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We always want to ensure our top-notch homebrewing products are working seamlessly, as they were intended.

For answers to the most commonly asked questions, please click the Support Categories tab.

To become a retailer of our Products, apply here.

If you still need to contact us, please fill out the form below and allow three business days for a reply or call (765) 421-2018.

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Thank you for requesting a quote. We will quickly execute a preliminary proposal(s) for your review. Our objective is to design an optimally efficient and cost effective brewing operation while meeting each of your brewing and budgetary requirements. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

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Become a Retailer

Blichmann Engineering sells only through home wine / beer retailers who have physical retail storefronts in retail-zoned locations. In addition, we require at least one reference from a major homebrew supply wholesaler. Upon successfully validating your wholesale references, we will issue a Blichmann Engineering wholesale price list, and with your first purchase (a first-order minimum applies), we'll add your information to our website. You must become a registered distributor prior to placing an order.

Commercial Breweries: We sell at a discount to commercial breweries. However, we require a copy of your commercial brewing permit or application prior to providing a quote.

Brew Kettles

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I brew multiple batch sizes?

A. It is possible to brew multiple batch sizes, for example 5 and 10 gallons, with the following sizes. Note that you may need to accept some compromises for the added flexibility, such as adding additional makeup water to your boil kettle, thinner mashes, higher boil-off rates, etc. For doing small mashes in a large pot, it is advised to use a thinner mash. This will help maintain temperatures and also allow the thermometer to read the mash. We do offer a thermometer hole plug so you can locate the thermometer at a lower position for smaller batches and the higher position for bigger batch size.

  • 5 / 10: 5 gal -> 20 / 10 / 15
  • 10 gal -> 10 / 15 / 20 10 / 20: 10 gal -> 30 / 15 / 20
  • 20 gal -> 15 / 20 / 30 20 / 30: 20 gal -> 55 / 20 / 30
  • 30 gal -> 20 / 30 / 55

Q. Do I need a clad bottom?

A. Clad bottoms are great for cooking viscous foods like spaghetti or gravies, especially on an electric stove. Because these foods don't convect like thinner liquids (such as beer wort), scorching is more likely. With the full rolling boil of a wort boil, and the use of a gas/propane burner, scorching is not an issue, even on the lightest worts. Our research and development team has thoroughly tested the BoilerMaker™ pots on high-BTU burners with very light beers (Koelsch, Pils, etc.) and experienced no discoloration or scorching whatsoever. While the clad bottoms look impressive, they add cost, but no real benefit, to the brewer. Because we designed the BoilerMaker™ from a clean sheet, we added cost only where it added specific benefits to the brewer. The stepped bottom, quality level gauge, adjustable BrewMometer™, and snap-in dip tube are a few examples.

Q. Why do I need a level gauge on every kettle?

A. There are several reasons why we feel a level gauge is necessary on every vessel in your brewery.

  • Beer is about 90% water, so knowing how much you're using in each kettle is essential.
  • Consistency from batch to batch is all about repeatability and measurements. Using a level gauge will ensure you're starting with the right amount of water and finishing with the correct amount. These measurements will also let you measure your system efficiency.
  • Using a gauge instead of a bucket reduces errors and saves time.
  • Hot Liquor Tank: Initial fill, water chemistry adjustments.
  • Mash Tun: Initial fill, water adjustment, allows you to monitor static pressure on mash to prevent stuck mashes. When the level in the gauge reaches half the level of the mash, you know you're drawing too fast and may stick your mash well before it actually happens. This is particularly useful for RIMS / HERMS brewers.
  • Boil Kettle: Know when to stop lauter runoff and measure the initial and final fill for efficiency measurements. Knowing your gravity points early on allows you more time to correct any issues.
  • The heat shield provided with your BoilerMaker™ will prevent boiling in the level gauge, allowing very accurate readings.

Q. Can I brew a smaller batch in a larger BrewEasy™ system?

A. You can brew a smaller batch of beer than the size the BrewEasy™ was designed to accommodate. Several caveats are important to note and special steps will need to be taken. We recommend using the BrewEasy™ for the designed batch size and suggest purchasing in the batch size you plan to brew the most.

Smaller than 5 gallons in 5 gallon BrewEasy™:

  • We do not recommend smaller than 4 gallon finished batch size in the 5 gallon BrewEasy™.

5 gallon batch in 10 gallon BrewEasy™:

  • When brewing smaller batches in the larger system you will encounter a thinner mash bed, which can lead to cloudier wort. We recommend at least 10 pounds of grain to avoid an overly thin mash bed. We highly recommend purchasing the 9”, BE-000159-00, to accommodate the smaller mash.
  • When brewing with gas, caramelization can be an issue with low volumes in the bottom kettle of the BrewEasy™. This is especially problematic with the electric BrewEasy™ as the BoilCoil™ must remain fully submerged during operation. You should always maintain a minimum volume of 5 gallons in the bottom kettle at all times. It is important to set the AutoSparge™ float to maintain this minimum volume.
  • The BrewMometer™ will likely not be an effective method of verifying the mash temperature as the mash bed will not reach the stem of the BrewMometer™.

10 gallon batch in 20 gallon BrewEasy™:

  • When brewing smaller batches in the larger system you will encounter a thinner mash bed, which can lead to cloudier wort. We recommend at least 20 pounds of grain to avoid an overly thin mash bed. We highly recommend purchasing the 12” AutoSparge™ float rod, BE-000160-00 to accommodate the smaller mash.
  • The BrewMometer™ will likely not be an effective method of verifying the mash temperature as the mash bed will not reach the stem of the BrewMometer™.

