Let's talk Unitank

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by J A, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I just spent more money than I've ever spent on any aspect of homebrewing for a (seriously) bargain priced SS Brewtech 1/2 barrel Unitank.
    Who's using one - or something similar - and how are you chilling it?
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Whoa...
     
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  3. KC

    KC Active Member

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    Haha rub it in
     
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  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    It's a big step but this one was brand new and 30 percent off of retail price. As far as I can tell, it'll be ready to go with the addition of any sort of cooling set up. I didn't necessarily want a half-barrel because I'm doing 10 gallon batches and will have to brew high-gravity dilute if I want to fill it to capacity with low-to mid-gravity beers or brew two slightly smaller batches to fill with higher-gravity beer.
    I've been determined to switch completely to stainless steel and get more organized in my process and it's just plain hard to deal with 10 gallon+ fermenters in a chest freezer temp chamber.
    I'm hoping to work out a glycol source in a smaller chest freezer and maybe convert my other fermenter - a 14 gallon Chapman pot - to a chiller coil, too. Even with just the one big fermenter, I could conceivably turn over a 3-keg batch of Pale or IPA in 2-3 weeks and even lagers could be ready for kegs in 3-4 weeks.
    I can't (or shouldn't :p ) drink as much as I can brew now, but I'm looking to get my sons involved in brewing and splitting batches.
     
  5. Texas Ale Works

    Texas Ale Works Active Member

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    there are some interesting options for chilling those things...some are using hydroponic setups as a chiller and just using cold water
     
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  6. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Just make 2 or 3 batches and mix them all in. ;)
     
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  7. Texas Ale Works

    Texas Ale Works Active Member

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    yeah!!!

    2 porters, a sour,and a NEIPA.....mix that shizz all inthe same tank.....seems legit!!!!...lol
     
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  8. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    I need one of those really bad. I need a 14/15 gallon one, though. I'm so jealous. Seriously big time jealous here.
     
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  9. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    unless you have a 60 degree basement you will need a coil and glyco set up, you can make the glyco set up but I would buy the proper coil that fits that unit
     
  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I would have no way of cooling that.
     
  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Wowie you sure did go stainless all the way! You the man JA!
     
  12. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Come brew with me Lorena! :D :D You guys will be heading to warmer climes before too long, right?
    The 1/2 barrel seems like overkill, but it would still work with a 10-11 gallon batch. I had been eyeing options for 14 gallon size that would do 10+ but this one came up. At 17 gallons total, it's not too much bigger than the 14.
     
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  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    No basement, nearly never 60 degrees. Will go glycol/water. The unit comes with the coil. It's ready to hook up to a pump. It's even possible to just run it with an ice chest and frozen gallon jugs if I want to make ice and change them out. I may end up trying that but I have the option for water in a controlled chest freezer, too.
     
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  14. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    If I was back in San Marcos, you bet I'd be knocking on your door begging to brew with you! Unfortunately, since we're still rental home-less in Texas, we're going to Florida's Gulf Coast this winter. Bob misses the saltwater flats fishing and the kayak fishing on those saltwater bays, so we're not going back to Texas until we find a place again on the coast. Rockport really is years away from full recovery, and there is a housing shortage since many homes haven't yet been rebuilt.

    You're the second person today that asked me to visit in the Austin area when we get back to Texas- it's going to be a whole new world for us this year.
     
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  15. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Maybe you'll make a trip over this way at some point...give a shout when you do. :)
     
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  16. dankbrewing@gmail.com

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    It is a nice tank. Now you need a glycol chiller. Did it come with the heating pad around the cone? That is a nice addition as well. You need the CIP ball for cleaning, get the small one.
     
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  17. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Glycol/water mixture will probably be cooled in my small chest freezer, at least initially. I'm dreaming up a way to integrate a chiller coil into my 14 gallon Chapman pot so I'm not stuck with big batches and only one fermenter. Won't worry too much about that until I get this beast up and running.
    As far as heat goes, there's so little time that it's ever necessary here that I mostly don't worry about it. I've used a heating pad occasionally and I think I could rig up something pretty reasonably.
    Regarding the CIP ball, yes there a couple of accessories that I definitely want to acquire. Spunding valve is high on the list, too
     
  18. dankbrewing@gmail.com

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    I messed around with the cooler and ice for awhile as well, cheap, but lots of upkeep and hassle. There are some DIY glycol chiller plans out there, the cost is largely dependent on how cheap you can acquire an air conditioner for. Overall though, having the unitank is a huge upgrade in quality and consistency and now you will have to save your money for another. :)
     
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  19. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the ice chest would only do for a trial run if I don't have something better worked out before I get the tank ready to go. Next phase might be a bucket of glycol/water in my small chest freezer, though the heat transfer will be pretty dismal in terms of keeping the bath cold. Filling or partially filling the freezer will work but that's a lot of weight for the structure and a lot of thermal mass for the compressor to cool down. A version of the old brick-in-the-toilet-tank trick could be employed to take up a few cubic feet of space and cut down on the glycol mix but that becomes part of the thermal mass, too and unless the bricks cool faster than water, it doesn't do much.
    But, yes, eventually a dedicated glycol chiller is needed. ;)
     
  20. LlewellynBrewHaus

    LlewellynBrewHaus Active Member

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    Super jelly of your purchase @J A ... have been looking at that exact one for awhile ...already have the diy glycol chiller, sadly I’m still minus the fermentor
     
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