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Conical from China

stouttanks

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Hi,

I have to respond.  I am the one who CR is trashing in the prior post.

I just can't quote or sell a product I don't believe in.  CR was asking for a custom product that, in my opinion, has a low likelihood of working out for him. 

No, I did not answer all of his questions, there wasn't a point in it since I was just explaining why I felt it wasn't a good concept.

My experience?  I owned and operated a microbrewery for 10 years.  I know a little bit about brewing equipment.

I am proud of the products we have brought to market that I believe are superior to much of what is otherwise available.  I have a money back guarantee on the products.  Send it back if you don't like it and I'll refund your money. 

My clients have expressed great pleasure in their new fermenters and brew kettles.  Here is what one of my customers put on another forum:  http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/check-out-stainless-conical-fermenter-156727/

Cheers,

John

PS:  I think I may have dodged a bullet in not doing business with CR, esq.
 

MaltLicker

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Strictly my opinion, but that would seem to wrap up this thread.  CR had every right to explore any and all options, and was nice enough to share his findings.  This supplier has every right to refuse orders it considers to be off its preferred sales path.
 

CR

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MaltLicker said:
Strictly my opinion, but that would seem to wrap up this thread. 

Well, hopefully that chapter of it is wrapped up.
I won't be  getting into a pissing match on this board.

I am planning on a RIMS setup using  the Brown-Halco pot I think it's be good all round.
I was  messing around with the HERMS approach and decided that RIMS is a better way for me to go.



 

Wastegate

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I know, I know, You guys want to close this thread. My 2c. :)
First let me say that I am glad you are here Stouttanks. We need more people that are willing to find the best products and sell them for a reasonable price, instead of marking them up to lofty heights where home brewers could not afford them. Your efforts are appreciated, and I will be purchasing from you in the near future. I would suggest contacting Brad and maybe you two could come to an agreement, kind of like he has with Barley Crusher mill. That may be a great deal for both of you.

I would have to agree with the simple notion. However it is his (CR's) money and ideas, so long as the product is made to his specs your golden. If it doesn't work, your not at fault. Cleanliness is Godliness. However we are talking about a brew kettle. So long as he boils for more than 20 min he should be fine with a simple dis-assembly/cleaning. I know of, and have plenty of friends that use electric "water heater" elements in their kettles as well as in the HLT. My local HBS has one of the old "BrewInABucket" (kettle and primary fermenter in one) kits and they have made more beer in it than most people will make in a lifetime.

We as home brewers need to think out of the box. I view CR as an out of the box thinker, he has an idea that is plausible and fits his needs. I agree that it is not industry standard, but there is nothing wrong with that. It makes the industry/hobby better.

Cheers
Preston
 

88Q

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First let me say that I am glad you are here Stouttanks. We need more people that are willing to find the best products and sell them for a reasonable price, instead of marking them up to lofty heights where home brewers could not afford them.

I just had to comment here. My experience with them has been A1.... Great communication and the product is extremely well made! I can't believe he isn't overwhelmed with orders at these prices. Maybe he is!

I have absolutely no regrets, and for someone to be willing to package this unit up, with the amount of work involved, and not ding you for handling/shipping bigtime, is worth applause! 28 bucks shipping. I hope his prices stay low.... I plan on buying at least two more!

My 2cents .... Great company selling a GREAT product at a GREAT price. Communication (for me) was clear, concise and very prompt.

 

CR

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So the chinese conicals are not a certain junk trap.  That's nice to know.
Puts me to thinking along the lines of  group purchases from a manufacturer.
Problem is that these sorts of things  seem always to fissle out after generating some interest.

It seems to work in a close knot club where people physically meet and get to know each other  and they all know who is holding the money  and how.  But when it comes to doing something like that in the web it's a whole different ball of un-trust.
Folks tend to not want to extend themselves either by pre paying for a group making promises or to pre-pay  by providing  funds to the organizer.

Can't blame 'em really.  Example:I send you a check across state lines and you don't come through. Unless I have a signed agreement that stipulates  my home state's courts and laws as the venue I am stuck with having to trek to your state and pay a lawyer to sue in your jurisdiction,  hotels, travel, legal bill and for what? Because I trusted some guy  on the internet.
And every body will want jurisdiction in their home state which sort of makes  trying to get every one to agree on some universal venue out of the question.

Ahh well,  such is human nature.  Trust is a frail beast and best not ridden with added freight of one's money.





 

CR

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I've been querying  several Chinese companies. slowly coming to the position that if it ain't water jacketed It's a waste of money.

I can get a  50 liter  jacketed fermenter for about $600

Most the comnpanies have images and drawings they  send me to let me  get better informed about their products.

One company I queried sent  me a picture of  three "ferminators" Label and all, telling me that they sell 'em out of NYC.
They didn't call 'em ferminators but that's what they were.