Q. Is the HopBlocker™ compatible with the BoilCoil™?

A. The HopBlocker™ is compatible for use the BoilCoil™. Special care should be taken when installing the diptube and HopBlocker™ to avoid bending the BoilCoil™.

Brew Systems & Controls

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I brew a smaller batch in a larger BrewEasy™ system?

A. You can brew a smaller batch of beer than the size the BrewEasy™ was designed to accommodate. Several caveats are important to note and special steps will need to be taken. We recommend using the BrewEasy™ for the designed batch size and suggest purchasing in the batch size you plan to brew the most.

Smaller than 5 gallons in 5 gallon BrewEasy™:

  • We do not recommend smaller than 4 gallon finished batch size in the 5 gallon BrewEasy™.

5 gallon batch in 10 gallon BrewEasy™:

  • When brewing smaller batches in the larger system you will encounter a thinner mash bed, which can lead to cloudier wort. We recommend at least 10 pounds of grain to avoid an overly thin mash bed. We highly recommend purchasing the 9”, BE-000159-00, to accommodate the smaller mash.
  • When brewing with gas, caramelization can be an issue with low volumes in the bottom kettle of the BrewEasy™. This is especially problematic with the electric BrewEasy™ as the BoilCoil™ must remain fully submerged during operation. You should always maintain a minimum volume of 5 gallons in the bottom kettle at all times. It is important to set the AutoSparge™ float to maintain this minimum volume.
  • The BrewMometer™ will likely not be an effective method of verifying the mash temperature as the mash bed will not reach the stem of the BrewMometer™.

10 gallon batch in 20 gallon BrewEasy™:

  • When brewing smaller batches in the larger system you will encounter a thinner mash bed, which can lead to cloudier wort. We recommend at least 20 pounds of grain to avoid an overly thin mash bed. We highly recommend purchasing the 12” AutoSparge™ float rod, BE-000160-00 to accommodate the smaller mash.
  • When brewing with gas, caramelization can be an issue with low volumes in the bottom kettle of the BrewEasy™. This is especially problematic with the electric BrewEasy™ as the BoilCoil™ must remain fully submerged during operation. You should always maintain a minimum volume of 7 gallons in the bottom kettle at all times. It is important to set the AutoSparge™ float to maintain this minimum volume.
  • The BrewMometer™ will likely not be an effective method of verifying the mash temperature as the mash bed will not reach the stem of the BrewMometer™.

Q. Is the HopBlocker™ compatible with the BoilCoil™?

A. The HopBlocker™ is compatible for use the BoilCoil™. Special care should be taken when installing the dip tube and Hop Blocker™ to avoid bending the BoilCoil™.

Brewing Products

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why does the little rubber valve keep slipping off?

A. Inspect your valve seat to make sure there isn't a tear where it affixes to the little clip. If there is, replace the seat. Also, it is not necessary to push down firmly on the end of the BeerGun™ when filling a bottle. This is the most common source of the seat slipping off the clip. Lastly, you can "glue" the seat in place with a dab of silicone sealant. However, this precludes you from removing it for sanitizing.

Q. Why is beer spraying out of the elbow?

A. This is a simple fix. You have crossed the beer and the CO2 lines. The beer goes into the smaller tube sticking out of the elbow. The CO2 goes into the brass push-button valve.

Q. Where do I get replacements if I’ve lost the rubber valve seat or the little clip?

A. Please contact your retailer. They should have these parts in stock. If not, they can special order them for you. You can also get replacement parts from the Blichmann Engineering Replacement Parts web site now. See link below. http://parts.blichmannengineering.com/BeerGun-Tips-p/be-000109-01.htm

Q. Why is the beer still foaming no matter what I try?

A. If you are experiencing foaming even after following the tips in the troubleshooting guide, it is extremely likely and common that you have over-carbonated your beer.

Over-carbonated beer contains more CO2 in solution than is stable at the given pressure and temperature. Any change in pressure or increase in temperature will cause this excess CO2 to come out of solution, causing excessive foaming and gas bubbles in the beer line.

Therefore, when carbonating your beer, do not “speed-gas” it by applying more than the dispensing pressure. There is no way to control the amount of CO2 entering the beer using this method! Apply the correct amount of pressure (typically 8 to 12 PSI) and let it sit for a week or so to carbonate. If you do want to speed it along somewhat, you can roll/shake the keg, but never exceed the recommended pressure of 8 to 12 PSI for your desired carbonation level. Most homebrewing books contain carbonation charts. If you believe you have over-carbonated your beer, you may be able to reduce the carbonation level over several days by pulling the pressure relief valve on the top of the keg to vent the gas. Do this several times per day until you have vented the excess carbonation.

Q. What is the importance of weld-free design?

A. Our competitors talk about the quality of their sanitary welds and the skill of their welders. But a sanitary weld is nothing more than a procedure done in an oxygen-free environment on both sides of the weld using an inert gas. These welds are usually done from the outside of the tank while the inside of the tank (which is the critical area) is not visible to the welder while welding. Others do weld from the inside, but the small, confined area makes this weld very difficult and requires "elaborate" procedures to produce a reasonable-quality weld. Because there is little oxygen in the weld, burning and porosity are greatly reduced but not eliminated.

