Introducing… the Spike FLEX!

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Nagorg

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I *may* get a Flex with the thermowell. The TC fittings make it a no brainer for me over the SS Brewbucket BME. I use am SS 1/2 Barrel Chronical for 10-15G batches and I'm hooked on SS fermentation. I want SS for 5G batches too and this seems to be the best thing out there so far.
 

Jag75

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I really like the spike stuff . I'm just on the fence between cf5 and flex +. I dont have a fermententation fridge so I would be getting the temp control . Either way I'm going with spike .
 

Wreck99

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I should've bought the SS Brew Bucket when I had the chance. Now I'm between that and this lol. Next time extra funds are available, I'm hoping to buy a stainless fermenter to add to the brewery. I love my Spiedel over plastic buckets but I think it's time to go stainless.
 

Nagorg

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I really like the spike stuff . I'm just on the fence between cf5 and flex +. I dont have a fermententation fridge so I would be getting the temp control . Either way I'm going with spike .
I think I'd have to go CF5 over the Flex+. But if not concerned about pressurization, the Flex looks like a decent upgrade over the other SS bucket fermenters.

If space isnt the problem, you can pickup a used upright freezer pretty cheap if you look hard enough. Thats what I use with my 1/2 BBL Chronical.
 
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Jag75

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I think I'd have to go CF5 over the Flex+. But if not concerned about pressurization, the Flex looks like a decent upgrade over the other SS bucket fermenters.

If space isnt the problem, you can pickup a used upright freezer pretty cheap if you look hard enough. Thats what I use with my 1/5 BBL Chronical.
No room for that at all . So probably cf5 more then likely
 

jaymosbeershack

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I just put a deposit on a cruise for my 35th. Will be paying that off with gusto, then ill be choosing between flex+ or cf5. I already have a McGuyvered glycol setup in the keggerators freezer so it really is just a matter of $350 or so... decisions decisions[emoji482]
 

jaymosbeershack

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Just put everything in a cart to see the real price difference. 571 for flex vs 802 for cf5, but $800 is where the finacing switches from 6 months to 12 months. The payments will actually be lower if i go cf5(granted id be paying twice as long)
 

Jag75

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Just put everything in a cart to see the real price difference. 571 for flex vs 802 for cf5, but $800 is where the finacing switches from 6 months to 12 months. The payments will actually be lower if i go cf5(granted id be paying twice as long)
I think it really depends on the accessories that you want . With all the stuff I wanted the flex came out to 800 and cf5 was about 1100
 

jaymosbeershack

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Tried to keg from my fermentasaurus last night and the out post clogged on me again, so i just pulled the trigger on the CF5. Hopefully ill have by the weekend when im brewing again. The jaybird canning jar yeast brink was the item that made my decision easier. Dry hopping with almost zero o2 exposure will be amazing.
 

ttuato

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Count me in on the Flex+ - I just purchased two

FYI - @jaymosbeershack I use the jaybird yeast harvester to dryhop in a modified Speidel with triclover - it works great! Just make sure there is minimal pressure in the fermentor as the mason jar rings blow off threads easily with pressure over 8lbs....cleaning up hop sludge from brew area is no fun, trust me....
 

yeastieboysbrewing

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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).

View attachment 619380
How about sitting down on the floor of the freezer with the racking arm and valve attached? Also have you tried it with the carb stone also? I'm thinking it would be very tight if not too big based on the dimensions on the site (especially once you to to attach a gas ball lock to the carb stone).
 

AF1HomeBrew

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Finally had a chance to use my Flex +. Did a triple batch of a Yuengling clone to do some yeast and temperature tests. The Spike Flex batch has WY1056, and the two SS Brewtech fermenters had White Labs 810 San Francisco Lager yeast. I carried the Spike Flex and one of the SS Brewtech buckets down to my basement (12 steps ) and into a coal cellar where it's 58-59 degrees. The other SS Brewtech fermenter is in a chest freezer in my garage. It was much easier to carrier the Flex + then the SS Brewtech buckets.

2019_0430_tripleYuengling.jpg
 

hubandspoke

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I love Spike and all their products! My entire brew system is made of Spike kettles/fittings, and the customer service is top notch.

