a yeast cake so you'll save money on yeast, also it's easy to harvest yeast. I see it as a huge labor saving device.

Disadvantages: It's expensive, and not really necessary.

I don't see any reason you could not dump the yeast and trub. Add your priming sugar and bottle straight from the conical. If it were me though I'd invest in a kegging set up before I'd buy a conical.

2ndstorey 12-14-2007 03:28 PM

I built mine from a Toledo Metal Spinning hopper and lid. My brother who is a welder built the stand for me from my drawings. It is a 12.2 gallon hopper with the domed lid which adds an extra gallon or so of space for kraeusen.
My typical brewday includes two five gallon mashes (I was a dumbass and bought the five gallon cooler instead of the ten) and then boiling in a keggle. I transfer the cooled wort from the keggle to the conical through the bottom dump valve and oxygenate and pitch yeast through one of the two holes in the lid.
After about three days depending on fermentation temperature, original gravity and yeast pitching rate I will dump the first batch of yeast. This usually gets flushed. If I need yeast because my stores are running low I will harvest the fourth or fifth day dumps for washing. I usually dump yeast three or four times per batch.
After that I will let it sit and condition for ten to fourteen days. Longer if it needs it but I have never needed to. Also I check gravity readings with each yeast dump and for a few days afterward through the racking port and will stop checking once the beer gets to my expected final gravity.
After conditioning, I rack to two kegs from the racking port and will usually carbonate one in the kegerator and condition the other under pressure somewhere cool.
The things I don't like about the conical are temperature regulation and moving it full of wort from the keggle to where it ferments. I have solved both problems nicely I think but it was a PITA before hand.

Brewing Clamper 12-14-2007 03:29 PM

Damn you all, conical havers! Ok, I'm just jealous. Not to highjack, but I will: Do you all use temp controllers with your conicals?

mr x 12-14-2007 03:32 PM


Originally Posted by abracadabra
If it were me though I'd invest in a kegging set up before I'd buy a conical.

I second that, unless you can get your hands on one real cheap.

MikeFlynn74 12-14-2007 03:38 PM

Now I gotta get one

Anyone have plastic vs steel argument?

Reverend JC 12-14-2007 03:45 PM

Plastic might scratch and hide bacteria in said scratch.

With the things said by my wife i think i am going to be the proud owner of a blichmann 14 gallon conical come christmas day!

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