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Review: SSBrewTech Chronical 7Gal Fermenter

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Feurhund

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I use a blowoff tube for all my ferments. Good piece of mind and don't have to worry about drying out.

Just make sure you switch to a sanitary air filter if you cold crash.
 

Jack_R

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Hey I'm trying to decide between the Chronicle and a 20 gal conical from stout tanks.

1) does anyone have experience with BOTH?

2) could anyone tell me how thick the stainless is on the Chronicle? (Ya I know, "who cares?!"...well I do. A little.)

Thanks ahead of time everyone!
 

ram5ey

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I've never done that, but I'm sure it would be fine.
 

Freddyj123

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Thanks ram5ey , I'm considering picking one of these up along with their temp controller as an alternative to building a ferm chamber and having buckets, carboys, etc as I am challenged with limited space and a basement that stays a bit cold during the winter.

The bucket seems a great option, but the chronical seems to have less limitations for not much more expense
 

Paradigm

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Thanks ram5ey , I'm considering picking one of these up along with their temp controller as an alternative to building a ferm chamber and having buckets, carboys, etc as I am challenged with limited space and a basement that stays a bit cold during the winter.

The bucket seems a great option, but the chronical seems to have less limitations for not much more expense
Look carefully at their temp controller. I was interested in that as well, until I saw "You supply the chill / warm water source..."

Kind of defeats the purpose, imo.
 

Freddyj123

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So, i contacted SS Brewing Tech through the support on their website and asked about bottling direct from the Chronical Fermentor or Brew bucket, here is their response:

Hi Fred,
So if bottling then you are putting sugar tabs into bottles and then filling straight from conical to bottle?? If you are going to use priming sugar and then stir into your beer, then NOT recommended for either Bucket or Chronical ... I mean even if you dump yeast you'll have some sediment in the fermenter that you'd stir up and put right into your bottles... in either Bucket / Chronical, unless you are using the little sugar tabs you put into the bottles, you'd want to use a bottling bucket first so you can rack off clean beer, then stir in your priming solution THEN bottle from there....
As for diff between conical and Bucket - pls head up to our FAQ area (big red button, any page on site) and see answer there.. many differences really. Just depends on your preferences.
Cheers!
Ssupport
 

ram5ey

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Yeah I used to bottle directly from my speidel. I used cooper's carbonation drops. Just add them after you fill or it foams.
 

Freddyj123

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Look carefully at their temp controller. I was interested in that as well, until I saw "You supply the chill / warm water source..."

Kind of defeats the purpose, imo.
I actually have seen several videos where people hook up a couple of lines to cooler and use a fish tank heater to heat the water and ice for cooler..... Looks ok, where heating is going to be my primary concern I'm wondering if others have used a fermentor wrap or heating blanket of some type?
 

augiedoggy

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I actually have seen several videos where people hook up a couple of lines to cooler and use a fish tank heater to heat the water and ice for cooler..... Looks ok, where heating is going to be my primary concern I'm wondering if others have used a fermentor wrap or heating blanket of some type?
I use one of these with my 12.5 gallon stout conical. I have a chiller to drive it but many make a chiller from a cooler and an old window ac unit.

http://www.gotta-brew.com/products/cool-zone-cooling-jacket.html

It works very well and also fits great on carboys..and way easier to keep clean..
 

Paradigm

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I suppose hot and warm tanks work, I'm just a sucker for elegance and that feels clunky to me. I'd just as soon find a cheap freezer on craigslist, buy an electric heat pad and a temperature controller (which is literally my setup).

My chest freezer is ~2" too shallow for one of these to sit in, so I'm going to build a collar and call it good.
 

augiedoggy

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I suppose hot and warm tanks work, I'm just a sucker for elegance and that feels clunky to me. I'd just as soon find a cheap freezer on craigslist, buy an electric heat pad and a temperature controller (which is literally my setup).

My chest freezer is ~2" too shallow for one of these to sit in, so I'm going to build a collar and call it good.
I will be using my one chiller and 4 heat strips to control temps on 4 fermenters with the stc1000= control panel I built so its actually a lot less clunky and more efficient than a room full of old freezers..

You do bring up a good point though. I'm beginning to think that some of these systems sell more for cosmetic reasons than actual functionality.... It seems people want to stare at thier shiny conical and show it off...a $60 plastic cooling jacket looks less appealing than a $300 coil in the beer one even if the $60 one has many benefits over it in funtionality and maintenance ...
 

