First a little about me. I caught the brew bug in 2016 after trying a friend’s homebrew on vacation. I was impressed by how much it didn’t taste like “Grandfadders” homebrew. It was refined, professional even! Fast forward to present day where, in my garage, Brad Dillion and I brew on a 10-gallon propane system. We tend to split the fermentation into 2 - 7.5-gallon plastic brew buckets when exBEERimenting, or into a 14-gallon FastFerment conical. We recently added a 14-gallon SS Brewtech Brew Bucket fermenter to our growing collection of brewing equipment.
Jumping right in, the lid is massive! There is no issue getting your hand or whole arm inside to clean all the nasty’s left behind after fermentation. The lid itself is held firmly in place by 8 flip style clamps. While we have only had a single batch run through it there was no issue keeping a seal. The handles are heavy duty and feel secure while lifting it.
Inside is clearly marked with volume etchings, which I personally like. A cool feature of the brew bucket is the racking arm. It sits above a conical bottom and is rotatable. So, you can have it in a down position during fermentation, when your ready to take a sample, simply rotate it up and your above all your trub. While transferring you can yield a lot by finding the sweet spot with the arm. The legs are sturdy and have adjustable rubber feet.
This model is the Brewmasters edition. It adds a neoprene jacket, 2 thermowells and a different lid to accommodate the SS Brewtech FTSS (fermentation temperature control). This is basically a pump and heat belt system hooked to a controller. When the temp is to high the pump will kick in and force water/glycol through a lid mounted immersion chiller. When its to low the heat belt kicks in. It works very well. We just had a cooler with ice and water in it and it did the job. The option is there to set up a glycol chiller for lagering!
This is a great fermenter. The brew bucket is well built and you can feel the quality in the product. Are you going to get a better beer out of this compared to a $25 bucket? No probably not, but this stainless-steel fermenter will last forever. You don’t have to worry about scratching it and potentially creating a place for bacteria to hide.
I only have 2 complaints. The first being the cost. The average price with the FTSS will run you around $700 (we got ours gently used), you can obviously get a few plastic buckets for that! Second, you cannot drain the trub and yeast cake from the bottom of the conical. I like that feature of the fast ferment we currently have (SS Brewtech also makes a conical and I really want one!). I think in the long run this is a good purchase if you brew often and replace a conical, or a lot of buckets, every couple years!