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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.


Availability: In stock

Get it in Ashburn by Thu May 24.
Catalyst Fermentation System

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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
3.8 / 5.0
100 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Stars
Tough review. "Good Unit"
I'll say it is a nice looking unit. The idea and workability is decent overall. I would buy again before using carboys and playing that game. I'll give a tough review because I think a few improvements would make this an instant Five Star review and sales would rocket. As some have said the top gasket can be a pain in the ass. The four locking tabs on the cover make me feel like I wonder how many snap downs she will take before a tab snaps off. Conicle angle should be steeper. Buying the cover to black out the brew I think would be a must have for most. Should be included. A backwards thread of the valve attachment to the tank would be nice so when you try to loosen the trub jar it doesn't try to spin the valve off the tank. Overall I feel it was a decent buy that works pretty good. I'd be willing to pay more if a few things were better. I'm a tough critic I know.
May 7, 2018
1 month ago
a little problem
the only problem I’ve had with this is the gasket on the lid comes off alot, wish there was a fix for that.
April 30, 2018
1 month ago
I love this product
I consider this product a must buy. My beers are clearer and dry hopping is easier with this product. it is easy to clean and easy to assemble.
April 29, 2018
10 months ago
Nice Fermenter
I am on my 4th batch using the Catalyst and have been very happy with the results. I have not had the cover gasket fall out yet, which everyone has said is a pain to get re-installed, but I also have not had it blow my air lock out either. I really like the ability to dump a quart of sediment at the start of the brew and I can now have secondary fermentation clarity in less than 10 minutes by simply closing the gate valve removing the mason jar and dumping the primary sludge. I have been using CO2 to blow the mason jar clear of oxygen prior to re-installing when moving from primary to secondary, and so far, no off flavors in my beer since some people complained about the air bubble when you reopen the gate valve. My only real issue is you need a plate or container under the mason jar when you remove it, because even with the gate valve closed, there is about wort above the lip of the jar and it makes a mess in my fermentation fridge when you unscrew the jar. With a plate under it, the plate catches the spill and I can slide the plate and jar out together without any mess. I would recommend to a friend.
April 22, 2018
3 months ago
Great Brew Idea!
This device saves me time and work without having to transfer to a secondary. I does exactly what it is supposed to do. I am glad I purchased this unit and highly recommend it. Nice addition to my beer brewing hardware.
April 7, 2018
10 months ago
Great system
Recently bought this to free up some space and make my life a little easier brewing.

Super easy to use, assemblies in minutes. Im pretty handy, so i dont have a problem with the seal but i could see how people could as it does take an extra second to put on. Just take your time and once you get the idea its easy.

I love the trub trap. I use a 24 ounce jar first and usually dump the first batch about a week to 10 days. Tehn, if heavy trub i'll attach the small on that comes with it. My only complaint is the dead space (not alot really) between the bottom of the valve and the jar makes a little bit spill when you close the valve and drop the jar- just put a casserole dish under the jar so you can catch some spillage when you drop the jar.

The whole thing is easy to clean. I soak some water and PBW overnight then dum/rinse and is good to go. Its really a great product.

I keep it in the closet so its away from the light ad dont need the cover, but if you dont have a dark space i'd recommend the cover for long secondaries.
April 5, 2018
3 months ago
The reason I gave it a 3 is because the rubber casket seal in the lid came out midbrew and would not go back on. Other than that nice one and done fermenter.
April 1, 2018
2 months ago
Such a small flaw that creates a huge disappointment.
Just kegged a grapefruit IPA after fermenting and conditioning it in the Catalyst. It is a simple and easy to clean and use fermenter. I loved being able to ferment and then condition my beer without transferring it to a secondary. Once ready, the siphon connection made it very easy to keg. Once I figured out how to reinstall the gasket, I don't seem to have the same issues that others are complaining about as it is simple enough once you get it down.

As far as the dangers of aerating the beer, I think this is a non-issue. As long as the temperature isn't too high you won't oxidize and ruin the beer.

The fatal flaw - Seeing as how the entire selling point of this product revolves around collecting and removing sediment, trub and yeast all in one vessel without transferring and disturbing the beer it does have a design flaw. A large portion of these collects just above the valve as there is a small horizontal lip that prevents it from sliding into the jar. Considering that this product revolves around this feature but cannot do it, I was disappointed. I still have to open the Catalyst and sanitize a large spatula to push the remaining sediment into the jar otherwise it will end up in my kegs as it is drawn down when siphoning. This is an inexcusable flaw that the designers should have realized during testing and fixed simply by removing that small horizontal lip. Such a small flaw that creates a huge disappointment.
March 30, 2018
Better than carboys, close but not perfect
At $100, it would be 4 stars, but for $200, it is only 3 starts. I used the 6.5 gallon for two batches now:

