I received the fermenter from Dave Richardson to trial. Two days later I brewed a Belgian Wit and fermented it in the conical fermenter. The fermenter was equipped to heat only with no cooling accessories. It was located in my garage where the average temperature was 12-13°c for this time of the year. It was located on top of a wooden storage unit about 60 cm high. I looked at numerous YouTube videos before use. These are my observations.
I found it much easier to attach the dual valve tap when the fermenter (without lid) was turned upside down.
I needed good light to connect the power cord but then it was easy. Could have a “warning” about taking care with the pins when connecting.
The temperature controller was very easy to attach.
I syphoned the cool wort from the boiler to the fermenter. I then carried it to its location in the garage. While fairly heavy it was quite manageable.
I chose the Ale setting, 20°c for 7 days then 22°c for 7 days. Next morning the temperature reading was 12.8°c. When I checked “settings” it was on “cooling” so I changed it “warming”. It worked perfectly then over the next 14 days. I was very pleased with number of days/hours left being given. Might be an idea to mention that the overall settings need to be checked firstly (this might be in the instructions which I did not have).
During the first week there was a fairly long blackout during the night. When I checked the temperature controller next morning it was totally unaffected. An excellent feature.
Even with the raised position it was awkward to remove the yeast and to take samples for gravity checks. With the correct hoses this would/will be a lot easier.
When it came time to keg the Wit I carried the fermenter back to the brew shed. It took a fair bit of effort to lift it onto the bench, arms nearly fully stretched. Getting the fermenter high enough for gravity feeding the beer could be a problem in some circumstances. A pressure transfer option would be an excellent accessory.
Exceptionally easy to clean/sanitise before and after use. Cleaning the taps during fermentation was a bit awkward, due to a lack of space for big hands, but OK with spray bottles.
An excellent product. The addition of the glycol chiller would make it the very best home fermentation system anywhere near the price/prices.