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Catalyst Fermentation System


SKU# 43166

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If you could eliminate one chronic homebrewing time-suck, what would it be? How about the Transfer Trap…You know, where you endlessly shift your homebrewed beer from fermenter, to secondary to bottling bucket, to bottles, risking contamination and messy spills at every step.

The great news is, you can. There’s a better, simpler way: The Catalyst – an ingeniously designed fermentation system from Craft-A-Brew that separates sediment, eliminates transfers and allows you to bottle straight from your fermenter.

The Catalyst’s tank is made from Tritan™, a food-safe, BPA-free polymer. This revolutionary material retains the same clarity and smoothness of glass, but is resistant to shattering. It is more durable and outlasts the other types plastic typically used in homebrewing. You can even put it and the removable silicone gasket in your dishwasher for easy cleanup. Properly cared for, the tank will last for years to come.

With The Catalyst Fermentation System, it’s easier than ever to make great beer at home…and look good, AND save time, AND…what are you waiting for? Escape the Transfer Trap and learn some better brewing moves today.


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Catalyst Fermentation System

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  • Catalyst Fermentation System
  • Catalyst conical fermenter includes all parts nessessary
  • Catalyst Specs
Product Details
Smiley faceAs if that time-and-space-saving solution weren’t enough, here are the three things that put The Catalyst over the top as absolutely best-in-class:

The Materials: The Catalyst’s tank is made from Tritan™, a food-safe, BPA-free polymer. This revolutionary material retains the same clarity and smoothness of glass, but is resistant to shattering. It is more durable and outlasts the other types plastic typically used in homebrewing. You can even put it and the removable silicone gasket in your dishwasher for easy cleanup. Properly cared for, the tank will last for years to come.
The Design: The Catalyst is engineered to optimize ever cubic inch of space, resulting in an incredibly sturdy stand with I-beam and honeycomb construction, squat 6.5 Gallon tank and 3” Trub Trap™ Butterfly Valve – the largest in the industry. The result is an efficient, practically indestructible system that fits easily under a table or on a countertop.
The Details: No specialized equipment required. The Trub Trap™ on The Catalyst is designed to work with any large-mouthed mason jar, which makes catching and storing viable yeasts or separating sediment super simple.
With The Catalyst Fermentation System, it’s easier than ever to make great beer at home…and look good, AND save time, AND…what are you waiting for? Shake off the Transfer Shuffle and learn some better brewing moves today.

The Catalyst Fermentation System Includes:
  • 6.5 Gallon Tank with Lid
  • Stand (Base, 2 Legs, 2 Support Beams, 8 Screws)
  • 3” Proprietary Butterfly Valve
  • Bottling Attachment
  • Transfer Tubing
  • Tubing Clamp
  • Rubber Stopper
  • 16 Oz. Wide Mouth Mason Jar
  • Allen Wrench
  • The Stand: Height: 14.75" Width: 17" Depth: 13.75"
  • Unit Size: Total Height (does not include airlock): 26.25" Maximum Width: 17"

Add the Catalyst Tank Cover for ultimate functionality and ease.
Additional Information
Support Documents:No
3.9 / 5.0
72 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Stars
Good idea, but some flaws
I bought one at NHC this year and just started using it. The biggest issue is the seal on the lid. It comes off very easily when removing the lid and is almost impossible to put back on. I had to transfer my first beer out to a bucket as I couldn't get the lid seal back onto the lid. This is going to limit my use, I hope the seal is redesigned to be more user friendly.
October 14, 2016
Great concept, needs work
Pro/Con list at end of review.

Got this setup for Christmas this year.
Overall, I think I am going to love it. Easy to use, great quality, item that does what it was advertised to do: Brew beer while lessening the potential instances for contamination.
I love the system, don't get me wrong. But it needs quite a bit of additional design work/modification to make it a five star item.
I am an early adopter, so I am accustomed to 1.0 version items I get having a few slight "flaws". Again, overall, the system is a superior fermenting system.
There are a few things requiring a little tweaking, in my opinion. Most are simple ease of use issues, but I do have a major issue with the design of the bottling attachment, which is the reason I only give it 4 stars rather than 5.
The screw-on attachment for the tubing to bottle the finished batch is very very slim and will not work with standard 3/8 tubing (and yes, in a hobby like this, I recognize there are no hard and fast "standards"). Normally, I don't think this is that big of a deal, but bottling out of this system is gravity feed/kink the hose and waste beer only: SLOW and messy. I was able to force my bottling wand into the skinny tube that fits the bottling attachment, but only because my wand is old and starting to show signs of crazing. Normally I don't use a wand in that condition, but I consider myself to be lucky I hadn't tossed this one yet since none of the others I own would fit.

