Stainless Conical Fermentors

Australia & New Zealand Homebrewing Forum

Help Support Australia & New Zealand Homebrewing Forum:

punkin

Rarely Serious
Joined
25/6/11
Messages
2,116
Reaction score
345
Some good ideas here people, keep them coming.

Stilldragons mission is the highest possible quality at the lowest possible price, so if it's possible to make these things (and get them here) at an affordable price then that's what we'd do.

Rest assured, it will come with triclover fittings. These are bestest, most versatile fitting out there. they are much more affordable than you think if you source them from the right place (me :D ) and it would be a very simple matter (they are already a part we stock) to use a 2" triclover with a 1" thread so those who'd like to use threaded fittings can have the best of both worlds.
Ease of accesibilty and cleaning, plus a threaded valve or whatever other fitting you'd like to screw in. Then it's a simple matter for those who want to purchase the fancy yeast harvester from elsewhere to just clip it on.


One thing i won't be doing is copying an existing design. I want to know the features that are best (as in the adjustable legs) and the sizes you want and go from there. if we can do two sizes that will nest for shipping, then so much the better.
I want it to be the 'aussiehomebrewer conical' not the Blichman knockoff.
 

kevin_smevin

Well-Known Member
Joined
7/8/07
Messages
375
Reaction score
12
I love the Blichmann conicals http://www.blichmannengineering.com/fermentor/fermentor.html. The thing i don't like is the exposed nut at the bottom doesn't seem very sanitary. I think tri-clovers and sanitary welds are highly desirable - in the fermenter more than anywhere else in the brewhouse.

Needs to have:
- Ability to be pressurised and hold pressure - not for carbonation, just to keep it air out and be able to transfer under pressure using CO2
- thermowell into the middle of the fermenter for temperature probe. Can be as simple as this one http://www.beerbelly.com.au/ferment.html (at the bottom of the page) welded into the lid
- The Lid should have a smaller access point like the blichmann ones have (a corny keg lid) for adding dry hops, wood chips, finings etc.
- Blow off tube that can also be used to pressurise the fermenter for transfer. A tri-clover fitting like this http://www.brewershardware.com/1.5-Tri-Clo...2-Male-NPT.html and one of these https://www.craftbrewer.com.au/shop/details.asp?PID=3910 would work a treat.
- Needs to have enough clearance below the conical to fit one of these https://morebeer.com/view_product/11074//Ul...Yeast_Harvester or something similar
- rotating racking arm
- adjustable height legs
- handles for carrying
- Size - ideally i would love something that i can ferment 60L in, so a 70-80L capacity would be ideal.

That's all for now
 

Thirsty Boy

ICB - tight shorts and poor attitude. **** yeah!
Joined
21/5/06
Messages
4,544
Reaction score
106
affordability.

Lets face it, most of us use something thats pretty close to a stock standard coops plastic fermenter, and make it work really well. So do we really need all that much more?? I say not.

As per MM and Airgeed, but maybe even further down that track - less is more.

I want from a conical, that it be stainless for sanitation and ease of cleaning, and that it have a proper cone, aside from that, it really doesn't need to be anything much more than a coppers fermenter.

Racking port.... nah, dont need one. Why? Dump out yeast like you're supposed to in a conical and take the yeast from the bottom valve.
Sturdy thick stainless .... nah, dont need it. Thin gague like an asian shop stock pot is fine, better even because it makes it light and easy to move.
Lid..... I'm happy with glad wrap and a rubber band now, why wouldn't i be in the future? Either a minimal lid or no lid at all
Fittings... triclover? no way, why? Just an inch of thread so I can whack on whatever valve I want. Its approximately 3.7% more difficult to screw/unscrew a threaded fitting as it is to attach and detach a damn triclover anyway, might as well have the cheaper option and make a tiny bit more effort to keep it clean... like we do now.
2inch dump port.... wtf?? how fast do you need the yeast to come out? there aren't 2inch dump ports on half the 1000L conicals you see in craft breweries. 1/2 inch would do if it came down to it, 3/4inch would be just fine and 1 inch probably a little more than you need and maybe too much.
Capacity - i think most people mostly make 20 odd litre batches, if you can make the conicals reasonably economical, then that would be your biggest market, maybe twice that as well.... I think people who want bigger than that, are probably going to want something more fully featured than what I'm talking about, but they would also be a pretty small market.
Legs - lightweight, and probably more like a stand than individual legs. If the whole unit is light weight enough, then it doesn,t have to be tall enough to rack out of into a keg, I can just pick it up and stick it on the bench like I do now. The legs/stand could be nice and short, then it would still fit on the fridge shelf and not have to go on the floor. Then compressor hump wont come into play and i wont have to change the configuration of my fermenting fridge.