In the real world, there is no such thing as a microscopically flaw-free weld, to which any welding engineer can attest. Depending on the skill of the welder, and the day he or she is having, remaining flaws (quench cracks, porosity, and cold laps) will vary and are usually not visible to the naked eye. Many elaborate methods are used to reduce these flaws, but unless they are microscopically inspected and repaired, there is no way to determine if the flaws in the weld are small enough (0.5 micron or less) to not present a sanitation or corrosion problem.

Clearly, the best design is one that is not susceptible to human or process error and doesn't require elaborate welding procedures to reduce quality problems. Subsequently, that design will have little variation in quality. This was the driving force in the design of the Fermenator™, and Blichmann Engineering quality is very high, very repeatable, and absolutely free of any possible flaw. Our weld-free fittings are easy to install and thoroughly clean, which simply cannot be done with a welded fitting.

Why do commercial breweries use welded tanks and fittings? Due to the sheer size of commercial fermenters, they are made by welding rolled sheets of steel together. The welds are subsequently ground, polished, and then non-destructively tested for microscopic flaws. Because commercial breweries often utilize hot steam for sanitization, it is less of a problem even if a flaw is present.

Because homebrew-sized fermenters are too small inside to grind and polish from the inside, these flaws can't be removed – or detected. Plus, improper grinding techniques can also cause micro-cracking. Steam-sanitizing is not a realistic option for homebrewers. Fortunately, homebrew tanks are small enough to be deep-drawn from a single sheet of stainless steel and formed without any welding whatsoever. So why take a flaw-free tank and add welds to it?

WHAT HAPPENS IN THESE FLAWS?

Obviously, they are a good place for bacteria to hide because liquids carrying sanitizer have a hard time penetrating these small flaws, due mostly to the water's surface tension. Because oxygen can't readily travel to these flaws, the protective CrO2 layer that stainless steel naturally forms in the presence of air (oxygen) can't form on the walls of the flaw. Eventually, these flaws will grow through rusting of the base metal (iron). In extreme cases, these flaws can propagate through the wall of the tank and leak.

Although weld-free fittings are more expensive than welded fittings, Blichmann Engineering advises it for peace of mind, clean bacteria-free beer, and a fermenter that will last a lifetime.

High-Quality Fittings

All fittings used for the bottom dump and rotating racking arm are specially made, stainless-steel, high-quality industrial fittings, not makeshift hardware store parts and pipe fittings sandwiched between o-rings like most "weld-free kits" available at homebrew supply stores. Competitors' designs utilize compression fittings, which have inherent corrosion and bacteria problems. The ferrule on a compression fitting locks in place on the racking tube and, as above, prevents a flow of oxygen to the surfaces under the fitting, which allows pitting and corrosion to take place. Threaded fittings that can't be disassembled exhibit similar phenomenon. Others use short pipe nipples that can't be easily disassembled. The Fermenator™, on the other hand, uses a flare fitting to eliminate this problem. All threaded fittings have hex flats for easy disassembly, and the o-ring design is identical to hydraulic systems capable of holding 4,000 PSI of pressure! Again, it's more expensive than welding, but well worth the added cost.

Unlike welded fittings, ours can be removed for easy cleaning by sanitizer, boiling or autoclaving.

Because one side of the fitting on all competitive models is welded to the tank, it can't be removed, and flooding those surfaces (particularly threaded fittings) with sanitizer is difficult at best. That's why they recommend you Clean In Place (CIP) with expensive cleaners and time-consuming soaks. In less than a minute, you can remove the bottom dump and racking arm assemblies in your Fermenator™ and have them ready for a good cleaning. If you're obsessed with sanitation, you can completely disassemble them in a few minutes more. Even then, it's much faster than readying all the CIP circulation equipment and significantly more thorough. Rest assured that you've got every nook, every cranny, every time, in just a little time. You choose the cleaning method that's right for you!

Replaceable Fittings

Our competitors welded-in fittings can't be replaced if they get accidentally damaged or wear out. Cutting and re-welding are the only way to repair a damaged or worn fitting on their tanks.

ORIENT THE DUMP VALVE HOW YOU WISH

Weld-free fittings let you orient the dump valve in any position you want, not where it happens to end up when tightening a welded fitting – such as facing the rear of the refrigerator!

Guaranteed 100% Leak Free!!!

Our optimized design, identical to hydraulic systems under thousands of PSI, is also guaranteed to be 100% leak-free. Even the lid seal can be fully immersed under pressure!

Q. How can I cool my Conical Fermentor?

A. We get regular requests for jacketed or solid-state cooling devised for our line of conicals. While our competition offers these, they are very expensive and have limited performance. At Blichmann Engineering, we believe simple is better. While we would make more money selling you complicated equipment, our philosophy is to provide value. We would never recommend a product we wouldn't use in our own brewery.

That said, we have designed the Fermenator™ to easily fit into an upright freezer, which offers the following significant advantages over thermo-electric cooling and glycol jacketed conicals:

It's a much lower cost than jacketing the conical. You can buy a brand-new upright freezer for $375 to $550. Our competitors' cooling options cost $850 to $1,275.

Adding a simple Ranco or Love controller to this freezer will allow you to get significantly more cooling power – easily down to 28°F or less! Eisbock? No problem! Solid state coolers can do about 25 to 30°F off ambient MAX. So, if you're in a garage in the summer, you'll be lucky to reach ale temps, much less lager temps. Using a lightbulb or pad heater will also allow you to heat the freezer in the winter.

