Oshea brewing co. Minibrew 6.5 gallon conical fermenter (ebay), thoughts on it?

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GunnerMan

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My LHBS had 2 of these in stock last week, they looked pretty nice, not enough to justify the 200 sum he wanted for them but pretty handy. As of this week they are both gone, so someone wanted them.
 
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That's great to hear TMonk. I'm gonna let this thread go for another full day just in case I get a "NOOOO don't do that!", but inevitably, I'm going to buy this tonight.
 

Hodawg

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I've done about 10 batches in mine. VERY easy to clean and maintain. The only thing that I'd change on this is the aluminum stand. It's rather flimsy when you get the full weight of 5 gallons in it. The rubber lid can be very finicky at times depending on the temperature. Some times it is so tight that it is difficult to stretch over the lip of the top, other times it fits loosely enough that I use a zip-tie to hold it in place. Overall it is a very nice set-up.

Beers,
Ken
 

bdnoona

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I'm just curious... what's the benefit of a conical over a normal fermenter? My bucket costs $10, compared to $160 for that conical. What difference does the $150 make besides being more cool brew gear?
 

JVD_X

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I have the 15 gallon and I am pretty happy with it. There are a few issues but those are easily mitigated and do not apply to the 6.5 gallon version. I wish that the ports were 2" rather than 1/2" but that is me. Also, you will need to completely disassemble the device every time you use it. This includes taking all the valves off and cleaning the threads.

The best reason for a conical is that you don't need to rack the beer because you can dump the trub and yeast from the bottom valve.

What I do is set my freezer to 15 degrees F, pump the chilled wort though my CFC to get it down to 60F, then into the super cold conical. Then I set the freezer to my pitching temp. This causes the cold break to settle out in a few hours, pretty tightly I might add. Then I dump all that crap through the bottom and pitch my yeast. You would have trouble with this since you don't have a lot of extra space to allow the dumps.

Also, with pressure capable conicals (not this one) you can actually carbonate and bottle directly from the conical.
 
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It's funny I searched for this pretty hard on the forum and couldn't find anything, but I see 5 threads of what I'm looking for linked on the bottom -under the thread. I'm ordering this right now. I'm pretty stoked.
 

nebben

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....

Also, with pressure capable conicals (not this one) you can actually carbonate and bottle directly from the conical.
I believe that the pressurized Blichmanns are meant to facilitate CO2 pressure assisted beer transfers out of the unit, so it doesn't need to be physically mounted higher than your keg or whathaveyou.
 

JVD_X

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I believe that the pressurized Blichmanns are meant to facilitate CO2 pressure assisted beer transfers out of the unit, so it doesn't need to be physically mounted higher than your keg or whathaveyou.
This is true but I have still heard of members on this board that do it anyway. I believe the blichman only supports a few pounds of pressure but over several weeks this is all you need to carbonate, especially with the temp down around freezing.
 
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Done and done. Mini Brew Fermenter + Keg system = half the work = Awesome.
 

Couevas

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I grew up in Southern California. O'Shea Brewing Company was my LHBS. They are a legit store that is trying to supplement their business by using Ebay. They are a great bunch of guys and also have a phenomenal commercial keg selection for those that need to buy a keg of commercial brew.
 

EcuPirate07

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Im still pretty new at this whole home brew thing, this question isnt meant to sound like a dick, but whats advantage of having this over just a normal food grade bucket, other then you dont have to auto siphon?
 

nutcase

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looks awesome - but doesn't plastic end up having to be changed out every so often because cleaning will inevitably make some little areas where bacteria will find some little tiny places to hide?
 

Thor the Mighty

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Im still pretty new at this whole home brew thing, this question isnt meant to sound like a dick, but whats advantage of having this over just a normal food grade bucket, other then you dont have to auto siphon?
as someone mentioned before, you can dump the trub/yeast through the bottom valve instead of having to siphon your batch into a secondary/carboy, therefore eliminating hundreds of potential infection points. its easy to maintain, clean, and instead of owning two containers, you own one, that will last forever.

plus they're dead sexy. i just got one off of craigslist for 175 bucks *7.1 gal* and it just FEELS like you own a brewery!
 

