Fermenter options

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djackal

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Hi guys, I see that there are a whole range of new fermenters available on line and stainless options have come down considerably. My current 50L plastic fermenter is not holding pressure so I'm thinking of decommissioning it and buying a new one (or two).

I've been going through the various threads but it's just adding to my uncertainty.

Could someone please explain to me:

a) Do stainless hold value and therefore warrant a better resell price? Aside from that why else (from a practical perspective) would I go stainless (e.g. Guten, SS Brewmaster) vs plastic?

b)when people talk about the pressure acceptance of fermenters is this just in regard to pumping in gas to push the finished product into a keg? I've never done this in the past and wonder what the advantage is vs the cost of the more expensive fermenter and the cost of the gas and connectors to make it happen (I have 8 kegs plus connectors so it's a sunken cost for me)?

c)More broadly is it even worth spending $100 or $200 on fermenters or is an old fashions 'coopers' style tub broadly good enough to achieve the same result?

I've always wanted a fancy fermeneter and like the bling but not sure I can justify the costs at this stage of my life (2 kids under 3 so limited time to brew)

Cheers,
Carl
 
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In fishing those who go for the fancy gear thinking it will improve their fishing ability are known as 'Tackle Tarts' Much the same in brewing, still good beers can be brewed with BIAB and fermented in plastic cube, it isn't the tools of the trade its the brewers technique.
Spend what you can afford if you want to upgrade, forget about resale value, unless you are going to spend a small fortune on something really fancy.
 

JDW81

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Good point there from WEAL. All the flashest gear in the world doesn't necessarily make better beer. It's recipes, sanitation, yeast health and temp control that make the real difference.

I've been brewing in plastic fermenters for years, and can taste no difference in mine, when I've compared it to pressure fermented vessels/stainless steel fermented beers.

Again, pressure transfer doesn't make a massive difference in the finished product, as long as you are careful with your transfers from an open vessel.

What volume of beer can you make at any one time? Might be worth spending a bit of $$ on a larger capacity so you can brew more volume less often (works for me with limited time - I cube ~ 80-100L of wort at a time, and ferment when I need to) and stick with the good old plastic fermenter?

JD
 

djackal

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Good point there from WEAL. All the flashest gear in the world doesn't necessarily make better beer. It's recipes, sanitation, yeast health and temp control that make the real difference.

I've been brewing in plastic fermenters for years, and can taste no difference in mine, when I've compared it to pressure fermented vessels/stainless steel fermented beers.

Again, pressure transfer doesn't make a massive difference in the finished product, as long as you are careful with your transfers from an open vessel.

What volume of beer can you make at any one time? Might be worth spending a bit of $$ on a larger capacity so you can brew more volume less often (works for me with limited time - I cube ~ 80-100L of wort at a time, and ferment when I need to) and stick with the good old plastic fermenter?

JD
Good advice, I think I'll avoid bling for the time being and invest in the brewrig instead.
I've been doing partial mashes/BIAB on the stove/oven recently although in the past I had a 3 vessel 50L system and well over 20 years of brewing experience.
Going forward I plan on buying a larger Guten/Brewzilla type setup and brew single or double batches. (totally support the higher volume/lower frequency brew strategy. The trouble and strife won't be happy with me aoiding parenting by making beer!

How do you pump out 100L btw?!?

Cheers
Carl
 

FarsideOfCrazy

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The main advantage of stainless over plastic is it's more resistant to harsher chemicals like caustic if you really need to nuke something that's causing a problem. If you get a nasty infection in a cheap plastic fermenter it's easier to just throw it away. So from an environmental prospective plastic isn't that great and some good quality stainless will outlive any plastic vessel. I've got a brewzilla almost as a tester to see if a stainless unitank is something I'll get down the track or just a stainless conical. There's a big difference in price.

Stainless fermenters, and some plastic vessels (check above for a disadvantage of plastic) can have more options like, pressure transfer, able to dump trub and yeast and in relation to a proper unitank (not the guten fermenter) you can pressure ferment and carb the beer all in the one vessel, if you want. Look at the SS brewtech unitank to see what they're capable of. Gear like that costs some serious coin.
 

JDW81

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How do you pump out 100L btw?!?
It's all gravity fed via a rack it shelving system from bunnings. My kettle sits on a mongolian burner on the garage floor on a heavy duty stand. The tap is just higher than the cube opening (I use small 19L cubes) and I run everything into the cube using silicone hoses. There's a pickup tube on the kettle, so every if I brew a large batch there is bugger all left in the kettle (pretty much just what is in the hop/break cone).

JD
 

goatchop41

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b)when people talk about the pressure acceptance of fermenters is this just in regard to pumping in gas to push the finished product into a keg? I've never done this in the past and wonder what the advantage is vs the cost of the more expensive fermenter and the cost of the gas and connectors to make it happen (I have 8 kegs plus connectors so it's a sunken cost for me)?
Fermenting under pressure can allow you to suppress esters and pump out cleaner beer faster, and allow you to brew using lager yeasts at higher temps.
It also allows you to spund/naturally carbonate, using the yeast's own CO2 production to carbonate the beer.

If you've got so many kegs, and if you don't use all at once, why don't you just buy a spunding valve and a floating dip tube, then ferment in one of the kegs? It allows you to do all of the above, as well as pressurised/closed transfers (great for NEIPA type beers that need every step taken to minimise O2 exposure)
 
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