It's much quieter, more economical, and reliable to operate. For typical use, these will cost about $25 per year in operation costs.

It can be used for beer storage when not fermenting.

It takes little more floor space than the conical itself.

There is no foam insulation or clumsy wiring to mess with for cleaning the conical and no condensation dripping on the floor.

When looking for an upright freezer, look for something in the range of 13.5 cu. ft. models or larger (approximate size, 28W X 28.5D X 59H) works well for the 7 and 14.5 gal Fermenators™. Freezers in the 20.5 cu. ft. model range and larger (approximately 32W X 28.5D X 70H) both work well with the 27 and 42 gal models. These are all frost-free units. We have no control over the design of these freezers, so it is best that you measure the actual unit before purchasing it to ensure the Fermenator™ will fit. They will require the removal of the door panel as instructed below.

Converting a freezer to a laagering freezer

This is very easy to do with basic tools (jig saw and drill). You will need to remove the door-shelf panel and replace it with a flat panel to gain access to the full depth of the freezer. You can either cut the shelving off and leave the foam insulation exposed, but a more attractive option is shown in the pictures below. The fiberglass sheet, Ranco controller, and plywood shelf will cost you about $100 to $125 total.

Click here to see the full process

Q. How do I install a temperature probe in my Conical Fermentor?

A. Many brewers use digital temperature control to monitor and control fermentations. In our opinion, immersion probes are overkill for these small conicals – and open another area for contamination risk. We know it doesn’t look as cool, but a liquid crystal thermometer on the outside is inexpensive and has the accuracy of an RTD (+/- 0.5F). We have measured the sidewall temperature versus core temperature at high krausen using precision instrumentation, and there is less than 1° difference – insignificant in reality. If you are using the probe for control, just tape the probe to the side of the tank using a small piece of aluminum duct tape. Again, you’ll be easily within 1°, and you have nothing to sanitize. In addition, this limits thermal cycling of your cooling equipment and overcooling that can happen with immersion probes. At Blichmann Engineering, we very much believe simple is better. While we would make more money selling you this equipment, our philosophy is to provide value. We would never recommend a product we wouldn't use in our own brewery.

Q. Can I ferment smaller batches in my conical?

A. Yes, you can ferment, say, a 5 gal batch in your 14.5 gal conical. The CO2 gas from fermentation will fill the head space and protect your beer from oxidation. The only drawback is that you'll have less head pressure available to push out your yeast. Dumping more frequently will resolve that issue, or you can simply use the pressurization feature to push it out.

Q. Can I use the HopRocket™ in a recirculation chiller system?

A. The HopRocket™ can be utilized as a general strainer / filter, but it is not intended to filter all the sediment and particles of your brew pot while using at a hopback. The large quantities of pellet hops, trub and other debris will plug and compact the hop bed, stopping flow. The installation of a pre-filter in your kettle is recommended when using the HopRocket™ as a hopback. As such, recirculation whirlpool immersion chilling systems are not recommended for use with the HopRocket™. The whirlpool action suspends all the particulates and causes them to all enter the HopRocket™. However, the HopRocket™ can be used after the break material has settled. This does reduce the utilization of the hop aroma significantly because the wort is cool at this time.

Q. How do I use the HopRocket™ as a filter?

A. While the included screens will filter out large particles, you can fill the unit with 3 oz. of rice hulls, which will aid in trapping smaller particles. Flow / capacity will depend a lot on what you're filtering, so some experimentation is to be expected.

Q. How do I cool my wort with high groundwater temperatures?

A. The wort cannot be cooled below the cooling water temperature. While the Therminator™ is the highest-capacity homebrew chiller on the market, it will get you within a few degrees of your cooling water. But if you live in a warm climate area, that may not be enough. To drop below your groundwater temperature, you will need to use a cooling water pre-chiller. This is simply a 5/8" copper coil (25 to 50 feet) immersed in a pail of ice water. Use this to cool the groundwater before it enters the chiller. Stirring the ice water is recommended.

Q. Why does my HopBlocker™ plug even with pellet hops?

A. This is almost always from not waiting 15 to 20 minutes after whirlpooling to allow the convection currents (churning) to stop and the particulate matter to settle to the bottom of the pot. The other cause is not slowing the flow enough when you reach the level of the drain tube. It is vital that you use a slow drain rate to allow the wort to permeate through the hops/trub and not drag these particulates with it into the filter. Remember, this product does not work like a traditional filter. It directs the wort flow and allows the hop particulates to settle away from the drain tube and prevents them from getting suspended again and plugging the screen.

Q. Why does my HopBlocker™ plug when used with whole hops?

A. The HopBlocker™ is designed for use with pellet hops only. Whole loose hops will plug the unit. For using with whole hops, or a mix of whole and pellet hops, you need to bag your whole hops in a large muslin grain bag. This will not affect the utilization rate and will result in significantly less wort loss. Note that using small, fine-mesh nylon hop bags will reduce your hop utilization significantly. But the loose open nature of disposable muslin grain bags allows the wort to flow freely in and out of the bag, and utilization is not affected.

Q. Is the HopBlocker™ compatible with the BoilCoil™?

A. The HopBlocker™ is compatible for use the BoilCoil™. Special care should be taken when installing the dip tube and HopBlocker™ to avoid bending the BoilCoil™.

