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Old 05-08-2012, 02:05 PM   #11
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A 14 gallon Blichmann will not fit in most chest freezers. It's too tall. It can fit in certain fridges but you would need a collared keezer to use it. And lifting it in full would be a cock and a half.

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Old 05-08-2012, 02:21 PM   #12
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Well, I'm curious to hear his reasons, so that's why I asked. What are your reasons?
First of all, ferm temp control. I don't have a fridge that fits my conical. I used to have a neighbor who had a garage fridge that it fit perfectly in so I could set it up there but he moved.

Second, it's lame unless you are doing 10-12 gallon batches. It's way easier to use buckets/carboys if you are doing 6 gallons at time. And if you are doing batches in the 10-12 gallon range, it's hard to carry/move around.

Third, it's more work to clean. You have to take the valves off and apart pretty much each time you use it. It's a lot of tedious time consuming work. I had an infection once in the conical because I didn't clean it well enough. This never happens in carboys for me.

The only time I use my conical nowadays is when I'm doing a 10-12 gallon IPA batch as the conical is nice for multiple dry hopping additions as you can rack the old ones off and add new ones easily. I usually do these down at my local brewery as they have a temp controlled room and a huge walk in where we can use the conical on a pallet and move it in and out of the walk in with the forklift.

At home, a conical isn't worth much to me as it doesn't mesh well with my process. I'd much rather use buckets/carboys. If I got a stand up fridge, I'd use it occasionally for 10 gallon batches but it's not high on my list of things I need.
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:39 PM   #13
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The reasons that Irrenarzt listed out above are exactly why I would not purchase a conical.

If you cannot control the fermentation temperatures then there really is no good reason to use a conical. If I had a large room where I could control the temperatures such as a walk in freezer or even a really large refrigerator, then I might consider it. But to spend several hundred dollars on a fermentation vessel where the average person cannot control the fermentation temperatures seems like a big waste of money IMO. It won't make your beer taste any better.

You're so much better off purchasing a couple chest freezers and temperature controllers and fermenting in carboys or pails.

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Old 05-08-2012, 03:23 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Irrenarzt View Post
A 14 gallon Blichmann will not fit in most chest freezers. It's too tall. It can fit in certain fridges but you would need a collared keezer to use it. And lifting it in full would be a cock and a half.
They make 7 gallon conicals. You didn't specify what size yours was. Also, it seems easy enough to make a basic cold room with some insulation and an AC unit/temp controller combo.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:31 PM   #15
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The reasons that Irrenarzt listed out above are exactly why I would not purchase a conical.

If you cannot control the fermentation temperatures then there really is no good reason to use a conical. If I had a large room where I could control the temperatures such as a walk in freezer or even a really large refrigerator, then I might consider it. But to spend several hundred dollars on a fermentation vessel where the average person cannot control the fermentation temperatures seems like a big waste of money IMO. It won't make your beer taste any better.

You're so much better off purchasing a couple chest freezers and temperature controllers and fermenting in carboys or pails.
+1 on all counts. Never understood the use of a big conical on a homebrew scale. Dropping all that coin on one and not having temperature control or having to build and insulate a "cold room" seems kind of asanine.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:38 PM   #16
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+1 on all counts. Never understood the use of a big conical on a homebrew scale. Dropping all that coin on one and not having temperature control or having to build and insulate a "cold room" seems kind of asanine.
Lots of people build a fermentation chamber. How would this be any different (unless it's a huge conical that requires an entire room)? The primary interest, for me is that it'd be easier to clean/sanitize, harvest yeast, transfer to a keg.
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:09 PM   #17
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Lots of people build a fermentation chamber. How would this be any different (unless it's a huge conical that requires an entire room)? The primary interest, for me is that it'd be easier to clean/sanitize, harvest yeast, transfer to a keg.
The difference I would assume is that the fermentation chambers that people build are generally for 1 - 2 carboy/buckets and are smaller in size than a fermentation chamber that would be needed to house a single conical. The larger fermentation chamber needed to house a conical wouldn't be nearly as efficient has a smaller fermentation chamber that would house 1 - 2 carboys and would cost more to keep cool. Additionally, you would need to find the space in your home to build a fermentation chamber for a conical. If you're going to get a conical, you should get one with the leg extensions and casters, both of which add quite a bit of height.

I don't really think cleaning/sanitizing a conical is any easier than a bucket or a carboy.

The only real benefit is the ability to remove the trub and harvest yeast. Is that worth dropping several hundred dollars on a fermentation vessel?
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:14 PM   #18
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It's not easier to clean than a carboy or bucket. Trust me on that. It's not difficult but it takes a while to clean a conical. You need to remove the lid and the lip seal. You need to remove and disassemble both ball valves. Then you need to soak all the parts in PBW, then star san. Then you need to reassemble the valves and put them back on and wash the conical itself with PBW, then soak it in sanitizer. Then you need to sanitize the lip seal, replace it as well as the lid. It's not difficult but it takes awhile.

Harvesting yeast, easier for sure than a bucket but not by much. It's just as easy to grab a bunch of yeast cake from a bucket with a sanitized ball jar.

It is easier to rack to a keg with a conical on one condition. You need to lift the bastard up onto a counter to have a gravity feed. You could pressure transfer with CO2 but that's just more to clean up afterward.

I encourage people to get a conical if they want one. Sometimes you just have to learn things for yourself. You might even end up liking it more than a carboy.

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Old 05-08-2012, 07:28 PM   #19
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I got a good price on a 14 gallon blichman a couple months ago so i jumped on it but to this dag i havent even used it. It doesnt fit in my ferm fridge and it is too warm just to leave at room temp right now. Not sure if i will sell or keep it.

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Old 05-08-2012, 07:49 PM   #20
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The difference I would assume is that the fermentation chambers that people build are generally for 1 - 2 carboy/buckets and are smaller in size than a fermentation chamber that would be needed to house a single conical. The larger fermentation chamber needed to house a conical wouldn't be nearly as efficient has a smaller fermentation chamber that would house 1 - 2 carboys and would cost more to keep cool. Additionally, you would need to find the space in your home to build a fermentation chamber for a conical. If you're going to get a conical, you should get one with the leg extensions and casters, both of which add quite a bit of height.

I don't really think cleaning/sanitizing a conical is any easier than a bucket or a carboy.

The only real benefit is the ability to remove the trub and harvest yeast. Is that worth dropping several hundred dollars on a fermentation vessel?
If we're talking me personally, then I'd be getting a 7 gallon conical, as I don't drink enough to warrant a 14 gallon conical. I can see wanting/needing leg extensions/casters for a 14 gallon conical, but I could easily lift a 7 gallon conical. As far as a fermentation chamber, I don't see why you couldn't set the chamber up so the extensions go through the bottom of the chamber. If you do that, the difference in cooling costs would have to be minimal. I mean, I haven't done a complete volume comparison, but can't be a ton different.

As far as cleaning. I'd definitely argue it's easier since you can scrub with a scouring pad. I'll admit there's a bit more cleaning to do. However, there theoretically, should never be a case where you can't get it cleaned sanitized (unlike buckets....though admittedly buckets are cheap, but I don't like to have to throw away buckets either).
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