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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2006 * Archive through June 28, 2006 * B3 Conicals < Previous Next >

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J. Steinhauer
Advanced Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 851
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 216.70.45.1
Posted on Friday, June 09, 2006 - 08:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm again thinking about the purchase of a conical fermenter. Last time, I "chose" to buy a snowblower instead. This time, I have decided against a riding lawnmower in favor of the fermenter...maybe two...or maybe a heated/cooled one. It depends on what kind (how expensive) of a riding mower I decide I was thinking about buying. The snowblower brought little joy to my life, and I hardly use it since trading the vehicles for four-wheel drives, and I don't anticipate anymore joy from a riding mower.

While it may seem like a waste to some of you, I am favoring a 7.1 gallon fermenter with the 1.5" dump, even though the 12 gallon is only marginally more expensiver. I just haven't brewed more than 5 gallons at a time in over a year, and at the current pace, I prefer the greater variety over the volume per unit time. Besides, I find brewing smaller batches simply a more pleasant experience (smaller equipment, volumes and easier cleanup). At this point in my life, and probably for the next ten or twenty years, or so, I don't see this changing, much, unless something goes terribly wrong.

What I don't like about the 7.1 gallon version is the lack of elevation. I am wondering how those of you who may have these go about kegging from the fermenter (I assume you lift the thing). I am also wondering if the angle on the dump interferes with its function. Any other pros and cons that are not commonly know without having used one are also welcome. Are there any other practical reasons why the 12 gallon might be a better purchase?

Still brewing and lurking.

Thanks!

Steinhauer
 

Paul Erbe
Advanced Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 583
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 12.37.128.66
Posted on Friday, June 09, 2006 - 08:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you like variety get 2 smaller ones. that would allow you to do split yeast batches or partigyle styles etc..
 

Bryan Perkins
Junior Member
Username: Bryanperkins

Post Number: 36
Registered: 05-2003
Posted From: 66.87.224.52
Posted on Friday, June 09, 2006 - 10:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm sure they would build yours with taller legs if you asked them to.
 

Tom Greenspon
Junior Member
Username: Tgreenspon

Post Number: 27
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 65.27.104.97
Posted on Saturday, June 10, 2006 - 03:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I bought a 7G conical a few years ago from St. Pat's. (Yeah, yeah ...) Newer ones may have some better features, but I love it. The biggest problem I've had with the bottom dump, when the trub is really thick, is the slow dump time. I use polysulfone QDs and had to grind out the cross braces, which helped.

I use a freezerless refrigerator with a controller to ferment in, so the conical sits on the highest shelf it will fit onto. I bottle, and I don't have to move the conical to do that. I use the pump on my HERMS to transfer from the BK. There are leg extenders you can bolt on to some models. I personally like what the conical does.
Tom
 

Don Lund
Junior Member
Username: Donlund

Post Number: 71
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 64.12.116.8
Posted on Saturday, June 10, 2006 - 06:10 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have the B3 7.1 conical, and like it a lot. I'd recommend getting the model that sits in a separate frame, so you can lift the conical tank itself out for easy cleaning. I got the 7.1 because I could lift it and it would fit in an old fridge that I had. Mine has a 1/2" dump valve, I removed the elbow ahead of the valve so that I could relieve any clogs by sticking a knitting needle up the valve, clogs can happen if using loose hops -- though I now put hops in hop bags and have no problems. It's not too hard to just lift it up on something if you want some more height.
 

Scott Manning
Intermediate Member
Username: Liquidbreaddiet

Post Number: 351
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 69.182.193.50
Posted on Saturday, June 10, 2006 - 12:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have a 12.2 gal one from them with the tri-clover clamp fittings. Absolutely no issues with trub clogging the dump valve. The stand is at the right hight for gravity feeding off the rotating racking arm into kegs. Also you can separate the cone from the stand. Makes for easy cleanup and I am going to build a plywood rack in my temp controlled freezer chest if I ever want to do lagets with it. I wouldn't go with their heated or cooled ones. You can actually get all those parts online for next to nothing compared to what they charge for them.
 

