Low-Budget Stainless Pressure Fermenters

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Clint Yeastwood

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In the 6 weeks since I returned to brewing, I've gathered a whole lot of new information. Some of it has been about fermenters.

Now that I have several brews behind me, I've decided plastic buckets are the way to go for most of my beers. Generally, I don't need pressure. Plastic is cheap. Plastic works. Plastic will let me keep using my pool as a chiller. Because a whole fermenter is about $18, I don't mind having several so I can ferment two or more beers at once.

Today, I am fermenting under pressure for the first time, and it looks like a nice option for lagers, mainly because I can avoid tying up my fermenting fridge for long periods. I think it would be good to have one metal pressure fermenter in addition to my buckets. The Fermzilla All Rounder I bought is working fine, but sooner or later it is expected to fail a pressure test, and I think it would be stupid to replace the jug when I could put the money toward stainless steel, which is trouble-free.

If I ended up with stainless, I would lose the big problem with the All Rounder: the need to chill before filling it. Last time I brewed, I had to fill a bucket, chill the bucket, and move everything to the All Rounder. I had to clean the bucket, and the risk of infection was increased because I was playing around with unfermented beer.

Spike makes a pressure fermenter that isn't too expensive, but its external dimensions would require a big fridge. My house only cools to 75, which is higher than I would want to go for lagers. Clawhammer Supply makes a neat 6.5-gallon fermenting Corny, but it's unavailable. Regular Cornys are small, so I would have to change my recipes and settle for smaller batches. I found another option: the 10-gallon Torpedo Megamouth keg. This thing is a fat aftermarket Corny with a big mouth you can stick your whole arm in. I have two smaller ones, and so far, they're fantastic. Very easy to clean.

The Torpedo is 11.4" wide and 30.3" tall, so it fits my fermenting fridge. It has ball lock posts, so pressure fermenting and transferring under pressure are no problem. You can put a floating dip tube in it to avoid sucking trub into the keg you dispense from. It's easy to clean. They also have a 6-gallon model which is shorter and might be just as good for 5-gallon batches if used with Fermcap.

Blichmann makes something called a Cornical keg, which is a modified Corny with a removable conical bottom. It looks great, but it's over 40" tall, and it costs $400, so it's not for me. A 10-gallon Torpedo is about $210, and a 6-gallon Torpedo is about $170.

Wondering what other people think.
 

Broken Crow

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You could pick up a used Sankey and add this:
...or if you want a floating diptube and are willing to cut out the inner valve-rim on a Sankey, you could put one of these together:
..Just throwin' that out there.
:bigmug:
 
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Clint Yeastwood

Clint Yeastwood

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Seems like there are no end of solutions.

I really like being able to put my hand in a keg, and ball locks ought to make spunding and transferring convenient.
 

OakIslandBrewery

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Sorry to add more to the endless ideas but here's what I'm looking at to add as a second fermenter to the Spike CF10 I already have.
They are yeast brinks that come in a few Sanke type sizes. I'd consider the 50L size as that would be perfect for my ten gallon batches. The top is a 4" TC which is easy to get most hands into unless you have a huge paw.

1675967731288.png
 

Broken Crow

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Seems like there are no end of solutions.

I really like being able to put my hand in a keg, and ball locks ought to make spunding and transferring convenient.
Yup! ...and for putting your hand in, you could also look through @bracconiere 's posts for his milk-can, which, depending on how much DIY you're comfortable with, can be configured in a multitude of ways.
..here's some of it:
 

Broken Crow

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Sorry to add more to the endless ideas but here's what I'm looking at to add as a second fermenter to the Spike CF10 I already have.
They are yeast brinks that come in a few Sanke type sizes. I'd consider the 50L size as that would be perfect for my ten gallon batches. The top is a 4" TC which is easy to get most hands into unless you have a huge paw.

View attachment 812219
I've seen those, but for me the price is a huge obstacle. I wanted a kegmenter I could fit over the CIP ball of my keg-washer and once the inner rim of a standard sankey keg is cut or ground out, it'll fit the 2"TC compatible neck.
...again..just throwin that out there.
 

bracconiere

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i think that's about the cheapest "SS" option, and yeah my arm fits in the 10" opening just fine....it holds 5psi, and i like using the spunding valve better then an air lock, but i had trouble getting the whole closed transfer stuff to materilize....
 
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OakIslandBrewery

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I've seen those, but for me the price is a huge obstacle. I wanted a kegmenter I could fit over the CIP ball of my keg-washer and once the inner rim of a standard sankey keg is cut or ground out, it'll fit the 2"TC compatible neck.
...again..just throwin that out there.
I agree, the costs have prevented me from buying one too. But nice to look at. I have a couple legal Sanke kegs I could convert when and if I get the itch to have more capacity. Or, I could just brew more with the conical I do have . . . .
 