Q. What size hose is required for the ThruMometer™?

A. Available for use with 3/8 hose and now available for use with ½ hose also.

Q. Can I use the Blichmann burners indoors?

A. The Blichmann burner is intended for outdoor use only. It does not have the safety equipment provided to meet the requirements for indoor use.

Q. Can I mount more than three tiers on my stand?

A. The TopTier™ Modular Brewing Stand is highly engineered and designed to safely hold a maximum of three tiers (up to 30 gal pots per tier). For safety and liability reasons, we do not recommend installing additional tiers and we do not sell additional mounting arms for this reason. However, we do offer a 10" X 10" utility shelf (50 lbs. max), pump brackets, and chiller brackets to allow you to customize your stand. In addition, we include spare mounting nuts for you to add your own accessory items to the T-slot system.

Q. Why do I need to build a fuel manifold and what is required?

A. Due to the modularity of the TopTier™ Modular Brewing Stand, which is its best feature, you are required to purchase a couple pieces of 1/2" pipe and assemble a gas manifold for it.

For example, you could have one-, two- or three-burner tiers (balance being shelves) needing fuel, and these can be installed on any of the four faces at any height. Had we designed a limited fixed configuration stand like our competitors, we would have included the piping. But that means you'd be stuck with that configuration and could never change it as your equipment, batch size and brewing process changes and develops.

Fortunately, we do include nearly all the fittings you'll need. With the product, you'll receive a black iron tee, a brass flare adapter for each tier, and a plug to cap off the top of the manifold. All you'll have to provide are the straight lengths of pipe, which are readily available in a variety of lengths at your local hardware store or home improvement center. If you want a specific length, many of these stores will cut and thread your pipe to length for free or for a small fee. If you don't have a plumbing-supply store nearby, McMaster-Carr is an online source for these parts.

The manual provided with the stand includes detailed instructions and photos on assembling your manifold, which is a simple process. We also provide a nice stainless-steel, bellows-type gas hose to connect the burner to the manifold, as well as hardware to mount the pipe manifold to the stand. These are the more difficult and expensive parts to acquire that are not available at the above stores.

Fermentation

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the importance of weld-free design?

A. Our competitors talk about the quality of their sanitary welds and the skill of their welders. But a sanitary weld is nothing more than a procedure done in an oxygen-free environment on both sides of the weld using an inert gas. These welds are usually done from the outside of the tank while the inside of the tank (which is the critical area) is not visible to the welder while welding. Others do weld from the inside, but the small, confined area makes this weld very difficult and requires "elaborate" procedures to produce a reasonable-quality weld. Because there is little oxygen in the area of the weld, burning and porosity are greatly reduced but not completely eliminated.

In the real world, there is no such thing as a microscopically flaw-free weld, to which any welding engineer can attest. Depending on the skill of the welder, and the day he or she is having, remaining flaws (quench cracks, porosity, and cold laps) will vary and are usually not visible to the naked eye. Many elaborate methods are used to reduce these flaws, but unless they are microscopically inspected and repaired, there is no way to determine if the flaws in the weld are small enough (0.5 micron or less) to not present a sanitation or corrosion problem.

Clearly, the best design is one that is not susceptible to human or process error and doesn't require elaborate welding procedures to reduce quality problems. Subsequently, that design will have little variation in quality. This was the driving force in the design of the Fermenator™, and Blichmann Engineering quality is very high, very repeatable, and absolutely free of any possible flaw. Our weld-free fittings are easy to install and thoroughly clean, which simply cannot be done with a welded fitting.

Why do commercial breweries use welded tanks and fittings? Due to the sheer size of commercial fermentors, they are made by welding rolled sheets of steel together. The welds are subsequently ground, polished, and then non-destructively tested for microscopic flaws. Because commercial breweries often utilize hot steam for sanitization, it is less of a problem even if a flaw is present.

Because homebrew-sized fermentors are too small inside to grind and polish from the inside, these flaws can't be removed – or detected. Plus, improper grinding techniques can also cause micro-cracking. Steam-sanitizing is not a realistic option for homebrewers. Fortunately, homebrew tanks are small enough to be deep-drawn from a single sheet of stainless steel and formed without any welding whatsoever. So why take a flaw-free tank and add welds to it?

WHAT HAPPENS IN THESE FLAWS?

Obviously, they are a good place for bacteria to hide because liquids carrying sanitizer have a hard time penetrating these small flaws, due mostly to the water's surface tension. Because oxygen can't readily travel to these flaws, the protective CrO2 layer that stainless steel naturally forms in the presence of air (oxygen) can't form on the walls of the flaw. Eventually, these flaws will grow through rusting of the base metal (iron). In extreme cases, these flaws can propagate through the wall of the tank and leak.

Although weld-free fittings are more expensive than welded fittings, Blichmann Engineering advises it for peace of mind, clean bacteria-free beer, and a fermenter that will last a lifetime.

High-Quality Fittings

All fittings used for the bottom dump and rotating racking arm are specially made, stainless-steel, high-quality industrial fittings, not makeshift hardware store parts and pipe fittings sandwiched between o-rings like most "weld-free kits" available at homebrew supply stores. Competitors' designs utilize compression fittings, which have inherent corrosion and bacteria problems. The ferrule on a compression fitting locks in place on the racking tube and, as above, prevents a flow of oxygen to the surfaces under the fitting, which allows pitting and corrosion to take place. Threaded fittings that can't be disassembled exhibit similar phenomenon. Others use short pipe nipples that can't be easily disassembled. The Fermenator™, on the other hand, uses a flare fitting to eliminate this problem. All threaded fittings have hex flats for easy disassembly, and the o-ring design is identical to hydraulic systems capable of holding 4,000 PSI of pressure!. Again, it's more expensive than welding, but well worth the added cost.