 
 

CR

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Finally
http://s1002.photobucket.com/albums/af143/zydaco/?action=view&current=jacketed-1.jpg
That's what I'm getting
Rotating racking arm,  no welds inside, 14 gallons,  water jacketed, all tricked out with Butterfly sanitary valves.

Under a grand to my door.

 
O

ORBeerDude

I have purchased a Conical from John at Stout Tanks and have been very satisfied with the quality and performance of the fermenter.  The triple clamps are very good quality, the ball valves are done very well, the stand is excellent... My only wish list item was that I had the money to purchase 3 or 4 to make multiple batch fermenting easier then having to move between primary and secondary and could ditch my other fermenters. 

John is reputable and provided a great transaction via Craiglist for me locally and would recommend his products and hopefully will purchase more in the near future.  There are other products that cost 3 times as much for a fermenter and unless you have hit the power ball recently it makes no sense to me to purchase them. 

V





CR said:
The folks at  http://conical-fermenter.com/ answered my  query
I had a bunch of questions I asked them  in numbered paragraph format which are quoted below:


QUESTION 1.) Can you make a larger brew kettle say: 14 or 15 gallons to facilitate 10 gallon batches? If so, what is the Up-charge? ( I notice you have a custom order $299.00, 19.2gallon kettle.)

***********NO ANSWER


QUESTION 2.) In your last e-mail, you spoke to the possibility of outfitting a brew Kettle with two or three welded on Stainless flanges threaded to 1" to accept standard water heater elements.
---------- (i) What would the Up-Charge be per flange?
----------(ii) FLANGE: The industry standard is 1" NPSM <http://www.plumbingworld.com/plumbingabbreviations.html>
----------(iii) I’d want them placed with the flange center line 1.5” up from the upper rim of the bowl (cone) in the bottom of the brew Kettle (assuming the flange didn’t interfere). I could fax you a sketch with a signed authorization if you need that.
----------(iv) I can send you a sample of the heater element in question. Could you work from that?

**************ANSWER:
They don’t want to quote this because they  have aesthetic objections to brewing electrically.  He said  that he thinks it’ll be problematic for cleaning.
PERIOD ~!!   I am guessing that it's just not worth his bother to go to his  Chinese Manufacturer and ask them to do it.
They must sell a lot of equipment to  be able blow me off like that I was talking about a 15  gallon Conical & a kettle.
Now I am unsure I want to do business with them.   They said they could do custom work and  they wont?



QUESTION 3.) What is your product warranty?

*************ANSWER:
“I don't have the ability to fix problems - my products are made to my specification and I inspect them before accepting them.  The welds overall are excellent.”

(((((( So there is no warranty. You get what they ship to you and  if it sucks, then it's your problem.)))))
--------------------------------- wow ----------------------------------------
Wasn't the idea of warranty and customer service the major reasons to buy in the USA?



4.) What grade of Stainless are you using and what is the wall thickness of the Kettle and Fermenter?

************NO ANSWER
((((((( He's got no way to know.  So long as it's shiny and magnets don't stick then it's golden? ))))))

5.) If a fermenter has a weld that turns out to have porosity harboring bacteria do you have a silver solder that can flow and fill pores or do you take it back and re-weld & grind all the welds?

*************ANSWER I am guessing that  the answer is the same as to the warranty question  #3.
He thinks it’s good enough  and that is all there is to it.  There is no warranty.   Nothing NADA Zip.


QUESTION 6.) I noticed you have a hose barb on the sanitary line from the Fermenter valve.
----------(i) what is the diameter?
----------(ii) are other sizes available?

************NO ANSWER

QUESTION  7.) Are you able to produce an inline type (Cold Plate) Heat Exchanger that can be boiled or baked in an oven to sterilize it, which will, when connected, chill the wort? Say 10 Gallons at 212 Deg F to 60 Deg F in 10 minutes?

**************ANSWER: 
He told me to use an immersion instead and that baking and boiling won't clean a plate type  chiller.
I think he just doesn't want to ask his Chinese manufacturer to quote a  One-Off and can't think his way through to making it a part  of his product line.
******************************************************

All in all he offered me not one single reason to do business with him.
Yah the fermenter is like $200.00 less than a Blichmann.
Yah the Kettle has a nice design and is cheaper than a Blichmann ( but I wasn't looking at Blichmann's kettle I was looking at a $145 Aluminum stock pot type kettle.
He advertises the ability to make custom but then when asked backed away from it entirely.
He pooh pooed the idea of electric brewing - (really weird) - speaking to me as if he is an authority on the topic without giving me any reason to think that he might be.

His exact words were:
"I am a believer in simple solutions and processes, so I would suggest you look into a propane type burner to put your brew kettle on.  Fewer fittings to deal with mean cleaner brew and easier cleanup.  You are also likely to get significant residue build up on your heating elements, which may damage them and/or be harbingers of bacteria."

Which (while polite enough)  is all nothing but pure unadulterated speculation (besides being just plain wrong).
I think it's really that  he  doesn't want to ask China to drill a couple holes.
 

