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Review: SSBrewTech Chronical 7Gal Fermenter

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ram5ey

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I found the same worts fermented in the conical vs my plastic carboy almost always (on MY system) finish 2 points lower and one to two days faster in the conical. Again, my system.
 

Gustatorian

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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.
Care to share a link to those O-rings?
 

dmcman73

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marzipan71

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Hi - I'm about to pull the trigger on either a 7 or 14 gal chronical. Does anyone have any experience of using both the 7 and 14, and would recommend one over the other for someone brewing on their own who usually brews 5 or 6 gallon batches but might one day scale up? I'm thinking that moving/ cleaning a 14 gal would be more difficult than a 7 gal, but it looks like the 14 gal is only 2" bigger than the 7 gal (36" v 34" high)? Any other compelling reasons to opt for the smaller over the larger capacity? I'd also considered the SS Brewbuckers but decided to just go straight for the Chronicals.
 

jammin

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You're not gonna move a 14g when it's full, that's for sure. It's also much bigger than you'd expect once it's delivered. The brew buckets are sweet little rigs which can be stacked.

I have the 14g and it's a nice piece of equipment so I'm not trying to dissuade you. I just don't think it's practical to buy if you're not gonna do 12g batches all the time
 

marzipan71

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Thanks, that helps - I liked the look of the Brew Buckets but I like to harvest the yeast and being able to remove the trub so easily also sounded like a great feature. I've only ever done 5 gal batches and was more thinking of future scaling up. I did notice that the thermowell sits at the 5.5 gal mark in the 14 gal which means that you lose that feature essentially if you're using the 14 gal for brewing 5 gal batches. Looks like I'll probably go for the 7 gal then if I need to scale up in the future I can just buy the bigger one I guess and sell the smaller. Thanks for help!
 

dshepard

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You're not gonna move a 14g when it's full, that's for sure. It's also much bigger than you'd expect once it's delivered. The brew buckets are sweet little rigs which can be stacked.

I have the 14g and it's a nice piece of equipment so I'm not trying to dissuade you. I just don't think it's practical to buy if you're not gonna do 12g batches all the time
I have two 14g chronicals with wheels (including leg extensions as well). My brew day process is to fill the fermenters in the garage and wheel them into my utility room in the basement. I have to deal with a threshold between garage and basement but otherwise have no problem moving the fermenters filled with 11g of wort.
 

Jack_R

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I have two 1/2bbl chronicals with wheels (including leg extensions as well). My brew day process is to fill the fermenters in the garage and wheel them into my utility room in the basement. I have to deal with a threshold between garage and basement but otherwise have no problem moving the fermenters filled with 11g of wort.
I've got two of the 14G chronicals and they're awesome! I also opted for the wheels so they are moveable. That said, the wheels are not very robust - don't take to well to being moved across the garage floor cracks between cement sections when full. If you have an entirely flat surface they will do just fine (hey SS if you're reading this, your wheels suck - seriously). Otherwise it's a pretty great vessel.

You haven't given a ton of detail though either - like, do you have a 15G rig to brew on? I do - like a legit 1/2bbl brew setup; so it "kinda" made sense for me to get an equivalently large conical. If you've got a smaller system - 10G or less I think my personal recommendation to you is to either get two BM edition 7G buckets, or 1 with the FTSS temp control accessories (roughly the same price as the 14G chronical when combined) because I think it will do more for your beer ;).

That's my $0.05.

Would love to hear from someone with that FTSS setup too on its effectiveness.
 

dshepard

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I've got two of the 14G chronicals and they're awesome! I also opted for the wheels so they are moveable. That said, the wheels are not very robust - don't take to well to being moved across the garage floor cracks between cement sections when full. If you have an entirely flat surface they will do just fine (hey SS if you're reading this, your wheels suck - seriously). Otherwise it's a pretty great vessel.


Would love to hear from someone with that FTSS setup too on its effectiveness.
In addition to the wheels and leg extensions, I also have the shelves. This made the whole setup much more sturdy. For me the wheels have been working out OK. On my BME I have the FTSS. It works pretty well. My only comment would be is I have to leave the heat unplugged because during cooling it will over shoot and cause the heat to come on. Unless I am totally missing something there is no way to set a dead band between heating and cooling. I have the hysteresis set at 0.2F so if set point is 52.0, the cooling will come on at 52.2, turn off at 52.0, but the heat will come on at 51.8. I have found that the chiller is adjustable so I now have my chiller set at 10 degrees below wort set point. (Before the highest you could set it was 31F.) This has helped minimize the overshoot (actually undershoot). There really needs to be a way to set the dead band independent of the hysteresis. I have the heating pad, it does work, but so far in the summer I have not had a need for heat.
 