Easiest Fermentor to Clean

Unlike welded fittings, ours can be removed for easy cleaning by sanitizer, boiling or autoclaving.

Because one side of the fitting on all competitive models is welded to the tank, it can't be removed, and flooding those surfaces (particularly threaded fittings) with sanitizer is difficult at best. That's why they recommend you Clean In Place (CIP) with expensive cleaners and time-consuming soaks. In less than a minute, you can remove the bottom dump and racking arm assemblies in your Fermenator™ and have them ready for a good cleaning. If you're obsessed with sanitation, you can completely disassemble them in a few minutes more. Even then, it's much faster than readying all the CIP circulation equipment and significantly more thorough. Rest assured that you've got every nook, every cranny, every time, in just a little time. You choose the cleaning method that's right for you!

Replaceable Fittings

Our competitors' welded-in fittings can't be replaced if they get accidentally damaged or wear out. Cutting and re-welding are the only way to repair a damaged or worn fitting on their tanks.

ORIENT THE DUMP VALVE HOW YOU WISH

Weld-free fittings let you orient the dump valve in any position you want, not where it happens to end up when tightening a welded fitting – such as facing the rear of the refrigerator!

Guaranteed 100% Leak Free!!!

Our optimized design, identical to hydraulic systems under thousands of PSI, is also guaranteed to be 100% leak-free. Even the lid seal can be fully immersed under pressure!

Q. How can I cool my Conical Fermentor?

A. We get regular requests for jacketed or solid-state cooling devised for our line of conicals. While our competition offers these, they are very expensive and have limited performance. At Blichmann Engineering, we believe simple is better. While we would make more money selling you complicated equipment, our philosophy is to provide value. We would never recommend a product we wouldn't use in our own brewery.

That said, we have designed the Fermenator™ to easily fit into an upright freezer, which offers the following significant advantages over thermo-electric cooling and glycol jacketed conicals:

It's a much lower cost than jacketing the conical. You can buy a brand-new upright freezer for $375 to $550. Our competitors' cooling options cost $850 to $1,275.

Adding a simple Ranco or Love controller to this freezer will allow you to get significantly more cooling power – easily down to 28°F or less! Eisbock? No problem! Solid state coolers can do about 25 to 30°F off of ambient MAX. So if you're in a garage in the summer, you'll be lucky to reach ale temps, much less lager temps. Using a lightbulb or pad heater will also allow you to heat the freezer in the winter.

It's much quieter, more economical, and reliable to operate. For typical use, these will cost about $25 per year In operation costs.

It can be used for beer storage when not fermenting.

It takes little more floor space than the conical itself.

There is no foam insulation or clumsy wiring to mess with for cleaning the conical and no condensation dripping on the floor.

When looking for an upright freezer, look for something in the range of 13.5 cu. ft. models or larger (approximate size, 28W X 28.5D X 59H) works well for the 7 and 14.5 gal Fermenators™. Freezers in the 20.5 cu. ft. model range and larger (approximately 32W X 28.5D X 70H) both work well with the 27 and 42 gal models. These are all frost-free units. We have no control over the design of these freezers, so it is best that you measure the actual unit before purchasing it to ensure the Fermenator™ will fit. They will require the removal of the door panel as instructed below.

Converting a freezer to a laagering freezer

This is very easy to do with basic tools (jig saw and drill). You will need to remove the door-shelf panel and replace it with a flat panel to gain access to the full depth of the freezer. You can either cut the shelving off and leave the foam insulation exposed, but a more attractive option is shown in the pictures below. The fiberglass sheet, Ranco controller, and plywood shelf will cost you about $100 to $125 total.

Click here to see the full process

Q. How do I install a temperature probe in my Conical Fermentor?

A. Many brewers use digital temperature control to monitor and control fermentations. In our opinion, immersion probes are overkill for these small conicals – and open another area for contamination risk. We know it doesn’t look as cool, but a liquid crystal thermometer on the outside is inexpensive and actually has the accuracy of an RTD (+/- 0.5F). We have measured the sidewall temperature versus core temperature at high krausen using precision instrumentation, and there is less than 1° difference – insignificant in reality. If you are using the probe for control, just tape the probe to the side of the tank using a small piece of aluminum duct tape. Again, you’ll be easily within 1°, and you have nothing to sanitize. In addition, this limits thermal cycling of your cooling equipment and overcooling that can happen with immersion probes. At Blichmann Engineering, we very much believe simple is better. While we would make more money selling you this equipment, our philosophy is to provide value. We would never recommend a product we wouldn't use in our own brewery.

Q. Can I ferment smaller batches in my conical?

A. Yes, you can ferment, say, a 5 gal batch in your 14.5 gal conical. The CO2 gas from fermentation will fill the head space and protect your beer from oxidation. The only drawback is that you'll have less head pressure available to push out your yeast. Dumping more frequently will resolve that issue, or you can simply use the pressurization feature to push it out.