Ned Buntline
Member
Username: Ned_buntline

Post Number: 162
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 141.150.200.124
Posted on Saturday, June 10, 2006 - 01:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Nothing in this hobby is a "waste," if it makes the hobby more appealing. That said, what was appealing to me with the conicals has become less so over the past few years I've owned them. In fact, I've sold three of them in the last couple of months. I still have two, but don't use them and will probably dump them as well.

The main reason I've moved away from them is that, to be honest, carboys are just a lot easier to use and maintain. Sure, the conicals are more accesible, but the added complexity of valves, fittings, and gaskets makes the cleaning and sanitizing time a longer process. I just got a little lazy after a day of brewing to have another piece to dismantle and sanitize. With a carboy, I'm just swishing some Idophor and it's time to fill it up. Same for cleaning. Dump some soap, spin a brush a couple of times, and I'm done. Nothing to take apart, nothing to reassemble.

Conicals do look cool, and I got a lot of comments from friends about them that pumped up my chest and made me do a Tim Allen grunt. They have absolutely no impact on the flavor of the beer, and it's debatable whether the pressure column of the beer is enough to make yeast removal all that efficient. Even with stainless, there's still plenty of yeast clinging to the sides of the cone after dumping.

Don't let me sway you - I know I can't. I'm not one to talk. My system is fully automated. Do I need it? No. Does it cut down on the brew time? No.

I just like it. And that doesn't make it a waste.
 

Scott Manning
Intermediate Member
Username: Liquidbreaddiet

Post Number: 353
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 69.182.193.50
Posted on Saturday, June 10, 2006 - 02:51 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ned I would be interested in taking your conicals off your hands.
 

Ned Buntline
Member
Username: Ned_buntline

Post Number: 163
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 141.150.200.124
Posted on Saturday, June 10, 2006 - 03:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry, Scott. The first ones went to a friend. The last two have been claimed by a local HB club.
 

J. Steinhauer
Advanced Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 852
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 66.82.9.53
Posted on Saturday, June 10, 2006 - 04:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So the elbow above the dump valve is removable? That's good to know. I'll probably call and talk to someone at B3, before ordering, if I decide to do so.

While like most things in homebrewing, you can often do it much cheaper, if you do it yourself, I am less interested in and have less time for the DIY aspect of the hobby. I enjoy designing the beers, crushing my malt, the aroma of the mash and boil and of course the final product. The temperature control may indeed lead to better beer, though. I have only one spare fridge that I use for fermenting and lagering lagers, but it is really inconvenient when I have to set the controller to 50F.

I can't believe my wife just backed into my truck in the driveway! Actually, yes I can.

Besides the temperature control, one of the most attractive things about the conical to me is the elimination of racking to a secondary fermenter and racking to the keg. I just find these steps very unpleasant. The need to lift the fermenters does not make it any better. If the conical fermenters truly enable this, then two of them would be enough to keep my taps full and eliminate the carboys that sit all over the basement, depending on what temperature range I want them to be in. Also, the temperature control would allow me to brew lagers at my convenience, rather than based on what else was in the refrigerator or freezer. I think it will also make it much easier to fill a six-pack of bottles using the racking arm.

As far a cleaning and sanitizing, I expect it would take a little longer, but given the frequency with which I brew now, it probably won't make that much of a difference. Since going back to 5-6 gallon brewlengths and essentially dismantling the HERMS, I save hours of time per brewday on the cleanup time.

It seems that there aren't too many gripes about steel conicals other than cleaning. As long as the overwhelming opinion is that they perform reliably as a way to dump trub and then yeast, I'll probably have to give one a shot. I still use a pump to recirculate wort over the immersion chiller and fill my fermenter, so filling a different fermenter from the kettle will be no different.

One other question: Is there a way to attach a blow-off, for those fermentations that get out of hand? 7.1 gallons is only marginally bigger than the 6.5 gallon carboy, so the occasional overflow is inevitable.

It probably seems like I'm talking to myself here, but it usually takes me some time duking it out with myself when dropping a large chunk of change for something.

Thanks for the feedback

Steinhauer
 

Joe Rovito
Member
Username: Joez8

Post Number: 196
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 68.32.3.101
Posted on Sunday, June 11, 2006 - 03:48 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If your conical has TC fittings, and you go with butterfly valves, and you have a big sink or laundary tub, cleaning is far easier than with a carboy.
It is easier to scrub a yeast ring off a conical w/ a blue scrubby than it is to soak a carboy and try to do the same w/ a carboy brush.