Overall, I love this thing. I will continue to use it. I will probably buy another just for ease of use... but it needs a little work to meet the 5 star mark in my book.
Superior concept
Easy to assemble and use
High quality materials
Complete package

Tall system makes filling with water to sanitize a challenge
Threading on lower valve is the same direction for both trub jar and fermenter attachment
72 degree temp limit will not allow ice cooling method
Bottling attachment tubing too small for bottling wand
Lid seal difficult to re-install in a sanitary manner
Lid too large to fit inside of fermenter necessitating separate sanitization vessels
Clear fermenter has no light blocking ability
No safe way to handle/carry just fermenter section.
January 15, 2017
10 months ago
I love this system!
I just dumped the trub on my first batch using the system. I don't have a ton of room in my apartment so having multiple carboys and buckets has always been a hassle. This has eliminated all the headache. I siphoned the beer straight from the kettle to the catalyst and pitched the yeast. No drips leaks or anything. Today primary was done and I switched the jar out to collect the yeast. No issue, just make sure you have a small plate to catch the liquid that sits on the top of the jar. If you are brewing a heavier beer I would suggest a 24-32oz jar as the 16 fills up quickly. I purchased those two and the first batch has settled nicely into the 24. The only CON I have seen is the lid latches. They have to be aligned right as they are cut to fit around the top so just make sure its aligned press firmly to seal then secure the latches. Fantastic product and you can see pics on Instagram texaviator23
October 14, 2016
Good idea, well executed.
Once you think about it, the design is a no brainer. It takes most of the headache out of home brewing, and does it solidly, simply and elegantly. Would definitely recommend.
October 19, 2016
Great with little tweak
I received the catalyst fermentor as a Christmas gift. I brewed my first batch and 2 weeks later tried to empty the trub but could not. I had to transfer beer into a secondary unit. I contacted Northern Brewer and was told that the valve needs to be left open during the process so I tried another batch. What a difference. Customer service was great and i got back on schedule using the new fermentation system. Love it. My only gripe is that the manufacture should make the instructions clearer about the position of theh valve.
January 27, 2017
10 months ago
Great System & Major Time Saver
I've just used my Catalyst Fermentation System for the first time and I love it. All in all, this thing has saved me hours of time that I used to spend transferring from primary to secondary and secondary to bottling buckets (and all associated cleaning). It's also improved the quality of my beer because far less opportunity for aeration and/or contamination.

Before I bought it I read tons of reviews and was a bit wary about a couple apparent issues with it but after use I feel that the concerns stated in negative reviews are non-issues for me. One concern was about the lid and seal. The lid is not hard to close, it makes a great seal which is necessary. The inner gasket does pop out sometimes when removing the lid but it needs to pop out so it can be cleaned. It is easiest to replace it with a bit of help from a second set of hands. I do recommend using a larger mason jar than what comes with it as I generally have more trub than can be held in the stock jar.

The only negative comment I have is that when removing and dumping the first jar of trub to initiate secondary fermentation a large slug of air is introduced to the wort when you open the valve. This can be avoided by pre-purging your mason jar with CO2 if you have the capability.

Other than that this is a great time saving system and I plan to purchase another.
February 22, 2017
9 months ago
I got mine yesterday and was immediately impressed by its appearance and construction. Putting the stand together was a dream. Everything lined up perfectly and was rock solid. I smiled broadly as I thought about getting rid of all those ugly buckets and siphoning gizmos. And my schedule won't be wrecked by racking! Thought I was in brewing heaven. Then, I decided to attach the lid to make the job complete. Smile now gone! I followed the directions and used an X pattern. I managed with difficulty to get the first three to lock in place, but I worked up a sweat trying to get that last one. Finally, I used all the force I could muster, and the latch broke. I'm now hoping I can get a replacement lid without having to buy another fermenter. If all goes well, I'll re-review in a couple weeks and hopefully add that fifth star.
December 8, 2016
Primary Fermenting Now
We brewed a brown ale this past weekend and have it fermenting in the Catalyst now. The review about the seal easily coming off the lid is true, but it was not difficult to put back on with two people. Transferred straight for the kettle to here. Pitched yeast and two people shook the entire system by rocking back and forth. Although the complete construction is plastic, the base, valve, and "carboy" seem very sturdy. Using a 20oz wide mouth jar to catch the trub.
December 19, 2016
Glad I have one!
So far awesome! I just brewed and put it in the Catalyst. It's sturdy and well designed. A friend of mine bought the other plastic conical, the FastFerment. He said the Catalyst design is better built.

