Homebrewing is quite a magical experience. Every step is one step closer to what you think is the most magical brew in the world. No matter how back-breaking or demanding the task is, you want to go the whole nine yards.
But if you have been doing this for a long time, you will understand when we say that some steps are avoidable.
Most Popular Conical Fermenters:
Racking is one of those homebrewing steps. The drudgery of segregating the trub or the debris of the primary fermentation from the wort is not necessary; especially when we have conical fermenters to the rescue. The big boys do it this way, and us homebrewers can too.
These are the small-scale version of the mammoth industrial-scale conical fermenters that have been saving effort, time and precious beer from oxidation; since their invention.
If you haven’t already, reconsider it. Start using this vessel that has been created especially for your comfort as a homebrewer.
My current favorite:
Benefits of a Conical Fermenter
Why would we say this if we weren’t serious? Conical fermenters are amazing-in in multiple ways. They look like an ice cream cone and are meant to evoke the same joy within you. They lighten your workload, save you yeast, save your beer and make the process more comfortable, in general.
- Lightens your Load- The hard way is not always the best way. It saves you from an age-old tradition called racking. It involves transferring the liquid from one fermentation bucket or carboy to another. This process is a secondary fermentation. Why decant your wort into another bucket when you have a conical fermenter at your service? Simply open a valve and the sediment will pass through. That way your wort remains separate from the sludge (which is not entirely useless). You can use the extra time to coming up with cool comebacks for those who insist on changing vessels. The conical fermenter has your back.
- Save the Yeast to Save Money- The trub has the potential to leave you with some good yeast which can be reused. The conical fermenter separates the trub at the bottom and allows you to reuse the salvaged yeast. You can bid adieu to unnecessary wastage or redundant buying of the same yeast strains. This will economise your homebrewing process.
Yeast washing is a good way to save the yeast for a second batch. Your conical fermenter will let you save the yeast you would have otherwise thrown away. Why is it so useful? First, because you have the guarantee that this yeast will ferment better in the second batch; second, start with low gravity beer and move on to high gravity. The active yeast will make your second batch stronger. This is how you can keep experimenting with your beer.
Such creativity is nearly absent when it comes to racking because the cost of repurchasing yeast would inhibit all imagination. Take it from homebrewers who have been using the fermenters for a long time. The cost reduces significantly when you stop wasting precious yeast.
- Prevent Oxidation- Changing vessels increases the risk of oxidation. You want to prevent that as much as possible so that your beer tastes just as you had imagined for it would. Your dedication to the process should reap you the reward of a fresh beer. Let the conical fermenter swoop in here. One vessel equals no exposure of the wort and your beer remains fresh and tasty.
- Make Cleaning Easier- A conical fermenter is very easy to clean. The gunk goes to the bottom and you can remove it easily. The rest, you can easily clean with water. There are no tiny places that need cleaning. Most importantly, there are lesser vessels to clean. When one fermenter does the job, you do not have to worry about cleaning another fermentation bucket. This also saves you space as well as money. No extra equipment when everything is present in one.
You can choose between steel and plastic fermenter. Steel is significantly easier to clean while plastic takes a bit of work. But both are definitely easier when compared with multiple vessels that need to be scoured every time you decide to brew something.
So, the long and short of it is that the conical fermenter is a homebrewing essential.
What is a Conical Fermenter?
If the name does not give it away already, this is a fermenter and a good one at that. You save a lot of work, a boatload of money and the taste of your beer. It is conical in shape and may be made of steel or plastic. An industrial conical fermenter is huge. It is generally made of steel because that is easy to clean. The homebrewer, however, only needs a mini version.
The conical fermenter is simple in structure. It has a valve at the bottom leading to a small ball at the base or even a drain. This is for all the slurry that comes from the primary fermentation. All you then have to worry about is the taste of your liquid brew.
Fermentation has always been a two-part, two-vessel process. Allowing the hops-laden gunk to settle at the bottom of one carboy and then emptying it into another where there is only the liquid. This is not foolproof. Homebrewers have often felt the lack of perfection when doing this segregation manually. Some sediments accompany the liquid into the other bucket or carboy.
