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Introducing… the Spike FLEX!

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AF1HomeBrew

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How heavy is it - as in - how difficult will it be to lift and clean all the trub out of?
SS Brew Bucket as pictured in my previous post is 12.39 lbs.

Spike Flex+ base & top is 12.84 lbs . Add the TC parts to it is another 7.75 lbs. It is easy enough to pickup. When it comes time to do any dumping, you'd take the TC parts off anyway so it would be very easy to clean. The Flex+ and the handles are very sturdy.
 
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Mordhaus

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Well 24 hrs after I placed my order, it arrived. Below is a photo with it next to my SS Brewbucket. I'd add the Anvil bucket, but it's full of Flanders Red at the moment. It will fit in my 7.2 cu Ft. Chest Freezer too. Like all of my Spike Brewing Equipment it's built like a tank & Shiny. Definitely will outlive my liver.

They even threw in a packet of Bar Keeper's Friend & Craftmeister Alkaline Brewery Wash.
Mind posting a pic of how tight it is in the chest freezer?
 

AF1HomeBrew

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Mind posting a pic of how tight it is in the chest freezer?
This is about the best I can do right now, as I have stuff fermenting away in my 2 chest freezers. There is a keg underneath the Flex+ in the photo, but it would fit all the way into the freezer if it was available. There's about an inch to spare on the side; height wise no problem. I will only be able to fit one Flex+ in the chest freezer (I can fit two SS Brew Buckets in the same freezer).

IMG_8278.JPG
 
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AF1HomeBrew

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Looks awesome! Thanks for the pix, @AF1HomeBrew! Do you think you'll get a chance to fill it soon?
I have an extract kit that I was thinking about doing next week if or when I have some time. Normally I brew all-grain, but the wife wanted a Yueling, so I found a clone to make quickly for her to try out.
 

TheMadKing

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There is no advantage over there unitank besides the cost and possibly the smaller size. I was speaking about the numerous advantages over a conical or a brew bucket. Obviously using glycol to cool 5-15 gallons of liquid is overkill and not a requirement considering a 50$ fridge will do the same thing so that's not really relevant. Anyway seems your process works for your goals. For me personally not crashing in the fermentor and getting all the sediment in the serving kegs is unacceptable so it's a no brainer. Again we all have different end goals. Cheers
My current process works but I'm planning to just buy the unitank since I can't see much of an advantage to one of these. I use glass carboys currently.

Not sure I understand your comment about the cold crash, since I always cold crash as well prior to kegging.

I'm just asking questions to see if I'm missing something and it seems the unitank it still a much better option both for the price and all around features IMO
 

RSM

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This is about the best I can do right now, as I have stuff fermenting away in my 2 chest freezers. There is a keg underneath the Flex+ in the photo, but it would fit all the way into the freezer if it was available. There's about an inch to spare on the side; height wise no problem. I will only be able to fit one Flex+ in the chest freezer (I can fit two SS Brew Buckets in the same freezer).

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I think AF1 has done a fantastic job of giving the forum the first take look. I am a huge Spike supporter. I think their stuff is FANTASTIC, and customer service is top notch. I don't need the Flex, given my CF5's, but I did want to put out a consideration for those that are planning to use this in a 7.2 cu ft freezer, and have AF1 maybe confirm or deny this.

The width of the unit with the valve on is over 17". That means it would NOT fit in the chest freezer unless it was turned sideways, as it's pictured there. However, that means the handles are facing forward and back. So realistically, it might be a challenge to put in there unless you are holding the handles right and left, and then turning it to go in so the valves are turned (and handles then face front and back).

It seems that, if someone is putting the Flex in with handles front and back when full, it may put them in a somewhat precarious position (literally), and maybe pinch their fingers more often than not, given limited clearance.

Am I just imagining this, AF1?
 

AF1HomeBrew

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I think AF1 has done a fantastic job of giving the forum the first take look. I am a huge Spike supporter. I think their stuff is FANTASTIC, and customer service is top notch. I don't need the Flex, given my CF5's, but I did want to put out a consideration for those that are planning to use this in a 7.2 cu ft freezer, and have AF1 maybe confirm or deny this.

The width of the unit with the valve on is over 17". That means it would NOT fit in the chest freezer unless it was turned sideways, as it's pictured there. However, that means the handles are facing forward and back. So realistically, it might be a challenge to put in there unless you are holding the handles right and left, and then turning it to go in so the valves are turned (and handles then face front and back).