Oh - and here's a left of field one for you. Why the hell do they have to be round? why not pyramidicals? A unit that was square instead or round, would fit into a fridge more neatly and have to be less tall/wide for the same volume. Yeah yeah, i know you never see a commercial example of a square "conical" but thats because they're big; and round vessels are stronger and also more easily cleaned by CIP. But a home fermenter could be square and still made of very light material, plus we tend to clean our fermenters with a scrubbing brush rather than a spray ball, so a square one would be just as good as a round one. If it would (and i have no idea if it actually would) make it easier and cheaper to fabricate, I'd have pyramidicals any old day. I might even actually prefer it to conicals just because of the way they'd fit into the fridge better.

Minimalist, small, lightweight. There is no way I'm paying $800 for a conical no matter what features it hasl, hell, I'm not even paying $500 if you can somehow manage to make them for two thirds of what evereyone else can.... but I'd happily part with a couple of hundred bucks for a minimalist unit that would after all, still have all the features that are actually important in a conical.

TB
 

mfeighan

Well-Known Member
Joined
8/3/09
Messages
415
Reaction score
33
Location
Greenwood, WA
Oh - and here's a left of field one for you. Why the hell do they have to be round? why not pyramidicals? A unit that was square instead or round, would fit into a fridge more neatly and have to be less tall/wide for the same volume. Yeah yeah, i know you never see a commercial example of a square "conical" but thats because they're big; and round vessels are stronger and also more easily cleaned by CIP. But a home fermenter could be square and still made of very light material, plus we tend to clean our fermenters with a scrubbing brush rather than a spray ball, so a square one would be just as good as a round one. If it would (and i have no idea if it actually would) make it easier and cheaper to fabricate, I'd have pyramidicals any old day. I might even actually prfer it to conicals just because of the way they'd fit into the fridge better.
i agree with the square option as long as the edges are curved and not sharp i can see it being a pita to clean if the edges are a flush square.

personally i would prefer a 50L one as i haven't done a single batch for like 2 yrs
 

Yorg

Well-Known Member
Joined
18/5/07
Messages
267
Reaction score
0
I have a Blichmann and a no-name.
I have considered getting rid of both - principally because of the narrow dumps- I poke clothes hanger wire into them to get the plug to flow.
So, two bobs, definitely a large dump, but an inch would be more than enough, and 3/4 I think would work well and would have a shorter L so that it would fit into more fridges.
 

troopa

Well-Known Member
Joined
12/11/08
Messages
616
Reaction score
15
It has to be capable of safely holding 200-300kpa and maybe as high as 500kpa if im stupid enough to force carb the fermenter(And yes there are idiots out there). Thats if its going to be a pressure vessel made out of steel for me (and to be safe as a pressure vessel) and im guessing this is the reason why most are cylindrical in shape with a domed lid and thicker then most Chinese stainless stockpot and more then most of us are going to spend

Maybe if you market it as a fermenter with a conical yeast capture with safety blow-off that is safe to what ever material thickness you choose(just like the plastic bucket conicals that's are on the forums atm) Then i agree with TB and id go with cuboid with flat top as its better for any area just and not the fridge

KISS... Thermowell, Single outlet, Adjustable pressure relief, and maybe an adjustable third leg(wish i had one). We can add heating and cooling or you can sell them as add ons

Tom
 

raven19

Homer is God
Joined
24/9/08
Messages
5,297
Reaction score
21
Punkin - can you flare the vertical sides' slightly' so the same sized vessel can be stacked one inside another and another etc? (this would also be fitting dependant of course)

Would reduce shipping big time.

I think if you can get a good price on these you will no doubt be on a winner.