Anyone know if the Flex would fit in a kegerator? I have an Edgestar KC2000TWIN which, thanks to the slightly concave door, can hold a standard 1/2 barrel keg or a few cornys. I really want to pull the trigger on the Flex+, but need to make sure it fits with the fittings attached. Plus there is the compressor "shelf" in the back, so maybe I could angle the valves over the shelf if the little legs provide enough clearance.
 

martianpc

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I love Spike and all their products! My entire brew system is made of Spike kettles/fittings, and the customer service is top notch.

Anyone know if the Flex would fit in a kegerator? I have an Edgestar KC2000TWIN which, thanks to the slightly concave door, can hold a standard 1/2 barrel keg or a few cornys. I really want to pull the trigger on the Flex+, but need to make sure it fits with the fittings attached. Plus there is the compressor "shelf" in the back, so maybe I could angle the valves over the shelf if the little legs provide enough clearance.
Bringing this back.. Anyone ever figure this question out?
 

mikeschmidt69

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I have a 7g SSBT conical and I am considering to replace it with the Flex+ for the following reasons; anyone see flaws in my logic?
  • I never use the dump valve in my 7g conical except for cleaning.
    • I overbuild my starters rather than harvest
    • I secondary (hops, cacao, vanilla, ....) on top of the yeast cake. I guess if I added fruit I would want to drop the yeast but then I could use one of my glass carboys for the rare occasion
    • I age/lager/drink from a keg.
  • I like the idea of building up a little pressure from fermentation to cold crash; for the 7g conical I have to attach CO2 to a connected gas post to offset the vacuum
  • I like the idea of building up a little pressure from fermentation to allow pulling samples or closed transfer without pulling in O2, sucking up sanitizer from blow-off tube or requiring the connection of CO2 to a connected gas post
  • I like the option for pressurized fermentation; not sure for which beers I would do this
  • I like the ability to carbonate the beer to a certain level at the end of fermentation, reduce amount of CO2 I need to buy, reduce time to first glass by a couple of days
  • The shorter height would allow me to use a "hop dropper" for O2-free dry hopping in my fermentation fridge. 7gal conical is too tall without removing from fridge which is a pain when full.
 

awoitte

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It seems a little silly they'd have all these great features but not include a dedicated dump/sample port. No way I'd pick this over the UniTank but it is still very attractive. Is it guaranteed that when you use the carb stone it will rest above any trub/cake resting at the bottom?
 
OP
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It seems a little silly they'd have all these great features but not include a dedicated dump/sample port. No way I'd pick this over the UniTank but it is still very attractive. Is it guaranteed that when you use the carb stone it will rest above any trub/cake resting at the bottom?
The Flex is targeted to a different market. If you're looking to dump/harvest yeast the CF series has all those features. The Flex (especially the Flex+) has all the capability as the CF series minus the bottom dump for about half the price.
 

Trevor Mack

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I'm definitely eyeing one of these. Been thinking of going with a SS brew bucket as this year's brewery upgrade. But now I'm questioning that. Will be researching more of the hands on reviews of this vessel before making my choice later this spring.
 

Nagorg

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The Flex is targeted to a different market. If you're looking to dump/harvest yeast the CF series has all those features. The Flex (especially the Flex+) has all the capability as the CF series minus the bottom dump for about half the price.
First, I have to say that I am a huge fan of Spike Brewing. I have two of your kettles and have been eyeballing your conicals for a while. I have a half barrel SS BrewTech BE conical and have often thought of selling it and applying that cash towards a new Spike conical. (may happen one day...)

But the Flex is a product that seems, well, "close but no cigar". It really looks cool (I'm sure it is cool...) but seems to just miss the mark.

I mean, it's really more than half the cost of a CF5. If it had a thermowell at no additional cost, it would still cost more than half of a CF5.

E.G.:
Base Flex+ - $375.00
TC Thermowell - $25.00
------------------------
==> $400.00

Stock CF5 - $550.00
Thermowell - Included!
------------------------
==> $550.00

Yes, that's $150 more than the Flex+ but you get a bottom dump, an incredible sample valve and a thermowell with a thermometer to boot!

I mean, If I can spend $400.00 on a fermentor, whats another $150?
 

Noob_Brewer

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First, I have to say that I am a huge fan of Spike Brewing. I have two of your kettles and have been eyeballing your conicals for a while. I have a half barrel SS BrewTech BE conical and have often thought of selling it and applying that cash towards a new Spike conical. (may happen one day...)

