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stainless steel bucket fermentor

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slarkin712

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I really like using buckets for primary fermentors, but scratching can give them a short life as a fermentor. Has anyone seen a 6-7 gallon stainless steel bucket with a lid that could be used as a fermentor? Besides durability, I'd like to have a strong lid. I plan on adding a stainless steel coil for cooling into the lid, so I 'd like something more sturdy than plastic. The best things I have seen are old milk buckets, but they have an odd shape and some of them are quite expensive. The other option I was considering was using a stainless steel kettle. The only problem with this is getting a lid that will seal very well. Any ideas on how I could modify a kettle to have a lid that seals very well with a permanent device for sealing, i.e. not some hand clamps or aluminum foil, etc. A screw on lid or lid with a seal on the rim and permanently attached latches would be great. I just can't find anything like I'm describing. I'd probably pay $50-75 for something like this if I could find it.
 

Sir Humpsalot

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55 gallon SS drums are actually available in sizes other than 55 gallons... they just don't call them "55 gallon drums". LOL

I never thought about it personally, but that might be worth looking into. I'd check out mcmaster carr first, then maybe a few other SS barrel suppliers.

Good luck. Let me know if you find anything interesting!
 

amandabab

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I've seriously thought about it for wine as the primary just needs a loose lid at most.

I've more than thought about a SS bottling bucket, have the 30 quart pot and it seems that a bottling wand valve fits on 3/8" SS tubing, drilling and diptube design is in progress. the plastic is slowly going away.
 

Sir Humpsalot

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I've seriously thought about it for wine as the primary just needs a loose lid at most.

I've more than thought about a SS bottling bucket, have the 30 quart pot and it seems that a bottling wand valve fits on 3/8" SS tubing, drilling and diptube design is in progress. the plastic is slowly going away.
Now that makes a TON of sense! We all have brew kettles already. Why mess with a bottling bucket?

It might even have a lid that can be used to minimize the risk of anything falling in during transfer.

Actually, all you would need for this is a ball valve on your kettle (which most already have), plus a 90-degree barb fitting. You could rotate the 90-degree barb to be nearly straight down against the kettle, minimizing losses. In the event that your ball valve is too low to spin on the 90-degree barb fitting, you could cut the fitting down. Just boil in the microwave for two or three minutes to eliminate the risk of infection/contamination.
 

skipper1953

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Check out dairy equipment/supply stores or web sites for all kinds of stainless vessels. Try searching ebay using milk can or milk pail.
 

ODI3

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I use 6 gallon bayou classic pots for fermenting and wouldnt go any other way. I find they are the perfect size. I expanded the small hole in the top for a stopper. If i want to seal the pot, I use large o-rings and clamp the orings down with binder clamps.

Some of the benefits are:
-If you extend a minifridge using a 2x2, u can fit two 6 gal fermenters in one fridge.
-All of the trub that rises in krausen sticks to the roof of the pot. When you remove the lid, you have access to the yeast and can easily top crop it without having to skim the the trub and wait for a second krausen.
-The bung hole acts as a port hole, I can check gravity from there, dump yeast in or syphon without having to remove all the clamps to open the vessel if its sealed.
-For gravity checks, I just santize then toss my gauge right into the pot and measure the gravity. No sample taking required.
-6 gallon pots fit easily into kitchen sinks for cleaning.
-6 gallon pots are much safer than glass to carry due to handles and light WAY lighter.
-Much easier to clean...

Some of the cons are:
-Fermenting in a 6 gal pot is tight sometimes, especially if you dont strain your trub. Also if you ferment without temp control it could potentially make a mess.
-SS isnt cheap, I bought my 4, 6 gal bayou classic pots on ebay. Althought I did end up with a bunch of free SS stainer baskets.
-Sealing the pot is a bit tricky, I forget where i bought 15 inch orings but they ended up only being like 2 bux each. I was planning on modifying some barrel lid o-clamps to clamp my pots down and replace the binder clamps, but truthfully, I dont even bother sealing the pots anymore when I ferment. I just put the lid on and put them in the mini fridge.

