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Stainless Steel Fermenter

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JEM Australia

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Thought I'd try fermenting in stainless steel, instead of plastic for a change, to see if there is any difference in flavour. I decided to use my mashing pot as a fermenter. It is a large stainless steel pot and I have a 3/8 ball valve in the bottom. I use a galvanised steel washer on the backing nut inside the pot, to make sure the nylon washer is compressed properly for sealing.

Stupid stupid me.

I set up galvanic corrosion between the washer, the brass valve and stainless pot. Some of the zinc on the washer corroded away during the course of the ferment. The beer developed a really bad metallic taste.

Don't repeat my mistake, stick to stainless and brass components. I never had problems before because mashing is a relatively short process, but fermenting isn't.
 

smorris

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That sucks.

Most any dissimilar metals will setup a galvanic cell when placed in a fluid, you had 3 metals and the zinc acted as the sacrificial anode in the circuit. That is why we use 'zincs' on boats to avoid having the aluminum and brass destroyed by the stainless. When in doubt stick to the same metal or plastics.
 

skark_burmer

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I have been doing some research and came across your post.
I have 316 food grade stainless steel containers that are pressure rated at 500 psi and about 200 liters(some bigger, some smaller). They have a fitting at the bottom as well as the top and i am wondering if these would be usefull to home brew guys? I have no use for them and my other alternative is to cut them up and send them to the scrap yard for a few bucks.
Should i bother to try and sell them or would they not be appropriate?

Thanks
Jeff
 
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J

JEM Australia

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I think you would make a lot of brewers cry if you sent them to scrap.

They may not be totally useful in their current form, but with some modifications, they might be OK.
 

arachnyd

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this sounds very interesting -
how much would you want to sell these for?
where are you? (shipping costs may be a concern)
can you post a photo of a typical one?
 

skark_burmer

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As far as modifying them i can weld SS, although im no pro welder i can do a fair (and functional) job. What sort of things would make this more suited to home brewing? What would you look for in a perfect tank?

As far as cost i have no idea what would be appropriate, the scrap yard pays about $150 for them based on weight alone so maybe $200? I dunno.
I live near San Francisco, Ca and will post a picture in a few days, after the weekend probably.

For shipping these i have heard horror stories (from friends) that they need to be shipped as a hazardous material and the cost would be out of this world because it is a closed container, however i have not looked into that angle. Over the weekend i will do some research on that also and post what i find. Based on size alone (roughly 2'x3' and 100 lbs) it would most likely be a ground shippment so that should keep the cost reasonable.
 

skark_burmer

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I just called UPS and it would be a regular ground shipment, nothing special. If its not boxed there will be a $5 charge slapped on it, which would be a lot better then me building a box for it.
 

skark_burmer

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The local scrap yard pays $.55 per pound of stainless, the cost of "about $150" was approximate since the wall thickness on these varies as well as size. Some are about the size of 10 gallons and pretty light and some are as large as 80 gallons and super heavy, but i am just guessing here as i have not measures the actual size with a tape to calculate to exact capacity. Most of which state they hold between 240 and 280 liters (about 50 to 60 gallons) and with fittings, handle, and base for casters they tip the scales around 300 lbs. The bare tanks however weigh about 150 lbs.
I guess i should have been more precise but i didnt think that part mattered.
 

skark_burmer

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Holy crap,
firstly if you are going to flame me do it in the open forum, otherwise private messages bitching that $150 is "comepletely absurd" seem childish and no return address seems a bit cowardly.

If you notice i use words such as ABOUT, APPROX, OR SO, AROUND, and things such as that nature might indicate that the numbers, size and weight are not exact. Lets not forget that they are different sizes so do you think i am going to ship one across the country that weighs 300 lbs when i have one that might work better for him that weighs 100 lbs?
Not to mention the fact i know nothing about home brewing or the equiptment used. If tanks like these sell for $2000 do you think i am only going to ask for $150? Or if tanks like these sell for $200 from a reputable shop for a new or refurbished tank do you think i expect to get the same? I hardly think so.
My esitmate of $200 was a shot in the dark but to suggest i sell them for "$20 - $30" is not worth my time and i think they are worth more then that.

Secondly if you are really worried that these containers are stolen and the company i took them from is going to track you down and arrest you... seriously, come on.
I dont even know where to start but the smart ass comments that are running through my head are hard to resist. Here is a life lesson for you however... If you think someone is questionable = dont buy things from them.
So if you think that i am a "con artist" as you put it then why would you even bother to send me an e-mail? Save yourself the greif and worry and do what makes you feel comfortable.

Like i said before, i will post some pictures of the different tanks with their APPROXIMATE size this weekend and take it from there. I will also put some on the ol bathroom scale to get an ESTIMATE of how much they weigh and any other info that seems important.

Oh, i almost forgot your last question. I slept like a baby last night but thank you for your concearn.

Love:
Jeff
 

arachnyd

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I may be interested in one that can handle something in the neighborhood of 12-15 gallons - - I would not want to suggest you deny yourself a reasonable price for these. Please let me know what you may have in a 12-15 gal volume that you would be willing to part with in my price range.

Regarding actual value of the tanks, the only thing I have at hand is a brand new stainless fermentor - 25 gallons - at $275 advertised here: Homebrewery.com (bottom of the page) - and this is by far the least expensive option I have seen. Of course, this fermentor has fitting specifically for the purpose. - What I would be willing to pay for your tanks would depend in some part on how much modification I would have to make to it. I would be very interested in seeing photos. Depending on details of fittings, etc. I would probably be willing to pay enough to make it worth your while.

if you would prefer to take this matter offline, feel free to drop me a private message.

Regards
 

rightwingnut

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skark_burmer said:
Oh, i almost forgot your last question. I slept like a baby last night but thank you for your concern.

Love:
Jeff


LOL! I would love to see the private message you were sent! :)
 
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