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I was looking around for some low-cost alternatives to conical fermenters, and I came across inductor tanks. Has anyone used or heard of someone using these tanks? Is there any danger/downside to using them (aside from scratching the inside and risking contamination)?

They're made out of medium-density polyethylene, is this the same material "Ale Pails" are made of? For around $55 for a 15 gallon, this seems like a really cheap way to get into making larger batches (as opposed to the $600 NB chargers for a 15 gallon stainless).

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Check out shipping on those tanks. I looked into placing an order of five of their 35-gallon tanks and it would cost $450 to freight them to me.

Don't forget (or "have you heard") about Mini-Brew plastic conicals. They're a little more expensive, but you get a racking port and a side port for temperature probe. I found mine on eBay for about half the list price.

Both the Tank-Depot and Mini-Brew conicals have threaded fittings, which may harbor bacteria. I got an infection in one of mine that ruined four batches in a row. I put it on the shelf and haven't touched it. (I'll sell it to ya cheap!)

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I have to say I learned something from this answer... But it wasn't exactly helpful. If someone was wanting to switch to a 6.5 gallon conical for a reasonable price, what would you recommend? Paying $200 for something that will only last me 2-3 years, or possibly less considering your fittings findings, what would you ultimately suggest? Or would you suggest just paying more for a long term solution? –  bfrederi Jun 29 '10 at 16:39
    
Just pointing out a downside to the seemingly cheap price of the tanks. Ultimately, I would be happier with SS. I converted to using half-barrel kegs and a special fitting for my fermenters. They're not conical, but are stainless and work well. –  Dean Brundage Jun 29 '10 at 18:28
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Ale Pales are normally HDPE (high density polyethylene), for what its worth. You could always ferment in a half barrel for 10-12 gallon sized batches for cheaper than the NB conical, but maybe not cheaper than $55 for one of those plastic conicals.

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Those would be perfect, one of the biggest home brew shops in the UK sells a range of plastic conical fermenters like these. As stated the risk would be in getting a scratch and thus an infection. But if you are careful with it you should get 2-3 years out of it. For $55 I think its a no-brainer.

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