Many people ferment using corny kegs. they are 5.25 gal
 

aquenne

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why not use a sanke keg w/ cut top. for primary, you really dont need a tight seal, so i just use a simple pot lid..
 

eastoak

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I really like using buckets for primary fermentors, but scratching can give them a short life as a fermentor.
this is simply not true, often repeated but not shown to be true. i would love to have stainless steel fermentors but not because i have scratches in my buckets.
 
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slarkin712

slarkin712

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eastoak

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StMarcos

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8 gal 'megapot' and solder the lid on - with a 4'' tc ferrule on top. Or use a large o-ring and some dumbells on top. I managed to get a 25gal pot to hold 3psi (for pressure transfer), but had to use some small c clamps around the edge.
 

tre9er

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Corny kegs work.
Yep. Get the ones that don't hold pressure even...they don't need to for primary as they'll be off-gassing the entire time. Of course, you can't do 5g primary in them unless they DO hold pressure. Have to do 3.5-4 maybe.
 

julioardz

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Out of 26 batches, I've successfully done about half with the bucket lid loosely placed on top and the stopper hole plugged with no ill effect. The other half were sealed with an airlock in place. Contamination and oxidation are two issues I don't worry about with my recipes, setup, and methods, so personally, I wouldn't be concerned about finding a fermenter with a lid that sealed very well. Had I known better from the start, I would have gotten something like this as my brew kettle and skipped the fermenting buckets. I could boil, ferment, and bottle all out of this vessel with some slight adaptations. Do BIAB and I could do it all in one pot. If there's ever a need to replace my fermenting buckets, I'll probably get or make something like this, making sure that the lid is good enough to prevent things from falling into the wort/beer, but I wouldn't be too concerned about finding one that had an airtight seal.

It's worth adding that I don't make beers that need to age or ferment for months. That's part of the reason I'm never concerned about contamination and oxidation, and that's why I'm fairly sure something like this would work out for me. The less I have to transfer the beer and the less things I have to wash when I'm done, the better.

 

djk

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Hi julioardz,

I've only done 4.5 batches so far, but for 2 of those, I didn't use an airlock in my bucket; only covered the hole with wax paper. No infections, and good beer.

I like the idea of a one vessel process, but if you keep the beer in there boil-to-bottle (or even BIAB-to-bottle), won't the break material and trub cause problems with the flavor? Never mind figuring out how you'd prime for bottling without oxygenating and disturbing the yeast cake/trub.

If you've got ideas, then please share, because I don't have a lot of room for brewing equipment and would like the chance to ditch a bucket or 2.

David
 

eastoak

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I like the idea of a one vessel process, but if you keep the beer in there boil-to-bottle (or even BIAB-to-bottle), won't the break material and trub cause problems with the flavor?
David[/QUOTE]

no it would not affect the flavor of the beer. i use a place chiller (so do many commercial breweries) so ALL of the break material is in the fermentor. there is some evidence that the break material is beneficial to the fermentation process.
 

djk

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Huh, cool. I've always read to get the wort/beer off of the break material and trub to avoid off flavors. I guess it may be one of those things that doesn't hurt at the homebrew-scale?

I guess a potential "problem" would be that you're tying up your boil kettle during the time you're fermenting. Not a problem for me, since I ferment one beer at a time, and don't boil another until I've bottled the first batch.

Also, how would you prime the batch for bottling? Just stir in the priming solution, and then wait for things to settle back down?!? How long would that take, ya think?
 

julioardz

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Yeah, having the beer sit on the break material and trub during fermentation is not an issue for me. I currently pour the entire contents of the brew kettle into the fermenting buckets. I will repeat that I do not make beer that has to condition for months. Depending on the recipe, I go from boil to bottle anywhere between 7 and 21 days with my ales. I think it becomes an issue when you have your beer sit on the trub for a long time (months) after fermentation is completed, but I really don't know much about that. I read it in Palmer's How to Brew. See the "Alcoholic" and "Soapy" sections of that page.

