We'll I posted previously about how much it would cost to build a conical fermenter. Since then I was able to get all the supplies I needed to build the Polyethylene Inductor Tank Conical Fermenter. It was actually very easy. I even took pics of the project from start to finish so that you could get a real feel for it. Lets start with what parts I needed and what I did with them.
I got the inductor tank that already had a screw on lid and also a 1.5 inch threaded plug. This made is much easier to add the ball valve to the bottom because 1.5 inch is a standard plumbing size. I bought a 1.5 inch male fitting, 1/2 inch female fitting, and a 1/2 male ball valve. I also got three 4" casters wheels for the stand. The casters have a threaded bolt that is 3/8 inch which matched the bolt holes already in the stand.
It rolls good. This will help when moving it while it's full. I brew in the garage and ferment in the house.
The tank comes with a plug. Take the plug with you to the hardware store so that you can get the fitting that you need. Pick up a Ball valve while you are there. You'll also need some PVC primer and Blue Glue.
The PVC Primer and Blue Glue are a 2 part type of glue that is similar to a plastic welding process. When the PVC Primer is mixed with the Blue Glue it will harden and weld with the PVC.
Put all your fittings and ball valve together. You'll need to apply Teflon tape to the ball valve threads because it's metal. Use a lot of Teflon Tape. Normally you want to do at least 3 layers of teflon. However some experts will go with more. I've had luck with 3 layers so I use it, but if I'm worried at all about the surface condition of the threads, I'll add a couple of layers. You'll never want to use less than 3 layers.
Take the plug out and insert the modified ball valve assembly. Looks Good, Feels Good.
When adding any thing to your fermenter, you'll want to go with a weld less fitting. Drill a hole just slightly larger than the weld less fitting. You should be fine.
Ok, I got around to finishing up the racking valve. Here's a photo. This valve will be connected to a hose for filling bottles and kegs so there is a barb on it. Since this is all custom work I recommend that you customize yours to what ever equipment you have. I use a small barb for small diameter ID hoses, just because that's what I prefer, and it's easily adaptable. Go with what you like.
I decided to place a temperature controller on this fermenter. By doing this I don't have to turn the heat on in the house while no one's home. This heating pad lines about 25% of the exterior of the fermenter. I have also ordered an On/Off Switch Temperature Controller with temperature probe. The Temperature controller will turn the heating pad on when the temperature gets too low and off when it gets to the right temperature. This will allow for better control over the fermenting process.
Time flies. I still use this fermenter for brewing and it still gives a very good beer. Kevin recently purchased a stout stainless steel conical fermenter for his brewing process. It's a gorgeous 14 gal fermenter. I like how it looks, but I just can't justify upgrading when this one works just as good or maybe even better.
Of course the poly ethylene is much softer than 304 stainless steel so I have to be very careful not to scratch the inside while cleaning it. If that's a concern of your's I would definitely pay the extra few hundred $$ for the steel fermenter. Another drawback to the steel fermenter is that the stand does not readily accept casters, so you have to weld or rig up something if you want rollers. The steel is a bit heavier but when either of these fermenters is full they are pretty much, equality hard to move around.
For comparison I've added this photo of the Stout Conical Fermenter. This is a well made inexpensive fermenter that's made in China. You notice that is doesn't have any holes on the legs to mount casters, so if you want them you'll have to make a bracket drill some holes and bolt it on, or weld them on.
Image taken from
This fermenter also has a thermometer mounted on it. If your using a temperature controller then you'll already be monitoring the temp with the controller, however it's always nice to have extra temperature monitoring. All of the valves and thermometer have hardware holding them on that is completely removable and cleanable. You can also order parts for everything from Stout.
Of course I'm only discussing this in comparison to the Polyethylene that I build before. Between Kevin and I we've brewed at least 50 times using the Polyethylene fermenter and it still provide consistent good tasting beer. I will Post on here as soon as it dies.
This is something that you should never have to worry about using a stainless steel fermenter, as you can clean it as hard as you want with severe cleansers and the steel should hold up well. Although I've read that you should not use highly concentrated bleach on 304 stainless because it may cause pitting. With Polyethylene you must to use mild detergents.