It seems that, if someone is putting the Flex in with handles front and back when full, it may put them in a somewhat precarious position (literally), and maybe pinch their fingers more often than not, given limited clearance.

Am I just imagining this, AF1?
I think the Flex+ could be put into my freezer using the clamp after it's been secured, but the handles could not be used. I think I've done that with my SS Brew Buckets before with no issues. Since my freezers are all being used, I won't be doing any test for awhile. There is room for the valve in my freezer. The first test I'll be doing with this fermenter will likely go in my coal cellar (I live in an old farm house). If I splurged on a CF10 or CF15 I would have put it in my coal cellar anyway.

I think this fermenter is pretty nice and may purchase another one. It answers all my wishes if I could improve on the flimsy SS Brew Buckets that I have been using for a few years.
 
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Blazinlow86

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My current process works but I'm planning to just buy the unitank since I can't see much of an advantage to one of these. I use glass carboys currently.

Not sure I understand your comment about the cold crash, since I always cold crash as well prior to kegging.

I'm just asking questions to see if I'm missing something and it seems the unitank it still a much better option both for the price and all around features IMO
I'm agreeing with you. The *spike* unitank is a better option if you both have the room and additional money. That's it. My point about the cold crashing was that I'm not aware of another bucket/carboy that's capable of holding 10+ psi and arguably cold crashing in those type devices can be less elegant (fwiw I regularly cold crashed my sealed carboys for years). Cheers
 
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Looks like your giving brand X a run for their money Ben! Nice job! This looks like a better option for sure. Impressive!

Cheers
Jay
 

Gregory T

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I decided on the flex with a sampling valve. I was looking into stainless fermentor when this came across
 

Dlawrence529

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I watched a review video from Beer-n-BBQ Larry. The handles look like they say "do not lift when full". Can anyone confirm that? I'd like to think it's just a disclaimer, but that's a huge disappointment if it can't be lifted onto a countertop to transfer to a bottling bucket or keg
 

AF1HomeBrew

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I watched a review video from Beer-n-BBQ Larry. The handles look like they say "do not lift when full". Can anyone confirm that? I'd like to think it's just a disclaimer, but that's a huge disappointment if it can't be lifted onto a countertop to transfer to a bottling bucket or keg
Just checked. It is etched on the handles. A little hard to read, since the fermenter is so shiny. Why have handles if you can’t use them to move the fermenter? I didn’t see anything in any of the printed material.
 

Blazinlow86

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Just checked. It is etched on the handles. A little hard to read, since the fermenter is so shiny. Why have handles if you can’t use them to move the fermenter? I didn’t see anything in any of the printed material.
There to move the fermentor when it's empty. Imho I think it's somewhat assumed when buying such a high end fermentor that your going to be doing closed transfers as that's kinda the whole point therefore lifting it and disturbing all the trub etc to transfer with gravity isn't really a big thing. Cheers
 

Dlawrence529

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There to move the fermentor when it's empty. Imho I think it's somewhat assumed when buying such a high end fermentor that your going to be doing closed transfers as that's kinda the whole point therefore lifting it and disturbing all the trub etc to transfer with gravity isn't really a big thing. Cheers
Isn't the base model flex only rated for 2 psi? I thought that was similar to the brewbucket that can't do pressure transfers.

Wouldn't anyone who ferments in a chest freezer still want to remove it before doing a pressure transfer? I have never done one.
 
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Wagon_6

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You can do pressure transfers in the brewbucket. They make a tri-clamp fitting that has a 2 psi pressure relief valve built in.

That’s odd they’re not designed to be lifted while full. I pump from kettle into my brewbuckets and lift them once on top of a stainless table.
 

AF1HomeBrew

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The only other time I saw that kind of warning was on the Blichmann Boilermaker kettles I had before I replaced them with Spike's. I'm definitely not going to lift a filled 20 or 30 gal kettle, but 6 gal of wort?. I move my SS BrewBuckets filled all the time (to transfer to the fermentation area) using those handles, so I am going to do the same with my Flex+. I'm sure it's a legalise / liability reason for adding that to the handles.
 
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mistertinkle

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I watched a review video from Beer-n-BBQ Larry. The handles look like they say "do not lift when full". Can anyone confirm that? I'd like to think it's just a disclaimer, but that's a huge disappointment if it can't be lifted onto a countertop to transfer to a bottling bucket or keg
I had the same concerns, and contacted Spike support. Based on the reply below, I think the 'Do not lift when full' sticker is a liability statement. I suspect the handles are strong enough to move the Flex from a fermentation chamber to a countertop. But if they fail, Spike won't take responsibility...

