Favorite conical??

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doc5md

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So, I'm looking at conicals. Anyone have an opinion on the best one out there?
Stainless, pressure transfers, sampling port, temp control available for glycol system, port for easy dry hoping, 10 gal batches, all are the requirements.
SSbrewtech Chronical versus Spike CF10??
Thoughts?
 

matt_m

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I upgraded from Chronicals to CF-10s this fall and am very happy with my decision. They really aren't comparable since the Chronicals are rated for 2PSI (and barely hold that) and the Spike CF's are rated for 15PSI. That makes them more comparable to the SS Brewtech Unitanks. SS Brewtech's quality today doesn't seem to be what it was 3-4 years ago either. The two companies have gone opposite directions with customer service as well. Spike is very responsive to contact through their web site as well as active here and on their support group on Facebook. Its hard to get anything out of SS Brewtech the last couple years.
 

deuc224

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I got a cf 15 going right now with a hefe in it. Next week itll at 15 psi for my very first lager.
 

WESBREW

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Ive read that all of the main brands are really good. I can only comment on spike. Havent used it yet and still trying to recover from the horrific expense of everything needed . I can say that the workmanship is outstanding and it is beautifully polished
 

jpakstis

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I recently finished fermentation on a NEIPA with my first use of my CF5. I’ve always used buckets (both plastic and then an anvil SS later) and I’ve had significant oxidation of the batches, to the point where it looked like dingy wash water rather than the vibrant hazy yellows and oranges of NEIPAs.

This batch came out brilliantly yellow; it looks like Sip of Sunshine or Heady Topper, those commercial beers that do not add any malts that alter the SRM. So I’m extremely pleased with that. I just need to work out dry hopping because it didn’t have the punch I want.

It’s an expensive purchase no doubt. I also bought the extended legs, cooling coil, sight glass for the bottom port, pressure transfer kit, etc. These also add up but it’s nice to have it all set up beforehand rather than realizing in the midst of fermentation that I needed something and didn’t have it. I can’t compare it to any other conical but it was a really encouraging first experience with mine!
 

Golddiggie

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Pressure rating is one of the elements that got me to get the two CF10's I have right now. I'm waiting for Brewers Hardware 15 gallon jacketed conical to be available since I want to get one to compare against the Spike product. I'm also thinking about getting a CF5 for cider and mead batches, so that I don't tie up one of the CF10 units for that.

IMO, either Spike or Brewers Hardware would be solid choices. I wouldn't go with one that doesn't have the 2" bottom dump port and rated for 15psi (at least). 2-3psi is rookie numbers. ;)
 

Bago-0

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I do not own one but just saw a review of the new Blichmann G4 fermenter that short circuited brewer did on you tube. May be worth a look.
 

Golddiggie

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I do not own one but just saw a review of the new Blichmann G4 fermenter that short circuited brewer did on you tube. May be worth a look.
I take any youtube "review" with about 10# of salt these days. They claim to not be biased, but I don't believe that. I look at features of the item and how it aligns with my use model and such. Does it come with "clever" things that don't really add any value? Does it have smaller ports than other makes offer (bottom dump should be 2" on all IMO)? If the item comes at a price premium, does it actually have features that makes it WORTH that additional spend?

IME/IMO, Spike and Brewers Hardware are the top homebrewing conical fermenter makers to look at. Both have a lot of similar features (bottom dump size) but also features that are unique between them (lids and how they do temperature control). I wouldn't even THINK about any conical that requires drilling through the side walls to install chill coils.
 

Beenym88

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I have the ssb conical I got it as part of the whole bundle when buying my electric system from them. It works really well and I will no longer make IPAs in any of my other fermenters due to oxidation. I’ve also looked into getting another conical I checked out spike I like it a lot but once you do all the add ons it’s way more expensive then advertised however they are all very expensive. I haven’t looked in a while but if the ssb is cheaper it works great never had any issues.
 

Murph4231

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I have the ssb conical I got it as part of the whole bundle when buying my electric system from them. It works really well and I will no longer make IPAs in any of my other fermenters due to oxidation. I’ve also looked into getting another conical I checked out spike I like it a lot but once you do all the add ons it’s way more expensive then advertised however they are all very expensive. I haven’t looked in a while but if the ssb is cheaper it works great never had any issues.
Dude they all get expensive when you add on the attachments you will need. My advise is include the attachments that you know you will want as part of the total cost. I mean, look at the hop drops right from the start. Just do it. It's Xmas.
 

Beenym88

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Dude they all get expensive when you add on the attachments you will need. My advise is include the attachments that you know you will want as part of the total cost. I mean, look at the hop drops right from the start. Just do it. It's Xmas.
That’s what I’m saying they are all expensive but I just looked at spike for 5 gallons it’s 600 to add the cooling coil is 90 plus carb stone I think it was like 75 not sure don’t remember those are two thing your going to want so I was just saying do a little research on which comes with what bells and whistles and what they cost.
 