But the Flex is a product that seems, well, "close but no cigar". It really looks cool (I'm sure it is cool...) but seems to just miss the mark.

I mean, it's really more than half the cost of a CF5. If it had a thermowell at no additional cost, it would still cost more than half of a CF5.

E.G.:
Base Flex+ - $375.00
TC Thermowell - $25.00
------------------------
==> $400.00

Stock CF5 - $550.00
Thermowell - Included!
------------------------
==> $550.00

Yes, that's $150 more than the Flex+ but you get a bottom dump, an incredible sample valve and a thermowell with a thermometer to boot!

I mean, If I can spend $400.00 on a fermentor, whats another $150?
I don't have a dog in the fight either way as Im a new home brewer who started from scratch on everything. I did look at both of these very closely though initially, but decided to go a different route for now. but while I agree the $150 doesn't seem like much of a difference for the added yeast/trub dump, that $150 difference is still real money. Context matters though: I have several friends who use chest freezers/ferm wraps/inkbirds for their carboys for temp control. IMHO, The flex+ represents a "gateway" to a quality SS product that can do most of what a conical can do and a flex+ will fit in their chest freezer. Conicals don't. So if someone decides on the conical route, they then might need to plan on additional $$$ to change the way they control ferm temps. so everyone purchasing either of these will need to plan on any additional accessories that are needed for them. BTW, the flex+ still has a standard racking arm I think, but the CF5 doesn't so thats an additional $25 for the conical peeps. My point is that the $150 difference quoted above can easily balloon to a lot more if someone wants to add even a DIY glycol chiller for cooling or buy a cheap refrigerator that will fit it on craigslist. My friends though already have a chest freezer that the flex+ will fit in with their existing equipment so no additional costs would be necessary for them and they overbuild their yeast starters for future batches and never harvest from the yeast cakes in the fermenter. So again, personal context matters which is why I think Spike had stated that the flex+ is geared towards a "different market". SO if someone can pay $400 and use the product with their existing equipment/temp control, that makes it extremely attractive.

Cheers
 

NewJersey

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First, I have to say that I am a huge fan of Spike Brewing. I have two of your kettles and have been eyeballing your conicals for a while. I have a half barrel SS BrewTech BE conical and have often thought of selling it and applying that cash towards a new Spike conical. (may happen one day...)

But the Flex is a product that seems, well, "close but no cigar". It really looks cool (I'm sure it is cool...) but seems to just miss the mark.

I mean, it's really more than half the cost of a CF5. If it had a thermowell at no additional cost, it would still cost more than half of a CF5.

E.G.:
Base Flex+ - $375.00
TC Thermowell - $25.00
------------------------
==> $400.00

Stock CF5 - $550.00
Thermowell - Included!
------------------------
==> $550.00

Yes, that's $150 more than the Flex+ but you get a bottom dump, an incredible sample valve and a thermowell with a thermometer to boot!

I mean, If I can spend $400.00 on a fermentor, whats another $150?
Not everyone has the same income, budget, space available, etc.
I got the flex+ with everything other than temp control. Love the thing. I don't care about the yeast dump and it fits in my small chest freezer for temp control. Even if I get a glycol chiller I still wouldn't be yearning for a cf5
To each their own. For the record, I could afford plenty of CF5s, just didn't want/need one
 

Gregory T

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I would ask what do you get for that $150. is it worth it to you? i got a keg system with a new keg from AIH for $149. if its a yeast dump and a fermentor that wont fit in my fridge I'm gonna say no
 

Nagorg

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All great points and completely understand. We all have different situations and whats right for one person isn't the best for another. I do appreciate the variety of choices we have these days and did not mean to discount the Flex+ in any way. It just doesn't fit my specific scenario.

Regardless, Spike Brewing produces quality equipment and I'm glad to see them innovating on multiple levels. You wont go wrong when choosing Spike equipment no matter what that piece is for you. I'm a happy customer and will add more of their gear to my brewery for sure.
 

sleev-les

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I have a CF5 and Flex +. They each have their benefit. I use the Flex + when I'm not dry hopping or flavoring during secondary. Has less fitting locations so less cleaning and easy use. Smaller footprint is a plus as well.