Spike response: "In general, we do not recommend lifting any of the fermenters by the handles when full due to instability of the liquid moving around and they are not rated to hold that much weight. However, lifting the full unit outside of using the handles would be more safe than using the handles. We also recommend casters for the ease of moving it."

Edit: Each of us will have to decide for ourselves if we are willing to use the handles when full. :D
 
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This looks like a really nice product. My first proper kettle was a Spike, and I probably bought it in their first few months of operation... the logo sticker was still a picture of the dog Spike at that time.

That response about lifting the full fermenter is disappointing, though. They do say plainly that the handles are not rated for that much weight.

I brew in the garage, fill the fermenter in the garage, then carry it in to the fridge... a trip that includes 3 stair steps. So even if I put the fermenter on wheels, and can do a pressure transfer while it is in the fridge, I still have to carry the full fermenter a few steps.

At least how my space is set up, there is a massive difference between a step up in gear so you can take advantage of better sampling/carbing/transferring and moving to a system where everything is pumped and nothing is ever carried full.

I will keep this guy on my wish list but will probably spend some effort on setting up my Brew Bucket with a low pressure CO2 feed for transfers.
 

Gregory T

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I just received my flex. That was fast. I wish I had ordered casters with it. Their FAQ is really pushing the don’t lift thing which is my only dig. It can’t go over a threshold or into a fridge without lifting. I ordered the sampling valve and the barb when I got it. I would add the casters. I took a picture with 2 bucket types for scale.
 

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Gregory T

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I had the same concerns, and contacted Spike support. Based on the reply below, I think the 'Do not lift when full' sticker is a liability statement. I suspect the handles are strong enough to move the Flex from a fermentation chamber to a countertop. But if they fail, Spike won't take responsibility...

Spike response: "In general, we do not recommend lifting any of the fermenters by the handles when full due to instability of the liquid moving around and they are not rated to hold that much weight. However, lifting the full unit outside of using the handles would be more safe than using the handles. We also recommend casters for the ease of moving it."

You will have to decide for yourself if are willing to use the handles when full. :D
 

Gregory T

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I agree with this assessment I mean I carry a plastic bucket upstairs with 5 gallons of wort. I find it hard to believe these handles can’t handle it. I guess we will find out in a few uses
 

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Trying to decide between the flex+ and cf5, I only do 2.5 gallon batches which typically is 3-3.5 going into the fermenter. The main reason I would like to get this because the closed transfers look to be much easier then my ssbrewbucket( I hate the little weldless baby valve( which clogs all the time) and not having legs ) and I would like to cold crash under pressure.

1.Is the trub dump at the bottom really worth it? After big dry hops, my brew bucket would clog or I would pull some hop material into the keg.

2. How many oz/pints/gallons are left after racking(Im assuming there is some dead space the racking arm doesn't get to) ?
 

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I just ordered the cf5. I already had stared building a diy glycol chiller with plans to get rid of my chest freezer.

IMO not designing the handles to be used when filled is a glaring oversight of how the majority of end users will use the fermenter. My guess is most folks haven’t bought the chiller system and are attracted to the buckets because they are SS, have a cone, racking arm and can be placed in a chest freezer.
 
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NGD

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Watching this video that was in their e-mail today, I feel reassured that Spike has another great product.

Hey, its Greg Young! Been watching him on IG for awhile. The guy seems cool and has a keen eye for beer. Pretty good review for that Spike.
 

Gregory T

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I just tested with water in my flex it would only gravity drain to 5 liters. That’s not ok. I know it can handle 2 psi so that would correct it but not sure how to apply the 2 psi
 

Gregory T

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Trying to decide between the flex+ and cf5, I only do 2.5 gallon batches which typically is 3-3.5 going into the fermenter. The main reason I would like to get this because the closed transfers look to be much easier then my ssbrewbucket( I hate the little weldless baby valve( which clogs all the time) and not having legs ) and I would like to cold crash under pressure.

1.Is the trub dump at the bottom really worth it? After big dry hops, my brew bucket would clog or I would pull some hop material into the keg.

2. How many oz/pints/gallons are left after racking(Im assuming there is some dead space the racking arm doesn't get to) ?

I just did a water test. It left just above 5 liters during gravity drain. The tube is well below this but it won’t gravity drain below there. That is not ok. I know it can handle 2 psi which would be plent to get the beer out but not sure how to apply the 2 psi.
 