CR

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I'm glad for you that you are happy with your acquisition.

I ended up ordering a 14 gallon conical with a water jacket for under a grand, delivered and completely decked out with sanitary valves and fittings.
My purchase of the conical was a bit of a journey through a learning curve.  I ended up in a place where I was unable to justify the cost of the conical unless I also had a thermal regulation mechanism that was integral. 

I hear ya about wanting more than one.  That may happen for me as well, but then maybe not.  We'll see.  There was a  time when I thought that 5 gallons was plenty large enough.





 
A

Ales

I couldn't help but notice the lack of information on the grade of stainless steal or the wall thickness. You get what you pay for in this global economy. Also the reason why American products aren't as good anymore is that we compete whith cheap labor and materials in this global economy. If I'm going to buy somthing thes important for my brew that will last for a lifetime I'm willing to spend a few more dollars knowing it is the best and not taking someones word whos just trying to take my hard earned bucks. 8)
 

Brunswick69

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buy american when you can, what are you really saving...not american jobs!!!
 

CR

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Brunswick69 said:
buy american when you can, what are you really saving...not american jobs!!!

I agree~!!

So I went sourcing  thinwall stainless  half inch tubing.  I plan to build into my 20 gallon BK ( I ended up getting a SST BK) an integral chiller  that passes through the wall VIA welded in place nipples. I have about 100" planned for both the heat transfer power  as well as to take up some space in the 20" diameter kettle raising the column of the wort.

I was getting prices from American supplies that ranged from $9.00 a foot to $4.50 a foot.  I wanted two coils.
I found a guy selling chinese metal for $64.00 per 50 foot coil.
So not being insane in the membrane that's what I got.

The US based  guys who called me back hoping to maybe hook in the sale were staggerblasted and thunderstruck when I told them what I paid.  One guy just fell silent for about 5 seconds.  when he spoke it was in a half whisper.  He had no rejoinder to my price. He probably would had liked to know my source, but it didn't occur to him to ask.
I wanted to know why they were letting the Chinese eat their collective lunches.
But I was too polite to ask.
In the background  one  could however, hear the sounds of Chinese guys  happily munching on the American's lunch sandwiches.







 

CR

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Well the journey is over - - -for now.
Maybe in a year I'll get back in the Chinese Conical  water jacketed saddle.

The water jacket was the whole reason to go Chinese. You just try to find an American made  Fermentor supplier  with a water Jacket.
Actually, I don't believe anybody in the USA is making production  Fermentors for the homebrewer.  


I ordered the Chinese fermentor.  The company I settled on was using a west  coast guy as their US agent.
They dragged their feet making  the thing.  They D-R-A-G-G-E-D THEIR FEET~!!
When he got it in from the customs  people and inspected it there were problems.

And they lied~!!! 
The claimed there were no welds inside the fermentor.  The thing was welded.


Apparently the Chinese have some serious issues with welding.  They make welds you could culture  enlightened civilizations on.
Their US agent refused to sell the fermentor under his name. He was OK with my going direct and by-passing him, but he'd not put his name  on it.  Apparently the Chinese screwed the pooch in other ways  too, using the wrong threads on valves and god knows what all else. He says it'll take maybe a year to hammer out the kinks with them.


So anyway, I got a Blichmann 14.5 gallon tri-clamp unit.   It was cheap enough at  a little under a grand.  
Austin HomeBrew was the source.  I was going to use the Maine  retailer that  John Blichmann suggested but they don't take AMEX.
Whenever I can, I always use AMEX. They always have my back. If I have any issues, they will yank the retailer's head around and force them to pay attention and fix the issue, or I get my money back AND the retailer has to pay me up front to ship their crap back.  Oh, and AMEX Doubles the warranty period.

Anyway I'm back into the wonderful world of Thermal Control.
What to do?

I have looked at these
http://www.lightobject.com/60W-Peltier-Thermoelectric-Cooling-System-P304.aspx#
4 of them mounted to an aluminum platen which has been machined with the same radius as the fermentor and attached using heat transfer paste or adhesive should do the trick but Electricity is my weakest area and I just know the power supply issues will make me crazy.   I've heard about people using computer PS units but those are all "switching supplies" and don't provide steady power.  Peltiers want steady DC power for  optimum performance.

However, I have already built a  mineral oil chiller from an old dehumidifier that will chill 15 gallons of mineral oil which I intended to use to chill the Wort as well as the water jacketed conical.  I haven't settled on the pump yet.  It needs to move the oil up a  water column of 15 feet and many pumps won't touch that.

I've been thinking about penetrating the lid with weldless bulkhead fittings and building SST thinwall coil to pump the chilled mineral oil through it and thusly cool my beer.  The  Bargian Fittings guy has  really nice bulkhead fittings for $12.00 a pop.
I've seen this  done on a couple of UK forums and the people doing it are not complaining about cleaning  issues or contamination.







 
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