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Clint Yeastwood

Clint Yeastwood

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So here's an important question: if I go for a Torpedo keg, will a 6-gallon job with Fermcap and a spunding valve, airlock, or blowoff tube be appropriate for 5-gallon fermentations?
 

Red over White

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Living in Florida you have 55 degree air pumping out of your vents 24/7 right? With a little creativity you can do anything you want right? Just asking questions????
 

jnecessary

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So here's an important question: if I go for a Torpedo keg, will a 6-gallon job with Fermcap and a spunding valve, airlock, or blowoff tube be appropriate for 5-gallon fermentations?
Yep. Do it all the time. I've had a couple pushup krausen out the blow off but likely tried to get a bit more than 5 gallons in there.

I was hung up on 5 gallons a lot in the past. Fermenting 4 or a bit more in a standard corny keg works just as well and cost nothing more than a floating dip tube or even a shortened one. That said, I have 2 6 gallon torpedos and they are great for splitting 10g batches.
 
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Clint Yeastwood

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Yep. Do it all the time. I've had a couple pushup krausen out the blow off but likely tried to get a bit more than 5 gallons in there.

I was hung up on 5 gallons a lot in the past. Fermenting 4 or a bit more in a standard corny keg works just as well and cost nothing more than a floating dip tube or even a shortened one. That said, I have 2 6 gallon torpedos and they are great for splitting 10g batches.
Great. Exactly what I needed to know. Thanks.
 

beersk

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i think that's about the cheapest "SS" option, and yeah my arm fits in the 10" opening just fine....it holds 5psi, and i like using the spunding valve better then an air lock, but i had trouble getting the whole closed transfer stuff to materilize....
Those look pretty nice. I assume you've been using them with an autosiphon for a while? Would be a great alternative to plastic buckets.

I have an SS Brewtech Brewbucket, which is nice. I also like the simplicity of a plastic bucket and an autosiphon. Closed transfers aren't really possible with that though. Whether that's something you prefer doing or not.

But the OP could potentially ferment in 2- 5 gallon kegs with spunding valves. I went through a period of time 7 or so years ago where I split 5 gallon batches into 2 kegs and transferred to one once finished. Works, but it's kind of twice the work, which is probably why I stopped doing it.
 

renstyle

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So here's an important question: if I go for a Torpedo keg, will a 6-gallon job with Fermcap and a spunding valve, airlock, or blowoff tube be appropriate for 5-gallon fermentations?

Don’t think, just buy one like I did.

I have the 23L/6.1gal torpedo keg with the regular sized corny lid.

Used exclusively as a fermenter with a floating dip tube and a mesh filter.

The weld line on mine is right at the 21L mark, so I fill with wort just over that point.

Gives a full 2L of headspace, accounts for 2L of trub, leaving 19L/5gal of finished beer to transfer into a serving keg.

I don’t do Hefes, and none of my other styles have ever breached the gas post (so far).

Spunding works great, as does pushing sanitizer from serving kegs with ferm gas.

(No, I don’t work for the company, this product just checks a lot of boxes for me) 😀
 
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Clint Yeastwood

Clint Yeastwood

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Let's see. The tall version and the fat version have about the same surface area, so they should cool at around the same speed, but the fat one would be easier to prevent from tipping in the pool, and cleaning it would be a breeze.
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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I’m using a corny with the standard PRV replaced with a 14# PRV it’s not as precise as a spunding valve, but it seems to be working fine.
 

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My house only cools to 75, which is higher than I would want to go for lagers.
Instead of re-inventing your entire brew process, Change your Yeast. Lagers are mostly just clean finishing malt profile dominant beers anyway - so why not utilize the workhorse Kveik variety of yeasts? It withstands about everything you can throw at it including pressure and very hot temperatures and it still finishes clean.
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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Instead of re-inventing your entire brew process, Change your Yeast. Lagers are mostly just clean finishing malt profile dominant beers anyway - so why not utilize the workhorse Kveik variety of yeasts? It withstands about everything you can throw at it including pressure and very hot temperatures and it still finishes clean.
Largely this depends on what your goals are. Pressure fermentation of lager yeast is a little bit of a cheat, but when done right will pass as a lager. I’m not so sure that Lutra for example does. Close, but may not be a winner in that category in a meaningful competition. Not all Kveik strains ferment cleanly and those that can, can also be pushed to show their true qualities through a low pitch.
 

crazyjake19

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My favorite inexpensive SS pressure fermenter has always been corny kegs. Never found the need for anything more. A sanke keg would work as well, but I only have a few as opposed to a dozen cornies.
 
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