Plastic Conical Fermenters

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

digdan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
496
Reaction score
7
Location
Pasadena, CA
I'm looking into expanding out of the 5 to 15 gallon brew session into a much larger amount of liquids...

I'm throwing around the idea of plastic fermentation vessels. I know that there are Better Bottles, which are plastic carboys, and people ferment in buckets all the time. But what about the plastic equivalent of stainless steel conical fermenters

Whats the pitfalls of using plastic conical fermentation containers?

Something like this :
Plastic Tanks, Plastic Buckets, Plastic Bottles, Labware, PVC Pipe - United States Plastic Corporation ®

How could I aerate on the cheap?

My questions beg for answers :rolleyes:
 

rico567

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
3,016
Reaction score
99
Location
Central IL
From my research, there are pitfalls aplenty.....although I wouldn't consider them pitfalls so much as adjuncts that are almost sine qua non when going in the direction you are thinking about. The first thing to consider is plastic vs. SS. There's a good BBR episode (Available on the Basic Brewing Radio website) on conicals. But it's not just a matter of material. Conicals go together with refrigeration, kegging, and a general increase in volume beyond the usual 5 gallon batch. [Note: Yes, I know they sell small conicals- but that's not really my point here, since the OP also talks about ramping up volume....which is the only way I would consider conicals.]

Apart from sanitation, the other element of your brewing process you must control is temperature. Larger volume means temperature control becomes so problematic as to almost mandate a dedicated refrigerator, unless you're going to invest in a fermenter with a glycol jacket (which is just refrigeration in another form). So- you're well over a $1K investment in a 15 gal. SS conical fermentor & refrigeration, and these days that's probably used.

When I first started investigating conicals, it quickly became obvious that it entailed moving to a whole new level of brewing.....where, at present, I have no intention going.
 

ajwillys

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 20, 2008
Messages
1,284
Reaction score
30
Location
Holly Springs, NC
The OP said beyond 5-15 into much larger volumes. What are we talking here, 1 bbl, 4 bbl, more?
 
OP
digdan

digdan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
496
Reaction score
7
Location
Pasadena, CA
Thats the general question. What issues do you run into while scaling up your brewing operation? Is there a difference between building a 15 gallon conical and a 2bbl conical?
 

samc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2008
Messages
5,366
Reaction score
78
Location
Portland OR
Thats the general question. What issues do you run into while scaling up your brewing operation? Is there a difference between building a 15 gallon conical and a 2bbl conical?
Cost is higher obviously - fittings will be more.
Cleaning a 15 gallon inductor is easy, you can pop it in the bathtub or shower. Something 2 or 4x the size is more of a clean in place deal.
Everything is bigger, takes up more space, etc.

Might be easier to have several smaller tanks and split your batches. Gives you an opportunity to experiment with different yeasts, fermentation techniques, etc.
 
Top