I like the yeast catch on the bottom. I'm looking forward to bottling straight out of the fermentor and saving a step in the process!
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January 29, 2017
9 months ago
Not Bad but could use some upgrading
I recently received this system for Christmas and used it for the first time today. In general it is a pretty well built system but the lid needs changing. First, if the rubber liner on the inside comes out good luck trying to put it back in. Unfortunately mine broke trying to re-assemble after cleaning. I also do not like how the lid attaches to the fermenter. If these two things can be fixed I think overall it will work out just fine. I am in the process of fermenting now so I will try to update later and maybe increase the number of stars if I find it easy to bottle.
December 28, 2016
10 months ago
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Browse 39 questions Browse 39 questions and 90 answers
I see that you include transfer tubing with this. Where do you hook the transfer tubing up? I don't see a spigot anywhere. Do you have to siphon this to bottle the contents or is there an attachament point around the butterfly valve somehwere?
A shopper on Nov 24, 2016
BEST ANSWER: There is a plastic piece that looks sort of like a funnel that screws into where the mason jar screws into. You connect the tubing to the bottom of the funnel. It comes with a crimper to start and stop the flow. I use the crimper and my bottling wand.
How do you aerate the wort with this system? Currently fermenting with buckets and shake them vigorously before pitching.
A shopper on Dec 9, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Several options:
1) Use an aquarium pump
2) Use pure oxygen.
3) Pour the wort from the kettle the bucket. Shake the bucket. Then pour it into the Catalyst.
WIll there be too much head space foe a 3 gallon batch?
A shopper on Dec 3, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Of course this will hold up to 6 gallons. However, head space is a relative issue. Once fermentation begins it will create a blanket of CO2 over the wort. So, oxidation isn't going to be an issue. If sanitation is done well, then you shouldn't have any issues with contamination.
Since I don't have the luxury of a dedicated, heated, brew space, I have to haul the primary fermentation vessel to a different location to ferment after filling. How do I move this container? Are there sturdy handles that allow me to move it easily?
A shopper on Dec 31, 2016
BEST ANSWER: I'll answer my own question, no handles to grab at the moment but it appears that there is a "new" cover that has straps that allow for transport due out the end of January 2017.
Can I make wine in this system? I am new to wine making and this seems like a good deal. Thank You
A shopper on Dec 27, 2016
How is fermentation temperature measured and controlled?
A shopper on Dec 18, 2016
BEST ANSWER: I use a Stopper Thermowell from More Beer Item #: FE624. It allows me to get the true temp of the beer as well as attach a blow off tube for crazy fermantations.
Can you use a heating belt to control fermentation temperatures with this product?
A shopper on Dec 8, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Yes. I am using a heating belt and it works fine. It doesn't fit snug around the tank due to its shape but it still does the trick.
How do you get any yeast that clings to the walls of the fermenter off before bottling?
Ford S on Jan 14, 2017
BEST ANSWER: its so minimal it wont matter and if it stayed there during drop-out it likely wont end up in the bottles, but u can remove the lid and DELICATELY rub the sides of the conical with the trub trap closed, then put the lid back on and open the trap again then wait a couple hours (or a day). as good as it gets
Can I drill it for a sampling port?
A shopper on Dec 26, 2016
Will this fit in a small chest freezer. I have a small chest freezer that easily holds two carboys. Anybody?
James R on Nov 27, 2016
BEST ANSWER: If your chest freezer inside dimensions are larger than those stated it should work.

