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A conical fermenter is a cone-shaped brewery piece of equipment used for fermentation. It could either be made of plastic or stainless steel and comes with different features to facilitate the fermentation process such as built-in stands and automatic temperature control.
- Our Top Conical Fermenter Review
- Features to Consider For Best Conical Fermenter
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Top Conical Fermenter Review
Conical fermenters were once only used by professional large-scale beer brewers like brewing factories and companies. However, in recent times, the best conical fermenters have become more affordable and available for homebrewers.
Not only do conical fermenters save time and effort, they also reduce the risks that come with using other fermentation vessels, such as glass carboys and buckets, and ultimately help you to make better beer.
Best Overall Conical Fermenter: Craft-A-Brew “The Catalyst Fermentation System
The Catalyst Fermentation System is a product of Craft-A-Brew, which is popular for their production of high-grade brewing equipment. No doubt, the quality of their fermenter can be trusted. This fermenter is made of BPA-Free, medical-grade Tritan plastic, which is much stronger than other kinds of plastic. This makes it more longer-lasting than the Fastferment and Fermzilla Conical Fermenters.
It can contain 6.5 gallons of beer, has a sleek appearance, and is very easy to use. It is scratch-resistant and makes harvesting of yeast easy as it comes with a 3-inch butterfly valve that is compatible to use with a standard mason jar’s opening.
Unlike the Fastferment Conical Fermenter, however, this one does not come with a thermowell. It also lacks a racking arm and valve but comes with a bottling attachment, transfer tube, and a rubber stopper that all make separating sediment, transferring, and bottling straight from the fermenter possible and easy.
- Made of tougher and longer-lasting plastic.
- The see-through body makes it easy to monitor the fermentation process
- Easier cleaning due to wide opening
- Trub trap fits all standard mason jars
- It is not pressure rated, so it can’t ferment under pressure
- It does not have a racking valve
Best Conical Fermenter for the Money: Fermzilla Conical Fermenter
The Fermzilla Conical Fermenter is great because it offers most features of a stainless steel conical fermenter at a much lesser price. While the Catalyst Fermentation System has no pressure rating, the Fermzilla Conical Fermenter with Pressure Fermentation Kit has a pressure rate of 35 psi, making it possible to ferment, carbonate and bottle right from the fermenter. It can contain a little over 7 gallons and has a strong stand made of stainless steel.
Like the Catalyst, it has a yeast collection system that makes use of a 3 inches butterfly valve that can attach to large-mouthed jars to collect and store yeast for reuse. Although it does not have a thermowell, it does have a thermometer to monitor temperature levels. A major downside is that it is made of PET plastic, which can easily be damaged in cleaning.
- It offers good quality for its price
- It is easy to get rid of the oxygen, thanks to its small headspace
- It has a large opening -4.75 inches- which allows for easier cleaning
- It is made of PET plastic which is susceptible to scratches. These scratches not only weaken the container but could breed bacteria that could contaminate future brews.
Best Cheap Conical Fermenter: Fastferment Conical Fermenter
The Fastferment Conical Fermenter counts as the best fermenter that offers the benefits of conical fermentation at a very cheap price. It is produced with HDPE plastic which, although is lightweight and durable, is not insulated from scratches like the Catalyst Fermentation System. However, it does possess a thermowell, something that’s missing from both the Catalyst and the Fermzilla Conical Fermenter.
This fermenter has a volume of 7.9 gallons and is beginner-friendly. It is also easy to use, clean, and maintain. It has a 1-inch removable trub that can be attached to a yeast collection ball and allows for direct transfer of the beer to kegs or bottles.
The fermenter also has an airlock that prevents oxidation when you are collecting yeast deposits. The equipment is quite large, and so comes with its own wall mount for easy positioning.
- It is a piece of very functional equipment at a low price
- It has a large opening that facilitates cleaning
- The wall mount helps you to space ground or tabletop space
- It does not come with a racking arm
- It is not pressure rated
- It has a small bottom valve opening which could get clogged up with hops
Best Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter: Anvil Crucible
The Anvil Crucible differs from the Fastferment Conical Fermenter and Fermzilla Conical in production material. While the above-mentioned vessels are made of plastic, the Anvil Crucible is made of 304 stainless steel, which of course, makes it more durable and less prone to scratches. This fermenter has a volume of 7.5 gallons and comes with two leg extensions, thereby facilitating easier draining into kegs as a result of a high level of gravity.
Although it does look like a bucket, unlike the Fastferment, Fermzilla, and Catalyst, it does come with a coned bottom. It also has a high-end constructed tri-clamp bottom valve of 1.5 inches. Rather than a thermowell, it has only a liquid crystal thermometer and although it is not capable of fermenting under pressure, it does have a rotating racking arm.