Thirsty_Monk

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looks awesome - but doesn't plastic end up having to be changed out every so often because cleaning will inevitably make some little areas where bacteria will find some little tiny places to hide?
I do not think this is a case because this is much harder plastic then one on plastic buckets
 

Beer_Pirate

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My biggest concern with using plastic for fermentation is if over time the beer smell kind of soaks into the plastic, and then forces its "aroma" onto subsequent batches.

have you guys had any problem with this?
 

llazy_llama

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My biggest concern with using plastic for fermentation is if over time the beer smell kind of soaks into the plastic, and then forces its "aroma" onto subsequent batches.

have you guys had any problem with this?
Not even a little bit. If that's happening to you, you need to step up your cleaning process. With PET, nothing should be left behind. Don't use a brush, which can scratch the plastic. Soak it overnight in oxiclean free or PBW, then rinse the hell out of it. For my Better Bottles, I also treat them to a heavy spray down in my jet bottle washer. Afterwords, they look and smell brand new.

For the "Why use a conical?" questions, it's simple. They look awesome, they allow you to take SG readings without risk of contaminating the beer, they allow you to rack without an siphon, and they allow you to dump the yeast cake out of the bottom, turning your primary fermenter into a secondary fermenter without having to move the beer. They're also available in stainless steel, which is easier to clean, and will outlive your grandkids. Also, they look even awesomer.

For me, when (not if) I make the move to conicals, they'll be big enough to handle 10 gallon batches. The added expense for a 5 gallon batch just doesn't make sense to my wallet.
 

Beer_Pirate

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I'm actually looking hard at the 15 gallon minibrew... still have yet filed my taxes, but when that happens, i might pick one up with the money from the return.
 

Couevas

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One thing to think about with conicals is the space they take up.

For me, this was the deal-breaker. Not that I can't find floor space for one, but that I can't fit one in my fermentation freezer. It seems that you would have a hard time battling temps with one. Or you would have to stick to seasonal brews only to account for effect of weather on fermentation temperature.
 

nostalgia

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With PET, nothing should be left behind. Don't use a brush, which can scratch the plastic.
I agree with your post - if you're scratching your plastic ur doin it rong. But for the record the MiniBrew fermenters are HDPE, not PET. I still want one :)

From Wikipedia:

High Density Polyethylene: HDPE is the most widely used resin for plastic bottles. This material is economical, impact resistant, and provides a good moisture barrier. HDPE is compatible with a wide range of products including acids and caustics but is not compatible with solvents. It is supplied in FDA approved food grade. HDPE is naturally translucent and flexible. The addition of color will make HDPE opaque although not glossy. HDPE lends itself readily to silk screen decoration. While HDPE provides good protection at below freezing temperatures, it cannot be used with products filled at over 160 °F (71.1 °C) or products requiring a hermetic (vacuum) seal.

Polyethylene Terephthalate: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE or polyester) is commonly used for carbonated beverage and water bottles. PET provides very good alcohol and essential oil barrier properties, generally good chemical resistance (although acetones and ketones will attack PET) and a high degree of impact resistance and tensile strength. The orienting process serves to improve gas and moisture barrier properties and impact strength. This material does not provide resistance to high temperature applications -- max. temp. 160 °F (71.1 °C).

Here's a nice table on various plastics and their recycling codes.

-Joe
 

JVD_X

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One thing to think about with conicals is the space they take up.

For me, this was the deal-breaker. Not that I can't find floor space for one, but that I can't fit one in my fermentation freezer. It seems that you would have a hard time battling temps with one. Or you would have to stick to seasonal brews only to account for effect of weather on fermentation temperature.
That is true. I had too be very careful when selecting my upright freezer to make sure it fit. Turns out I should have gone one more size up because the stand the 15 gallon minibrew comes with is one-size-fits-all and my freezer won't leave enough room to get the top on and off with the stand. I had to build a wooden stand but then I don't have enough "comfort" room under the bottom dump.

I have relegated the MiniBrew to ale brewing only.
 

