Larger fermenter suggestions?

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EinGutesBier

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I'm looking for a fermenter that has a capacity that's more than 6.5 gallons. My AG system is fine, but I'm limited by my fermenter size. Despite looking online, I haven't found too many alternatives. Does anyone know of any good substitutes or a place I can get some larger carboys? Also feel free to PM me if you have something you're looking to get rid of yourself.
 

beta pleated sheet

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Have you looked at Blichmann's fermenters? They come in sizes from 7-42 gallons (I've got the 7gal model). Biggest setback? They're crazy expensive, and they require a bit more maintenance than carboys. I'd say it's well worth it, though. The biggest pro is that you can do primary and secondary in the same vessel, and yeast harvesting is super easy.

BYO had an article on them in the November 07 issue, which probably describes their pros and cons more eloquently than I could ever hope to. Not sure if they have it online, but it's worth hunting down an issue if they don't.

Blichmann's website
 
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EinGutesBier

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Oh man, those are nice. Maybe even beautiful? I'd definitely buy one or tow if I won the lottery. :rockin:

Unfortunately, I'm under a budget right now. : / I got my 6 gallon glass carboy for free and I can't complain about that. I'm just hoping to find a bigger glass carboy since I really do enjoy being able to visibly see the fermentation (as opposed to a ale pail).
 
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EinGutesBier

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That's very true. Maybe there's a better alternative. I just checked better bottles and those seem to only go as large as 6 gallons.
 

RockfordWhite

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Don't get the US plastics version, the lid has trouble sealing and it doesn't work to well because of that...there is another brand from Norwesco (they call them inductor tanks), the lid is one piece and works significantly better, one guy got them delivered from GVM for like 56 + 24 shipping, so that's not bad...
 

WortMonger

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I would use a 1/2bbl beer keg. With an airlock/blowoff you could do as much as 12-13 gallons or more if you don't mind losing a little in the blowoff. They are cheap too, you can find a keg for free sometimes.
 

Brewpastor

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The 15.5 gallon keg is a great solution. You can also get the Euro style that are a little smaller. Clean them with some caustic and you are good to go.
 

WortMonger

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Crap, you don't even need caustic. Oxyclean rules!!!!!!!!!!! I have my fermenter soaking right now with it inside, and it is a 15.5 gallon Sanke sealed up spear and all. A good rinse after dumping and then sanitize and you are ready for the next batch.
 

Brewpastor

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wortmonger said:
Crap, you don't even need caustic. Oxyclean rules!!!!!!!!!!! I have my fermenter soaking right now with it inside, and it is a 15.5 gallon Sanke sealed up spear and all. A good rinse after dumping and then sanitize and you are ready for the next batch.
I always forget about Oxyclean, but you are absolutely right!

If you whirlpool chill you can also just do single stage fermenting and then you don't need conicals or anything.
 

abracadabra

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RockfordWhite said:
Don't get the US plastics version, the lid has trouble sealing and it doesn't work to well because of that...there is another brand from Norwesco (they call them inductor tanks), the lid is one piece and works significantly better, one guy got them delivered from GVM for like 56 + 24 shipping, so that's not bad...
While it's true that the lid does not form an air tight seal direct from the seller. There are a number of things that can rectify that. Including a gasket made from a number of different sources. Such as one that seals a door jam for air leaks.

Here's a web page for the needed modifications:

http://www.northchautauquahomebrewers.com/ferment/ferment.htm
 

RockfordWhite

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yeah i read on the B3 forum i think that an experiment doing that didn't work out too well...i can't remember what happened...but none the less, the norwesco one is also cheaper...

UPDATE:

Found on the more beer forum (can't link to it so just a quote)

drector:
"My US Plastics conical blew its top (silicone sealer let go on a very heavy ferment) so I tracked down a supplier for the Norwesco model and bought one. Came to $80 with shipping. The Norwesco does not hold as much as the US Plastics (15 vs 17 Gal) but the lid was so much easier to seal. I transfered the fittings from the US Plastics except for the dump valve where I ditched the 45 deg and went to a straight dump. Everything worked about the same - but the lid is so much better. I recommend the Norwesco highly."
 

abracadabra

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RockfordWhite said:
yeah i read on the B3 forum i think that an experiment doing that didn't work out too well...i can't remember what happened...but none the less, the norwesco one is also cheaper...

UPDATE:

Found on the more beer forum (can't link to it so just a quote)

drector:
"My US Plastics conical blew its top (silicone sealer let go on a very heavy ferment) so I tracked down a supplier for the Norwesco model and bought one. Came to $80 with shipping. The Norwesco does not hold as much as the US Plastics (15 vs 17 Gal) but the lid was so much easier to seal. I transfered the fittings from the US Plastics except for the dump valve where I ditched the 45 deg and went to a straight dump. Everything worked about the same - but the lid is so much better. I recommend the Norwesco highly."
Yeah I thought sealing the ring with silicone was a bad idea. I'd perfer a rubber gasket for both the ring and lid. And the Norwesco may very well be a better model. Was that price for the stand and conical or just the conical?
 