- It is made of 304 stainless steel which is longer lasting
- It has a spring lid latch that promotes secure sealing
- It has a good price for its features
- It is not so heavy, which facilitates easier movement even when it is filled with brew
- It is easy to clean
- It does not come with a thermowell
- It is not pressure rated
- It has a complicated bottom valve
Features to Consider For Best Conical Fermenter
Most homebrewers started out their brewing in plastic buckets or glass carboys. Now, while these traditional methods could make a good beer, they both have their downfalls. The former has no convenience features and is difficult to maintain and the latter could be extremely dangerous in cases of breakage. If you still use these vessels to brew, it is high time you made a change.
|Catalyst Fermentation System||Fermzilla Conical Fermenter||Fastferment Conical Fermenter||Anvil Crucible|
|Production material||BPA-Free, medical-grade Tritan plastic||PET plastic||HDPE plastic||304 stainless steel|
|Capacity||6.5 gallons||7 gallons||7.9 gallons||7.5 gallons|
|Pressure rating||No pressure rating||35 psi||No pressure rating||No pressure rating|
|Bottom Valve||3 inches butterfly valve and yeast collection mason jar||3 inches butterfly valve and yeast collection mason jar||1-inch removable trub and yeast collection ball||1.5 inches tri-clamp bottom valve|
|Racking Valve||Has no racking valve||Has no racking valve||Has no racking valve||Rotating racking valve|
|Bottom Valve||Has no thermowell||Has a thermometer||Stainless steel thermowell||Liquid crystal thermometer|
Since conical fermenters come in various forms, with different features, and from different brands, it could get confusing deciding which one will be best for you. Here are a couple of features that you should put into consideration before going ahead to invest in a conical fermenter:
The size of the conical fermenter to get is largely dependent on the volume of beer you usually brew. The most common sizes have a 5-gallon capacity. However, if you need a larger size like the Fastferment Conical Fermenter, for a larger brew, you could definitely get it.
Generally, it is advisable to get a fermentor that is a couple of gallons larger to ensure that the foam gets sufficient headspace.
Before purchasing a conical fermenter, consider your brewing needs in line with your budget first. For instance, if you produce beer on a large scale, you would have to get a more expensive fermenter that requires periodic upgrades, whereas purchasing this as a small-scale home brewer would only be a waste of money.
Fermenting beer under pressure not only provides natural carbonation for the brew but also reduces any strange flavors that arise in the process. This is why getting a conical fermenter that is pressure rated like the Fermzilla Conical Fermenter is important.
A good conical fermenter should come with a couple of add-ons and accessories, hence providing you with enough room for customization. These accessories include vessel extensions, pressure kits, and carriers. The Fermzilla Conical Fermenter with Pressure Fermentation Kit is a good example of a conical fermenter with an accessory add-on.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Conical Fermenters Better Than Glass Carboys?
Yes, they are. A glass carboy is a glass jug that comes in different sizes and is used by brewers to ferment beer. Because it is made of glass and has a tight seal, it prevents oxygen from getting into the beer.
Also, they are highly durable and very easy to clean. However, they are not easily carried, which makes it difficult to get rid of sediments and to transfer them into bottles or kegs. If care is not taken, they could drop, break and cause a spill of your beer, or worse, a physical injury for you.
With all of these risks, you might want to stay on the safer side and get a conical fermenter instead.
What Are the Benefits of Conical Fermenters?
Here are a number of benefits that you stand to gain from making use of a conical fermenter, rather than other traditional means.
Easy Yeast Harvesting and Management
Making use of a conical fermenter gives you a chance to harvest yeast during the process of fermentation that can be washed, stored, and reused at a later date. Some conical fermenters make use of butterfly valves that can be attached to yeast containers, making it easier to take out the yeast. Reusing yeast not only saves you some money but also makes for better fermentation in subsequent brews since reused yeasts are already active.
No Secondary Fermentation
With carboys or buckets, you might need to transfer your beer to another container to get rid of trub, sediment made up of yeast, protein, and wort remnants. This transfer could expose your beer to the risk of oxidation. However, with conical fermenters, you could easily get rid of sediments without putting your brew at risk and still get a clearer beer.
Conical fermenters come with racking arms and bottom valves that make the transfer of your beer into a keg or bottles a less stressful and time-consuming process. Also, thanks to rotating racking arms, they reduce the risk of you transferring sediments.
Easier to Maintain
Conical fermenters are made of stainless steel or high-quality plastic and some of them come with large openings that are easier to clean than the traditional bucket or carboys. They are also very durable and help you to cut down on excess equipment -buckets, carboys, secondary fermenters.
Should I Get a Stainless or Plastic Conical Fermenter?
Both stainless steel and plastic conical fermenters have their advantages and disadvantages. Deciding on which one to pick should depend on your needs and your budget. Stainless steel fermenters are easy to clean, do not retain stains, and come with really nice features, but are very expensive.
Plastic conical fermenters, on the other hand, are pretty affordable so you can be sure to find one that fits into your budget and yet offers quite a number of features. However, they might not be as fancy and high-end as the ones made of stainless steel. Also, they retain stains and could easily get scratched which implies that they would have to be replaced regularly.
Conical fermenters might take quite some money out of your bank account, but they are your best choice as a homebrewer. They offer a lot of benefits and help you create a beer of better quality. This article has hopefully helped you to narrow down your choices in order to make the best decision while purchasing your own conical fermenter.