chrisjpryor

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I'd imagine the undershoot can be reduced if you are able to keep your chill source not too much colder that your beer setpoint. Using ice and water in a cooler box (4°C) I was able to use my FTSS on my 7gal BME to maintain a cold crash at 5°C, ambient temperature was 16°C.
On a separate note, can anyone comment on the leg extensions for the 7 gallon BME? When the fermenter is empty it feels like it may tip over at the slightest bump so I'm thinking that the leg extensions might make it too easy to knock over?
 

kuestess

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Does anyone have any hints how to get the leg extensions squared with the rest of the leg? Obviously doesn't impact the functionality, but would be nice to get them lined up so that they look nice :). Two of the three leg extensions line up nicely, but I can't seem to get the last one to line up. Any help appreciated!
 

Goolsbymd

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I also have the 7g BME and can only imagine how unstable it would be with a lot more height when empty. I love the FTSS system so far and do not own the heater. It has made temp control so easy even just sitting at 68*. Every now and then it will drift so the FTSS kicks on and it over shoots down to about 67ish but never below. Im not really convienced the degree diff. over a half hour will effect the yeast by products.

I have done two trub dumps and man do I need to rig up something for the bottom valve outlet, right now I throttle the valve open with nothing on the downstream side of the valve and it comes out very fast. I will prob just run a 1" house through the fittings, otherwise its way to fast and I imagine im punching a hole in the trub rather than draining it. SS Brewtech said later this month or next month they will have a fitting to support closed loop transfers from the racking arm, essentially a TC fitting with a welded fitting to hook up a beer line so you can transfer that way straight into a purged keg.
 

marzipan71

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Hi folks - thanks for all your responses, that helped a lot in making my decision. 14 gal brewing is aspirational for me right now and I guess my thinking was I didn't want to get dinged for another $500 for a 14 gal when I eventually scale up. But I figure I'll need to upgrade all my kit at that point anyhow, and probably my house :) Anyhow, I went for the 7 gal and I'll see how that works out. It arrived yesterday and I brewed up an all-grain red ale to christen it - thus far it seems much easier working with one of these rigs than a bucket. I'll investigate the sampling ability and the trub removal as the batch progresses. Love the digital thermometer, and that was one of the features I would have lost with the 14 gal. So, all in all very happy with purchase - build quality of this thing seems excellent for the money - I did think it was smaller than I imagined it was going to be, in a good way - pictures of the 7 gal on the website make it seem much bigger than it is, but I'm happy with the size for portability reasons. Thanks again folks!
 

jammin

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Congrats and you can't go wrong with the 7g. You'll use the heck out of it. It will be great for harvesting yeast for a 14g batch when that day comes. And do post pics
 

Gustatorian

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Can anyone recommend a fermentation chamber/refrigerator with a glass front to store a 7 gallon Chronical? I would be using it for cold-crashing, possibly fermentation.
 

marzipan71

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Pretty sure it had a 'Made in China' sticker on it when it arrived but happy to be corrected. Its pretty small (compact) and pretty light when empty, and not too heavy when full to be honest. Loved the digital thermometer through the fermenting process, and the ability to take hydrometer samples (and tasting samples) from the upper valve - wonderful (just remember to pull out the lid bung because of the vacuum). I used the bottom valve to drain off the trub after a week or so (at 1014 or so). Fermentation continued slowly for another week until it stopped at 1010. Bottling was a breeze, using the upper valve to drain into a bottling bucket. I did find there was about 2 pints of usable beer left in the cone, so I siphoned that off into the bottling bucket. Cleaning was super easy - just rinse it out, clean with a cloth, clean with PBW, starsan; and soak all the removed valves etc in PBW then starsan and it came up like new without any lingering smells that you seem to get with the plastic buckets. All in all, I thought the experience was very much better than using a plastic fermenting bucket and I'm very happy to have upgraded to this piece of kit. It'll be seeing a good deal of use... :)
 

MaryB

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Once I get my new fermenting chamber setup(double door commercial fridge with a leak in one of the lines in the wall, I am grafting an air conditioner onto it) I will have room for a 14 gallon and 2 7's! My dream setup with permanent plumbing running in and out the fridge walls. For now it will hold 6+ 7 gallon buckets.
 

njs170

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Could someone tell me the dimension of the legs on the SS Brewtech 7 gal conical?
 

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