I have been using Spike products for a good while now. My first big equipment purchase was a set of v2 Spike kettles. For the most part I have been pleased with everything I have purchased from them. In March 2019 I decided to upgrade my fermentation to a conical and glycol set up and after a fair amount of back and forth I decided to go with Spike for my tanks and a penguin chiller. (I will review the penguin at a later date.)
I own 3 Spike CF5s and have 2 CF10s at work, so I have a fair amount of experience with these units and the additional accessories. Overall, I enjoy them and would recommend them to anyone interested in a conical purchase. So there you go, no need to read on.
If by chance you want a little more information I will offer up some other opinions based on having run 75 or so batches through them.
- The banded lid allows you to remove the entire top for very easy cleaning. My setup at home is in the garage and I am able to pull my fermentor out into the driveway to spray is down for cleaning. With a fully removable top this process is quick and allows for full inspection of the fermentor. Combine the lid with a polished interior and cleanup is a breeze.
- Al a carte purchasing may help you save some cash. Some of the tanks out there make you buy all the bells and whistles as part of the package. Spike lets you pick and choose what you want. This is a nice feature for a lot of people. To get the tank fully loaded it is going to be the same price as the all included guys.
- Customer service is responsive and helpful. I have had a couple of small issues and questions a Spike has been very responsive.
- High quality accessories. The glycol pumps work great and are fairly priced. The chilling coil works very well with full and half volume batches. The gas manifold is clean neat and functions well.
- The lid gasket. (This is more of an issue with the CF10 than the CF5 in my experience.) It will just fall out when you are assembling the lid there is no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes it stays put sometimes it won’t. Then when you go to remove it after 2 weeks you need to pry it out with a butter knife. Drives me crazy.
- CF10 legs are wobbly and the leg stabilizers are just too expensive. I have to roll my CF10 at work about 25′ or so to crash them in the cold box. I am convinced i’m going to bend a leg off at some point. The stabilizer base should be included in my opinion.
- Top heavy design for 3 legs. While 3 legs should be more stable than 4 in theory, it’s just not the case when you are dangling valves off the front.
- 2″ dump port. It’s just an odd size for buying extra parts and because they are odd sizes they cost more. I have still had some stuck dumps with the 2″ port its hard to say how many more I would have with a 1.5″, but i’m just not sure it was necessary.
A unitank like the Spike opens a world of ways to improve your cold side process but it comes at a hefty cost. I am very happy with my purchases of these and would buy them again. If you have any questions feel free to leave a response.