RockfordWhite

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I believe that was just the conical, the stand was like 70 i think...but i think i have enough wood to build a suitable one...

i have the number for my local distributer I just have to call at some point...

The way i figure it, i'll take a shot at it, if it works, great, if not, it's 60 bucks or so out of my pocket for a shot at saving a couple hundred...
 

Alemental

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EinGutesBier said:
I'm looking for a fermenter that has a capacity that's more than 6.5 gallons. My AG system is fine, but I'm limited by my fermenter size.
You could always just do what I do: split your batch into 2 carboys. They are cheap and you can get one at your LHBS without worrying about shipping costs.
This also allows easy yeast comparison experiments from the same exact batch.
 

runhard

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fermenter take 1.jpg


$2 piece of acrylic and a few pieces from Austin Homebrew Supply and this works well for me.
 
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EinGutesBier

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runhard said:
View attachment 4173


$2 piece of acrylic and a few pieces from Austin Homebrew Supply and this works well for me.
Now that's interesting. I have three half barrels converted into an MLT, HLT and kettle respectively. I figure taking the hot liquor tank and using it as a fermenter would be pretty cool. It's a lot like what you pictured, with the hole cut out into the top, obviously, and a tap at the bottom. Could you tell me how to convert that beast into a nice little fermenter? For what it's worth, I still have the lid left over from the processing. Thanks to everyone for the ideas!
 

SuperiorBrew

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abracadabra said:
This guy has or had some 15 gal plastic barrels pretty reasonal price too and they are HDPE. [email protected]
I have his made into fermenters and they work great, the tops are air tight.
I added grommets for the airlocks in the tops and put a Better Bottle racking arms & valves on them.
I was going to pur a corny gas post on the top for racking but I set mine on a laundry room counter top so I can just gravity rack.
I have been going from these straight to the keg in 3-4 weeks.

 

abracadabra

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SuperiorBrew said:
I have his made into fermenters and they work great, the tops are air tight.
I added grommets for the airlocks in the tops and put a Better Bottle racking arms & valves on them.
I was going to pur a corny gas post on the top for racking but I set mine on a laundry room counter top so I can just gravity rack.
I have been going from these straight to the keg in 3-4 weeks.

Do you remember what he charges for these? I don't but I do remember thinking they were too good a deal to pass up.
 

runhard

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EinGutesBier said:
Now that's interesting. I have three half barrels converted into an MLT, HLT and kettle respectively. I figure taking the hot liquor tank and using it as a fermenter would be pretty cool. It's a lot like what you pictured, with the hole cut out into the top, obviously, and a tap at the bottom. Could you tell me how to convert that beast into a nice little fermenter? For what it's worth, I still have the lid left over from the processing. Thanks to everyone for the ideas!
The gasket was made out of a rubber kitchen sink mat from Bed, Bath, Beyond or one of those places. My wife suggested a silicon cutting mat but those are expensive. Acrylic from Lowes's 1' x 1' x 3/8". I used my bandsaw to cut the acrylic and it did a good job, used sanding station to smooth it out. I bought a racking arm from Austin Homebrew Supply for $49.95 with hopes of harving yeast but it just doesn't work too well for that purpose but for transferring your beer away from trub it works great. I'd say make your own and save the $. To secure the lid I have two pieces of 1" sqaure pipe with 2 threaded holes on each end. These two pieces slide under the rim of the keg by the handles and pass by either side of the airlock. Use a bolt with rubber foot or something to protect acrylic and apply pressure. I have since added a Cornelius ball lock gas post so that I can add a little pressure to aid in transfer after I've rotated the racking arm clear of trub. Send me a PM if you need additional details or pictures. Jeffrey
 
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EinGutesBier

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runhard said:
The gasket was made out of a rubber kitchen sink mat from Bed, Bath, Beyond or one of those places. My wife suggested a silicon cutting mat but those are expensive. Acrylic from Lowes's 1' x 1' x 3/8". I used my bandsaw to cut the acrylic and it did a good job, used sanding station to smooth it out. I bought a racking arm from Austin Homebrew Supply for $49.95 with hopes of harving yeast but it just doesn't work too well for that purpose but for transferring your beer away from trub it works great. I'd say make your own and save the $. To secure the lid I have two pieces of 1" sqaure pipe with 2 threaded holes on each end. These two pieces slide under the rim of the keg by the handles and pass by either side of the airlock. Use a bolt with rubber foot or something to protect acrylic and apply pressure. I have since added a Cornelius ball lock gas post so that I can add a little pressure to aid in transfer after I've rotated the racking arm clear of trub. Send me a PM if you need additional details or pictures. Jeffrey
Wow, thanks. This might be the ticket. Would it be possible for you to post or PM me some more pictures so I can get a better idea of how this is done? What I'm hoping for a visual aid of is the locking mechanism. I assume it seals well if you're using it. : D Thanks again!
 

Glibbidy

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Il have a 17.5 gallon plastic bucket that I got from Crosby and Baker several years ago that I use as a primary for lagers.
 

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