Preventing leaks and galling in the 4-in-1 fermenter

The BREWHA 3-in-1 is a revolutionary fermenter that allows for not just boiling inside the fermenter, but also chilling and fermenting, providing the cleanest environment for fermentation and the easiest cleanup.

Now, BREWHA’s 4-in-1 takes the innovation one step further with heavier steel construction that allows for pressurizing of the vessel up to 14.9psi. Being able to pressurize the vessel allows for applications such as conditioning (in the same capacity as a brite tank), functioning as a serving vessel (being connected directly to a serving tap) and yeast propagation (being able to push the slurry into larger fermenters under pressure).

Tightening fermenter lid so it doesn't leakIn order to facilitate these additional applications, several design modifications were needed. The first was to make the walls from a thicker steel. The second was to use a domed (instead of flat) lid. And the third was to use a lid clamp mechanism that could hold the higher pressure.

The new lid is held in place with eye bolts. Eye bolts are used over standard nuts as they are easier to open with fingers—no tools are necessary. However, when higher pressure is being applied to the vessel (up to 14.9psi), a tool is likely needed to tighten the lid down so it doesn't leak. For a tighter seal, a screw driver (or other steel bar) can be used to tighten the ring by inserting one end of the bar through the ring on the eye bolt. Another method for tightening the eye is to use a standard 1” NPS heating element wrench. Many heating element wrenches come with holds for inserting a screwdriver (to give leverage) but element wrenches that use ½” socket drives can be purchased online (a picture of one that Home Depot sells is shown here).

Home Depot element wrenchWhether using a screwdriver, or a socket ratchet, it is important not to over tighten the bolt or the bolt thread can strip or the weld can break. Tighten the ring just one or two turns past finger snug, and after pressurizing the vessel, the seal can be inspected for leaks by spraying a Star San solution around the seal (it will foam where there is a leak). If there is a leak, the bolt in that area can be tightened slightly more. It is also important to keep the lid and top of fermenter free of any scratches or dents, especially where the silicone gasket sits and be careful not to drop the lid or it could warp and a proper seal be difficult to achieve.

It is also important to be aware that when tightening stainless on stainless (like a bolt and nut or into a coupling), it can ‘gall’ or seize up entirely. This occurs when a large amount of force is used. This should not occur under the kind of forces needed to tighten the lid securely, however, a food-grade, anti-seize lubricant can be applied to the threads prior to tightening to help ensure this does not occur.