Now as far as bottling from the same vessel I would boil and ferment in... Like I said, it's an idea I have but I haven't played around with it because my current brew pot doesn't fit in my compact fermenting fridge. I would have to think about it and play around a bit to find something that would work. One thought is to have the ball valve high enough so that it sits above the trub. I would gently mix in the priming syrup so that I don't aerate the fermented beer and stir up the trub too much. Then I would let it rest and start filling bottles. Right now I notice that the trub settles back down in less than ten minutes when I move my fermenting buckets around. Something like a french press for the brew kettle would be nice. I'm sure it can be made, but it seems like it would require more cleaning and sanitizing than I care to do. I've also wondered if a very low sitting ball valve could drain the trub so that you can later bottle from there, but some trub may be too thick or compacted to drain. Then there's always kegging. Racking from the kettle/fermenter to a keg would completelyl get rid of this issue.
 
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slarkin712

slarkin712

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Old thread, but I think I've found what I was looking for here:
http://www.dwbrewproducts.com/shop/...-p-59?osCsid=b2ea3345156822ee65354b4f0eac35ed

The lids are sealed with a rubber gasket providing an airtight seal. The is a plastic ring on the bottom that is glued on. This can be removed and then direct heat could be applied for cleaning/sanitizing. And the racking port is 1.5" above the bottom, so that should be above the yeast and trub sediment. Pretty cool and the price is OK.
 

Brian4x4

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Not sure if I saw this mentioned to you, but I use a 1/4 barrel keg the thin tall one. I got this one free, but I am trying to score 3 more from a family friend who owns a liqueur store. I will pay him 30 bucks for deposit.
I debated on getting them full of beer and keeping them.
But then I would need to buy the adapter to hook to my keg setup and it would cost me extra money I dont want to spend. lol

they hold 7.75 gallons.
For the dog fish head 90 min clone I made at og 1.088 I still needed a blow off tube for 6 gallon batch but it is sure nice having a big head space.
Keg is acctually easy to clean. I thought would be tough, but I use a home made spray cleaner with keg upside down and PBW cleaner. ( 2-4oz for 2 gallons of water all I use to clean.)
Carboy brush fits right in it to scrub if needed.
I also use a carboy cleaner that I attach to my drill and stick down inside if I need to go that far.
just another option. here are some pics of mine.
For sanitize I have a big tupper ware tub I have with about 10 gallons of water and star san in and I just put keg on it's side and fill it and roll it around for a bit.
I put the cover over the water when not in use and I bought a whole lot of PH strips and just make sure the star san is still good.
that stuff lasts a long time!!







video cleaning.



If I were you I would consider this option as you can probably get more of them cheaper.
Also all Stainless Steel, has handles, and for air lock the Orange tops stretch right over nicely.
Also if you want to go bigger than this you can use a 1/2 barrel keg just the same idea just bigger.
Easy to handle I love mine. as I said I am buying 3 more so I will have 4 total. then I will never use a bucket again. just my Better Bottles for secondary..
 
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slarkin712

slarkin712

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I actually purchased a 1/4 keg (normal sized sanke) last month, but haven't done anything with it yet. I just thought the Deep Woods fermentor was great for someone who had the extra money. I probably won't buy one unless I can't find more 1/4 kegs at a good price. When you rack from your kegs do you push the beer with CO2 using the orange cap and a racking cane or are you just using an auto-siphon?
 

Brian4x4

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i just used the auto siphon but I am still learning haha. I am probably not using the orange top right. lol

your making me need to go do research on that now.
 

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whattheschmidt

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I like that fermenter as well....

Starting out though so I will stick to buckets for a year then consider purchase!
 

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I still haven't done anything with my 1/4 barrel keg, but I found something interesting. This looks really cool, and a pretty good price considering the features. http://www.ssbrewtech.com/products/brewbucket
I think I'm going to buy one.
If you do buy one please come back with pics and reports on how it shapes up as a fermentor.

Be interested to know if the top seals well; if the racking arm leaks; and if it would be possible to put a valve where the point of the cone is at the bottom (to dump most of the yeast).

