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Wortgames

'Draught' is not a beer style - it's a lifestyle
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Hi everyone, I've been lubricating a mate of mine for a long time about making some stainless steel conical fermenters. Well the planets are finally aligning and the project is go. Basically, we have access to an extremely well-equipped thin stainless fabrication facility, all food/medical grade, cone formers, invisible welding, the lot.

So I'm going to knock out a couple of prototypes over the next couple of weeks, and I thought I'd seek your input and 'wish lists'. Here follows my basic description, for refinement or alteration by consensus:

Construction:
I'm picturing a double-batch (50-60L) vessel that will fit in an average upright fridge. Alternatively, a tallish single batch (30L) fermenter that could fit 2 to a fridge. It will be made from thin (1.2 or 1.6mm) 304 stainless and polished inside and out.
Fittings:
It will obviously have a drain at the bottom and another above about the 3L slurry mark (or about 2L for the single batch fermenter). It might be better to supply it with spigots but without taps etc, as some would prefer cheaper and others would want the whole dismantleable stainless deal. It will probably have 3 legs that hold it high enough to get a decent container under the bottom drain. It will probably have a pair of handles or a full perimeter rail for carrying.
Lid:
To keep costs down, I was thinking that people might prefer to sort out their own lid arrangement, unless we can come up with something simple - otherwise the lid could end up costing more to produce than the conical. I would like to try to make it fit a readily available tight-fitting plastic lid for starters. Any thoughts?
Other options:
Because this will be largely a batch process, we don't want to get into too much customising at this stage, although we could easily offer a few basic options if they were popular enough. These might include:
- a stainless heating/cooling coil welded to the outside
- thermometer spigot
- adjustable leg height
- anything else?

So some questions for general consensus would be:
What capacity would you want? Would you prefer to have one large one or two small ones?
Would you be keeping it in a fridge or free-standing it somewhere? Would you want wheels?
How high off the floor would you want the tip of the cone to be?
Would you prefer to buy the basic blank and add your own fittings, or buy it complete?

Obviously the cost is yet TBA but we are hoping to make them significantly cheaper than anything currently available. I should be able to get fairly good freight rates so interstate purchasers shouldn't be left out.
 

JasonY

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Sounds excellent worgames! Will look forward to seeing the results and the price!

From my perspective I would probably want a 50-60L one with external cooling coil, temp spigot, free standing. Would be perfectly happy with a clear perspex lid so I can watch the yeast. Height, will as long as it is easy to fill kegs would be my target. As for fittings I guess it should be easy to offer with or without but if the price is reasonable I would grab them with fittings to save stuffing about.

I wouldn't want to fill a fridge with one but pumping glycol through an external coil would be awesome.

Anyway I guess it is early days yet and price is always a killer with SS stuff. look forward to seeing how you go.
 

Doc

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So some questions for general consensus would be:
What capacity would you want? Would you prefer to have one large one or two small ones?
Would you be keeping it in a fridge or free-standing it somewhere? Would you want wheels?
How high off the floor would you want the tip of the cone to be?
Would you prefer to buy the basic blank and add your own fittings, or buy it complete?
Sounds really interesting Wortgames.
Dependant on cost of course I'd be keen for maybe one of each (eg. 1 x 25-30 litres and 1 x 40-50 litres)
I'd want them to fit in my chest fermentation freezer (I don't know the height off the top of my head)..
I wouldn't want wheels, but extendable legs would be great. That way you could fit them in a fridge or freezer, then extend the legs for kegging the beer (ie. fit the keg underneath).
I'd prefer to get it complete.

Beers,
Doc
 

Asher

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I'd go the 60 litre version... Probably to fit in the fridge.
(A double walled one would be cool though)

I'd be after one with an air tight lid, so I could use CO2 to pump beer out if necessary. therefore leg height would no longer be an issue.... as long as is fitted in the fridge...

Asher for now
 

AndrewQLD

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Great project wortgames,
My preferences would be,
2 x 30lt to fit in fridge, reasons are 2 different brews at once the fridge temp can be regulated for lager or ale and easier to handle for cleaning.
Tip of the cone needs to be keg height.
I would like to have it fitted out but a temp spigot is not required
the plastic bucket lid idea is brilliant and easily replaceable
If you end up going with the larger one I would keep it to the 50lt size, i have a 60lt plastic fermenter and even with 2 brews there is too much headspace.

Keep us informed, I am sure you will have a few takers.

Cheers
Andrew
 

quincy

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Wortgames

Great idea!!
I've been looking at SS fermenters for a while but have been put off mainly due to cost.

My preferences:

1. 50-60 litre.
2. Adjustable legs for same reason as Doc. Move from fridge/freezer and adjust to a reasonable height for kegging (say 700mm??).
3. Clear Plastic lid - cos I like to watch :p
4. Prefer a complete kit.

My 2c.

Will be keeping a close eye on the progress. Good luck. :beer:

Cheers
 

Wortgames

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Doc - would you be planning on lifting the thing out of a chest freezer to keg? I reckon they would be a really heavy lift (especially the 50L version!)