I would have thought a 25 - 30L ish version and a bigger double batch version would be your market.
 

roller997

Well-Known Member
Joined
14/8/08
Messages
360
Reaction score
25
Here are some design aspects I like about my conical fermenter:
1. Not too tall so it could fit inside a fridge
2. Racking arm can be rotated when you loosen the clamp so you can set where it collects the beer from.
3. Triclover fittings for the racking arm and the dumping outlet
4. Very clean welds which are easily cleaned
5. It has handles on the side so you can lift it - With 46 liters it is a bit too heavy

Here are aspects I would like to see improved
1. Can not be pressurized.
2. No Thermowell
3. No ability to easily cool or warm the fermenter easily - I think this would make it into a premium product when coupled with some sort of glycol or heat pump. Alternatively Peltier cooling might be an option.
4. The racking arm sits inside a stainless tube like cavity which could hold sanitizing solution if you don't tip the fermenter a bit to empty that space.
5. The dumping outlet has a 90 degree bend - While it is only 1/2" in thickness, it would be fine if the yeast, trub and hops didn't have to squeeze around a 90 degree bend. Slightly larger 3/4" or maximum 1" would make it easier to dump waste.
6. The dumping outlet sits in the middle and has 8-10mm of straight stainless around (think of a pipe with a washer around it). This means that yeast and other waste can sit on there and you can't get rid of it.
7. Size - I wouldn't mind something a bit bigger to provide head space for the fermentation. With some of the stouts, the yeast comes out quite a bit over the top of the fermenter.

I assume one of the challenges is balancing if you will aim for a market that wants it at the lowest price in which case you should get quite a few takers or if you want to aim at providing more features, enhancements and good quality at a similar price point to existing fermenters out there.

Cheers

Roller
 

wessmith

Well-Known Member
Joined
10/1/04
Messages
855
Reaction score
73
It has to be capable of safely holding 200-300kpa and maybe as high as 500kpa if im stupid enough to force carb the fermenter(And yes there are idiots out there).

And that is the very reason we have never (and will never) supply pressure vessels to the HB market. Bloody hell! 500 kPa. Most commercial vessels are only rated to a max of 100 to 200 kPa and then only after meeting stringent design reviews and having calibrated pressure relief valves.

Guys, you might want to take a look at this link - http://www.probrewer.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=25048

Stick to post mix kegs for pressure vessels and forget about pressure fermenters.

Wes
 

fraser_john

Go Pies
Joined
17/1/06
Messages
2,477
Reaction score
374
Location
Victoria
I think if you search the forum, these questions have all been asked before. And when the quote of $700+++ comes back, the thread goes very quiet.
 

roller997

Well-Known Member
Joined
14/8/08
Messages
360
Reaction score
25
Yum yum has some very good points and I would agree that the pressure it should hold should only be enough to move the beer around with CO2.
The idea to carbonate in the fermenter is fine but for home use it isn't as important as being able to move the beer around and keep Oxygen from getting in and as Wes pointed out there are some safety concerns, especially in an environment where equipment is not regularly checked.

I am not overly keen on a design which has too many things to take apart, clean and sanatize so rather than having another lid to add extra ingredients during the fermentation, I would prefer an oversized triclover fitting which is used for the airlock / pressure valve while it can be taken off to permit the addition of hops, cacoa nibs, finings etc.
 

Muscovy_333

Well-Known Member
Joined
28/6/11
Messages
660
Reaction score
15
As mentioned previously;

BIG Picture idea: Simple cost effective structural "bones" with a range of bolt on options so that people can decide their own price point and/or improve their set-up as funds, necesssity or want permits.
 

spudfarmerboy

Well-Known Member
Joined
23/6/10
Messages
161
Reaction score
24
What would be the benefits to the quality and taste of the beer if using a SS conical fermenter?
I ask this, as I have never tasted homebrew that has been fermented in one. Most homebrewers use a Coopers fermenter or something similiar.
If it is to facilitate yeast harvesting, the price of a SS conical buys alot of fresh smack packs.
People here have mentioned built in cooling jackets etc, the price would have to be in excess of $1000. I base that on the price of conicals online ($800 or so) plus the added complexity of a built in cooling system.
I would be very interested in other brewers percieved advantages of a conical.
 

