So I bought a conical fermenter

While I have been trying to convince Ryan to buy a conical fermenter for some time now, I bought one before he did. It is kinda of a crazy jump up in equipment for me. But I need a new toy. The thing about kombucha is that the gelatinous scoby forms at the top of the liquid and covers the entire surface area. So if the vessel then constricts at the top, it is rather difficult to man handle around the scoby. Such as when you drain the kombucha, or when you remove the scoby.

Blichmann sells a 7 gallon conical fermenter for $600. One weird thing is that the price does not scale up linearly as the volume increases. A 14 gallon fermenter is $640. I went for a cheaper version made by Stout Tanks (the 7.3 Gallon Conical Fermenter with wheels and thermometer for $479).

Stout Tank Conical

The build quality is quite nice except for a couple of issues. The first major one is that the center of gravity is not in the middle of the three wheels. One of the three sides is off balance, where if you push it, the conical will tip over. This is not fun when it is full of liquid. The other problem is with the default sanitary ball valves. These are cheaply made and have slightly inconsistent dimensions of the wrench fittings. Also, the o-ring that they use have a major flaw in them. When you tighten the valve back up, the o-ring will squeeze out of the gap rather than stay against the side. This is incredibly frustrating during a brew day after I have broken down everything to clean it and then discover that it cannot hold liquid. Fortunately, Stout Tanks took them back and gave me the better butterfly valves.