Murph4231

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Don't tell my wife but me and Joe Biden have about 2 grand invested in my CF5. But that includes most every attachment available for it. I expect it to out live me and a few off spring for years to come. And by the way if you get a spike, get the carb manifold because you can use it as a spundig valve by simply replacing the spike preset PRV with a SS adjustable PRV from Morebeer. You will be glad you did.
 

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IMO/IME, I leave the Spike gas manifold as it comes and simply use a SS Brew Tech spunding valve on one of the other positions. Even with wanting to dry hop, I don't have need for more lid ports than provided. I like the 'safety' factor of the manifold even with the spunding valve. I haven't used the blowoff setup on either of the conical fermenters I bought since the start.

I've had POOR luck with the 'adjustable' PRV's. With the spunding valve I use, I can set it to what looks right (I use the graduated version) and then adjust if needed once fermentation is fully active. Plus, having the bowl of Starsan for the escaping gas to bubble through is a nice effect. Watching the fermenter get all foamy... ;)

My 'brewery spend' amount for 2021 is no joke. It crept up to a higher number than I had expected. Luckily I have the income to handle the payments to get the things I wanted.

Something worth mentioning. If you're using a glycol chiller, with a Spike chill coil, use the silicone lines (3/8" ID, 5/8" OD). With the fittings that Spike sells for connecting to the coil (for use with 1/2" OD tubing) simply get some 1/2" SS tubing, cut some pieces a few inches long, and push them into the silicone tubing before going into the fittings. The 1/2" OD stainless into 3/8" ID silicone is a TIGHT fit and will mate correctly to the Spike PTC fittings. You also won't get any kinks like you could if you simply went the silicone tubing to the chill coil tubing. I wouldn't use the vinyl tubing if you're running chilled glycol to the coils. The tubing isn't really rated for the low temperatures and will degrade over time (not a lot of time either). I had discoloration with the vinyl tubing I was using before I switched over. DO get some pipe insulation to go around those. I ended up getting stuff with either 1/2" or 3/4" wall to help keep condensation down, as well as make sure I didn't lose too much between the chiller and the coil. I also have oetiker clamps at the glycol chiller end of things, to make SURE they won't leak, or come loose on me.
 

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What you've described is very similar to what I'm doing to my kegmenter. I've ordered a 4" TC lid for the kegmenter that has 2x 1/4" NPTs (one has a Beer-Out port, the other is a 15 psi PRV) and 1x 1.5" TC. I'm going to mount a "tee" spool on the 1.5 TC to hold a Spike manifold and a SS Brew Tech spunding cup. When all is said and done I'll be able to do everything I do in a kegmenter that I do in my unitank except for temperature control.

My unitank gets tied up for a month or more doing lagers before transferring into serving kegs, so the pipeline falls behind. The plan is to brew ales in a temperature controlled Chronical (primary) and then pressure transfer into the kegmenter to complete the last few fermentation points while also spunding and conditioning before kegging. This should more than double the output and allow me to finish two ales for every lager brewed.

I've also got enough spare parts lying around to put a 1.5 TC butterfly valve on top of the "tee" spool to temporarily mount a hop dropper and still have PRV protection upstream of the butterfly, all oxygen free.
 

Brooothru

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Please post pictures. I want to do something similar to a kegmenter.
Will do. Parts are on order, at least the ones not already in hand, but things likely won't get done till after the new year. That said, I'm pretty excited about this project to see if it works the way I visualized it. The primary goal has been to make it modular, multi-functional, able to be reconfigured on the fly while maintaining pressurization, and ALWAYS be protected against over-pressurization.

In addition to safety and functionality I didn't want it to be an ungangly Rube Goldberg contraption. Aesthetics aside, I think it's on the right track.
 

Murph4231

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Will do. Parts are on order, at least the ones not already in hand, but things likely won't get done till after the new year. That said, I'm pretty excited about this project to see if it works the way I visualized it. The primary goal has been to make it modular, multi-functional, able to be reconfigured on the fly while maintaining pressurization, and ALWAYS be protected against over-pressurization.

In addition to safety and functionality I didn't want it to be an ungangly Rube Goldberg contraption. Aesthetics aside, I think it's on the right track.
I'm gonna build mine after seeing yours to steal your design.
 

Bago-0

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I ferment in a 1/4 barrel kegmenter with 4inchTC top. There is another member that made some 4in tops in different configurations to include a chiller coil.
 

