Most homebrewers begin their fermentation careers with carboys and buckets. These hardy, inexpensive vessels are the tools included in most starter kits. At some point, however, brewers become aware of the other options on the market. Chief among them: the conical fermenter.
Conical fermenters are the gold standard of beer-making. You know those enormous metal tankards you see at professional breweries? The ones that taper into a funnel at the bottom? Those are conical fermenters. Really, really big conical fermenters. Those used in homebrewing are exactly the same—but on a much smaller scale.
There are several main benefits to conical fermentation:
One vessel for primary & secondary (no more siphoning!).
Better quality beer.
Save & reuse beer yeast
Less cleaning & sanitation.
Minimize risk of oxidation.
Let's talk through each of these benefits in more detail.
Adding secondary fermentation to the brewing process is a game-changer. It allows brewers to flex their creative muscles with new tools. Elevate flavor with extended aging, dry hopping, or additions of oak, fruit—anywhere your imagination takes you. Achieve better clarity, less sediment, and smoother mouthfeel, all by simply transferring your beer to secondary.
Unfortunately, two-step fermentation in a bucket or carboy equals extra siphoning, opening the door to infection and oxidation. If only there were a way to do it with just one vessel...
Oh, wait—there is! Conical fermenters are uniquely shaped to eliminate transferring. The funnel-shaped bottom separates and collects unwanted sediment. At the end of primary, you just pop open the valve and dump the sediment, leaving only pure beer behind, ready for secondary.
When fermentation is complete, conical fermenters make it easy to transfer your beer directly to a keg.
Minimize Risk of Oxidation and Infection
Oxidation and Infection are a brewer's worst nightmare. You wait for weeks, only to taste your final beer and find it riddled with off-flavors. Every time you transfer your brew, you remove it from the sealed-off safety of its home vessel, thus exposing it to contaminants and oxygen. Even the most vigilant brewers fall into unintended traps.
Enter conical fermenters. By performing both primary and secondary fermentation in one vessel, your risk of spoilage plummets. No need to transfer? No exposure to the outside elements.
There's a reason professional brewers choose conical: efficiency. Single-vessel fermentation is the single-most streamlined version of homebrewing possible. When you streamline fermentation, you eliminate risk. The result: better beer. Period.
Save & Reuse Yeast
Easiest way to save money on brewing? Reuse your yeast. Liquid beer yeast costs from $8 - $17. Rather than buying a new packet for every batch, why not make the most out of the one you already have?
By letting you dump trub out of the bottom, conical fermenters make harvesting yeast as easy as turning a valve. You'll collect healthy, viable yeast that can be easily isolated, cleaned, and stored for up to a week. Don't waste money on buying the same strain over and over again. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Less Cleaning & Sanitation
Need we say more? Cleaning is (almost) everyone's least favorite part of brewing. It goes without saying that the fewer vessels you use, the fewer vessels you clean. So get in on single-vessel fermentation and get out of extra scrubbing.
Available at Any Price Point
Something this good must cost an arm and a leg, right? Thankfully, the answer is no. Conical fermenters exist for every budget. Those who want to go high-end, with premium-grade stainless steel and all the goodies, can find what they need, as can the brewer looking for a basic plastic option:
- Grainfather Conical - Pro Edition: Complete with the Grainfather Digital Temperature Controller and Dual Valve Tap, the functionality of a commercial brewery is now at the homebrewer's fingertips.
- FastFerment 7.9 Gallon Conical Fermenter: Eliminate 80% of sanitizing and cleaning with this affordable all-in-one conical fermentor. Conduct all stages of fermentation in this single vessel. Remove the trub from the bottom of the fermentor instead of transferring all your liquid to secondary. No siphons, no secondary fermenting vessel to sanitize, no extra bungs and airlocks.
- The Catalyst: For an excellent mid-tier conical, look no further than the Catalyst. Made with revolutionary shatter-proof polymer and a patented Trub Trap™ butterfly valve, the Catalyst is priced astoundingly well for the goodies it includes.
- Anvil Crucible™ Conical Fermentor - 7 Gallon: The ANVIL Crucible™ Conical Fermentor is the hands-down best value in a stainless steel conical fermentor on the market. The rotating racking arm and large pro-style tri-clamp bottom dump will have you racking crystal clear beer and harvesting yeast like a pro! Let the Crucible™ be the showpiece of YOUR brewery!
Now get out there and start playing. Better beer is waiting.
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