Feurhund

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I agree with the form over function complex as someone with stainless conicals I spent extra money for a glass door fridge so I can see my shiny stainless.
Look at mash tuns. A stainless kettle with insulation in a Herms system is best, but who wants to cover that stainless. SS Brewtek made a good move going double walled, so it is stainless inside and out and still insulated.

To each their own, but I like my setup to look nice too.
 

augiedoggy

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I agree with the form over function complex as someone with stainless conicals I spent extra money for a glass door fridge so I can see my shiny stainless.
Look at mash tuns. A stainless kettle with insulation in a Herms system is best, but who wants to cover that stainless. SS Brewtek made a good move going double walled, so it is stainless inside and out and still insulated.

To each their own, but I like my setup to look nice too.
I love my stainless conical because it works very well, its easy to clean and it doesnt scratch up,discolor and retain oders like plastic.... its a bonus that it looks good but it gets covered with a plastic jacket so thats kind of a moot point... For me its about making beer and enjoying doing it...
 

pvpeacock

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to each his own, but I love being able to dump the trub, harvest the yeast and transfer beer to a keg without using a siphon and worrying about sucking up the yeast cake on bottom of the carboy/better bottle. Cleaning is also a snap with stainless and with the available access when the lid and tri-clover fittings are removed. Yes, you have to have a separate container for your cold water/warm water, but I don't mind swapping out frozen water bottles twice a day to keep the wort cool and my aquarium heater does the job automatically when I'm keeping the wort warm. In addition, I can use the same container for both conical fermenters at the same time. Oh, did I mention, it looks cool, too?
 

Basevol

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I love my SSBrewTech Chronical 7Gal Fermenter. I had a chest freezer, and had back trouble from bending over to get the carboys out of the freezer, didn't like taping a sensor to the outside to keep temps( Johnson controller). I don't think a freezer is made to cycle on and off that much. I finally said F-- it!
Now I just fill it up and add a frozen bottle daily or heater to the water, set the temp and walk away. I can take samples any time, no more siphon hoses, drain the trub, and best of all, I don't have to bend over the at the waist and pick up that weight from the freezer (bad back of mine) or try to clean carboys with a brush.
I couldn't afford 2 grand for a conical that does all that with a built in heating and cooling features so----
What's not to like about the SSBrew Chronical with temp control :)
 

Freddyj123

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I love my SSBrewTech Chronical 7Gal Fermenter. I had a chest freezer, and had back trouble from bending over to get the carboys out of the freezer, didn't like taping a sensor to the outside to keep temps( Johnson controller). I don't think a freezer is made to cycle on and off that much. I finally said F-- it!

Now I just fill it up and add a frozen bottle daily or heater to the water, set the temp and walk away. I can take samples any time, no more siphon hoses, drain the trub, and best of all, I don't have to bend over the at the waist and pick up that weight from the freezer (bad back of mine) or try to clean carboys with a brush.

I couldn't afford 2 grand for a conical that does all that with a built in heating and cooling features so----

What's not to like about the SSBrew Chronical with temp control :)

This post hits on all of the points that I took in to consideration; last night I showed the ss chronical and FTS heater to my mrs and she asked "why don't you just get it?"

Couldn't think of a compelling argument so I ordered it :)
 

dlaflamm

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For those of you using the Chronical with the FTSs, how are you avoiding suck back? My FTSs lid just has an elbow for my blow-off tube. I would normally swap to an S-shaped airlock, but that won't work so well sideways on the elbow (!). TIA.
 

Freddyj123

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For those of you using the Chronical with the FTSs, how are you avoiding suck back? My FTSs lid just has an elbow for my blow-off tube. I would normally swap to an S-shaped airlock, but that won't work so well sideways on the elbow (!). TIA.
Not sure this completely answers your question, but ss Brewtech sells these smaller stoppers that fit the hole in the lid.

image.jpg
 

dlaflamm

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Not sure this completely answers your question, but ss Brewtech sells these smaller stoppers that fit the hole in the lid.
Thanks. They did include one of those, but I would have to take the lid off to remove the elbow before I could install it in that hole. Seems I may need a T where I can put my blow-off on a barb and seal or airlock on the other depending on what is needed. Hmmm... Or perhaps a second hole. I am still thinking on this, so keep the ideas/brainstorming coming.
 

DiggidyD

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I used the 7 gallon bucket for the first time yesterday, its pretty awesome. Sadly I opened my freezer this morning to see the airlock had gunked up and spewed wert all over. I was a sad panda this morning before work. I still havent cleaned it all up =/
 

pvpeacock

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Not sure this completely answers your question, but ss Brewtech sells these smaller stoppers that fit the hole in the lid.
In your picture, I see that you put zip ties on the hoses where they connect to the hose barbs. Although mine did not leak, I could see air bubbles coming out of the "water out" hose, so I added these to both sides. Easy on, easy off, and no worries about water leaking. They are available at just about any auto parts store.