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ctagbailey

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I recently finished fermentation on a NEIPA with my first use of my CF5. I’ve always used buckets (both plastic and then an anvil SS later) and I’ve had significant oxidation of the batches, to the point where it looked like dingy wash water rather than the vibrant hazy yellows and oranges of NEIPAs.

This batch came out brilliantly yellow; it looks like Sip of Sunshine or Heady Topper, those commercial beers that do not add any malts that alter the SRM. So I’m extremely pleased with that. I just need to work out dry hopping because it didn’t have the punch I want.

It’s an expensive purchase no doubt. I also bought the extended legs, cooling coil, sight glass for the bottom port, pressure transfer kit, etc. These also add up but it’s nice to have it all set up beforehand rather than realizing in the midst of fermentation that I needed something and didn’t have it. I can’t compare it to any other conical but it was a really encouraging first experience with mine!
I just picked up a CF5 with the Carb bundle. Do you have any recommended must-have accessories for transferring to bottles under pressure? For what it's worth, I have the last straw bottler from Norther Brewer along with the Spike carb stone bundle (which comes with Carb Stone, Pressure Gauge, PRV, 2nd Gas Post, & Gas Manifold). I plan to get get a pressure transfer kit before the first brew day as well.
 

Jag75

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I just picked up a CF5 with the Carb bundle. Do you have any recommended must-have accessories for transferring to bottles under pressure? For what it's worth, I have the last straw bottler from Norther Brewer along with the Spike carb stone bundle (which comes with Carb Stone, Pressure Gauge, PRV, 2nd Gas Post, & Gas Manifold). I plan to get get a pressure transfer kit before the first brew day as well.
Congrats ! I have the CF5 and love it . Did you get the racking arm ? Get extra gaskets and TC's
 

Golddiggie

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I just picked up a CF5 with the Carb bundle. Do you have any recommended must-have accessories for transferring to bottles under pressure? For what it's worth, I have the last straw bottler from Norther Brewer along with the Spike carb stone bundle (which comes with Carb Stone, Pressure Gauge, PRV, 2nd Gas Post, & Gas Manifold). I plan to get get a pressure transfer kit before the first brew day as well.
Get one of the 1-1/2" TC to ball lock fittings and use that for your transfers out of fermenter/conical. I swap out the [Spike} carb stone for one of those before I start my transfers. I send a portion of the batch to keg and then put the rest into cans.

I'm planning to swap out the dual body regulator on the keezer for one of the single body regulators I use for transfers/packaging so that I can use a single CO2 bottle for transfers as well as packaging. My 10# CO2 bottle is running low, so I'll be swapping that out soon. Or I'll upgrade to a 20# bottle to get more use time from it. Given how I'm still on the first fill on the 20# on the keezer, it should last me a good amount of time.
If your bottler lets you purge with CO2, I'd make sure you have two different feeds. One to the conical to keep the beer flowing out consistent and another for the bottle purge.
 

jpakstis

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I just picked up a CF5 with the Carb bundle. Do you have any recommended must-have accessories for transferring to bottles under pressure? For what it's worth, I have the last straw bottler from Norther Brewer along with the Spike carb stone bundle (which comes with Carb Stone, Pressure Gauge, PRV, 2nd Gas Post, & Gas Manifold). I plan to get get a pressure transfer kit before the first brew day as well.
Other than the pressure transfer kit, as Jag75 mentioned, the racking arm and lots of TCs and gaskets. You can never have too many of those.

I also built a no-oxygen dry hopper (basically this one: My DIY Dry Hopper for Homebrewing). It was probably overkill for my first conical fermentation but I really didn’t want to go through that and still have oxidation issues with my NEIPA. Like I wrote before it wasn’t oxidized but I need to work out dry hopping/yeast management. It is nice to have all the equipment to “grow into” rather than feel like I’m limited by what I have.

I don’t have the carb stone but may consider getting that now that I look at it a bit more. Good luck!
 

Golddiggie

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I built a no-O2 dry hopper as well. Used a 1-1/2" TC sight glass (already had) plus a spare butterfly valve along with a Spike gas manifold since that connects up to 1-1/2" TC right off the bat. Learned the lesson of NOT dunking the thing in Starsan/sanitizer right before using, the hard way. The 2" sight glass holds enough hops for my needs with the CF10 units. I can get almost 3oz of pellets into it easily.

IF I was to go larger, I'd probably get the one from Brewers Hardware and be done with it. But, since I'm not dumping more than 3oz of hops into a batch, I don't need that so far.
 

Beholder

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Not sure what size you were looking at, but may want to check out Stout’s jacketed conical as no coils and excellent insulation along with unitank, ports galore, yada yada
 

schard84

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I have the Brewers hardware non jacketed 15 gallon and it's been fantastic.
 
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