Wine Making

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q. WineEasy™ is described as being able to serve as a variable capacity tank for bulk aging. How is that done?

A. After primary fermentation is over and you have finished pressing the must, clean the fermentor and piston assembly thoroughly. Reassemble the fermentor valve and sanitize the fermentor and piston assembly. Then transfer the pressed wine back into the fermentor. Use some sanitizer in a spray bottle and wet the sidewalls inside the fermentor. Then basically you just push the piston down onto the surface of the wine and place a stopper and airlock in the opening.

Q. What is the importance of weld-free design?

A. Our competitors talk about the quality of their sanitary welds and the skill of their welders. But a sanitary weld is nothing more than a procedure done in an oxygen-free environment on both sides of the weld using an inert gas. These welds are usually done from the outside of the tank while the inside of the tank (which is the critical area) is not visible to the welder while welding. Others do weld from the inside, but the small, confined area makes this weld very difficult and requires "elaborate" procedures to produce a reasonable-quality weld. Because there is little oxygen in the area of the weld, burning and porosity are greatly reduced but not completely eliminated.

In the real world, there is no such thing as a microscopically flaw-free weld, to which any welding engineer can attest. Depending on the skill of the welder, and the day he or she is having, remaining flaws (quench cracks, porosity, and cold laps) will vary and are usually not visible to the naked eye. Many elaborate methods are used to reduce these flaws, but unless they are microscopically inspected and repaired, there is no way to determine if the flaws in the weld are small enough (0.5 micron or less) to not present a sanitation or corrosion problem.

Clearly, the best design is one that is not susceptible to human or process error and doesn't require elaborate welding procedures to reduce quality problems. Subsequently, that design will have little variation in quality. This was the driving force in the design of the Fermenator™, and Blichmann Engineering quality is very high, very repeatable, and absolutely free of any possible flaw. Our weld-free fittings are easy to install and thoroughly clean, which simply cannot be done with a welded fitting.

Why do commercial breweries use welded tanks and fittings? Due to the sheer size of commercial fermentors, they are made by welding rolled sheets of steel together. The welds are subsequently ground, polished, and then non-destructively tested for microscopic flaws. Because commercial breweries often utilize hot steam for sanitization, it is less of a problem even if a flaw is present.

Because homebrew-sized fermentors are too small inside to grind and polish from the inside, these flaws can't be removed – or detected. Plus, improper grinding techniques can also cause micro-cracking. Steam-sanitizing is not a realistic option for homebrewers. Fortunately, homebrew tanks are small enough to be deep-drawn from a single sheet of stainless steel and formed without any welding whatsoever. So why take a flaw-free tank and add welds to it?

WHAT HAPPENS IN THESE FLAWS?

Obviously, they are a good place for bacteria to hide because liquids carrying sanitizer have a hard time penetrating these small flaws, due mostly to the water's surface tension. Because oxygen can't readily travel to these flaws, the protective CrO2 layer that stainless steel naturally forms in the presence of air (oxygen) can't form on the walls of the flaw. Eventually, these flaws will grow through rusting of the base metal (iron). In extreme cases, these flaws can propagate through the wall of the tank and leak.

Although weld-free fittings are more expensive than welded fittings, Blichmann Engineering advises it for peace of mind, clean bacteria-free beer, and a fermenter that will last a lifetime.

High-Quality Fittings

All fittings used for the bottom dump and rotating racking arm are specially made, stainless-steel, high-quality industrial fittings, not makeshift hardware store parts and pipe fittings sandwiched between o-rings like most "weld-free kits" available at homebrew supply stores. Competitors' designs utilize compression fittings, which have inherent corrosion and bacteria problems. The ferrule on a compression fitting locks in place on the racking tube and, as above, prevents a flow of oxygen to the surfaces under the fitting, which allows pitting and corrosion to take place. Threaded fittings that can't be disassembled exhibit similar phenomenon. Others use short pipe nipples that can't be easily disassembled. The Fermenator™, on the other hand, uses a flare fitting to eliminate this problem. All threaded fittings have hex flats for easy disassembly, and the o-ring design is identical to hydraulic systems capable of holding 4,000 PSI of pressure!. Again, it's more expensive than welding, but well worth the added cost.

Easiest Fermentor to Clean

Unlike welded fittings, ours can be removed for easy cleaning by sanitizer, boiling or autoclaving.

Because one side of the fitting on all competitive models is welded to the tank, it can't be removed, and flooding those surfaces (particularly threaded fittings) with sanitizer is difficult at best. That's why they recommend you Clean In Place (CIP) with expensive cleaners and time-consuming soaks. In less than a minute, you can remove the bottom dump and racking arm assemblies in your Fermenator™ and have them ready for a good cleaning. If you're obsessed with sanitation, you can completely disassemble them in a few minutes more. Even then, it's much faster than readying all the CIP circulation equipment and significantly more thorough. Rest assured that you've got every nook, every cranny, every time, in just a little time. You choose the cleaning method that's right for you!

Replaceable Fittings

Our competitors' welded-in fittings can't be replaced if they get accidentally damaged or wear out. Cutting and re-welding are the only way to repair a damaged or worn fitting on their tanks.

ORIENT THE DUMP VALVE HOW YOU WISH

Weld-free fittings let you orient the dump valve in any position you want, not where it happens to end up when tightening a welded fitting – such as facing the rear of the refrigerator!

Guaranteed 100% Leak Free!!!

