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Intellitank versus Flextank

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fafrd

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I've found a few members who have used Flextanks in their winemaking but there is pretty much nothing on the board about Intellitank: https://www.catalyst-manufacturing.com/products/intellitank-58

The price of the 15-gallon Flextank and 15-gallon Intellitank are equal ($150).

Flextank's main selling point is calibrated microxidation through HDCP while Intellitanks main selling point is ability to withstand both vacuum and pressure (they mention nothing about microxidation).

I'm curios whether there are any members who use Intellitank and their experience if so, ascwell as any members that selected 15-gallon FlexTanks over 15-gallon Intellitanks after consideribg both, and if so why.
 

GreginND

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Aside from the things you mentioned, there are some important differences to consider.

The 15 gal flex tank comes with a valve kit for the bottom of the tank. If you want a bottom valve (highly recommended) the intellitank would require you to purchase a spout ($25) and a valve (1.5" triclover $80). That being said, I use 1.5" triclover accessories in my winery regularly so I have a lot around. If you are already using it, then it would minimize the cost. The flextank also has a larger opening on the top. The intellitank is a bit inconvenient as there is only a 1.5" spout on the top.
 

fafrd

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Aside from the things you mentioned, there are some important differences to consider.

The 15 gal flex tank comes with a valve kit for the bottom of the tank. If you want a bottom valve (highly recommended) the intellitank would require you to purchase a spout ($25) and a valve (1.5" triclover $80). That being said, I use 1.5" triclover accessories in my winery regularly so I have a lot around. If you are already using it, then it would minimize the cost. The flextank also has a larger opening on the top. The intellitank is a bit inconvenient as there is only a 1.5" spout on the top.
Thanks. Yes, if you want a bottom valve, the Flextank is less expensive.

On the other hand, the flextank has a mandatory threaded stainless valve (or at least a threaded fitting) where the Intellitank has an optional trivlover outlet.

I'm not particularly interested in a bottom valve and a bit worried about a threaded fitting and a ball valve as far as sanitation, so I'd have to say I prefer the Intellitank design from that point of view.

On the other hand, I spoke to Intellitank and their plastic is 1/2" thick, so about double the thickness of the 15-gallon Flextank and far less permeable to oxygen. So it's an interesting storage tank but wiil deliver next to nothing in terms of microoxygenation and the benefits that brings to maturation...
 

Johnd

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Thanks. Yes, if you want a bottom valve, the Flextank is less expensive.

On the other hand, the flextank has a mandatory threaded stainless valve (or at least a threaded fitting) where the Intellitank has an optional trivlover outlet.

I'm not particularly interested in a bottom valve and a bit worried about a threaded fitting and a ball valve as far as sanitation, so I'd have to say I prefer the Intellitank design from that point of view.

On the other hand, I spoke to Intellitank and their plastic is 1/2" thick, so about double the thickness of the 15-gallon Flextank and far less permeable to oxygen. So it's an interesting storage tank but wiil deliver next to nothing in terms of microoxygenation and the benefits that brings to maturation...
Sounds like if you won't have microx, don't care much about the valve, and want to be able to vacuum rack, you'd save a lot of money using carboys........
 

GreginND

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I have intellitanks and I do like them. They are compact, take up only a little more space than a carboy yet hold 15 gallons, and they won't break! So there are some advantages.
 

dcbrown73

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I have intellitanks and I do like them. They are compact, take up only a little more space than a carboy yet hold 15 gallons, and they won't break! So there are some advantages.
What about cleaning them?

None of these are really an option for me until I get back into a house, but I would definitely like to be prepared for once I am.
 

fafrd

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Sounds like if you won't have microx, don't care much about the valve, and want to be able to vacuum rack, you'd save a lot of money using carboys........
Yeah, the fact that there is little/no microxygenation means that these intellitanks are much less interesting to me than Flextanks.

As you say, they are essentially 15-gallon carboys, more akin to a demijon of stainless beer keg than an oak barrel.

But in terms of saving 'a lot of money using carboys', at $150, the Intellitanks only cost $45 or 43% more than 3 new 5-gallon carboys, so not sire that qualifies for the 'alot' caegory ;).

Of course it's a lot easier to find used carboys for close to half that price than it is used Intellitanks, but the convenience of managing just a single vessel versus 3 coupled with the unbreakable nature of plastic makes intellitanks an option worthy of consideration for those managing 15 or 30 gallon batches.

A stainless beer keg is probably the closer competotor to the intellitank, especially if it is purchased used.

And I agree, whether the intellitank or a stainless keg, cleaning and ability to inspect are the major drawback to consider (other than cost). That is another area where Flextanks and their much larger opening have an edge.
 

GreginND

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What about cleaning them?

None of these are really an option for me until I get back into a house, but I would definitely like to be prepared for once I am.
I would say it is similar to cleaning a demijohn. If you have two spouts, you can flow water through it. I'd rather have a larger opening to get my hand in to scrub, however.
 

dcbrown73

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I would say it is similar to cleaning a demijohn. If you have two spouts, you can flow water through it. I'd rather have a larger opening to get my hand in to scrub, however.
Never cleaned a demijohn, but it doesn't look very fun.

I suppose the FlexTank is definitely best for me, though I wish it wasn't an issues to vacuum rack. Though, Steve's new low pressure vacuum rack invention might be the answer for that. (Need to go look at that)
 

ibglowin

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For racking on my Flextanks I ordered one of these diaphragm pumps off Amazon.

Added a switch, an inline strainer and tubing and your good to go for about $100. It will empty a 15G Flextank in about 5 minutes.
 
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toneill

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ibglowin, how does that pump do with the first racking from Fermentation wherein you have a lot oak powder/chips and Bentonite to contend with? Does the strainer clog easily and or before you have moved much?
 

ibglowin

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I don't use it for that. I make wine from fresh grapes for the most part so I ferment in Brute trash cans. I don't use oak powder or bentonite either. I rack into 6 gallon carboys for a few months to settle and clear and then when the wines are clear and the heavy stuff has settled out and been racked off only then do they get transferred to the Flex tank where oak adjuncts get added. Subsequent rackings are done via gravity into 10G containers, the Flextank is rinsed out and any more fines cleaned away, the pump then pushes the wine uphill and back into the Flextank in about 5-6 minutes.
 

Kraffty

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@ibglowin , Mike where and what did you buy for your tubing and connections? I've bought that same pump and filter but haven't added a switch or mounted to anything yet. I'm thinking Home Depot for connections maybe?

Mike
 

ibglowin

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I think IIRC I picked up the inline filter, fittings and tubing from Morewine. The tubing is rather large. The switch and housing to cover the back end of the switch was just picked up from my local hardware store. I used an old PC power cord and cut off the end for my new power cord. The switch is just used as an interrupt of sorts where the hot wire only is wired up to the switch.

Morewine had some nifty fittings that spin on with a butterfly handle of sorts and a hose barb on the other end. Small amount of teflon tape to seal things up nicely and your done.

@ibglowin , Mike where and what did you buy for your tubing and connections? I've bought that same pump and filter but haven't added a switch or mounted to anything yet. I'm thinking Home Depot for connections maybe?

Mike
 

Johny99

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I use a paint sprayer prefilter for pumping for the first racking. From Lowes, in the paint department. Basically it is a screen over a plastic fitting. It is the suction hose end filter for the airless sprayers. It fits a 1/2 hose so I used a reducer to fit it to the suction hose with a couple of clamps. The big advantage over the inline, which is there too to protect the pump, is I can simply wipe stuff off of it when it plugs with skins and seeds and stuff.
 
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