Anyone use a Stainless Steel Primary Fermenter - for 3 or 6 gallon kits?

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Monty Knapp

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I've just ordered a 32 quart stainless steel pot to use as a primary fermenter. Apparently no one sells an 8 gallon stainless steel bucket for home winemaking. Most "stock pots" and "brew buckets" are narrow and tall - but I found one that was wider than it is tall. I think I remember reading somewhere that you need a short and wide bucket for a primary fermenter to allow oxygen to reach the wine and yeast.
I've been using plastic buckets sold for this purpose, but started wondering how clean I could get them. According to articles on the internet, these buckets are porous and can get scratch/scuffed up - providing a place for wine/residue to work it's way in. These articles also said these buckets should be replaced periodically.
I started wondering about this when I was cleaning a bucket with StarSan. When I rubbed the almost dry inside of the bucket hard, the paper towel I used showed red/wine color on it. This bucket had only been used a couple of times and I always clean everything well.

So - does anyone else use a stainless steel bucket/pot as a primary fermenter?
If so, is there anything I need to be made aware of?

Thanks.
 

MartyDz

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Thinking of doing the same. Looking for something like the FastFermenter conical, but SS. What did you decide?
 

Jim Welch

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I have been using 6gallon BrewBuckets and just bought an 8 gallon Reactor. Here’s a link.

 

Rocky

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@Monty Knapp "but I found one that was wider than it is tall. I think I remember reading somewhere that you need a short and wide bucket for a primary fermenter to allow oxygen to reach the wine and yeast."

Not doubting you here but where did you read this? That flies in the face of my experience and every fermenter I have ever used was taller that it was wide. I think I can safely say that every fermenter I have ever seen is that way.
 

Jusatele

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I would love to find a stainless 4 gallon fermenter that was easy to move when full.
My wine making procedures, and I suspect many other winemakers, are such that I move the wine from a making area to a storage area. Kitchen to closet.
The main reason I switched to 3 gallon batches is so the fermenters do not weigh so much.
 

Jim Welch

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I would love to find a stainless 4 gallon fermenter that was easy to move when full.
My wine making procedures, and I suspect many other winemakers, are such that I move the wine from a making area to a storage area. Kitchen to closet.
The main reason I switched to 3 gallon batches is so the fermenters do not weigh so much.
SS BrewTech also makes a 3 1/2 gal stainless fermenter. I realize that doesn’t leave much headroom for a 3 gallon batch but you could either adjust the batch volume down a bit if possible or hold back a 1/2 gallon or so of must and add it once fermentation slows down.
I’ve used the latter technique successfully to make 6 gallons of red wine with skins which brings the liquid level to within an inch of the brim.
 

Rice_Guy

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@Monty Knapp and @Jusatele stock pots are in a variety of sizes as eight gallon. The commercial grade is pricey the home grade can be found at Wallyworld, or I have several sizes that came out of StVinnies for about $5. When doing four gallons of liquid I will use a five gallon pot two gallons a three gallon pot etc. , , , , because of work I really like stainless. Because I took some of Dads dairy farm equipment I have unusual shapes that will tolerate vacuum.

Because of work I also say that plastic is good. Polyethylene pails are food grade and an awful lot of the things you eat have been shipped to a factory in a plastic pail/ thousand pound tote/ macro bin. You can not eat name brand grocery store foods without having them in plastics at some point. , , , , Are you going to only eat organic and make your own tomato sauce from your garden and never use coffee creamer etc etc?
Because of work I also say wine is a preservative system. (low pH, 11% alcohol, low oxygen, etc) Wine making is tolerant of scratches in the plastic pail or stainless steel pot. Yes there is some risk of contamination BUT it is significantly less than the risk from wood barrels which we love to use for aging or the load on the juice comming off the press. PET as big mouth bubbler is the big brother of a lot of food bottles. I have a variety as ten liter, seven gallon, three gallon. For moving liquids/ limiting oxygen I like 120 mm lid bottles.

Plastics should be replaced when they lose flexibility/ hair line cracks.
 

TurkeyHollow

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MrHerbington

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I use this 30 liter stainless steel to make 24 liter batches. First batch inside at the moment.
 

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QuiQuog

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I have been using 6gallon BrewBuckets and just bought an 8 gallon Reactor. Here’s a link.

That looks like it would be perfect for batches that you add skin packs to. What is your experience with racking through the spigot? How do you determine what angle to turn it to for reducing the amount of lees picked up? Do you just eyeball the color in the hose as the wine flows?
 

Jim Welch

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That looks like it would be perfect for batches that you add skin packs to. What is your experience with racking through the spigot? How do you determine what angle to turn it to for reducing the amount of lees picked up? Do you just eyeball the color in the hose as the wine flows?
It has two ports, a “sampling” port and a bottom dump port. I’ve not used the dump port just the smaller sampling port. I leave it pointing down and don’t worry about the little bit of lees it pics up.
 

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