And there can be one less racking step that just can't be duplicated w/ a carboy.

If your conical has NPT fittings and valves that you have to unscrew/disassemble and sanitize everytime, then Ned is right - it would be a PIA.
===============================================
Screw the riding mower. Pay some guy $25 / week to cut your grass and brew beer on Sunday instead! @ (post)851, you are not lurking. You are back - with a vengeance.
 

Richard Nye
Senior Member
Username: Yeasty_boy

Post Number: 1440
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 68.4.202.69
Posted on Sunday, June 11, 2006 - 01:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Steinhauer, I don't know a lot about conicals, but these look tempting.....

http://www.fermenator.com/
 

Richard Nye
Senior Member
Username: Yeasty_boy

Post Number: 1441
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 68.4.202.69
Posted on Sunday, June 11, 2006 - 01:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Steinhauer, I was just surfing on Blichmann's site. Here's a link to a comparison between his conicals and B3's. Blichmann's stuff is engineered pretty well. Don't know how the prices compare.

http://www.fermenator.com/Compare%20to%20Others.htm
 

Tom Daniels
Junior Member
Username: Tom_daniels

Post Number: 26
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 69.5.128.166
Posted on Sunday, June 11, 2006 - 03:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have the Blichmann version 1 (12 Gal) Fermenator and I used it yesterday. The new ones look even better. To sanitize, I just take the fittings off the vessel put them in a little pan of water and boil them hard. They barely require a wrench to put on and take off so this is no biggie.
 

J. Steinhauer
Advanced Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 854
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 66.82.9.59
Posted on Sunday, June 11, 2006 - 06:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The Fermenators have some nice features not available on the B3 models. The handles, lid hatches, 3-piece valves and the leg extensions are nice options. I like the 1.5" bottom dump on the B3 Pro models with butterfly valves, though, and I somewhat prefer the welded fittings rather than weld-free. The racking port valve would still have to be boiled, I think, though I bet that valve is easy enough to change out for a three piece.

I'm not sure how the pressurization of the Fermenators works, since the airlock hole would seem to prevent pressurization beyond about one inch of water.

Irrespective, the heating and cooling options are very attractive to me for a number of reasons.

If B3 will build the small one on taller legs, that will resolve the biggest issue I have. It almost seems pointless to me to have a conical fermenter, if you can't run the beer out right into kegs.

Steinhauer
 

Scott Manning
Intermediate Member
Username: Liquidbreaddiet

Post Number: 355
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 69.182.193.50
Posted on Monday, June 12, 2006 - 01:09 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

the link to the site that compares the b3 to the fermenator is pretty damn biased, most of the info that is on there is simply untrue too. you can easily add the same amount of pressure to the B3 conical as you can the ferminator - as J.s points out the airlock sort of defeats the ability to really put the psi to it. Anyway B3 will in fact customize your conical for you with longer legs etc. you can even get the lid w/o an airlock hole and do whatever you want to it. I.E. add a swagelock fitting to hold an airation wand, or add a quick disconnect fitting to push in pressure. I still say go with the pro fittings - no threaded connections - throw the fittings in your dishwasher or soak in pbw and sanitize with iodaphor. super simple.
 

Don Lund
Junior Member
Username: Donlund

Post Number: 72
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 64.12.116.8
Posted on Monday, June 12, 2006 - 02:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree that the comparison was biased and misleading, was surprised that it was published.

The B3 conical that I have will not hold pressure, no matter how tightly I screw down the lid. I tried this in connection with experiments concerning recycling of CO2. It's good enough for the tiny pressure that pushes bubbles through the airlock, but not for any more.
 

J. Steinhauer
Advanced Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 860
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 66.82.9.87
Posted on Monday, June 12, 2006 - 08:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey, another question.

If I were to get a 7.1 gallon on taller legs, would you recommend having the bottom dump straight, rather than angled, since clearance would no long be problem?
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1043
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.236.19.174
Posted on Monday, June 12, 2006 - 09:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The Blichmann Fermentator is pressurizable to 3 psi.

