Plastic vs Stainless Steel Conicals For Pro Brewing
The old plastic vs stainless steel debate is neverending. Homebrewers have battled for years over if plastic really holds up vs stainless steel. Personally, I have nothing against plastic for home brewing but there is a difference when it comes to brewing professionally.
Cost wise plastic looks very promising vs stainless steel especially when you’re likely bootstrapping your brewery. You can acquire four plastic conicals minus the fittings for the price of one stainless steel fermenter. The true cost or risk losses can actually add up to a much higher cost though if everything doesn’t work out. An infected batch will likely lead to a dry tap or even worse an infected product that gets served.
Stainless steel will run you a bit of a premium price wise. In the long run, it’s lifespan and infection resistance will save you money. The best thing about stainless steel is when it comes time to upgrade and sell the equipment it will actually be worth something.
Durability is the next important feature. Plastic is of course known to be easily scratched but it suffers from a few other annoyances. Heat from both the wort and cleaning can and will eventually compromise the structural integrity of the fermenter. Cleaning chemicals are another concern as stainless steel can handle many more chemicals than plastic.
Repairability is the primary benefit you’ll get with stainless steel. Your fermenters and other equipment will likely get damaged through use and the random oops. Stainless steel can be welded and repaired with a good welder. Plastic can only be replaced so if you break it you’re buying a new one.
I originally was leaning toward the plastic conicals myself but after lots of research, they just don’t seem to be worth it. Every single brewery I’ve seen go with them completely regretted it! I’m definitely going with stainless steel versions for the future brewery. Try to go local but if you really have to you can go with Chinese made stainless steel over plastic. As always make sure to research everything! Probrewer.com offers a lot of options in one place when doing your research. Cheers and dream on!
- Will scratch eventually
- Can’t be saved once an infection is present
- Not repairable
- Unlikely to be sellable when upgrading
- Resistant to scratches
- Easy to clean and sanitize
- Can be sold to recover some value
- Lead times generally longer than plastic
I’m always on the lookout for advice so feel free to comment or email me if you disagree. As I said the plastic vs stainless steel debate is neverending so constructive criticism and opinions are always welcome!