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Thread: Unitank vs. Dish-bottomed fermenters

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    407

    Unitank vs. Dish-bottomed fermenters

    So, I'm in the market to pick up 20-40 bbls of additional fermentation space, and I'm looking at some used gear.

    Everything I currently have is a cone-bottomed unitank, but I see a bit of dish bottomed fermenters out there too. What are the plusses and minuses of each as you see them?

    Yeast harvesting is probably the biggest change, but I've also read that flavors can be different too. Then again, I have so many other freewheeling variables I would be suprised if you could pick up difference.

    Opinions, preferences, unsubstianted speculation... all welcome.

    Thanks,
    Scott

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Mukilteo, WA
    Posts
    304

    We use..........

    We use Grundies and conicals in our first 7 Bbl system and I would have to say hands down, no doubt about it, conicals are the way to go.
    Prior to getting the conicals, we used the Grundies as primariary fermenters and it was a pain in the backside to crop yeast.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    30
    Here is my advice,

    Go get a massage, a nice 1 hour massage, then go home and have someone hit you in the groin with a bat. The cylindroconical tank is the massage, the flat bottomed tank is the bat.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Boise, ID
    Posts
    233

    Cones V. Dish

    I brewed on a system that had a mix of these tanks- dish bottoms are great for conditioning, very poor for fermentation. Yeast harvesting is inconsistent at best, and there were noticable flavor changes between tanks. The previous post pretty much sums it up. Investing the extra time and money will prevent headaches for years to come!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    407
    Thanks for the input everyone. I was thinking of just limiting my yeast harvesting from the conicals I currently have, but I'm not sure my fermenting schedule would permit it every time. Even then, flavor variations don't sound too good to me either.

    Sounds like the extra cost will be money well spent. So I suppose now the only question is, shiatsu or swedish?

    Much appreciated.
    Scott

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    354
    I worked at a micro that started out with open-top dished-bottom fermenters (and separate aging tanks), and we expanded into unitanks. After a few years, we then built a new brewery, and it was all unitanks, all the time!

    Just so much simpler to harvest yeast, drain yeast, ferment AND age the beer. Given a choice, I'd never use anything else!

    Cheers, Tim

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Polson, Montana, USA
    Posts
    1,101
    Hi Scott,
    My two cents:
    Try Hawaiian Lomi-Lomi massage!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Dexter, MI USA
    Posts
    203
    Hello all!

    Sorry to have to do this but...
    Open, flat bottomed fermenters, with a true top cropping yeast, using secondary conditioning vessels make the best beer! Especially if you are going for a bright, unfiltered beer.

    They may be more work, but at the end of the day, its all about the beer. Right?

    But if your only choices are conical vs dish, go with the conical. The other posts are right on about that.

    Aloha,
    Ron
    Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Macomb,Oklahoma
    Posts
    99

    I agree 100%

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenbrewmonkey
    Hello all!

    Sorry to have to do this but...
    Open, flat bottomed fermenters, with a true top cropping yeast, using secondary conditioning vessels make the best beer! Especially if you are going for a bright, unfiltered beer.

    They may be more work, but at the end of the day, its all about the beer. Right?

    But if your only choices are conical vs dish, go with the conical. The other posts are right on about that.

    Aloha,
    Ron
    Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
    I agrre 100% with Jolly Pumpkin. A dish bottom is too much problem to ferment in and should not be used!
    #1 Flat Bottom (mild slope to outlet)
    #2 Conical (still a pain to use with floculant yeasts which produce the most flavor!)
    # Dish bottom (the worst of both worlds!)
    Doug A Moller
    Brewmaster
    Doug's Brau Haus
    (405)226-3111

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    Posts
    962
    Flavors will be different, how much is unknown-they may even be better, esp. less diacetyl. I wouldn't plan on aging in a dish bottom fermenter full of yeast as you will have autolysis or yeast flavors. If racking into aging, it doesn't matter. Harvesting yeast from the conicals and pitching into the dishes shold work just fine. This would lessen the bat to more like a stick. The massage is more comfortable but one can't always afford it.

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