I was planning on using leg 'sockets' that would accept some stainless tube for legs, either with a locknut or pin arrangement or perhaps just a static 'dead end', and you could cut the legs to length.

Would many people actually want to adjust the height on a regular basis?

Would most people have an assistant to help with lifting the fermenter / locking the legs?
 

Boots

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Great stuff wortgames.

If i was to buy one (which I realistically couldn't this year but in the new year could), i reckon:

- Adjustable legs
- Without the taps
- 50 ltr ish, (I'd rather keep it out of the fridge, and have a cooling coil, then pump cool water / glycol from the fridge to save room. Temp control can be by controlling the speed of flow)
- wheels (maybe those adjustable ones that you can fold up once it is in place - or even mounted on the side of the legs so you have to tilt it and can then roll it like the B3 brew sculptures)
- A clear perspex lid like this

Will look forward to seeing how it all turns out mate.

lid.jpg
 

Doc

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Wortgames said:
Doc - would you be planning on lifting the thing out of a chest freezer to keg? I reckon they would be a really heavy lift (especially the 50L version!)
I wasn't planning on lifting it. Just making sure it fitted in the chest freezer. Then at kegging time open the lid of the freezer, extend the legs of the conical and put a keg underneath.
The only lifting of it would be when it is empty as my assistant is only 3 years old.

Beers,
Doc
 

Wortgames

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Doc, did you see the legs as somehow raising the weight of the full conical, to get it high enough to keg from?
 

Justin

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Sounds cool mate. I'd be interested to see what the price comes out as. Regardless, I'd be unlikely to buy one due to the expense but maybe I could be drawn into a purchase. :rolleyes:

As for cone height, don't you want the side arm to be the right height for keg filling, as opposed to the bottom tap? I though the idea was to draw yeast and trub from the bottom tap then draw your finished beer from the side tap (often with a rotating racking arm-"optional"). That way you draw from above the yeast then rotate the arm to grab that last bit in the bottom. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think you should gauge a "keg" height fermenter from the side tap.

Sounds good though. I'd be very keen to know a price. FWIW I'd be keener for a 30L job with fittings (not taps necessarily) with adjustable legs. Fridge fitting would not be necessary for me in Tassie. Also, what about making the fittings compatible with say B3's conicals so you could add a racking arm if you wanted etc. I don't know what other conical accessories there are available but compatibility would be cool?

Could I suggest at this point that anyone thinking about taps for these, can I suggest three peice dismantable (is that a word?) taps. Oooowww, there is some ugly crap that hides behind the ball in a normal valve. Go three piece.

Cheers and good luck. Should be fun to play with anyway and at least you'll probably get a fermenter out of it.
JD
 

Ross

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Wortgames,

I'd certainly be interested in a couple depending on cost etc, sizing maybe 1 of each, cooling coils would be extremly useful... Look forward developments :D

Cheers Ross
 

Borret

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Wortgames said:
Doc, did you see the legs as somehow raising the weight of the full conical, to get it high enough to keg from?
[post="75777"][/post]​
Perhaps airbag suspension on the legs. You could then also preprogram it to shake the crap out of itself for airation :lol:

Borret :ph34r:
 

Doc

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Wortgames said:
Doc, did you see the legs as somehow raising the weight of the full conical, to get it high enough to keg from?
[post="75777"][/post]​
I hadn't thought that hard about it.
Maybe the ablity to lift it vertically at which point the legs would extend.
Maybe even a jack type system ?

Beers,
Doc
 

Justin

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It'd nearly be easier to build yourself a small coolroom Doc ;)
 

Borret

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Doc said:
Wortgames said:
Doc, did you see the legs as somehow raising the weight of the full conical, to get it high enough to keg from?
[post="75777"][/post]​
I hadn't thought that hard about it.
Maybe the ablity to lift it vertically at which point the legs would extend.
Maybe even a jack type system ?

Beers,
Doc
[post="75797"][/post]​
If you get desperate- how about a cheap block and tackle over your freezer? (If you don't mind a hook in the roof)
 

Tony M

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Hey doc, Maybe you can put some sort of fitting thru the side of your freezer
 

Doc

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Justin said:
It'd nearly be easier to build yourself a small coolroom Doc ;)
[post="75798"][/post]​
That is in the longer term plan.
Once we build a proper garage at our place I can get rid of all the garderning stuff etc from my shed, and replace the shed with a coolroom.
The shed backs onto the house where my home theatre room is. I will have the taps mounted on the wall next to the existing projector screen.

Only need to win lotto, or the jackpot lottery :lol:

Doc
 

warrenlw63

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Herein lies some of the problems of a conical.

Glycol jacketing seems to be the only sane way around everything. :unsure:

It's a pity they can't be mounted onto some kind of ratcheted vertical stand with wheels on the bottom.

The more technically-inclined could chime in on that idea.

Warren -
 

Doc

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Actually, just reading Ashers reply, and using CO2 to push the beer out sounds the go. Oh so much easier and makes the design and manufacturing of the units easier too.

Doc
 

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