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JDWebb
07-12-2015, 01:25 PM
So... I was at my local brewshop a few weeks ago when a bright, shiny, and as Vicky put it on the show the other night "with a halo surrounding its top and bright violins playing and a ray of light shining down upon it" ....stainless steel conical fermentor caught my eye. It was like a magnet, it kept pulling over to it. I soon began to drool all over myself thinking how good it would look in my kitchen with all my stainless steel utensils.

Has anyone used one of these for mead? I am seriously considering buying one.
http://www.morebeer.com/products/ss-brewtech-brew-bucket-stainless-steel-fermenter.html

Stasis
07-12-2015, 04:54 PM
I imagined it would be larger. I wonder how much it could actually store since some meads could have quite a bit of krausen. Cleaning should be much easier.
Personally I would also be on the fence since I am doing well using glass carboys or plastic fermentation buckets. I do sometimes wish I could easily get that last bit of mead off the top of the lees so I wonder how much this would help.
Nice to see a pic of the famous fermenter from the show!

JDWebb
07-12-2015, 06:11 PM
I like the idea of the lees collecting at the bottom, and not having to use a racking cane to rack. I am thinking of getting a pair, one for primary and one for secondary. So many recipes I see put fruit in the secondary for a time. That's hard to do with a glass carboy, and I don't like wasting all that space. I can use my glass carboy for aging/clearing.

kuri
07-12-2015, 07:08 PM
I just got one of these recently and have my first mead finishing up in it right now. Have to check the gravity to see if it's ready to transfer, but if not today then soon.

I made a 5 gallon traditional, with Linden/Basswood honey and D47 fermenting at 18C. There was absolutely no issue of the thing overflowing, despite a fair amount of foam getting whipped up by stirring. The only thing that might be an issue is if you want to mix your honey and water in this. The pipe that leads to the ball valve can get in your way. True, it can be turned so it faces straight up and only sticks out an inch or so from the side. You have to be careful even so when stirring to make sure you don't whack into it and potentially knock it out. You also have to remember to lower it back down so it doesn't fill with yeast by the end of the ferment. Having said that, I'm starting to wonder if that tube is actually needed. It might be possible to do without it altogether, which would eliminate that worry.

I haven't yet racked from it, but from its construction I'd say it isn't really designed to get the last of the last of the mead off the top of the lees. With just normal racking you will leave about 1 liter of liquid at the bottom. I don't think I usually have 1 liter of lees to leave behind, though I haven't actually measured that before so I could be wrong.

Compared to a plastic fermentor this thing is a little heavier. It weighs a bit more than an empty Corny keg. It's light enough that it can still be lifted into and out of a top-loading fermentation chamber, but I did notice the extra weight. If you're used to using glass carboys, on the other hand, this will probably feel pretty light.

The earlier models had issues with the lid -- the hole in the lid would cut through the bung, and the silicone seal wouldn't reliably stay in place. Both of these issues have been solved in the current model (purchased from MoreBeer about a month ago). This is taller than a typical plastic bucket fermentor, but about the same width.

I can't yet give any feedback on the quality of the mead this produces compared to using a plastic fermentor, but in general I'm happy with it so far.

JDWebb
07-12-2015, 09:03 PM
Awesome. I am of the opinion that if you're going to do something you're seriously interested in, you should have all the right tools. While my brew bucket is probably fine, I prefer to have good equipment, and I am prepared to spend some money to get there. I am also interested in the temperature control as well. I was about to embark on a similar setup using an aquarium pump, a plastic tub and a small cooler to accomplish THIS (http://bierkast.com/2014/10/16/ss-brew-tech-ftss/) same thing.

Kansas Mead
07-13-2015, 09:45 AM
A stainless steel fermentor is on my list. I have seen coils used in cooling set ups but I wonder if using a jacket around the fermenter would be better? On the other hand the hottest spot in the fermenter is the middle. So a coil sounds like a good idea.

kuri
07-13-2015, 10:25 AM
Awesome. I am of the opinion that if you're going to do something you're seriously interested in, you should have all the right tools. While my brew bucket is probably fine, I prefer to have good equipment, and I am prepared to spend some money to get there. I am also interested in the temperature control as well. I was about to embark on a similar setup using an aquarium pump, a plastic tub and a small cooler to accomplish THIS (http://bierkast.com/2014/10/16/ss-brew-tech-ftss/) same thing.

I agree whole heartedly. Up to a point. I drew the line at the >$2000 jacketed, temperature controlled 7 gallon fermentor with yeast collecting attachment. Yes, that would be nice, but for me that's overkill. I put together something that does the same job for about half that price. It has one chamber for fermenting (fits 2 buckets/carboys), one for serving (fits 3 kegs), and one for lagering and yeast storage (fits 2 carboys). All attached to and cooled by the lower half of a fridge, with hop storage in the freezer part. Not as sexy, perhaps, but it fills many more needs. Also, all I need to do is set the temperature and leave it alone. Except in extreme conditions it takes care of the rest.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. Convenience. If you set up a cooler like the one that you can get with the brew bucket, you'll have to monitor it, dump the water and add ice fairly regularly for the entire time that whatever you're making is fermenting. Building a separate, refrigerated chamber with temperature control can be a lot more convenient. It can also be done on a wide range of budgets, from a dorm fridge + styrofoam box setup to a walk-in fridge. For me I know I'd forget to check the ice situation at some point over the 2 weeks it takes a mead to finish, and would then be cursing myself and hoping against hope that D47 decided it didn't mind a warm vacation.

JDWebb
07-13-2015, 10:57 AM
We live in an apartment and don't have room for a second refrigerator and I am in the process of converting a small freezer into a cheese cave at the moment. The whole set up from SS Brewtech is around $500, including the cooling equipment. I might order 2 fermentors, one to ferment and one as a secondary.

edblanford
07-13-2015, 11:41 AM
All of this seems like an elegant solution in search of a problem. I have gone to Speidel fermenters and temp controlled rooms or, if needed a temp controlled freezer that will hold two fermenters (30 ltr) or one 60 ltr. My total investment is less than $700 and I am very happy with my setup. They sure are pretty and I am sure that they will work well, but just because something can be done does not mean it should be.

Not trying to discourage, just put in my 2 cents worth (probably actually worth less than 1/10 of a cent now).

Ed

JDWebb
07-13-2015, 01:02 PM
Not trying to discourage, just put in my 2 cents worth (probably actually worth less than 1/10 of a cent now).

Thanks, but I'd rather hear from people who have experience with these. BTW, never said I had a problem, and I'm doing it because I can.

mannye
07-13-2015, 05:25 PM
Mmmmmmmmmm I like it.

I am interested to hear about the ice chest and how often the ice needs to be added/drained. But what I really want is some large SS secondary fermentors to bulk age at least 15 gallons at a time. Two of those sitting in the corner with 30 or 40 gallons of golden delicious mead or cider... sploosh. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC1NqZvY_lA

JDWebb
07-13-2015, 06:16 PM
It will come down to the size of the ice chest I imagine, but if I can get by not having to fill it every few days, I'm fine with it.