American_wing_nut_hose_clamp.jpg
 

jafo28

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I used the 7 gallon bucket for the first time yesterday, its pretty awesome. Sadly I opened my freezer this morning to see the airlock had gunked up and spewed wert all over. I was a sad panda this morning before work. I still havent cleaned it all up =/
What style had you brewed? The most violent fermentations i've had have been from stouts and porters. Blow off tube for those styles, always.
 

jammin

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For those of you using the Chronical with the FTSs, how are you avoiding suck back? My FTSs lid just has an elbow for my blow-off tube. I would normally swap to an S-shaped airlock, but that won't work so well sideways on the elbow (!). TIA.

those elbows were a bad idea. i hate that you can't remove them to switch airlocks.

1/2' silicone tubing fits the hole perfect though. i don't even use my elbows. just pull the blow off tube out and swap to an s-lock when you cold crash
 

Freddyj123

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In your picture, I see that you put zip ties on the hoses where they connect to the hose barbs. Although mine did not leak, I could see air bubbles coming out of the "water out" hose, so I added these to both sides. Easy on, easy off, and no worries about water leaking. They are available at just about any auto parts store.
Great idea, I'll grab a couple, sadly I didn't think about it until brew day and only had zip ties on hand but there is an auto part right by my work so I'll grab these. Thanks for the tip.

I'm thinking of grabbing the FTSs extensions to get the coil down lower into the wort.
 

DiggidyD

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Its a dark german ale. i had bit to much water and tosses the yeast in around 82 degrees. So, i wont really know what dark german ale should taste like, but i am sure it will still be good.
 

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Can the racking arm be rotated while the chronical is full? If so how?
 

pvpeacock

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You loosen the tri-clover clamp just enough to be able to rotate the valve and, in turn, the racking arm. I was concerned it might leak when I loosened the clamp, but it did not. In addition, I was concerned about how hard it would be to rotate it, so I bought food grade 0-ring lubricant just in case.
 

chrisjpryor

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I like the idea of an aquarium chiller for use with the FTSs but I'm told they don't get colder than about 3C/38F, which means the fermenter will be even warmer than that. When I cold crash I like to get my brew to as close to freezing as possible. I wonder if it is possible to "hack" an aquarium chiller to make it colder, possibly with glycol as the coolant. Does anyone have any insight into getting the fermenter down to freezing by using the FTSs? I would prefer this to sticking the fermenter in a freezer.
 
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Gustatorian

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In your picture, I see that you put zip ties on the hoses where they connect to the hose barbs. Although mine did not leak, I could see air bubbles coming out of the "water out" hose, so I added these to both sides. Easy on, easy off, and no worries about water leaking. They are available at just about any auto parts store.
Is there any risk of contamination from water leaking out of the FTSS coils on the lid? I've never seen any water on my lid nor think that I've had a leak.
 

pvpeacock

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As long as the coils are tightly attached to the lid with the rubber o-rings in place, I don't think there is any risk of any leaking water finding its way into the fermenter. But just in case, that is why I like using hose clamps on the hoses.
 

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Anybody have issues with meeting their FG in these conicals? I've put about 10 beers into them, every time I'm between 2-8 gravity points above my target, dependent on style. Any tips? Are you guys under/over pitching?
 

pvpeacock

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I'm typically getting lower FG's than expected, but I attribute that to mash temps. more than anything else. I don't attribute it to the fermenter.
 

Gustatorian

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I wonder if swirling the wort around just a bit after heavy fermentation is done, to rouse the yeast...
 

Gustatorian

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So, this is still making a mess...even though I purchased the piece they told me to purchase (hose barb for blow-off tube). Anybody have any recs on how tight the thermowell and FTSS coils should be screwed into the lid? If I screw them in too tightly, the O-rings bulge and will, I assume, not work.

IMG_9242.jpg
 

dmcman73

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I've never had that issue with leaking from around the thermowell and I was using a drilled bung on the blow off. You may need a new oring, they sell a thicker version you might want to get (they use it for the ftss coils).
 

MeanLowerLow

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I've seen one of these used for sale for $350 - I don't need it and I don't think it would fit in my fermentation chamber, but damn it's sexy
 

pvpeacock

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You need to hand tighten it slowly. When the o-ring bulges out, back the nut off until it goes back in shape, then slowly tighten some more. I bought thicker o-rings on line and they made it easier to tighten without deforming.
 
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