German Made, Speidel Fermenters are available in a range of sizes 3.2 gallons all the way up to… 132 gallons. Check out the full lineup including accessories and replacement gaskets.
I’ve owned a 5.3 gallon Speidel fermenter since October of 2011. I use it for small batch BIAB beers. I’ve been very impressed with that fermenter. More recently, I picked up the 7.9 gallon version so that I can ferment full 5 gallon batches with all the same advantages. This is a hands on review of both fermenters.
Here’s the 7.9 gallon fermenter with lid and storage cap on. It’s made of heavy duty HDPE that can handle up to 140 deg F. HDPE is not… glass. The benefits of that are… no dropping a glass fermenter down a couple steps and having it shatter and getting glass shards in your feet and spending the day cleaning up the beer you just made and never getting to drink any of it. Ask me how I know :(. Don’t get me wrong, I still have glass fermenters, there are pros and cons. A pro of this design is safety.
The lid disassembled. There are two parts. An outer ring and the inner lid. Notice the O-ring on the lid portion. Every connection (lid or cap) has an O-ring. I like that a lot. I’ve used other plastic fermenters that are leaky. The net result of that, for me at least, was no airlock activity because CO2 is leaking out other places. Because the Speidel is well built and has airtight O-Ring connections, that has never happened when I’ve used the Speidel. As a bonus, replacement lid gaskets are available.
The stopper, airlock and spigot. If you look closely at the front of the spigot, you’ll notice that there is a small hole in it. That is designed to allow any beer left in the tubing to finish draining after the spigot is turned off.
Speidel logo on the front of the fermenter
Heavy duty handles. Per the product specifications, each handle is rated for up to 66 lbs or 132 lbs in all. That fact shows up in the product description starting at the 15.9 Gallon size. I’m assuming it’s true of all sizes.
This is how I’ve been storing the 5.3 gallon. Assembled with the spigot on bottom and the storage cap on top. I leave everything threaded but loose. That keeps out most of the dust, but still provides a little airflow.
Here is the 7.9 gallon Speidel with a batch ready to be kegged. As you can see I continue to keep the spigot oriented sideways during fermentation. The O-Ring provides a good enough seal that you can carefully loosen the spigot slightly and rotate without leaks. I flush it with Star San and then drain a bit of beer to clear up anything that might have settled in the spigot or in the area just beyond the spigot inside the fermenter.
Here’s the trub. This was an IPA with a good amount of hops both in the boil and some dry hops. The recipe had quite a few late addition hops. I transferred most of that over from the boil kettle. It’s worth noting that if you use lots and lots of hops it’s possible that the trub layer will go up to or over of the spigot. I’ve had that happen on a couple of occasions. Some ideas to help with that for beers with lots and lots of hops – use hop bags in the boil or fementer or work on a cleaner transfer from your kettle to the fermenter. If it happen’s it’s easy enough to siphon out of the fermenter. This hasn’t been a big problem for me, but it’s worth mentioning.
20.15 Seconds. One thing I have been impressed with from day 1 (with my 5.3 gallon) is how easy these are to clean out. There’s something about size and height of the spigot hole that just seems to make it easy. To illustrate this, I had my son run a timer. That timer started after I removed the spigot and got the hose and got the hose turned on. I did not wait for trub to drain out of the fermenter. I quickly took off the spigot, grabbed the hose and turned it on. It took 20.15 seconds to go from the picture above to…
You can see that it is nearly clean. There is some stuff sticking to the walls toward the top of the fermenter. It’s not completely ready for PBW and it’s not what I would normally do. I was going for speed. I would have taken another 30 or 45 seconds and sprayed the rest out. My point is that it’s easy.
The 7.9 Gallon Speidel with hot PBW solution soaking in it. I’ll let this sit for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. A quick drain and rinse and the fermenter is good to go. I’ve never scrubbed the inside of these with anything.
If you’re a Marks Keg and Carboy Washer owner or prospective owner and wonder if this fits on that, the answer is… yes. It’s not like cleaning a bucket, standard fermenter or keg in that I would feel comfortable walking away. The openings (both 5.3 and 7.9 gallon versions) are large enough to sit on top, but not so large that I would trust them to be stable on their own. So, plan on staying close. As illustrated, it’s a breeze to clean this thing without the Keg and Carboy Washer, but the two do work together.
Some Benefits of Speidel Fermentation Tanks (via product description):
- High quality, German manufactured.
- Made of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
- Heavy duty and much thicker than traditional plastic carboys
- Oversized top opening makes for easy cleaning.
- Integrated spigot
- All connections have o-rings to insure you have no liquid or gas leaks.
- Integrated handles for easily moving these around.
- Unlike traditional carboys, these will not shatter.
- High density construction is highly resistant to oxygen ingress, making these suitable for longer term (up to 12 month) use.
- Up to 31.7 gallons
I have bought my 5.3 gallon Speidel back in October of 2011. It’s a great fermenter! Quality construction and a great set of features that make easy work of the job of fermentation, transfer and clean up. The 7.9 gallon version is nearly identical, with the exception of capacity.
Check out the Full Lineup of Speidel Fermenters and Accessories
From HBF Readers:
Ronnie: These are the best! Having gone from bucket to glass carboy to better bottles to the 15.9 speidel, the speidel tops them all. Easy to clean and cheap!
Facebook Friend Sean: Speidel fermenters are AWESOME!! Thanks for posting those.
Google+ Friend Kyle: Mine is full right now! Love this fermenter, no more differences in flavor because I had to split my batch to ferment. Easy open top makes is a breeze to clean. Should be on every homebrewers wish list.
Facebook Friend Tim: I have of the 7.8L Speidel fermenters and I love them, simply the best for the money!
Muncie : I have the 30L and it is my “go to” fermenter. Just a great product. No need for a blow off tube for this 5 and 6 gallon batches.
Anonymous: I have the 60L and it is awesome. Very high quality and easy to use / clean. The handles are sturdy even completely full, but if you do fill it up all the way, be prepared to get a friend to help you move it.
Tony: Gotta pipe in on these. I have the 20L and 60L tanks. The quality is high. They come with a bung and airlock made for these larger tanks. They also have spigots and big lids to make cleaning a snap. The spigot on the 20 is about 1 1/2 inches above the bottom of the tank. On the 60 it is closer to 3″. This allows for transfers with the spigot without pulling in too much of the yeast cake. I just line up the spigot and pour directly into my keg. No hoses, siphons, funnels, etc. Easy. The handles are great. You can lift the huge 60L one alone, but it’s really heavy, even with only 11 gallons… there’s lots of room for more, so you could easily make a 12 gallon batch in there too without needing a blowout tube. Headroom is great on these. With the 20L, it has room for the 5.5 gallon batches I make, and I have no issues with blow-outs, even with big IPAs. NOTE: I do use defoamer, which I think helps a lot. On the 60L, there’s tons of room above an 11 gallon batch. My current batch of amber ale had only about 2 inches of foam and another 6″ of headspace. There are other cheaper options, and you can find nice HDPE tanks on ebay that are similar, but they won’t have it all together, purpose built like these.
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