When I'm going to secondary in order to dry hop or add puree etc, I like being able to dump the trub and continue from the same vessel. I like the sampling port it comes with.

The odd with both is that no thermwell with the Plus, but no racking arm with the CF5. I bought a thermwell for the Plus and about to pick up a racking arm for the CF5.

One other thing I bought was the clear sight window. It is the one part that really does no good since it gets condensation on it and you can't see anyway. At least in my case right now since I'm in a colder garage and am warming with the TC100 so condensation is more of a thing. But once weather warms I'll be using the cooling coil so still no opportunity to see if condensation improves in the more manageable weather.

I can't say I have a real complaint about either, but they do have a different purpose which is why I like the options.
 

hootowl

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I shared this before on another thread.
I don't like the sheet metal hole for the bung. This is the worst part of the design. Spike advertises pressure transfer capability on the Flex but I don't see how the bung stays put when pressure transferring. Spike provides no instructions on how to pressure transfer. I assume you would need to purchase a triclamp fitting for the side port but you still need to control the gas. Others reported the bung comes out under transfer pressure so I decided to go this route so it was more convenient to pressure transfer.

Weld a 1.5" triclamp ferrule to the bung hole.

The triclamp ferrule was $3.95. The 1.5 end cap was $4.66. Triclamp was $5.84. Total cost $15.32
I work next to a couple of welders and I'm a machinist.
So for $16 bucks I eliminated the sheet metal hole and made it a very useful interchangeable triclamp fitting. I bored out the end cap to the 8 deg taper for a bung.

This lid will not hold any pressure above 1 or 2 psi. I tested it. The lid lifts between the clamps at about 2 psi. You don't even need a relief valve but there is one on the gas manifold. I also re-calibrated the 15 psi relief valve to about 5 psi by machining the dimple away to allow adjustment. I use it because it has a blow off pin. When I'm done I can release any leftover pressure.

I also purchased the gas manifold bundle which was $75. That doesn't come with either the Flex or the Flex+. 0nly need one because I can put it on either tank when I need it.

I won't be doing force carbonating because I force carb in the corny in the fridge after the pressure transfer. This means I don't need a pressure lid. Would be a waste of money.

Spike Flex $250
Spike Flex+ $375

I got $270 in my flex as shown in the pictures.... manifold is extra
20200225_185433.jpg
.

20200225_185427.jpg
20200226_062419.jpg
 

awoitte

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I shared this before on another thread.
I don't like the sheet metal hole for the bung. This is the worst part of the design. Spike advertises pressure transfer capability on the Flex but I don't see how the bung stays put when pressure transferring. Spike provides no instructions on how to pressure transfer. I assume you would need to purchase a triclamp fitting for the side port but you still need to control the gas. Others reported the bung comes out under transfer pressure so I decided to go this route so it was more convenient to pressure transfer.

Weld a 1.5" triclamp ferrule to the bung hole.

The triclamp ferrule was $3.95. The 1.5 end cap was $4.66. Triclamp was $5.84. Total cost $15.32
I work next to a couple of welders and I'm a machinist.
So for $16 bucks I eliminated the sheet metal hole and made it a very useful interchangeable triclamp fitting. I bored out the end cap to the 8 deg taper for a bung.

This lid will not hold any pressure above 1 or 2 psi. I tested it. The lid lifts between the clamps at about 2 psi. You don't even need a relief valve but there is one on the gas manifold. I also re-calibrated the 15 psi relief valve to about 5 psi by machining the dimple away to allow adjustment. I use it because it has a blow off pin. When I'm done I can release any leftover pressure.

I also purchased the gas manifold bundle which was $75. That doesn't come with either the Flex or the Flex+. 0nly need one because I can put it on either tank when I need it.

I won't be doing force carbonating because I force carb in the corny in the fridge after the pressure transfer. This means I don't need a pressure lid. Would be a waste of money.

Spike Flex $250
Spike Flex+ $375

I got $270 in my flex as shown in the pictures.... manifold is extra View attachment 671367 .