Dlawrence529

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I just did a water test. It left just above 5 liters during gravity drain. The tube is well below this but it won’t gravity drain below there. That is not ok. I know it can handle 2 psi which would be plent to get the beer out but not sure how to apply the 2 psi.
Do you have tubing into a container thats lower than the bottom of the flex? It won't siphon if you don't. I thought i had the same problem with my brewbucket
 

Gregory T

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Do you have tubing into a container thats lower than the bottom of the flex? It won't siphon if you don't. I thought i had the same problem with my brewbucket
I did not. Brilliant thanks I will try that. I’m sure it will work. that makes sense. I kept thinking surely they wouldn’t let something like that go. #moremoneythantalent
 

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As my name would imply, I'm a noob. lol. Ive been eying the cf5 for a while now to meet my needs, but when the flex came out, it made me re-evalaute. obviously the big difference comes into play in that the flex/flex+ doesn't have a trub dump as the conical does and doesn't have a dedicated sample valve. The latter of these doesn't seem to be an issue given the modular aspect of these fermenters. But I do wonder, that if I bought a flex+ and wanted to force carbonate, would there be any issue in the final product if you force carbonated after cold crashing when the yeast cake is still present (flex +) compared to when the yeast cake has been already dumped (unitank, conical)? If anybody has experience in force carbing when a yeast cake is present vs when it is not present, much would be appreciate in replying. Cheers!
 

Jag75

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I was looking at the cf5 . Had all the accessories in the cart . Came out to around 1,100.

The flex + with all the similar accessories came out to 880. I dont know what the size difference is in the unit itself without the leg extensions but for around 200 more dollars wouldn't it be better just to go with the cf5. Theres no duming trub and yeast in the flex .
 

Jag75

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The Flex looks like an interesting alternative to the SS Brewbucket.. I'd want the thermowell and I guess the racking port could double as a sample valve. As interesting as the Flex+ is, seems that it gets close enough to the cost of a CF5 that I'd probably just buy the C5 instead given the additional accessories.

When you are spending that much on a 5G fermenter, whats another couple of hundred bucks?
This was exactly my thought as well.
 

Diver_Alan

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I have a CF10. I just checked and it also says "do not lift when full" When I first got the CF10 for the first few batches in it I lifted it into a upright freezer while full without any problems. At over 100 lbs full it is not easy or would I recommend it but the handles held up just fine. I do not know how the handles on the CF10 compare to the ones on the Flex. Based of the quality of other Spike products I would not hesitate to lift the Flex into a refrigerator or up a few steps when full however out of an abundance of caution I probably would not carry it a long distance when full using the handles.
 

Gregory T

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I was looking at the cf5 . Had all the accessories in the cart . Came out to around 1,100.

The flex + with all the similar accessories came out to 880. I dont know what the size difference is in the unit itself without the leg extensions but for around 200 more dollars wouldn't it be better just to go with the cf5. Theres no duming trub and yeast in the flex .
I agree. this is what I always do. “Well for not much more I can get this. Then for a little more than that I can have this.” Then eventually I get to “I’m not paying that much for a fermentor”

It took a lot of discipline but I stuck with the flex and added the sampling valve and came out at $280. I was Planning on getting the brew bucket for $199. $80 for TC fittings and a sample valve was an easy choice the ability to upgrade also helped
 

Jag75

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I agree. this is what I always do. “Well for not much more I can get this. Then for a little more than that I can have this.” Then eventually I get to “I’m not paying that much for a fermentor”

It took a lot of discipline but I stuck with the flex and added the sampling valve and came out at $280. I was Planning on getting the brew bucket for $199. $80 for TC fittings and a sample valve was an easy choice the ability to upgrade also helped
Yes true but are you gonna get a temp control package for it ? What about legs or casters . I'm even tossing the idea of just getting the cooling coil and drilling 2 holes in my fast ferment lid .
 

Gregory T

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Yes true but are you gonna get a temp control package for it ? What about legs or casters . I'm even tossing the idea of just getting the cooling coil and drilling 2 holes in my fast ferment lid .
I have a fridge it fits in easily. I would not get legs. Maybe casters. The great thing is it can be upgraded as you like. I wanted stainless. I have a stainless thing and I prefer TC fittings
 

Jag75

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I have a fridge it fits in easily. I would not get legs. Maybe casters. The great thing is it can be upgraded as you like. I wanted stainless. I have a stainless thing and I prefer TC fittings
I prefer stainless as well . Makes since to go with that if you have a fridge it fits in . I have no room at all for a fridge. If I had a fridge it be a no brainer
 
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