Fermenter Love: Speidel’s Big Mouthed Beast
For homebrewers, fermenting vessels can be the most frustrating tool of the process. Glass carboys look great and clean up well; but the tiny top opening, weight and fragility can be a nightmare. Honestly, there’s nothing scarier than feeling a full secondary batch of beer slipping through your wet fingers. Sure, carboy carrying straps exist to help with the process but that’s another step to remember in a lengthy brew or bottling day.
The alternative to glass is plastic. Plastic buckets have handles for maneuverability and are hardy enough. But if you want to watch the fermentation happen and have the traditional vessel form factor, you have to turn to plastic carboys. Those have their own problems. While they have somewhat larger openings, plastic carboys scratch easily, dent and just don’t have the same gravitas that glass provides.
Speidel’s plastic fermenters, however, change that paradigm. All of a sudden, plastic is sexy.
I use the Speidel eight gallon fermenter which can handle all the krauzen a five gallon brew day can muster. The top opening is super-wide and I can easily get down to the bottom and inside the top rims to clean by hand. No awkward carboy brushes or soap hacks needed.
It has built-in handles, real honest-to-God handles, on each side that make carrying a brimming fermenter a breeze. There’s even a spigot attachment to easily transfer to a secondary fermentor or for bottling day.
The plastic is extremely high quality. It doesn’t flex at all, has a subtle texture and the pieces are expertly fitted together.
The only downside is that the airlock, spigot and bung are custom to the piece; but knowing that just means to be extra careful in preserving those parts. But like everything else, they’re tough. If you need replacements, they are available separately.
After using one for a few months, I just got a second eight gallon Speidel fermenter so I no longer have to rely on an awkward glass or thin plastic carboy for my secondary. It’s that good and honestly one of the best homebrewing investments I’ve made. Highly recommended.