You pressurize via the airlock bunghole using a rubber stopper with a piece of rigid tubing inserted into it. Your CO2 line connects to the rigid tubing.

The corny style lid has a weighted stopper set for 3 psi (kinda like a pressure cooker regulator).
 

J. Steinhauer
Advanced Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 868
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 69.19.14.24
Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 11:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Now, it is possible to get a 7.1 gallon Pro Series fermenter (temp controlled or not) with longer legs, allowing direct gravity kegging (which is important) and without the elbow on the bottom dump.

Have any of you used one of these with the 1.5" elbow on the bottom dump? I just want to know what the downsides are to that, if any.
 

Scott Manning
Intermediate Member
Username: Liquidbreaddiet

Post Number: 361
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 70.135.205.146
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 12:09 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have the 12.2- and got a 1.5" elbow on ebay for a buck - I actually use it after the valve with a cap on the end. The reason being is that when yeast harvesting I can sanitize that elbow and pull off yeast slurry into that without the risk of accidentally dumping a ton of beer too. works pretty well. As far as temp control for the 7.1 - you can add it as an option for sure.
 

J. Steinhauer
Advanced Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 869
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 66.82.9.90
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 12:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

After the valve would be okay. As designed, it is above the valve.
 

Scott Manning
Intermediate Member
Username: Liquidbreaddiet

Post Number: 362
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 70.135.205.146
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 12:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

i just looked at the 7.1 on morebeer- very dumb that it is welded to the base. but makes sence with short legs. Eitherway - when ordering tell them you just want a ferrule at the base and you want longer legs- they will do anything. they build them to order - and it takes a few weeks. so it isn't like they have these things sitting around the shop collecting dust.
 

Scott Manning
Intermediate Member
Username: Liquidbreaddiet

Post Number: 363
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 70.135.205.146
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 12:54 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

dude - I just looked at the price - for 5 dollars more just get the 12.2 gallon. it gives you more versatility in batch size and it really doesn't matter if you put 5 or 10 gallons in it.
 

J. Steinhauer
Advanced Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 871
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 69.19.14.42
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 02:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dude!? Your dating yourself using that word.

Like I said, I can get the thing made on longer legs with a straight dump. I had already called, and they gave me a quote. I just thought I would check to make sure it was a change worth making. I haven't found out. I even posted on the B3 forum, which made me feel sort of cheap, given that I have had a monogamous relationship with this board, since before I started brewing. I think 24 hours is long enough, and I may place my order tomorrow with the changes. It depends on how busy the work day is. If it was like today, it won't happen tomorrow.

Most likely for the reason you mention ($5), Scott, there does not seem to be many 7.1 gallon users. The price difference is bigger, if I get a temperature controlled fermenter, though, and the fill-volume would also matter. I don't get to brew as often as I would like, now, simply because of storage and consumption, so I am not likely to go back to 10 gallon brewlengths any time soon. Maybe when I retire. The 12 gallon fermenter would also take up more space, be heavier, and be more to clean and sanitize.
 

Don Lund
Junior Member
Username: Donlund

Post Number: 73
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 64.12.116.8
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 05:03 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, I mentioned earlier in this thread that I removed the elbow from my 7.1, and explained why. Also, it's just one less thing to clean.

If you get the heating/cooling features and longer legs, can you still get the separate stand so that you can easily remove the conical tank for cleaning? I like being able to toss the tank in the washtub, though maybe you can't do that with all that insulation and heating/cooling stuff attached.
 

J. Steinhauer
Advanced Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 872
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 216.70.45.1
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 11:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Don, on the Pro Series, the elbow is welded on the 7.1 gallon. It can't so easily be removed. Being 1.5", I don't know if it would get clogged, but I've already decided I simply don't want it there.
 

Steve Fletty
Member
Username: Cheesehead

Post Number: 240
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 24.118.123.209
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 02:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with Ned.

I had one. Used it once. Thought it was too big a PIA with all the valves and crap you need to sanitize. I dumped it as well.

They look cool, sexy, sure, but they're like a high maintenance chick.
 

Richard Nye
Senior Member
Username: Yeasty_boy

Post Number: 1450
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 65.218.192.240
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 05:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ned and Steve. I'm glad you chimed in. I've always thought that it would be a hassle cleaning and sanitizing a conical. Also, it's hard to beat a carboy...cheap and easy to clean/sanitize. Now my urge to buy a conical has been supressed.
 