Our optimized design, identical to hydraulic systems under thousands of PSI, is also guaranteed to be 100% leak-free. Even the lid seal can be fully immersed under pressure!

Q. How can I cool my Conical Fermentor?

A. We get regular requests for jacketed or solid-state cooling devised for our line of conicals. While our competition offers these, they are very expensive and have limited performance. At Blichmann Engineering, we believe simple is better. While we would make more money selling you complicated equipment, our philosophy is to provide value. We would never recommend a product we wouldn't use in our own brewery.

That said, we have designed the Fermenator™ to easily fit into an upright freezer, which offers the following significant advantages over thermo-electric cooling and glycol jacketed conicals:

It's a much lower cost than jacketing the conical. You can buy a brand-new upright freezer for $375 to $550. Our competitors' cooling options cost $850 to $1,275.

Adding a simple Ranco or Love controller to this freezer will allow you to get significantly more cooling power – easily down to 28°F or less! Eisbock? No problem! Solid state coolers can do about 25 to 30°F off of ambient MAX. So if you're in a garage in the summer, you'll be lucky to reach ale temps, much less lager temps. Using a lightbulb or pad heater will also allow you to heat the freezer in the winter.

It's much quieter, more economical, and reliable to operate. For typical use, these will cost about $25 per year In operation costs.

It can be used for beer storage when not fermenting.

It takes little more floor space than the conical itself.

There is no foam insulation or clumsy wiring to mess with for cleaning the conical and no condensation dripping on the floor.

When looking for an upright freezer, look for something in the range of 13.5 cu. ft. models or larger (approximate size, 28W X 28.5D X 59H) works well for the 7 and 14.5 gal Fermenators™. Freezers in the 20.5 cu. ft. model range and larger (approximately 32W X 28.5D X 70H) both work well with the 27 and 42 gal models. These are all frost-free units. We have no control over the design of these freezers, so it is best that you measure the actual unit before purchasing it to ensure the Fermenator™ will fit. They will require the removal of the door panel as instructed below.

Converting a freezer to a laagering freezer

This is very easy to do with basic tools (jig saw and drill). You will need to remove the door-shelf panel and replace it with a flat panel to gain access to the full depth of the freezer. You can either cut the shelving off and leave the foam insulation exposed, but a more attractive option is shown in the pictures below. The fiberglass sheet, Ranco controller, and plywood shelf will cost you about $100 to $125 total.

Click here to see the full process

Q. How do I install a temperature probe in my Conical Fermentor?

A. Many brewers use digital temperature control to monitor and control fermentations. In our opinion, immersion probes are overkill for these small conicals – and open another area for contamination risk. We know it doesn’t look as cool, but a liquid crystal thermometer on the outside is inexpensive and actually has the accuracy of an RTD (+/- 0.5F). We have measured the sidewall temperature versus core temperature at high krausen using precision instrumentation, and there is less than 1° difference – insignificant in reality. If you are using the probe for control, just tape the probe to the side of the tank using a small piece of aluminum duct tape. Again, you’ll be easily within 1°, and you have nothing to sanitize. In addition, this limits thermal cycling of your cooling equipment and overcooling that can happen with immersion probes. At Blichmann Engineering, we very much believe simple is better. While we would make more money selling you this equipment, our philosophy is to provide value. We would never recommend a product we wouldn't use in our own brewery.

Q. Can I ferment smaller batches in my conical?

A. Yes, you can ferment, say, a 5 gal batch in your 14.5 gal conical. The CO2 gas from fermentation will fill the head space and protect your beer from oxidation. The only drawback is that you'll have less head pressure available to push out your yeast. Dumping more frequently will resolve that issue, or you can simply use the pressurization feature to push it out.

Oxygenation & Carbonation

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Coming Soon!

Pumps

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Coming Soon!

Powered by BrewVision® Technology

Cleaning & Care

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Coming Soon!

Pro Brewing Systems

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Do you offer installation? Do you offer training on the systems?

We do not currently have a commissioning team to handle installation. On skidded systems we do have the ability to assist with some of the installation by request only. The hybrid systems require a licensed local electrician for the wiring, which is only part of the setup that requires installation. So our customers are able to setup the systems on their own

Do you ship to Canada?

We can ship to Canada. Please contact us for pricing as it depends on the equipment you order.

Is the system CSA approved? CE? cUL?

Depending on the system we do have UL and cUL certification on most of our systems. Please ask specifically as it does depend on the exact equipment ordered.

How much does shipping cost?

Shipping is handled on a per order basis. Please reach out to us at probrewing@blichmannengineering.com for pricing.

Do you offer financing?

We do not offer financing internally. We have had many breweries who have financed their equipment through Brewery Finance. Often times the local banks do not fully understand the brewing business and how the financials work. So it is often times easier to deal with a company who specializes in breweries. You can find their information here. https://www.breweryfinance.com/blichmann/

What is the difference between the standard and Hybrid™ brewhouses?

The biggest difference between the two is cost and the plumbing. The hybrid systems are open top large kettles that utilize hoses to move the wort from one kettle to the other. The standard system has stainless plumbing between valves. So on the hybrid system you just have to move hoses instead of turn valves when transferring.

Can the system work on 3 phase? If so, how much more does is cost?

Many of our systems are available in three phase power. Please reach out to us at probrewing@blichmannengineering.com for pricing and availability.

Pilot Systems

Cleaning & Care

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Coming Soon!