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Author Replies
JoeFleischman
02/14/06 03:08 PM  
Square Fermenter
Hi folks, I'm currently fabricating a ss square fermenter with the help of my brother. It's going to be for 5 gallon batches and have a height to width aspect ratio of 1:1. I'm really excited about this thing - I hope it makes a difference in the beer however. Has anyone here tried differing their fermenters in terms of depth or shape?
N8
02/14/06 09:05 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
That sounds really cool, Joe.

Be sure to include pics when it's done.

Eric K
02/15/06 12:32 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
A square fermenter seems like a fantastic idea to get that real belgian "terror" out of the yeast. How do you plan to fabricate the lid, a small man-hole or will the whole top be removeable?

I haven't done any comparison taste tests, but I ferment in 3 different vessels: 1) 5, 6, and 6.5 gallon glass carboys, 2) 12.5 gallon SS conical, and 3) 15.5 gallon SS kegs. I find that the 15.5 gallon kegs are a very economical way to go. I have one from Sabco that has a large man-hole and three non-modified kegs with the stems removed. Get a # 11 stopper and your good to go; a 10-12 gallon fermentor for $60. Cleaning is a snap with 5 tbls of PBW and a couple days of soaking in cold water.

SteveG
02/15/06 12:59 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
Man, awesome sounding project Joe. I have heard it said that going to a tall fermenting vessel from a 1:1 vessel is what diminished Chimay. If thats true then man, your project could have quite an effect.
JoeFleischman
02/15/06 01:48 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
The lid is still a big puzzle at this moment - most likely it will be detachable. We're striving for functionality instead of beauty - so it's going to look pretty ugly.:) Right now I'm sticking to 5 gallon batches and I need this sucker to still be able to fit into my freezer for the lower temps.

Brew Like A Monk got me thinking about this whole 1:1 ratio and open fermentation stuff. I'm still wondering if a square chamber vs a cylindrical chamber will have that much influence upon the fermentation?

Frank R
02/15/06 07:18 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
I would think that a square fermenter would make for a more turbid and agitated ferment. Cool idea.

The main concern about a square or rectangular fermenter is the welds. Especially with stainless. Take the time to make sure the welds are smooth as glass inside.

cheers!

Joelle
02/27/06 10:25 AM  
Re: Square Fermenter
I was talking to a friend of mine about trying to primary in a rectangular or square vessel. Do you guys think a new rectangular igloo cooler would work? You could possibly drill a hole through the top for an airlock, or maybe just open ferment in it. Cleaning around the drain plug will obviously be really important so nothing nasty starts growing there.

SteveG
02/27/06 12:48 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
Thats a good question Joelle, I think you'd run into trouble though. Coolers insulate really well, I have a feeling it would hold onto too much heat. Have you ever left an empty one out in the sun then opened it? Sauna! IMO the fermenting wort would be subject to unfavorably high temperatures.
JoeFleischman
02/27/06 07:48 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
This is really deja vu', man. I was just at one of my buddy's birthday party's for one of his children, and he had an Ice Cube. It fits the dimensions almost perfect! I don't know if it would fit into my spare freezer, but I was really thinking about using it for saisons. My friend paid $7.89 on clearance, and I was just recently quoted an estimate of $345 bucks for labor and parts for some 12 gauge stainless steel for similar dimensions. Oh well...
dWiGhT
02/28/06 12:43 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
Ck these out, comes in 9, 14, 22gal versions:

http://www.eckraus.com/WINEMAKING_SUPPLIES/Fermentation_Vessels/Screw-Lid_Tanks_-and-_Pails/9_GAL_TUFF/Page_1/TT090.html

Interestingly, Petco and PetSmart both sell these without the racking & bottling faucet for cheaper...

dWiGhT

Joelle
02/28/06 01:46 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
Cool Dwight. That looks like just the ticket!

Joelle

Eric K
03/01/06 01:37 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
Now these are nice square fermentors!

http://www.srss.com/Stackable_Tanks.html

Obviously 200 gallon tanks may be too big for a small scale homebrewer, but it's worth consideration for brew clubs or someone who has gone a bit overboard (i.e., me). Note: I obtained an estimate on their 60 gallon barrel tanks last week and the cost was $650 each, and $250 more gets you a glycol jacket.

SteveG
03/01/06 04:14 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
>>Obviously 200 gallon tanks may be too big for a small scale homebrewer<<

Dude, 200 gallon is too big for a LARGE scale homebrewer!! Cool idea though. One thing I wonder about the other square one is how can the faucet be good for both racking & bottling? One would need to draw from the bottom, the other would have to leave the bottom undesturbed.

Eric K
03/02/06 12:46 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
>>Dude, 200 gallon is too big for a LARGE scale homebrewer!!<<

True SteveG. I ment to simply write "homebrewer", but was thinking "small scale", and just put the two together.

I haven't been called "Dude" in ages; it makes me think of the movie "Fast Times at Rigemont High". Mmmmm, Pizza.

SteveG
03/02/06 02:20 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
I think the terms has been somewhat normalized in recent years, used to be you needed a surfboard or bong to be a dude! At least here in NJ, it is used like the term "man". "Hey man, 200 gallon is too big for a LARGE scale homebrewer!!
JoeFleischman
03/03/06 12:47 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
Dwight -

Thanks man! Cool link. I'm about to say screw the ss and just go with plastic!

ipaguy
03/03/06 03:38 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
One of those squarish ss bar/utility sinks you see in some restaurant supply catalogs would probably be workable for this application. A used restaurant equipment supplier might make it economical.
Eric K
04/17/06 07:16 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
I found some perfect square fermentors on ebay:

http://stores.ebay.com/Stainless-Steel-Creations_W0QQcolZ4QQdirZ1QQfsubZQ2d33QQftidZ2QQtZkm

I'm going to contact the craftsman and see if he can build a lid for the 29 gal model. I'll keep everyone updated.