This is why the conical fermenter is a saviour. It lends perfection to your homebrew. It is small, manageable and extremely easy to work with. It ensures perfect results where you get a clear liquid without any off-tastes.
How Does a Conical Fermenter Work?
The cylindo-conical vessel is a cylinder at the top and tapers into a conical shape at the bottom. It is a single vessel which allows for a separation of the heap of hops and other things from the wort by using a valve. The valve is placed at the bottom and by opening it, the sediment can be allowed to fill into a flat-bottomed ball at the base of the vessel. You close the valve and the clear wort is all that remains in the main vessel.
Instead of the cumbersome process of removing the wort from one vessel to another bucket, one conical fermenter does the job. It is also easy to fill kegs using the valve of the fermenter. Generally, there is also a second port higher up on the surface of the fermenter from where you can draw samples of the beer for measurement or tasting.
If all these advantages have tempted you into buying a budget conical fermenter, read on to find our top picks. We are happy to help you set up the finest home brewery.
The Winner for the Best Conical Fermenter
Our finger lands on the Ss Brewtech Home Brewing Brew Bucket Fermenter. It is the perfect match for all your brewing needs. There is temperature control and an LCD thermometer to keep gauging the temperature. You can keep track of your fermentation process and know everything right down to the last detail.
It can hold a large quantity- nearly 7 gallons. It has a body that is strong enough to hold this liquid. The stainless steel also works in its favour. Steel is always superior to plastic, which is prone to damage. Plastic is also hard to clean. So if you would go for a fermenter, stainless steel will be the best choice. Steel is easy to clean and you won’t be spending hours scraping and scrubbing the gunk from within.
Stack these fermenters during and after fermentation. They save you space and give you the clearest liquid possible. The racking arm lends it flexibility. Separation of sediment from liquid is easy and efficient. Hence, the Ss Brewtech Brew Bucket is the best choice when it comes to buying an affordable conical fermenter that does a great job and provides clear and safe beer.
Budget Conical Fermenters
Strange Brew Fastferment Conical Fermenter
What we like- The flexibility to mount the fermenter on the wall or place it on a stand, which is provided; is an advantage with the Strange Brew Fastferment. You easily separate the sediment from the wort and all you are left with is a clear liquid. You can use the leftover yeast for a yeast starter. The reduced exposure to oxygen results in fresh beer and you save 80 % of the effort you would have put in when tumbling from one carboy into another. With 7.9 gallons of beer, you are looking at a sizable amount of fresh homebrewed beer in this conical fermenter. And the price is as small as the fermenter is big.
What we don’t like- While it seems like a steal, it has its share of flaws. One of them is the malfunctioning ball valve. Users have complained that the valve gives away at even a gentle pull. Dainty and delicate as you might try to be, the valve beats you and snaps at a tug. The stand is also rickety at best. People have also claimed that the fermenter leaks but if you follow the directions gingerly, and use a lot of Teflon tape for the fittings, it will work just fine.
Fermentesaurus Starter Kit
What we like-The Australian Fermentesaurus is a combination of conical fermenter and a pressurisable serving vessel with a capacity of 35l or 9.25 gallons. The fermenter is quite different from the usual ones in the sense that it is PET instead of steel, which allows you a clear view of the fermentation process through the surface.
It does its job of saving you active and useful yeast with its dump valve and dump tub at the bottom. Harvest the yeast or convert it into a yeast starter- the Fermentesaurus will help you save your time and money.
The fermenter goes beyond the basics to provide you with a Pressure Kit which is your tool for experimentation. Use it to carbonate your beer, which is the most amazing part of the drink. Or you can even try to ferment lagers that taste and smell perfect because of the pressure kit.
It is a versatile kit that incorporates the complete homebrewing essentials in one. The cherry on the cake is the affordability. The anticipated cost of such a multi-utility kit might make one nervous. But this one is well within your range and is among the cheapest conical fermenters out there.
What we don’t like- The quality of the product in question is what has left most users dissatisfied. They have complained of a wobbly, flimsy stand and the lightweight body is also unnerving for the person trying to ferment 9.25 gallons of beer. The separation of the wort from the sediment has also been found to be misdirected with most of the sludge flowing out into the kegs instead of settling at the bottom. These flaws need to be looked into by the manufacturer.