Don Lund
Junior Member
Username: Donlund

Post Number: 74
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 64.12.116.8
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 06:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You guys are too hard on yourselves. Shoot, just hose the conical out good, hot water and a quick scrubby treatment. Pour about a gallon of boiling water into it, let the water trickle through the valves. Done.
 

J. Steinhauer
Advanced Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 873
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 216.70.45.1
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 09:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, like all-grain brewing, first wort hopping, sex, and probably skydiving, you can't know what you are missing until you've tried it yourself, and no one can really describe it in words.

Most of the comments from conical users I see in multiple forums are very favorable. Though, I must admit, I dismantled my three keg brewery in favor of the simplicity of the old Rubbermaid cooler...but I think I also make better beer in the cooler. But I will argue that cleaning and maintaining that thing was far more time consuming than maintaining a conical fermenter will be.

It probably depends on what your motivation behind owning a conical is in the first place. Personally, I want to be eliminate racking, improve temperature control during fermentation and conditioning in a way convenient to me. I can't ferment and lager in my only extra fridge at the same time. It might take a little longer to clean the fermenter, but I won't have to clean and sanitize (and lift) as many carboys, canes and tubes over the long term.

By now, I have made up my own mind. I'll provide follow-up when appropriate.

Steinhauer
 

Norm J
New Member
Username: Norm_j

Post Number: 4
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 71.104.182.80
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 10:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Waste of money. Get the mower
 

J. Steinhauer
Advanced Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 879
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 66.82.9.81
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 12:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Gosh Norm, your right!

I could have wasted a bunch of money.

Come to think of it, spending money on anything related to beer is a waste of money, so I think I'll stop.

Thanks a lot!
 

Ken Anderson
Senior Member
Username: Ken75

Post Number: 1579
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 69.168.141.10
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 01:41 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Norm J don't take it to heart. Sometimes it seems definitive statements aren't welcome here. Go figure.

Anyways, welcome! I've read your previous three posts and I hope you keep on posting.

Ken
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5611
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.243
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 02:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I, too, welcome Norm's input, but I don't think it's that simple. Whether a conical fermenter is necessary is one issue; the potential benefit or drawbacks for a specific brewer is another.
 

J. Steinhauer
Advanced Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 880
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 69.19.14.34
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 03:02 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I too welcome Norm's input, if he has any regarding this topic.

His post in this thread was neither input nor informative and was in fact a waste of time to read. It would please me to know why he thinks it is a waste of money. It won't necessarily change my mind, but might still be food for thought...something I have not thought of myself. I've spent all kinds of money on this hobby, none of which was necessary and some of which was completely wasted. As before, nobody needs beer, so every cent spent could be considered by someone to be a waste of money.

Welcome to the Forum Norm J. I pretty much learned to brew by reading homebrewing books and frequenting this message board, and I enjoy all of the personalities here.

Jon Steinhauer
 

Bob Wall
Junior Member
Username: Brewdudebob

Post Number: 26
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 139.76.128.71
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 03:28 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am going to pull the trigger on getting a stainless conical for my Father's Day present. I am leaning toward the Fermenator from Blichmann.

I have looked into B3 and Blichmann, and I am trying to figure out just which points Scott Manning and Don Lund are referring to when they say Blichmann is being "biased and misleading"

I like the fact the the blichmann fermenter is weldless. this allows for thorough cleaning/sanitizing. My experience with the quality of B3's welding has not been good. I bought a B3 thermowell (http://morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=16672)and was utterly unimpressed with the way they welded the end shut. It is basically an old corny dip tube and they just hammered the end, folded, and welded it. they left HUGE pockets for all sorts of nasties to crawl into.

That being said, I am not sure i would trust their welding to be free of cracks gaps and crevasses.

Don't get me wrong, I think B3 is a great outfit and they have about 99% of your gadget and gizmo needs and i will continue to buy from them, but I just do not see where Scott and Don are taking issue with Blichmann.
Give a man a beer and he'll waste and hour. Teach a man to brew and he'll waste a lifetime.
 

