First Look – Brew Bucket Mini and Brewmaster

More brew toys just in time for the holidays! I recently procured a brew bucket mini and brewmaster Chronical from Ss Brew Tech, and while I haven’t had the chance to take the conical fermentor for a spin, I did make some cold brewed coffee in the mini.  It’s rad.  The following will be a review of the Brew Bucket Mini and a sort of sneak peak/first look at the brewmaster fermenter.  I’ll plan on writing more when I actually get beer into both of these!

The Perfect Size for a Side Project!

Check this thing out. 3.5 gallon capacity, 304 stainless body, ball valve/racking port, and a super sturdy black silicone base.  I haven’t had a chance to make beer in this yet, but I did brew up some cold-brewed Intelligentsia coffee.  Coffee price sticker shock aside (who thought 24 oz of coffee would be $50?) I can already see how the Brew Bucket Mini is going to be my preferred brew experimentation vessel.  It’s also the perfect size to act as a dispenser for your creations at a party.

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Brew Bucket Mini

Stainless: The brew bucket mini along with it’s 304 Stainless steel construction, comes with a sturdy silicone rubber base.  I feel like it would have been really easy to skimp on the base.  It could have been brittle plastic, but it’s not.  The silicone has some serious heft to it and also has the benefit of acting as a non slip surface both at the point it meets your intended resting surface as well as against the metal body of the bucket itself.  The bucket’s conical bottom rest perfectly in its shaped silicone cradle and the added.

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Weight & Stackability:  The mini is lightweight and portable.  There aren’t any handles with this variation, but you don’t really need them.  Just like its larger counterpart, the mini is fully stackable making multiple side projects easy as pie.

Cleaning: As with all of the Ss gear, clean with TSP, passify, and then carry on.  It’s a lot easier to do with this little guy as it doesn’t weigh a lot.  The only issue really, and it’s also a strength, is that the bucket and the silicone stand are separate pieces.  The bucket can’t stand up on it’s own so if you are giving it a soak with TSP, StarSan, or PBW, you’ll need to set it on the stand.

Cone: Like the regular brew bucket, the mini has a conical bottom.  This aims to coral trub and yeast in the cone allowing you to pull off the liquid from right above the sediment layer.  For cold brew coffee it’s also great.  Most of the coffee solids collect in the cone so you can pull off fairly clean cold brew.

Capacity: 3.5 gallon capacity is a great size for small projects.  Brew in a bag, cold brew coffee, split batches, sours, etc.  It’s portable and doesn’t look crazy on a kitchen counter.

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Ball Valve & Transferring: The ball valve is always a nice add.  Its rotating racking arm allows you to pull off the cleanest wort/liquid from the top leaving the sediment in the cone.

Verdict: The brew bucket mini is flat out cool.  I’m usually in need of more capacity, but I like how small and versatile this little bucket is.  It’s more than adequate for cold brew, mead, cider, beer, or tea, and is the perfect size for serving at parties.  It doesn’t look out of place in garage or the kitchen so use it wherever.

Perfect for Serving at Parties or Cold Brewing Coffee

 

First Look – 7 Gallon Brewmaster Chronical

In addition to the cool little brew bucket mini, I had the opportunity to get a first look at the Brewmaster Edition of the 7 gallon Chronical.  This thing is sweet.  The Brewmaster Edition chronicals are similar to their standard brethren with several key additions.

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Each brewmaster chronical comes with a stainless chiller coil similar to the one found in the FTSs.  Like the FTSs, temperature is regulated by pumping either chilled water or glycol through the line.  You can see in this pic that the coil is pretty well centered so it should do a decent job of keeping your fermentor at the ideal temp.  It also comes with a custom fitted neoprene jacket for insulation.

The lid openings have been expanded from the standard 1.5” TC to a new 3” TC.  With the extra size Ss is offering a few extras and add-ons including a stainless blow off tube, pressure release valve, and spray ball for clean-in-place systems.  I’m particularly excited about the spray ball, which has the potential to make life much easier.  If you own one of the standard chronicals, you can easily swap out your old lid for a new one by ordering the new ones from the Ss site.  They are interchangeable.

The Brewmaster Editions come with custom stainless butterfly valves and are pretty slick.  I currently use the economy butterfly valves with the bright blue plastic handles.  There are two types available that I’m aware of, one with a 90 degree round pull trigger handle and the other with a 180 degree squeeze trigger handle.  The stainless version is stubbier version of the 180 degree squeeze trigger.  You can get stainless squeeze triggers today, but the Ss Brewtech ones are slightly smaller in profile.

Lastly, there’s a new sample port! This new addition is similar to the port  that can be found at the bottom of a brew bucket complete with mini ball valve.  This is specifically for pulling small samples right above the cone and should allow you leave your racking port alone until you need to, well, rack your beer. This new port may seem like a small add, but I think it’s going to be pretty useful in the long run especially in terms of keeping things clean.

Closing Thoughts

Well that’s it for the review and first look.  Both of these are here right in time for the holidays and would make great gifts.  While the 7 Gallon Brewmaster Chronical is a bit more advanced retailing for about $650, the brew bucket mini is the perfect price for small projects.  There really isn’t anything else like it around and at $130, it really is worth it.  I can’t wait to use these more and share my findings.

To find out more about these products, hit up SsBrewTech.com.

About Kristofor Barnes

Kip is the founder of Bierkast and co-founder of Los Angeles Ale Works. Picking up home brewing after college, he has since become an accomplished award winning home brewer, LA Beer Blogger, and author of the Beer Lover's Guide to Southern California. Kip is a graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinema Television. He lives in Inglewood, CA with his sciency wife Katie. Follow him @bierkast or #FollowTheLAAW @laaleworks

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