Good find!
 

orangehero

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What's the point of the conical bottom if there's no dump? Doesn't look like it has a seal for the lid either.
 
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slarkin712

slarkin712

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I'm almost certainly going to purchase one. They don't have any in stock now, but as soon as they do I'll get one. I don't really see much usefulness for the conical bottom, other than it allows them to keep the overall height of the fermentor a little shorter while putting legs on it to allow stacking.
And yes, this is a highly modified pot, but it's got all the features I'm looking for. I won't need to make any modifications to it like I might if I bought a pot and converted it for the way I want to ferment.
 

ScubaSteve

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a stainless bucket is called a pot
LOL....yes...pots work. I've done it in the dead of winter and just left the pot on the cold cement floor....no chiller needed, and the beer came out fine. If you do it this way, be sure to leave the lid on for a minute or so and the steam will sterilize the top. Even though the pot is contained in a chamber, you might also consider putting a weight on the top to keep bugs out....bees and such can squiggle their way in....
 

KegOutlet

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If you do buy one please come back with pics and reports on how it shapes up as a fermentor.

Be interested to know if the top seals well; if the racking arm leaks; and if it would be possible to put a valve where the point of the cone is at the bottom (to dump most of the yeast).

Good find!
Since there's not much info out there on these yet, here's a few pics as well as a review.

We just got our hands on this and just brewed a batch that is currently fermenting.

To answer the couple questions from my personal experience with it:
Top seals very well- silicone gasket w/ 4 spring loaded clamps that hold it in place.

Possible to put a valve on the bottom? Not for me, but I'm sure some of you out there could do something... No metal working experience here. They have built a full-fledge conical - check out the SS Brew Tech site.

Racking arm is solid thus far. No leaks.
 

TallDan

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Since there's not much info out there on these yet, here's a few pics as well as a review.

We just got our hands on this and just brewed a batch that is currently fermenting.

To answer the couple questions from my personal experience with it:
Top seals very well- silicone gasket w/ 4 spring loaded clamps that hold it in place.

Possible to put a valve on the bottom? Not for me, but I'm sure some of you out there could do something... No metal working experience here. They have built a full-fledge conical - check out the SS Brew Tech site.

Racking arm is solid thus far. No leaks.
Can you comment on the finish of the inside of it? Some of your pictures make it look a little rough. Is the steel smooth and well finished, or are there seams and inconsistencies? I know that it can be hard to get good pictures of stainless steel, so I'm really wondering, not trying to criticize the product (or photographer) sight unseen.
 

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smooth

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I'm using 7 gallon stainless steel fermenters, and after a few customization they have been worked out great.

Two are Aginox fusti tanks; beautiful polished stainless steel, super clean inside seams, great seal on the lid, very smart form. :mug:

Two are Deep Wood Brew SS carboys; 1st version, nice enough tanks.

I make 5 gallon batches and the headspace was fine as primary fermenter, but just too much headspace for a secondary fermenter.
Drilled a second hole in the lids, and installed a ball lock gas post so when used as a secondary fermenter I purge with CO2.
I am very happy, unbreakable and easy to clean.

The air lock hole now has a gromit seal for the bubbler and I may open up the hole in the lid to a glass carboy bung size so I could grab gravity readings through it.
 

grathan

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I'm using 7 gallon stainless steel fermenters, and after a few customization they have been worked out great.

Two are Aginox fusti tanks; beautiful polished stainless steel, super clean inside seams, great seal on the lid, very smart form. :mug:

Two are Deep Wood Brew SS carboys; 1st version, nice enough tanks.

I make 5 gallon batches and the headspace was fine as primary fermenter, but just too much headspace for a secondary fermenter.
Drilled a second hole in the lids, and installed a ball lock gas post so when used as a secondary fermenter I purge with CO2.
I am very happy, unbreakable and easy to clean.

The air lock hole now has a gromit seal for the bubbler and I may open up the hole in the lid to a glass carboy bung size so I could grab gravity readings through it.
Those Fusti's seem neat. Have you tried cold crashing in either those or the Deep Wood Brews yet?
 

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