Norm J
New Member
Username: Norm_j

Post Number: 5
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 71.104.182.80
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 05:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Just got back. Sorry if I offended. Why a waste of money? Its a heck of a lot of money that will really only give you one thing. the ability to bottom dump trub and harvest yeast from the bottom without having to rack the beer. And since there are really no perceptible flavor consequences to having the beer sit on the wort if you have pitched enough healthy yeast and since I can still harvest yeast after I rack I dont find anything really useful about it. And then the thing is so big you practically have to have a walk in fridge to temp control unless you spend several hundred more on glycol wraps.

Just my take on it.
 

Bob Wall
Junior Member
Username: Brewdudebob

Post Number: 27
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 139.76.128.71
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 08:41 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Norm,

I look at it this way. If my hobby was photography, I would have a nice 35mm SLR camera. not a point and shoot camera with 110 film. If I was into bicycling, I would have a nice road bike, not a Huffy Santa Fe. This is how I justify splurging occasionally on brewing gizmos and gadgets. Itís my hobby, and itís nice to get a shiny new toy once in a while.

I am not trying to say anything negative about using buckets and carboys, they have worked just fine for me, but I feel there are many advantages to ME having a stainless conical. One being that I will be able to ferment in one vessel, another advantage is yeast farming.

I do 10 gallon all-grain batches and recently upgraded to my 3-tier gravity fed system (added a pump, Therminator chiller, inline oxygenator, and will soon run a stainless HERMS coil through my HLT). Adding a pump has changed my whole brew-day dynamic, and I am looking forward to the addition of the conical.

I also recently won (practically stole) a glass-door display cooler on E-bay. It is so new, it has ďthat new fridge smell.Ē Had I not won this cooler, I would not be thinking about getting a conical because of temperature control issues.

I always get a wry smile on my face when someone asks me how much a batch costs, and if brewing saves you money. I feel that if you get into brewing with that as your prime motivation, you are getting in it for the wrong reasons. But hey, I could be wrong.
Give a man a beer and he'll waste and hour. Teach a man to brew and he'll waste a lifetime.
 

tranquil_liza
Intermediate Member
Username: Tranquil_liza

Post Number: 294
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 69.245.106.189
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 02:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

wow, norm came under some heavy criticism.....and for what?? he simply offered his bottom line opinion. i don't have to read the book to understand his position.
 

ELK
Senior Member
Username: Elkski

Post Number: 1634
Registered: 01-2003
Posted From: 67.161.222.45
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 03:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I stand up for Norm. A quick simple input it was.
Now for mine.
Man these connie's look cool. I hope using "man" doesn't date me to much? I could use a cuss word instead. A conical is a stationary fermentor for sure. Dont tell me you are going to be moving 5 gals of beer in one of those around the house to take advantage of varing room/cellar temps. So temp control requires a dedicated fridge and or jackets so figure that into the cost. I also bet it is an awkward and back breaking lift just to put one into the fridge empty? Seems like a pump and long hose are required for sure?
For under 200$ I have 3 5 gal, 2 6.5 gal glass carboys and 2 6.5 ale pails. I can store alot more and varied product and when I'm done I can store them on a 24" tall shelf in the cellar. In my process the fermentors might be in a bathroom/hunting room or the cellar but for the most part they are not seen by users of my bar area. If you have one of those industrial brew areas/bar serving areas where it would really look cool over against the wall and you were single and or really tryng to impress folks and had lots of dough? But if you have to mow your own yard(which I do, Mostly desert garden and the grass is a one mower bag job) I wouldn't get a conical.
 

J. Steinhauer
Advanced Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 881
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 69.19.14.16
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 04:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

When did this become about the money? Those Brew Magics and PID controlled automatic breweries are all a waste of money, time and space, too.

Norm, my sincerest apology. You don't seem easily offended, though. I'm sorry for offending Liza, too, truly. I'm not really mean and hurtful. Please do not hesitate to let me know whenever I am offensive, so that I can make appropriate amends.

ELK, my house is not fancy enough to have a bar area, industrial brewery or even a hunting room, but my wife tolerates four 6.5 gallon and five 5 gallon carboys all over the basement, though I never have that many anymore. It's a walkout basement, so the temperature varies with the outdoor temperature, meaning stability and control are nonexistent. My lawn is all weeds and probably just under one acre. It would cost me $30 to have someone else do it. I also have no doubt you will all be impressed.