Thirsty_Monk

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That is true. I had too be very careful when selecting my upright freezer to make sure it fit. Turns out I should have gone one more size up because the stand the 15 gallon minibrew comes with is one-size-fits-all and my freezer won't leave enough room to get the top on and off with the stand. I had to build a wooden stand but then I don't have enough "comfort" room under the bottom dump.

I have relegated the MiniBrew to ale brewing only.
How about doing something like this:
Morebeer's Brew Chat • View topic - Glycol Chiller & Temp Controlled Conicals
Glycol Chiller & Temp Controlled Conicals.
They are using SS but I think it would also work with plastic.
 

llazy_llama

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I agree with your post - if you're scratching your plastic ur doin it rong. But for the record the MiniBrew fermenters are HDPE, not PET. I still want one :)
Good point, although the same is true with HDPE in my experience. I have 3 buckets that if they weren't currently filled with beer would be as fresh as the day I bought them.

And yeah, I want conicals too. Especially SS ones, so while I'm zoned out in happy airlock bubble land I have something to polish.
 

Sigafoos

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Hmm, I think I need to soak with Oxyclean because one of my buckets has a stain from a (failed attempt at a) second runnings beer from over the summer...
 

rico567

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I really like the looks of the Minibrew design....but I'd only make the move from the plain 'ol 6.5 gal. plastic bucket if I were to move to 10 gal. batches....and given my tastes & the volume I brew (I like lots of variety, but don't brew any more than 20-25 batches a year), I don't see that happening. I also have a hard time visualizing how I'd use the Minibrew as efficiently as I do the bucket now. Given its design, and the fact that I brew in the kitchen but ferment in the basement, it means for a safe & efficient transfer of wort I'd have to pour ærate into the bucket just like I do now. But now, All I have to do then is pitch and snap the lid on, haul it down the basement with the handle (there's a reason handy & handle share most letters in common.....), stick an airlock in the cover & walk away. With the Minibrew, I'd have to bucket the wort, haul it downstairs and transfer to the sanitized Minibrew. This means I'd be trading less efficiency on that end for an improved means of dealing with trub, etc. Not a clear gain by any means for someone who brews like I do.
 

JVD_X

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How about doing something like this:
Morebeer's Brew Chat • View topic - Glycol Chiller & Temp Controlled Conicals
Glycol Chiller & Temp Controlled Conicals.
They are using SS but I think it would also work with plastic.
This is also true but a glycol chiller is every bit as expensive - if not a lot more - than a freezer you can pick up from lowes or craigslist.

Also - you would have a lot of trouble reselling it or using it to actually store food at some point. In addition, my freezer can fit a lot of different brews in it if I am flexible in my brewing schedule and maybe use a heating band in addition to the freezer (which I have not done - for the record).
 

np0x

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One thing to think about with conicals is the space they take up.

For me, this was the deal-breaker. Not that I can't find floor space for one, but that I can't fit one in my fermentation freezer. It seems that you would have a hard time battling temps with one. Or you would have to stick to seasonal brews only to account for effect of weather on fermentation temperature.
+1
never mind the inefficient space consumption a conical takes compared to carboy's or better bottles. :)
 

alz28

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I have been looking into a 27 gallon conical for my 20 gallon batches of Ale. I know fermenting creates heat and was woundering if fermenting my 20 gallons of beer in one fermenter vs. four 6.5 gallon bucketts creat more heat in the fermenter. I'm thinking it would create more heat. If I'm breweing a Ale and not a lager do I need to worry about controling my temp. ( for a Ale at room temp conditions) because I always ferment at room temp.? The fermenting closet is always around 74 degres. Just thought Id ask befor I ordered one because I have no room in the house for a extra fridge.
 

headfullahops

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I am really thinking about pulling the trigger on this thing! I have been lusting over a conical for a while now and I think I've had enough!
 

khiddy

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I have the 8-gallon version (got it off craigslist for $100), and I think it's nice. I still use a better bottle and some buckets as well, but the conical has produced some great beers for me, and it makes it TONS easier to harvest yeast.

Plus, the beers that come out of my conical seem clearer when I keg them, than when I use the ol' racking cane and autosiphon from the bucket. I've taken to doing mainly lighter-colored beers in the conical for that very reason.
 
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