The Stand: Height: 14.75" Width: 17" Depth: 13.75"
Unit Size: Total Height (does not include airlock): 26.25" Maximum Width: 17"
Are the lid, gasket, and valve dishwasher safe? Or just the tank?
A shopper on Jan 17, 2017
BEST ANSWER: The tank and bottling attachment are the only items that have been tested and proven dishwasher safe.
Will the rubber stopper or lid support two "holes" one for gas/pressure relief and one for a thermowell for fermenter temp control?
A shopper on Dec 29, 2016
How do you move this? The fermentation design looks great and all, but I don't see handles on this and would be concerned about trying to lift 5 gallons of wort in this awkward setup.
A shopper on Jun 2, 2017
BEST ANSWER: First, why would you need to move it? But if you do need to you can scoot the entire apparatus across the surface of whatever counter or table you have it on, or you can lift the container out of the frame (for aeration purposes, for example) just by wrapping your arms around it and lifting it up. The great thing about this item is that you really don't need to move it at all. Once fermentation is complete just close the valve, remove the jar [and I recommend using a quart jar, rather than the pint jar that comes with the system, if you are brewing any recipe that produces a lot of sediment] and bottle directly from the vat--no syphoning necessary. It doesn't get any easier than this!
Can the silicone gasket be glued in place?
A shopper on Jun 17, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Not sure why NB sent me this question, but I will answer it. Doubtful, since you can't guarantee the seal would keep bad stuff out (or from growing), and you may lose the ability for a tight seal. It's definitely a drawback to the system. Take the lid off to dry hop, and the whole gasket falls off. Also no way to carry this thing from point A (my kitchen) to point B (my basement). I'll continue to use it for primary, but secondary will be the big mouth or bucket.
how do you get the gaket back in?
Wayne C on Jan 7, 2017
BEST ANSWER: The gasket is a bit of a pain because it sometimes skips off loose the flang or plastic ridge. There is a groove under the gasket that fits over the plastic ridge on the lid. You need to fit the gasket over that ridge and gradually slide your finger along the gasket while holding the gasket from sipping off. Kind of like a bicycle tire and rim thing. Practice it a few times. If you have fresh wort in the fermenter when this happens figure out some way to cover your vulnerable wort while you fuss with gasket. The manufacturer should improve this feature by gluing the gasket in place or otherwise secure it better.
Any suggestions for where to get the additional recommended 8oz and 32oz wide mouth mason jars? I looked online and can only find large quantity offers.
A shopper on Jun 15, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Try a thrift store, such as Habitat for Humanity Restore.
So I think that I screwed up...I JUST finished brewing and am using the Catalyst for the 1st time. Well...I just noticed that I put the valve on upside down! There is zero leaking but I'm wondering if should just leave it alone and pay attention next time or should I get it switched over in to my other Big Mouth Bubbler...ASAP...?
Jay H on Apr 30, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Ok, looking at my catalyst now. Has beer in it so can't try this myself. I would leave it in there, open valve as much as you can. Looks like the handle will hit bottom of carboy but should be able to open halfway. The trap will still collect trub at halfway open. After cap drops and ferment stops close valve. After secondary aging/clarifying transfer to bottling bucket. Made the mistake twice of using the bottling adapter on bottom of valve to fill bottles but a lot of crud made it into the first handful of bottles been using bottling bucket since. Still like the catalyst though, don't have to transfers to secondary just have to empty trub trap or close valve to age and clarify.
I love the concept of this, however I do 10 gallon batches, I don't see the value of spending $400 verse a little bit of my time to move a 2 - 5 gal batches from one container to another. Will there be a larger one coming out?
A shopper on Jul 7, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Hi there, Bill from Florida here. We brew 10 gallon batches to. If you take advantage of 20% off and free shipping offers (I believe there is one out now) you can make it happen for $300. I invested in one first and my fellow brewer didn't. After 2 brews he bought one. Beyond the serious time savings (I have kids) I'm reducing oxygenation from no siphoning, increasing sanitation, and harvesting great yeast starters. I'm very happy with mine. 🍻🍻🍻🤘🏼
When cold crashing does any yeast stick to the sides of the cone? I like the idea of this product but am concerned that transferring from the bottom of the cone will still wind up with yeasty beer and require a secondary to settle out.
A shopper on Nov 30, 2016
BEST ANSWER: What I do is a day before transferring out of the fermenter, I shake it side-to-side to encourage excess to fall into the mason jar. Since the gas layer on top is entirely CO2 this won't result in oxidation. When the transfer happens some yeast will stick to the sides, but it will stay there through the transfer, creating a clean transfer to keg or bottling system. When I cold crash and lager I transfer to a secondary anyway so that I can use the fermenter again during lager.