I only wanted to know if the conicals function as they are supposed too. I already knew how much they cost, and if it was not in my budget, I would not even consider it. As per Bob, it's not just a waste of money, it's a waste of a lifetime. I appreciate your constructive input.

Have a good day!

Steinhauer
 

Norm J
New Member
Username: Norm_j

Post Number: 6
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 71.104.182.80
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 05:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I know for some brewers they love the mechanical gadgets and that is what makes the hobby fun for them; especially the tinkerers. So I can appreciate brewers who would like their home brewery to be like a miniature of Anchor brewings brewery.

I tend to be from the more hands on brewers camp and liken my brewing to baking bread. I'd never bake bread in a bread machine because the best part of baking is working with the dough. So I still like to do all my brewing by hand too. Of course doing 5 gallon batches makes that easier.

Everyone should treat themselves to some new item that will make the hobby more FUN. Id like to treat myself too. I have my gaze on a second chest freezer so I can ferment/lager in one and serve from the other.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5613
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.243
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 05:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've seen homebrew systems with stainless measured by the square yard and more complex automation than most commercial breweries. I've also seen systems that give new meaning to the word "cheap," of which only Fred Sanford could be proud. Both extremes are capable of producing excellent--or wretched--beer.

For the overwhelming majority of us here, this is a hobby and an activity that brings us satisfaction. To each his or her own, and let's not be so critical of the motivations, goals and desires. Brew on and drink up!
 

ELK
Senior Member
Username: Elkski

Post Number: 1635
Registered: 01-2003
Posted From: 67.161.222.45
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 05:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would suggest to spend the money on lawn care!! Just kidding.. but that scotts weed and feed does work well. Healthy grass does not grow weeds.
I too think temp control is very important and would like to address that need. Another small chest freezer with a temp controller could provide you with great a great controlled ferment chamber for now and then you could always get a conical later. I do see where yoor initial post mainly wanted to know about conicals not if we thoguht you should get one or not. Sorry if we sunk your cake.
 

J. Steinhauer
Advanced Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 882
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 69.19.14.36
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 06:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

When I lived in Birmingham, I had a lawn service. Keeping the weeds out made all of the difference in mowing frequency. I essentially live in the woods here, and my lawn IS weeds. To change that, I would have to plant a grass lawn. Last summer, I let much of it go wild, since I don't have to worry what the neighbors think. But, this spring was so dry that the fire hazard from all of the dry brush got me worried, so I cut it all back to the original lines. I'm just not a lawn guy, and the thought of spending a grand or more on a suitable mower rubs me the wrong way. Spending the same amount on homebrewing or a parrot makes me feel happy. I also don't want to use chemicals, since we eat the wild raspberries and strawberries and occasionally take the birds into the yard.

Perhaps I should have been more clear that I really wanted a conical, just for the fun of it, unless they did not work as advertised.

I hope you're all having a great weekend. It's the first warm weekend we've had on the shore, and I'm on call and completely sober.
 

Cory Kelm
Junior Member
Username: Galaxy51

Post Number: 42
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 67.60.41.141
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 06:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill. I fully agree. I also know of two brewers that incorporate extremely different approaches to brewing equipment and they are both equally proud of their brewing equipment and both have won more awards than I can count. I also have brewing equipment and methods that are different than most and I too am proud of them. One of the things I like most about brewing is the countless different methods and equipment that are capable of acheiving very similar results. This allows me to try to "reinvent the wheel" when I get bored.
 

Bob Wall
Junior Member
Username: Brewdudebob

Post Number: 29
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 24.99.80.253
Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 07:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cory,

Great point. I have been brewing for about 17 years. The first ten years were all stove-top extract, or extract with grains, and bottle conditioned. And I made some damn good beer.

About seven years ago, I decided I wanted to try my hand at all-grain brewing and corny kegging. As we all know, this involves at least some monetary investment even from the most frugal brewer unless they are lucky enough to already have something they can fashion into a mash/lauter tun.

The internet was just coming into full bloom and I began scouring the net for ideas regarding all-grain brewing equipment. As we all know, there is always more than one way to skin a cat, and in brewing, the variety of methods and equipment can be overwhelming.