roger mellie

Defender of the WW - Scars to prove it.
Joined
28/4/06
Messages
746
Reaction score
43
It has to be capable of safely holding 200-300kpa and maybe as high as 500kpa if im stupid enough to force carb the fermenter(And yes there are idiots out there). Thats if its going to be a pressure vessel made out of steel for me (and to be safe as a pressure vessel) and im guessing this is the reason why most are cylindrical in shape with a domed lid and thicker then most Chinese stainless stockpot and more then most of us are going to spend

Maybe if you market it as a fermenter with a conical yeast capture with safety blow-off that is safe to what ever material thickness you choose(just like the plastic bucket conicals that's are on the forums atm) Then i agree with TB and id go with cuboid with flat top as its better for any area just and not the fridge

KISS... Thermowell, Single outlet, Adjustable pressure relief, and maybe an adjustable third leg(wish i had one). We can add heating and cooling or you can sell them as add ons

Tom
Maybe as high as 500 kPa ??!??

1. Why
2. Wall thickness for such a vessel would be ~ 12mm
3. Entry holes to clean etc... would have to be like manhole covers
4. to get such a system built legally all welds would need to be NTD'd
5. A 500 Kpa pressure vessel would need to be certified to be legal
6. Would would weigh plenty

So I reckon you would get change out of 10K - just. And you would have an unruly, weighty behemoth of a fermenter.

Seriously - conical, schmonical. I have 2 of them - one is a spittoon the other is a pot plant holder. They are the cheap US Ebay versions (< 200). Shit build quality, poorly passivated, awkward to lift in and out of a fridge, dont have a racking arm, cant be pressurised (50kPa is plenty).

In general you get what you pay for. Any properly engineered conical with sanitary welds, triclovers, pressurisable, wheels, racking arm --> like the blichmann - the price will blow out to around about what you can import a more beer/blichmann for.

I actually think this article sums up why conicals are overrated.

https://brewmagic.com/products/fermenters/b...magic-fermenter

RM
 

wessmith

Well-Known Member
Joined
10/1/04
Messages
855
Reaction score
73
Even at 50 kPa and 50L volume, the hazard level will still be "D" necessitating AS1210 design registration. The 500kPa is BS.

One thing everyone forgets with conicals is the amount of beer wasted in removing the yeast. And some yeasts just wont sluice out easily anyway. Just stick with flat or concave bottoms if you must go the s/s route.

Wes
 

DJR

I'm out
Joined
7/2/06
Messages
2,217
Reaction score
36
I wonder whether a keg fermenter conversion. premade or kit, like the Sabco might be a good.idea.
 

Adam Howard

Well-Known Member
Joined
18/2/10
Messages
511
Reaction score
63
I wonder whether a keg fermenter conversion. premade or kit, like the Sabco might be a good.idea.
Or just ferment in a stainless pot. Lonny Mac uses one of the pots from his Brutus 10 as the fermenter!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

wessmith

Well-Known Member
Joined
10/1/04
Messages
855
Reaction score
73
Or use a post mix keg as the fermenter. I will be doing just that with my new downsized rig. 2 x 24L Firestone kegs with a modified dip tube, maybe a sample port but certainly a pressure gauge and relief valve.

Wes
 

Airgead

Ohhh... I can write anything I like here
Joined
6/4/05
Messages
3,651
Reaction score
1,053
Or use a post mix keg as the fermenter. I will be doing just that with my new downsized rig. 2 x 24L Firestone kegs with a modified dip tube, maybe a sample port but certainly a pressure gauge and relief valve.

Wes
My problem with using as keg is that all my kegs are standard 19l jobbies so if I ferment in them, once I account for losses (trub etc) when trabnsfering to the servig keg, I don't end up with a full keg at the end.

I also find them a royal pain to clean if you ferment in them. Especially the brown yeast ring round the top as I can't get my hand in the opening to scrub round there. With a conical (or similar) they have a removable lid which makes cleaning easier.

If I could get a slightly larger keg (so I end up with a full 19l keg at the end) which could be modified to have a removable top (but still seal nicely for co2 transfers) then I would be very happy.

Cheers
Dave
 

booargy

Well-Known Member
Joined
16/6/10
Messages
680
Reaction score
71
I want a jacketed conical section.
 

Latest posts

Top