Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sabco Select Sankey 7.75 Fermenter Review

Select Sankey 7.75 Gallon Fermenter
My new house has far more space to spread out and really get down to brewing.  After moving I decided that some of my gear could use an upgrade.  Near the top of the equipment upgrade list was a new primary fermenter.  I really wanted to get away from the classic Ale Pale.  I know it works and there is nothing wrong with it, but it just always felt cheap to me.  I wanted something more durable and preferably stainless.  Around the same time I really started to become interested in pressure fermenting.  The specifics of pressure fermenting is a topic for another post but if I ever wanted to give pressure fermenting a try I would need a fermenter that could hold pressure.

At first I really gravitated to conicals they are stainless and just so damn cool.  In particular I was very interested in a 7 gallon conical from  Stout Tanks and Kettles.  If anyone is interested in a conical I would recommend giving them a look.  Their lead times on some items can be long but prices are great and I only hear good things about quality.   The main problem I had with most conicals, in the size and price range I was comfortable with, is that they were not rated to hold pressure.

While investigating other options I looked at Sabco, also Kegs.com, as they are both owned by the same parent company.  They have been making full 15.5 gallon keg fermenters and serving vessels for some time and I was pleased to find that they had just started to  make 7.75, pony keg, versions of each.    I first looked at their 7.75 gallon fermenter it looks really nice but was a bit more than I really wanted to spend.  I also had some concerns about the racking arm.  I am at some point planning to pressure ferment and loosing the tri-clamp to rotate the racking arm at 15-20 psi seemed very likely to spray beer all over the place.  I settled on the 7.75 gallon Select Sankey serving vessel.  It is designed to hold up to 30psi and was able to cut out a fair amount of cost by contacting Sabco and ordering it without the valve assembly.  I  picked up a 4" tri-clamp gasket, clamp and cover from Brewers Hardware and a hose barb adapter at Lowes.  I am not ready to pressure ferment yet so I have currently replaced the pressure safety release with the hose barb to connect my blow off tube.  I managed to get all of this put together for slightly over $200 with shipping.  

 Reasons for my Decision
1.  Very durable, it should last a lifetime
2.  Rated to hold up to 30psi
3.  Flexible.  If at some point I get a conical I can order a valve assembly and use as a serving vessel
4.  Stainless should dissipate more heat from fermentation than plastic or glass 
5.  Integrated easy carry handles
6.  4" tri-clamp port for fairly easy cleaning
7.  Can be put directly on a burner with some water to sanitize

The Verdict
Select Sankey 7.75 Gallon Fermenter racking a stout
I have used this for three beers now and I can only say I love it.  The only real downsides are that it adds a bit of weight as it is about 20lbs or so empty and it is not as easy to clean as a bucket.  These issues are minimal though.  The weight although noticeable is really not bad as it has two comfortable carrying handles.  I have noticed that the contact thermometer on the side of the fermenter is reading 2-3 degrees warmer that my ambient temperature.  Although not scientific I am assuming that the stainless walls of the fermenter are dissipating more heat from the active fermentation which is pretty good.  I would not hesitate one moment to recommend this to anyone who wants to upgrade from a plastic bucket.  I simply love my new fermentor.

I plan to use this to pressure ferment in the future.  I will be designing and building a custom 4" tri-clamp cap to achieve this.  I am sure that I will have more posts on that progress in the future.

Update >>>
I have had a few requests for some more pictures on how I currently have this setup.  As I stated before, this is a fairly simple setup and I will be designing a new cap when I am ready to start pressure fermenting.  This new cap will include a pressure gauge, gas in valve and a dip tube.  Here are a couple pictures of how it is now.

This is basically how I received it from Sabco.  There is a 4" Tri-clamp port on top.  the only change is in this picture is that I removed the pressure release valve that it came with, to the left of the Tri-clamp port, and replaced it with a hose barb connector for a blow off tube.   This will be the configuration for non pressure fermenting.

This is a picture with the Tri-clamp sealed.  The 4" cap clamp and gasket were purchased from Brewers Hardware.  Let me know if anyone wants more pictures or further explanation


  1. Hey there, I like you blog so far! Ran into you through the homebrewforum blog posting and like what you are doing. I just started one too, still need to add a blogroll but will add you once I do. Postings are good, useful topics. I'll come back. Stop by and check out mine!


  2. This is a great post and very helpful. This is on my short list I just upgraded my brewery and still have a few wants out there. I added you to my blog list. Check mine out if you get a chance.

  3. Did you ever get a different tri-clamp cap and attempt pressure fermenting with this vessel? If so, what options did you use for the cap?

    I recently bought one of the taller/slimmer 1/4 bbl select sankey kegs, also without the valve. I'm planning to use it as a fermenter, and want to try my hand at pressurized fermentation as well as being able to rack from the fermenter to cornies using CO2.

    Sorry for responding to such an old entry, but I'm looking for ideas for my cap and thought you might have tried this by now.