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Ss Brew Tech Chronical 7 Gallon Fermenter Review

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I thought it might be good to get a review of one of these Ss Brew Tech Chronical Fermenters up, as I haven't seen any real in-depth versions as of late. SS Brew Tech has a lineup of 3 main products , 7 gal Brew Bucket (not a true conical),the Chronical Series, which is comprised of a 7 gallon and 17-gallon (half barrel) model, and the Brew Kettle . This particular review is for the 7 gallon Chronical Fermenter. I'm going to try to break it down into different sections here.

Packaging:
The product, as with all SS Brew Tech items, comes very well packaged. The fermenter is packed tightly into the box, and the valves are already attached (though reversed and in the "wrong" location in order to prevent any possible damage). They did a great job here, but there's not much else to say in that regard. The box is of course pretty tall, as the fermenter itself is tall.


Build Quality:

As with the brew bucket, the Chronical is 304 Stainless Steel, and is very well made. Given the amount of work it takes to put together one of these beasts, the quality of the end-product is impressive. The entire fermenter is well buffed and polished, and there are no rough surfaces. Note that there are a few very small dimples on the inside of the bucket from the welding points where the legs and handles are attached. This is normal, and something that I noticed on my Brew Bucket as well. They do a good job of polishing and buffing these dimples til they are smooth, so there are no worries about rough surfaces.
The same goes for the conical portion. It is well polished, and aside from a few minor "machining" scratches on the outside of the fermenter, the cone itself is very sturdy, smooth, and polished.
Finally, in comparison to the Brew Bucket, the Chronical is definitely a good bit taller. But this is to be expected, as it is a true conical and has to accommodate valves at the very bottom.

Fittings/Accessories:
The Chronical series, unlike the Brew Bucket, takes advantage of the commercially-used tri-clover fittings. There are three 1.5" tri-clover ports on the unit -- 1 on the lid, 1 on the upper portion of the cone (for racking the beer off), and the 3rd one on the very bottom (for yeast dumps, etc). This was a great move on their part to support and include these fittings, and is something that I would expect to come with a true conical fermenter.
Because of the choice to go with tri-clover, the possibilities are endless when it comes to accessories and fittings. For example, I use a 1.5" tri-clover-to 3/4" male barbed adapter with a 90 degree angle for the lid of the fermenter. This allows me to easily rig a blow off tube to the unit. Additionally, as stated on the website, this fermenter supports up to 5psi for keg transfers. This of course is achieved through other tri-clover fittings that allow a gas line to be rigged up to it.
Other various accessories can be fitted, however the main one that Ss Brew Tech offers is a digital thermometer that can be mounted in the welded thermowell. There's not much to write about here -- it does it job well, and is simple in its function -- measuring the temperature of your beer/wort.

Utility:
There's not a lot to say here, because obviously it serves its purpose as a fermenter --- I don't need to tell you that. However, it's interesting to note that its size allows for placement a variety of chest freezers. I personally own a 7cu-ft GE brand chest freezer, and the fermenter easily slides in, however is a tad bit too tall. My next project will be to add a collar to the freezer, so that I can use it to control the fermentation temperatures in the Chronical.
It's also worth noting that the handles on the unit will easily accommodate the weight of a full batch, so there's no worry there.
Complaints/Cons:
I don't have very many complaints at all, and they're all very minor. First off, there were a few machining scratches on the outside of the cone portion. While it would be nice to not have any scratches, it's inevitable with brewing hardware. Not to mention, it'll likely get scratched anyways.

Overall Impression:
I am quite impressed with the Chronical 7gal fermenter, and am very excited about its use in the future, as well as the future of SS BrewTech. They make some great products at incredibly low prices, and are shaking up the homebrewing industry a good bit. I expect this to quickly become my go-to fermenter, and am quite excited about being able to capture yeast with the bottom valve, and it truly feels like a commercial-grade product. I can't wait to see what SS Brew Tech will come up with next.
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In the pictures you posted it looks like there are threaded fittings for the ball valves that come with the Chronical. If true, that completely defeats the purpose of triclover fittings.
 
Great write up Nick, I have been looking at these as a future purchase for when the funds are available, this will help. How about a short update after your first ferment in it?. Thanks again.

David.
 
One issue that I can see right off is that the 3/4 in ball valve is not going to be big enough. I bought a 14 g stout tanks fermneter and start with a ball valve. A plug of trub would block it up. After switching to an 1.5in butterfly valve the problem was solved.
 
One question: in mine the middle TC is 1", not 1.5". The connections are the same, but the opening is different. Has that changed in the new Chronicals and they're now all 1.5" TC?
 
@Clweed You're siphoning clean beer through the 3/8" racking arm, which is good enough. However, you want the trub out through the 3/4" ball valve, which is not enough in many cases. I got 1.5" butterfly valves because of this to replace the 3/4" ball valves.
 
I think a Nick's overall review is spot on. There are some dipples as noted and other slight imperfections within the chronical itself, but overall quality is nice for the price. I did have to exchange my first Chronical as it has a quality issue with the welded thermowell. SS Tech customer service was excellent and it was replaced with their newest revision. It appears all new Chronicals are equipped with a weldless thermowell. I wonder if they decided to do this because they were experiencing quality control issue on the original welded thermowells. While I would prefer to have a welded thermowell and butterfly valves, I have to remind myself that this is a budget orientated fermentor. I'll be test driving it on Monday and I hope everything meet my expectations.
Dionito, I will check tomorrow to see if my middle TC is 1" or 1.5". Perhaps that is another revision they have made.
 
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