Eric K
04/25/06 11:48 AM  
Re: Square Fermenter
I made the contact and I'm going to have Paul (the ebay craftsman) fabricate a 45 gallon stainless steel square fermenter (3'L x 2'W x 1'H). The cost will be under $300; a very fair price! An overhanging lip will be welded on the top of the tank to accept a flat lid that can be clamped down over a gasket. Handles and a 1" coupler (for venting) will be welded on the lid.

I'll keep everyone updated.

Sean Paxton
04/25/06 12:06 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
Very cool Eric!

So, where are you going to put a valve? And will it have legs? Or table top version? And where is this going to go? We’ve seen your brewery! And how long will it take to make? And when can I come over?!?!?!

20 questions?

Very curious to how this comes out. Would be fun to play with open fermentation and also how wort weight affects yeast viability.

Looking forward to your results!

Brew On!

Sean

JoeFleischman
04/25/06 12:54 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
Very cool indeed! That is an awesome price Eric!!! The metal fab guys here in Tampa quoted me $365 for a 10 gallon jobber - so I ended up buying a Tuff tank which I think is a great fermenter. Snap a pic once you get your fermenter(please) - I'd really like to see this thing in action.
Eric K
04/25/06 01:33 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
I think I've struck a main vain here!

I'm not sure on the time table, I suspect 4 to 6 weeks, but I'll check. I forget to ask important questions some times. Go figure. Did someone say beer?

Table top version, no legs; I have plenty of table space in my fermentation room.

I'm having a 1/2" ID FPTxFPT Full coupler welded on the front panel (one of the 2' wide walls) 1/2" off the bottom (from the bottom lip of the coupler). This will serve an attachment for the outflow valve. I could be wrong on this, but my thought was the pressure in such a long and flat fermenter will not be as high as a conical, so I'm not planning on an inside racking arm (i.e., tube). A valve located half inch of the bottom should prevent most of the yeast from being taken up during racking. The calculation is that 1.9 gallons will remain in the fermentor if the valve is 1/2" off the bottom. This assumes a flat racking, not a back tilt; so I expect more like a 1-1.5 gallons remaining.

I'm also having an additional 1/2" ID coupler welded near the first, for a dial thermometer or thermowell. I could add a temperature controller and heating device with the latter to have the ability to maintain higher fermentation temperatures.

I will most certainly send pictures to Steve G. for all to ponder.

Eric K
04/27/06 01:37 AM  
Re: Square Fermenter
I should have the fermenter by the end of next week. I'm contacting companies to make the food grade gasket(s). Hopefully the cost will be fair. I'm planning a farmhouse ale (with Simpson's naked oats as a large component) for May 6, so I hope everything is in place for a trial run.
Sean Paxton
04/27/06 04:28 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
Very ambitious! I like it! And if you think about the conicals that I have for $700 with leg extensions, all for 14.5 gallons; to have a 45 gallon fermenter for $260 + a gasket… Not bad at all. When is the new brewery opening in Tahoe? Or the next party?!?!?!

How much yeast are you planning on pitching for this batch of Saison?

Cheers,

Sean

Eric K
04/27/06 04:59 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
I'm still doing some research, but I found a company in PA that will make a food grade gasket for $25. I'll probably order one within the week.

If I'm fermenting in my typical 10 gallon batches I'll be using 1/4 gallon of solid yeast. The large fermenter may requre 3/4 - 1 gallon of yeast. I think I'll order some Wyeast Saison to culture up, the WLP Saison I have is a bit sluggish after its second harvest. Likely temperature driven however. My fermentation room is only 65-68F right now. I'll put the gallon jug next to the heater for a night and see if that helps. Sorry, I'm rambling here.

We need a new brewery in Tahoe, way too much effort spent on the Bud Light tourists.

I should have a party this spring. I need to empty some kegs.....yeh, so I can fill them-up again. Let me know when your free for a weekend.

Eric K
05/16/06 05:08 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
The square fermenter is in! I'm more than happy. Take a look at the photo's:

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/ekelchlin@sbcglobal.net/my_photos

I have it about half full with idophore/water solution in the photo's. It will hold 45 gallons. I settled for a clamp-on lid for ease of design and lessen the cost.

I'm planning on a 20gal test run this weekend with an Aromatic malt experiment.

JoeFleischman
05/16/06 07:28 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
Bro,

Niiiicccceeee!!!! That is a really fantastic setup buddy. If you ever get bored of Belgian's you can always do a hefe in there too! Damn is that nice or what?

Sean Paxton
05/16/06 09:56 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
Very nice Eric,

I want one! Good design as well! Very curious how the difference in pressure will effect the yeast vs conical/carboy...

Tell us more about your aromatic experiment...

S

N8
05/17/06 11:06 AM  
Re: Square Fermenter
Dam-ba Gumby!!

That just about brought a tear to my eye.

Very nice, Eric.

Eric K
05/20/06 11:23 PM  
Re: Square Fermenter
check out the new additions to the fermenter album:

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/ekelchlin@sbcglobal.net/album

I pitched WLP530 last night at 9PM; The foam is about 5 inches thick by 8am this morning. I just checked the temperature and it was 85F at 8 pm today. 20 gallons of pure Belgian Aromatic love.

 
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