I am using the Mason jar that came with the Catalyst during fermentation, and the jar filled rather quickly. How can I dump this jar and replace it to catch more trub without introducing oxygen into the beer, or will the effects on the beer be negligible?
A shopper on Sep 19, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I had the same problem. Simple solution: replace the jar with a quart jar. It will fit, and it will catch everything.
Getting ready to dry hop for the 1st time with the Catalyst...any tips?
Jay H on May 10, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I've got my first dry hop in progress right now, but I can give you a couple of thoughts. I had a batch that had more yeast on the angled surface and I didn't want to transfer it into the keg. So I grabbed a BIAB bag and threaded the funnel attachment on with it as a screen. It sealed and worked like a charm.
Another thing to consider is using the jar to collect much of the hop material before transferring. I recommend filling that jar nice and slow with CO2 before putting it on to minimize oxidation.
How do you take a hydrometer reading on this thing?
A shopper on Jul 22, 2017
BEST ANSWER: You can pull a sample from the bottom/jar or use a wine thief to pull some via airlock.
Is the 75F temperature referenced for this system have to do with being at the right temp before pitching the yeast, or is it a limitation of the plastic vessel?
Andrew K on Jul 4, 2017
BEST ANSWER: It's for the yeast, not because of the plastic vessel. I've used the system for 6 or 8 batches and I'm delighted with it--with two reservations: 1) I've had to replace the pint jar with a quart jar for brews with a lot of sediment; and 2) I've begun to have trouble getting the gasket on the lid to stay in place when I put it on. Even with these two problems, though, the Catalyst Fermentation System is the only system for me. (My three others are gathering dust in the closet.)
Are spare parts available?
A shopper on Apr 27, 2017
BEST ANSWER: At this time, the manufacturer has not made spare parts available in quantities to sell them on their own, but that is the goal. If parts wear or tear through use, we should be able to help - just call customer service to see if they can be sourced! The parts are very durable very few have had any issues needing replacement parts.
How do I change my jar? Close valve, remove jar and replace worth new sanitised jar and open valve again?
Doug M on Dec 26, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Yes. Just like that. But remember every time you change the jar a big gulp of oxygen hits the beer as the jar fills.
Doesn't the beer get dirty bottling right from the catalyst, especially after mixing the priming sugar?
A shopper on Nov 26, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Hi there,
You'll wait until all the matter settles in the mason jar and dump it before you bottle.Cheers!
Has anyone tried a whirlpool in this fermenter before pitching yeast? Results? Thoughts? I think any trub would sink be captured in the jar and then easily removed from the wort. If less trub and more wort is captured in the jar, the wort can be put back into the fermenter. steps: Hook up the jar, whirlpool, remove the jar and trub, repeat until only wort in the jar, then pitch yeast. Seems too easy....is there any rule that whirlpool must occur in the kettle?
A shopper on Jun 20, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I personally did not need to do a whirlpool. I just opened the valve prior to dumping in the cooled wort and tossed in the yeast starter. When I checked it the next day there was a trub layer that filled the jar and then some. I got rid of that stuff, reattached and let that sit. After removing the second jar full I hooked it up and let it roll. When I crash cooled the yeast packed with about 20% beer in the jar. No fuss no muss.
I've read about a lot of problems concerning the silicone gasket staying in place and what a pain it is to try and reinstall it. Is it possible to just glue it down and be done with it? If so, what kind of glue would you recommend?
A shopper on Jun 17, 2017
BEST ANSWER: We do not recommend gluing it down, as you will want to be able to clean it easily and well. Cheers!
I'm assuming that if this can be used for beer and wine, it should be suitable for hard cider or pretty much any other fermented beverage. Am I correct?
A shopper on Mar 1, 2017
BEST ANSWER: This is true! You could ferment beer, wine, cider, mead, etc, in such a fermenter, and it will offer many of the same advantages. Fewer transfers, less cleaning and siphoning, easy clean-up, etc. -Mike W, Northern Brewer
Has anyone attempted to drill the catalyst fermenter to add a sampling port? I was thinking I could bottle off the sampling port as well rather than using the provided bottling attachment.
Matthew F on Jan 31, 2017
BEST ANSWER: No, you will definitely run the risk of shattering the fermenter, I would also think it would reduce the structural integrity. It's plastic, not stainless.

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