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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

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
80 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Stars
Step saver
So far so good. I have made 4 different batches and all have been a success.
I agree with others that the lid, gasket, and frame are weak.
The valve does not leak so far.
It is a great time saver! Saves me from having to clean a secondary fermenter/with hardware twice and a bucket/with hardware at bottling twice, plus the siphon and hose.
All batches have been done from start to finish in the Catalyst Fermenter.
It would have been better with a 6.5 gal. capacity.
A blow off tube was a necessity with the kits I brewed using Safe 04 yeast.
December 23, 2017
Almost Perfect
I bought this in April of 2017 and have brewed a 5 gallon batch a month in since. I have used buckets, carboys, and a friend has the fast ferment system and this is far superior to all the "entry" level brewing fermenters. It's a nice design, very well built with a sturdy frame and I really enjoy the food grade plastic chamber with its completely open top for easy cleaning and beer filling. The trub trap is great and really helps with making clear beer by removing everything you don't want going into your keg or bottles. It's also fantastic for dry hopping or adding fruit, coffee, or whatever else you enjoy in your brews.
However there are three things that I would like to see changed to make this fermenter perfect.

First - It needs to be increased from 5.5 gal to 6 gal capacity. I brew 5 gal batches and there isn't enough head room for fermentation to use standard airlocks. It will blow them out guaranteed! You must use an overflow, not a big deal but it would be nice to just use an airlock.
Second - The funnel for the bottom could use a bigger hole for draining beer into kegs. It takes forever! It would be fine if there was just an option to purchase one with a bigger hole so you could have a bottling and a kegging funnel that would be great.
Lastly - This is the biggest issue. The rubber gasket/seal around the top falls out of the rim every time you take the lid off and it is a B***H to get back in place. I actually superglued mine in place after the 3rd time this happened.

Overall this is still hands down the best fermenter I own/have used and will buy another couple in the future but those few changes sure would be nice.
December 7, 2017
Catalyst Fermentation System
A nice set up. I got a 32 oz jar and 8 oz jar to go with the 16 oz jar that came with it. Easy to use and the no transfer is nice. Going to add the sample/bottling port. But the bottling kit that came with it is good also.
December 3, 2017
3 months ago
Excellent Products
All the products I've ordered from Northern Brew was excellent! The reason I gave 4 stars instead of 5 stars is because you cannot buy anything from them you want to be a 'surprise' gift. I ordered a kit last year for my boyfriend for Christmas and the outside of the box in HUGE letters said Brewery in a Box! He knew right away what it was. There are no secrets when ordering from them.
December 1, 2017
11 months ago
The Catalyst Fermentation System
I am in my first use of this fermenter.I had no problems with lid gasket.After cleaning gasket,the trick is to be sure it is dry, to install.It slips off lip that it registers on if wet.The drain valve seems to work well.It makes you realize how much trub there is from a primary to secondary process.2 weeks to corny transfer,2 weeks to force carb.time goes slow now.Unit seemed well made,and the drain valve seals well and looked sturdy.Suggest extra quart mason jars with lids,for yeast recovery.
November 27, 2017
2 months ago
So far.....so great!
Super easy dumping of trub and sediment. If the gasket on the lid comes off it will take you a while to figure out how it goes back on. Other than that it is great!
November 22, 2017
2 months ago
Catalyst Fermenter Review
Have bought 2 of these units and thus far have failed to produce a single batch that wasn't stale/flat due to oxidation. I think it's fairly clear that the culprit is the trub jar change, injecting your beer with oxygen multiple times during the process. Craftabrew recommended purging the jar with CO2, water or saved Wort to avoid. I'm trying the CO2 now and I hope it works. Would think they would have warned in the initial instructions of something so vital.
November 8, 2017
5 months ago
So far I have used it twice, both times something major went wrong. and to start, upon receiving it, when I took it out of the box, one of the latches on the lid was already broken off. it forms a sort of vacuum when you open the butterfly valve when liquid is in it. I've also noticed that the trub layer gets stuck to the walls of the fermenter and doesn't settle to the bottom and into the mason jar. I'm going to give it one more try before giving up on it. overall very unhappy with the equipment.
October 26, 2017
Great product but get ready to use blow-off tube not alot of head space
October 20, 2017
No more cleaning carboys... 'nuff said
The seal on the lid is a pain in the bung, but its easy to clean! Fits in my brew bucket. Game changer.
The "Twins" are happy!
The "Twins" are happy!
October 17, 2017
4 months ago
Start typing your question and we'll check if it was already asked and answered. Learn More
Browse 41 questions Browse 41 questions and 95 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.
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
I have several brews that require a blow off tube. I use a one inch i.d. tube in a glass carboy and the almost always have krausen in the tube and into my blow off container. Was wondering how this system would work with a vigorous fermentation?
steve f on Nov 26, 2016
BEST ANSWER: The same size blow off tube fits! The gasket makes a perfect seal and the lid secures very tightly so the blow off hose you use will work the same!
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!

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