Tuesday, February 24, 2015

SS Brewbucket

Thought I'd create a post about my first run-through with my Stainless Steel Brewbucket.  I won this thing in a contest from the awesome homebrewing forum HomeBrewTalk.com that was put on by the awesome guys at SS Brewtech.  It's the kind of thing I'd never purchase and it was wonderful to score such a prize.  It holds up to 7 gallons and has some cool features.


Shaped like a bucket, it has a conical bottom to catch the trub.  While not as deep as a true conical, it's still pretty cool and I was eager to see how well the ball spigot worked for the transfer.

Outside during happier, snow-free times

My first attempt did not go well. I assembled it and did several water tests to make sure there were no leaks.  However I think the transparency of water made me think it was watertight when in fact...it was not.  I had poured five gallons of stout into the fermenter when the unthinkable happened: a slightest of drips began from the spigot.  I ended up transferring the wort to a plain plastic bucket to ferment (which I rinsed out but totally forgot to sanitize - luckily this hobby is forgiving and the vanilla stout turned out great.)

So, first attempt not so good and I was displeased that the thing leaked despite my many tests.  I took it apart and swapped out the o-rings for new ones and this seemed to do the trick.  Six weeks later I was ready for round two with a bourbon barrel porter.  With the new o-rings there was no leak and I was good to go.  The standard brewbucket doesn't feature a thermometer but mine has one built in.  Not completely necessary but it's cool to see the actual temp inside the fermenter.

The temperature gauge isn't vital  but it's nice to have

A much more useful feature is the ball-lock spigot at the bottom.  Taking a hydrometer sample previously required my turkey baster, sanitizing everything and dipping it in several times to get the sample.  Now I just stick the tube under the spigot and twist the handle.  So quick and easy.

It's so easy to take a hydrometer sample

For the bourbon barrel porter I was transferring the contents from the brewbucket to a couple glass carboys to age on bourbon and oak chips.  Here's another place where the spigot shines.  Just stick the sanitized tube on the spigot and away we go.  There was a slight hiccup when the flow stopped for some reason - then I realized I needed to remove the airlock from the lid to keep the flow going.

Racking into secondary is just as smooth

This batch was another of my typical awkward brews as I brewed four gallons in the bucket but had to figure out how to put it all into secondary.  My glass carboy holds three gallons and I had another smaller vessel that fit three liters.  Not ideal but I'd make it work.  The good news is that the brewbucket spigot made is very simple to fill up the big carboy, shut it off, and then switch over to put the rest in the little guy.

Sanitized carboys

Bourbon and oak chips ready to go!

Bourbon Barrel Porter racked to secondary

All in all a very easy process.  Looking inside, there was a goodly amount of gross krausen caked near the top but the spigot inside did it's job - the trub was left in the cone and stayed out of the secondary.  While dirty, the stainless steal was simple to clean and the wide opening made it easy to get in there.

Conical base at work - not much liquid left
in the bucket

Currently I've got five gallons of Chinook IPA in the brewbucket, finishing up it's primary.  I'll dump a couple ounces of Chinook to dry hop soon and then it'll be another easy transfer into the keg, thanks to the spigot.  One thing I'll say is prior to this batch I had to yet again switch out the o-rings in the spigot as they leaked when I tested 'em.  Apparently others have had the same problem and some outside source o-rings have done the trick.  I may have to do that next time.

So there you go, a pretty cool fermenting vessel.  At $225 it's not exactly a cheap way to brew but it definitely looks sharp and works well.


  1. Did you know Porters and IPAs are my two favorite styles? Just letting you know.

    1. Guess you'll need to plan it so your standard 18 miler ends at my house!