The Good:
- Saves time and hassle versus carboys
- Decently sturdy, can pick up and move while full.
- No problems with leaks or construction
- Easy to setup and clean
- 6.5 gallon seems to have enough head space for "normal" gravity beers

The Bad:
- As others have said, the gasket comes off EVERY TIME you take the lid off, and is a pain to get back on. I expect a little gorilla glue will fix this.
- If you are a stickler for clarity, this is NOT for you. There is a reason most conical fermenters have the "conical" portion at a steep angle, steeper than the 45 degree angle of this vessel. At 45 degrees, trub and yeast really like to stick to the side instead of falling into the jar. If you bottle out of this (which is part of the point of having it) it is impossible not to disturb the gunk on the sides as the beer level lowers. It does help it if you open up and give it a little whirpool swirl a few times a few days before bottling. It is also difficult to mix in the carbonating sugar water without disturbing the dried on krausen that sticks to the plastic above the beer.

Better than carboys and siphoning, but for $200, might want to wait to see the next generation. Fix the gasket and make the conical part steeper, and you likely have a winner. Avoid this one if beer clarity is a serious concern for you.
March 21, 2018
Great Product
I love this product. Easy to dump the trub and put your beer into secondary. Having a detachable trap at the bottom makes dry hopping or dry nibbing quick and painless. Would highly recommend getting a larger jar for hoppier beers but this thing is great and comes with everything you need from blowoff hose to stand.
March 20, 2018
2 months ago
Start typing your question and we'll check if it was already asked and answered. Learn More
Browse 49 questions Browse 49 questions and 124 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.
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
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 had the same question. Once filled I was able to carry the whole setup by grabbing either side of the top platform that circles the tank. No problems hauling from outside down to the basement. I bought the cover for this and didn't use it.
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
BEST ANSWER: yes, the sell a kit for this purpose. Easy to install and I've had not leaks from it.
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
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"
Hello! Should the Catalyst have any issues utilizing a heating unit like a brew belt or heater wrap? Will this hard plastic transfer temperature effectively? Will a sticker thermometer work? Thanks!
John H on Nov 27, 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.
I'm not clear why at this price point, $200, I would buy a Catalyst over a SS fermenter. Any thoughts? I like the idea of this but at that price, I have to ask.
Daniel Curtis on Mar 13, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Honestly one of the best decisions that I have made
since I started homebrewing about 4 years ago. The
clear conical design so you can see the fermentation
at work may be one of the biggest difference from the ss fermenter. Changing the trub jar is quick & easy that makes for a cleaner beer. I am very pleased with catalyst and would recommend it to anyone interested in homebrewing.
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.
What is the overall height?
Evan H on Apr 7, 2018
BEST ANSWER: 28” w/o the stopper/tubing coming out of top. I have a standard-size ‘frige, and it fits well atop the bottom fruit/veg drawers.
Does it absorb odors?
A shopper on Mar 27, 2018
BEST ANSWER: I have fermented at least a half a dozen batches and have not noticed any particular odors. I am careful to clean and dry the Catalyst immediately after bottling. I store it with the lid loose and valve open or off. This probably allows for plenty of airflow when sitting idle. Overall, I am completely satisfied with this system and am contemplating the purchase of another.
Do I need a special brush to clean the plastic tank?
A shopper on Mar 19, 2018
BEST ANSWER: I have always just used my hand to clean the tank. It's easy to reach into and rub away any residue with my fingers before sanitizing the tank for the next batch. If you don't already have one of these I recommend that you get one ASAP. It cuts the hassle of brewing in half. (And, if you're like me and you are intruding on your wife's shelf space in the kitchen, it's a lot more "interesting looking," if not actually "attractive," than the big white fermentation barrels.
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.
After dumping the trub how do we avoid adding ambient oxygen into the fermenter when opening the butterfly valve?
A shopper on Nov 22, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Not a problem. After you close the valve and remove the bottle, you screw in the bottling attachment where the bottle was and attach the tube that runs to the bottling device. Meanwhile, you will have removed the top cover to add the priming sugar, and that will have added more "ambient oxygen" than will be added by the small bottling attachment that you screwed in after you removed the bottle. Then all you do is open the valve and start bottling. By the way, you may want to consider replacing the pint bottle that comes with the kit with a quart bottle, since some brews will produce more than a pint a true. Cheers!
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.
Will the supplied mason jar be big enough to catch all the trub from a 3 gallon batch or should I go bigger? I brew heavily hopped IPA’s
Matthew M on Apr 25, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Every time I used the smaller jar, I'd end up replacing it with a bigger jar. I go big from the start now.
What size tubing comes with this unit?
Derek J on Mar 19, 2018
BEST ANSWER: I am away from my brewing area for a few weeks and won't have access to measure this until May. I would suggest getting on the phone with Northern Brewer and asking them directly.
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.

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