Long story short, I chose to go with converted kegs on a gravity fed stand I got from a now defunct outfit, stainlessinseattle.com. They also had the stainless false-bottoms and parker ball-valves. I think I was actually their last customer as they went offline shortly after I got my stuff from them. The kegs came from a local liquor store and the owner actually let me browse the empties after a Memorial Day weekend and I paid him $30.00 for 3 kegs! I remember feeling a little like the cat that ate the canary after making that purchase, as I know they weren't really his to sell, but what the heck? I asked, and he sold. Ain't capitalism grand? I had a local guy plasma-cut the tops and weld the couplers, and I was in business. This was my first step toward "reinventing the wheel".

Since then, I have been slowly adding gizmos and gadgets to my equipment inventory. I know that not everyone feels it necessary to have all the latest greatest stuff, and there is a lot of great beer being brewed by minimalist brewers, but that is one of the beautiful things about the hobby. You can make it your own, with your own style and techniques, and make great beer along the way.


Give a man a beer and he'll waste and hour. Teach a man to brew and he'll waste a lifetime.
 

brewer of beer
Junior Member
Username: Brewbeer22

Post Number: 35
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 216.41.89.234
Posted on Monday, June 19, 2006 - 03:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have been thinking about getting a conical, too.

I brew 18-20 gallon batches, ferment in carboys, and keg in cornies. Generally, mostly Amercian pale ales. I find the carboy chores to be real time and effort consuming activities. Typically, on brew day, after completing the chill (IC) and whirlpool, Iíll rack 4 secondary carboys to kegs, clean out the secondary carboys, rack 4 primary carboys to secondary carboys, and then drain the boil kettle to the 4 primary carboys, which already have the yeast in them from the previous batch. This usually takes me 2-3 hours to do. Not to mention the lifting of the full carboys and moving them around. So far, brewing consecutive batches using the same yeast and going from low to high gravity is the way I reduce the time required to make starters and cleaning out the primary carboys.

I am trying to figure out if a large conical (temp controlled) would significantly cut down on the time and effort of fermenting large batches. Thoughts?
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5617
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.243
Posted on Monday, June 19, 2006 - 03:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

b.o.b., a single large fermenter obviously would shorten the time compared to cleaning and sanitizing multiple carboys. It also eliminates racking to a secondary fermenter (if you do this). However, temperature control is another issue. Large volumes of fermenting beer generate quite a bit of heat. Thermoelectric cooling is not terribly efficient or effective for large fermenters. You either need to jacket the fermenter with glycol or other coolant, which can be complex and expensive, or construct a cold space, which involves its own requirements.
 

brewer of beer
Junior Member
Username: Brewbeer22

Post Number: 36
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 216.41.89.234
Posted on Monday, June 19, 2006 - 07:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

B3 has a 24 gallon model with built-in external thermoelectric cooling, that it adversises are being able to maintain a 30-35 degree diferential. Anyone have experience with this model?
 

Joe Rovito
Member
Username: Joez8

Post Number: 197
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 68.32.3.101
Posted on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - 04:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Conical cooling - what about running an immersion chiller through the side, and use a thermostat to control a valve to circulate tap water ?
 

Bob Wall
Junior Member
Username: Brewdudebob

Post Number: 31
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 24.99.80.253
Posted on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - 05:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Joe,

That is something I have actually seen used in a brewpub. The way they did it, they had what looked like a chiller plate built into the man-way. It put the chiller plate near the center mass of the vessel. Not sure if this would be desirable in a homebrew setup as I can foresee challenges with more stuff to clean and sanitize. But I am sure with some ingenuity it can be done.
Give a man a beer and he'll waste and hour. Teach a man to brew and he'll waste a lifetime.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5624
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.243
Posted on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - 11:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A chiller coil immersed in a fermenter is a real pain to clean and can be a potential cause of infection. This is the major reason commercial fermenters are jacketed and cooled with glycol.
 

Belly Buster Bob
Senior Member
Username: Canman

Post Number: 2574
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 131.137.245.198
Posted on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - 04:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

hey Norm.....how do you ferment "by hand"??
Bellybuster Bob
www.bellybuster.netfirms.com