The Catalyst Fermentation System
What we like- Its material makes it unique. It is made of tritan which is a food-safe BPA-free polymer and we are happy that it takes into consideration the safety and health of beer lovers. Tritan acts like glass- is transparent and clear- but does not break as easily making this fermenter one of the most durable ones available. And its price is great too! It hovers on the lower end of the price spectrum and within the cost you get the 6.5 gallon- conical fermenter, a rubber stopper, bottling attachment, transfer tubing and mason jar among other things.
Its butterfly valve is designed to be compatible with any wide-mouthed mason jar and your sediments can easily be collected in it. There is a reason why this fermentation system has been awarded in the category of innovative design. It is intuitive when it comes to your needs and allows you to go about your brewing without accumulating paraphernalia.
It boasts of the ability to fill bottles directly from the fermenter. There is a trub trap at the bottom which collects all the sediments that can be your next yeast starter and then you can move on to bottling. Forget transferring from one bucket to another and use this one-stop solution for all your brewing needs.
What we don’t like- Despite its lofty ideals, this fermentation system lacks in its delivery. It promises direct bottling, but the trub trap is not perfect. Once you open the Butterfly Valve, some sediment starts trickling through and you are left with no option but to start racking once more.
However, if you are only using this for fermentation and skip the direct bottling, this fermenter works just fine and delivers on its promises.
Ss Brewtech Home Brewing Brew Bucket Fermenter
What we like- Stainless steel is the brewing industry’s most-trusted product. It is the easiest to clean and upholds the best sanitary standards. Taking this into consideration, the Ss Brewtech Bucket Fermenter came into being.
The conical fermenter utilises its shape to store the sediments at the bottom and segregate the yeast from the wort. You get a clear liquid that does not have any off-tastes.
The brew buckets are compact enough to be able to fit into standard chest freezers. This way, you can even control the temperature during fermentation. Plus, you can ferment a whole 6.95 gallons of beer.
The optimal design also gives you the advantage of stacking the brew buckets and saving yourself a lot of space. The integrated racking arm is also a stroke of genius that is unmissable. It gives you the freedom for easy rotation during racking and even allows stacking during fermentation. You save space in storage as well as during fermentation.
The LCD thermometer is also a unique offering which displays accurate readings of the temperature during fermentation. It is slightly costlier than your average conical fermenter but it certainly offers a lot more features than you would get in the average one.
What we don’t like- The only complaint users seem to be having with this fermenter is the lack of a proper tub to collect the trub. The cone at the bottom is inadequate when the brewer wishes to save the yeast for a yeast starter. But the fermenter succeeds on all other counts.
Brew Bucket Fermenter
What we like- The food grade 304 stainless steel body makes it a safe option. It has sterile venting holes to add to the safety of your drink. It is also one of the largest fermenters out there with a capacity of 7 gallons.
The integrated bracket arm is an ingenious piece of design that makes it easy to turn and clean.
The tank is corrosion resistant, durable and works for the sanitary preparation of your beer.
What we don’t like-While its strong body and sanitary upkeep will afford the user safe beer, there is very little else that this fermenter can do. It costs more than some fermenters in the market but does not have the kind of features that they have to offer. The material is all that increases the cost of this fermenter. Its features are minimal.
Something Must Always be Brewing in Your Homebrewery
You have already familiarised yourself with the idea of foregoing racking. It is time-consuming and not the best way to obtain a clear and tasty beer. Conical fermenters have made the job easier, but choosing the best out of them is also a job. Your budget should dictate the choice but keep in mind the functionality as well as the sterility.
You will find yourself looking at various conical fermenters that promise you a clear brew but end up leaking or giving away under the weight of the liquid, due to their flimsiness. The material they are made up of is thus, of utmost importance.
The most high-end options go upward of $600. But, if you are only starting out, our top budget fermenters could also do the job perfectly. You just need to find one that is the perfect size and has all the components that you need. It will only cost you once and save you any future costs as well as the cost of any extra equipment.
If you are a cerevisaphile and a regular homebrewer, the conical fermenter is ready to reduce your labour to ensure that something should always be brewing in your little nook.
Lead marketer, brewer, dad, and husband. Pretty much an all-round awesome guy.