View attachment 671365 View attachment 671366
FWIW, a simple google search would've provided sufficient documentation on pressure transfer procedure.
 

hootowl

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Did my first pressure transfer.... in my life.
Purged the keg with co2.
Attached a gas line to the gas in with the other end in a bowl of sanitized water. This way when it's bubbling, beer is flowing.
Did two kegs. First one clogged the inlet ball lock. I removed the check valves in both the ball lock fitting and the post. Worked great.
Second keg went perfect.
I also shortened the dip tubes an inch cause I don't need to be sucking up the crud in the bottom. They were originally designed to get every last drop of soda syrup out.
Nice thing about the clear 4" cap... you can see the racking arm when you are down that low and adjust it to get the last good stuff.

This setup between a good 10gal kettle with a valve and the Flex fermenters has really made this cleaner and easier.

 

videojunkie1208

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I really like the spike stuff . I'm just on the fence between cf5 and flex +. I dont have a fermententation fridge so I would be getting the temp control . Either way I'm going with spike .
I have both a CF10 and a FLEX+. if I had to buy again, I'd have bought 2 FLEX+ instead of my CF10. and I *LOVE* my CF10.

Here's how I see the pro's and con's:

Flex:
Pro: Size (nice and compact!), Cost (Bang for the $)
Con: Accessory cost (Bang for the $ relative to the price of the fermenter), no bottom dump valve.

CF:
Pro: Bottom Dump, 3 ports for thermowell, sampling valve, and racking cane
Con: size (the legs are sometimes a hassle to deal with.)

The Flex+ is a great size for fitting into refrigerators, etc. and it has just enough ports to keep you happy. if you don't harvest yeast/ dump trub, I think it is the best of the 'bucket' style fermenters out there. Butterfly valves are easy to clean and sanitize, getting used to tri-clamp fittings took a bit, but now that I have all the parts sorted out, I'd never change back.

One Catch on the Flex is the lack of a Sample valve, but I get that some folks might rather have a thermowell instead. I almost wish that there was that one more TC port on it to support both, but the included thermometer strip on the side seems to work just fine.

I debated back and forth between the CF5 and the CF10, and when it finally came time to pull the trigger, the fact that the price difference was negligible between both (~$100) I wound up with the CF10. Someday I thought that maybe I want to make a bigger than 5 gallon batch. I was right.

Both are very solid pieces of kit, and well finished inside and out (even my 'bargan cave' FLEX+, I can't find a thing to complain about with either.

YMMV.
 

k-os

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Do you use that feature? I carbonate at 30 in the keg.
The last two beers I fermented in my Flex+ I put my spunding valve on after I fruited (Mango Kettle Sour) and when I dry hopped (All Together IPA). With it pressurized to around 10-12 PSI I can then transfer most of the beer to the keg without needing to hook up CO2 for the whole transfer.
 

videojunkie1208

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One question .. why Flex + and not just the Flex?
I use the pressure capability of the FLEX+ but in the opposite manner than most beer brewers. I make meads mostly, and use a small 12v vacuum pump to degas my mead as it gets close to being done. A full FLEX+ can easily handle -10psi, and degases really nicely. I haven't tested the CF10 to know what it's limits are, but I expect to be able to to pull 5-10 psi of negative pressure to degas in the larger vessel. before I had the gauge, I 'T'd into the blowoff hose, and would deliberately suck water up the blowoff tube to pull a gentle vacuum and degas.
 

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hootowl

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I use the pressure capability of the FLEX+ but in the opposite manner than most beer brewers. I make meads mostly, and use a small 12v vacuum pump to degas my mead as it gets close to being done. A full FLEX+ can easily handle -10psi, and degases really nicely. I haven't tested the CF10 to know what it's limits are, but I expect to be able to to pull 5-10 psi of negative pressure to degas in the larger vessel. before I had the gauge, I 'T'd into the blowoff hose, and would deliberately suck water up the blowoff tube to pull a gentle vacuum and degas.
I'd be really careful pulling vacuum on these vessels. You could get a collapse. What a mess that would be. With pressure you get a leak. With vacuum it can actually help the seal and then collapse with no warning.
 
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videojunkie1208

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I usually only pull about 5-7 PSI, as I think that being gentle helps both the mead and the vessel. And I make sure to only do it on a relatively full vessel, as I am concerned about collapse. I know that there are folks who pull a hard vacuum on glass carboys successfully, so far I haven't had any issues. That's also what prompted me to get the gauge. I wanted to *KNOW* how hard I was pulling on it.

Also the tiny vacuum pump takes several minutes to pull down the pressure, so it's not an instant change.
 
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