Chilling system for a Unitank

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Sask Brewt

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I am contemplating purchasing a SS Unitank (either the 14 gallon or half bbl). My brewing system is limited most by the fermentation vessels I use right now, as I still use carboys (uggh). Does anyone have experience with the smaller SS unitanks? I am particularly interested in hearing about integrating a chilling system and what people have done in this regard. While I would love to purchase a glycol chiller, this is definitely a while off. Has anyone used a temperature controller with a more rudimentary chilling system?
 

czmkid

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There is lots of great information in this thread...look toward the end. The users here tried many other chilling methods before going glycol. I can’t say one way or the other which if any works best since I am running a glycol chiller to two 7 gal unitanks. If you are on the fence I say do it. With casters (my back thanks me) and the heating and chilling option my brew day and fermentation’s have been much easier.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/...ewtech-conical-ftss-glycol-power-pack.528052/
 

Aaron Beers

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I am contemplating purchasing a SS Unitank (either the 14 gallon or half bbl). My brewing system is limited most by the fermentation vessels I use right now, as I still use carboys (uggh). Does anyone have experience with the smaller SS unitanks? I am particularly interested in hearing about integrating a chilling system and what people have done in this regard. While I would love to purchase a glycol chiller, this is definitely a while off. Has anyone used a temperature controller with a more rudimentary chilling system?
>My brewing system is limited most by the fermentation vessels I use right now, as I still use carboys (uggh). Does anyone have experience with the smaller SS unitanks?

In my opinion, the major nicety about a unitank over a conical is that you can carb/serve out of it in addition to fermenting. However, if you're using it for carbing and serving, you aren't using it to ferment your next beer until you're done. When considering unitank vs. conical, I personally decided I'd rather have a couple conicals vs. a couple unitanks, then take the money saved and buy extra kegs/co2 tank/regulator. I already had a big beer fridge so holding more kegs wasn't an issue.

Just my 2 cents regarding unitank vs. conical.

To your question:

>interested in hearing about integrating a chilling system and what people have done in this regard

You need to consider how precise you want your temp control and the environment you'll be fermenting in. If you have a hot summer (which I presume, based on your question/concern), and you have your fermenting tank in your garage, it will literally be baking on the hottest days and you need serious chilling power. Glycol is your friend.

If you have a house with a basement, you can probably get away with a good cooler filled with ice water that you check semi-daily.

If you typically used your basement, and are considering getting a unitank that will hold 10+ gallons, you have to realize the weight when filled with beer will probably be >100 lbs and whatever handles were put on that unitank were likely intended for moving the tank while empty instead of full. So if you were planning to ferment in a basement and also planning 10+ gallons into the unitank and you brew outside then you'll have a challenge getting the beer from kettle to tank.

Anyway, glycol. As @czmkid stated, glycol.
 
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Sask Brewt

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@czmkid & @Aaron Beers, thanks for your take on this.

I am definitely going to integrate a glycol chiller into my system when I can afford to do so. Which systems do you guys have? Seems like there is a ton of great info on how to do this but does end up being a rather costly upgrade.

Fermentation occurs in my basement at the moment, as typical Saskatchewan temperatures range from -40 Celsius to +35 Celsius in an average year. Logistically, this makes the transfer of chilled wort from the kettle in the backyard to the fermentation in the basement a bit of a challenge. It has not been so bad lugging carboys up and down, but upgrading to larger fermentation vessels will necessitate further innovation. Has anyone come up with a good system to get around this?

After thinking about the use of a unitank, I agree with you @Aaron Beers, if you are serving out of the unitank, this is the bottleneck of the system. I'd rather have beer ready to go in kegs and be able to use the fermenter for fermenting for sure. I understand that Spike Brewing conicals have been well received and provide the opportunity to be utilized as a unitank for significantly less money than SS. I can get an 18 gal one shipped to my door for under 1000 Cad, which seems like a pretty decent deal. Any thoughts on this?
 

Aaron Beers

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I have the SSBrewTech glycol chiller, which works really well. However, it was expensive and I feel like the more mechanically inclined would be able to build something comparable for half the price (or less). It's a good turnkey solution.
 

czmkid

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I don’t know how close your outdoor brew spot is but have you given any thoughts to pumping or letting gravity move the wort from your kettle to the basement uni or conical (assuming there is a window or entry space). No carrying anything!

At first I thought about serving out of the tanks but I want to use them to ferment/carb in. Besides with 12 kegs/taps why bother serving out of a unitank pigtail?

I have the Ss chiller as well.
 
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