You are shopping Northern Brewer US shopping site, to view our Canadian shopping site - Click Here

Catalyst Fermentation System


SKU# 43166

Standard Shipping Rates Apply to this product
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

More Views

  • Catalyst Fermentation System
  • Catalyst conical fermenter includes all parts nessessary
  • Catalyst Specs
  • Chinook IPA Recipe Kit
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
90 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Stars
I definitely recommend!
Everything went smoothly. I had to remove the trub 3 times before completion. I definitely should have purchased a smaller mason jar prior to fermentation. I lost about 1 1/2 cups of beer. All in all I ended up with 45 Amber Ales to enjoy. Cleanup was very easy even washing by hand.
User submitted image
User submitted image
March 11, 2018
1 month ago
Gasket Placement
The picture with my hand is showing the right way to put the gasket in. It's easy once you know how to do it right. The other picture is the wrong way. Hope this helps.
Wrong way.
The right way.
March 4, 2018
1 year ago
Great Home Brew System!
I've been brewing in my kitchen for 30+ years using the same 30 year old technology. After watching a Youtube video on this product, I decided to give it a try. First time out I used a recipe I have used a number of times, and this was the best tasting brew yet. It is so much easier than having to transfer for the second fermentation and then again for bottling. I would recommend the additional cover, or wrap it in a towel to keep the light out. We love this so much and it looks so good, we have it in our dining room. If you are a kitchen brewer, you should consider this upgrade.
User submitted image
Added Feb 23, 2018
February 23, 2018
3 months ago
Don't take the cover off.
If you like to dry hop your beer forget about this thing.If you try to remove the top the gasket comes off and it is very difficult to get back on.There are other problems with this thing as well,like trying to remove trub.Most of it just sticks to the sides and only comes off when you are bottling.What a mess.Never again.
February 21, 2018
Hassle free winemaking.
Just got my first batch of wine going in the fermentation system. So far very impressed on the overall quality. The assembly was easy. I am looking forward to less cleanup when racking my wine. If all goes well I will be getting another one.
February 15, 2018
2 months ago
Catalyst conical
I ordered the Catalyst after looking for an affordable conical option and deciding the Fast Ferment looked like a pain in the a** with its awkward shape and numerous leaky sealing parts to clean and seal. The catalyst costs double but it is very solid and looks great. I’m about to bottle my first batch from the unit, a dry hopped imperial IPA I kept in the Catalyst for 3.5 week.

I am a little disappointed that it doesn’t come with the black cover w/ lifting handles that they make, it costs like $30-40 extra and for $200 they should include it. My Catalyst is in our kitchen but I have to wrap it in a black heavy duty contractor trash bag since we have flouresecent lighting so it looks kind of ghetto but works great to keep the light out, I will probably be ordering the cover eventually for aesthetic reasons and so I can lift the unit when full if needed but feel slightly burnt it didn’t come with one. The Catalyst does look really nice and fits into the kitchen quite nicely without the trash bag wrapped around it.

Overall the Catalyst is nice looking and well made. I bought the new 2.0 gasket for $10 after reading all of the horror stories and bad reviews based on the lid gasket and it has worked great but once again, cmon guys, include that gasket with the unit and get rid of the old one! I threw a 3 piece airlock in it and it works like a champ but it doesn’t come with an airlock, not a big deal at $3 but make sure you order one extra. My only other criticism is that they should maybe make some kind of extra-large airlock like Speidel to prevent blow off or dome the lid to make some more head space for aggressive fermentations as the flat lid seems a little tight.
I have an imperial IPA in it now and fermentation went great and there was enough head room but for a Hefe or Belgian or super foamy beer it might be a little tight filled up to the 5 gal mark.

The trub valve and jar works like a champ and I was able to easily dump the scuzz. The only issue is that the mason jar does bubble a little bit when put back on but it seemed to bubble right out of the airlock, shouldn’t be enough air to ruin a batch, it could maybe be purged with co2 or filled with clean water? I do have some light yeast streaks on the cone but 99% of the yeast settled right into the jar after 2.5 weeks and this brew had a ton of trub and yeast due to the recipe and lack of straining on my part.
The stand is solid and doesn’t wobble and was super easy to put together. The large top opening and the hole in the lid make it easy to dry hop or take gravity samples. It comes with a bottling attachment/tubing that screws on to the valve.

Overall Im happy with the Catalyst and would recommend it if you can’t spend the $$$ on a steel conical. I give it 4 stars instead of 5 because it really should include the cover, a 3 piece airlock and the new 2.0 gasket for the $200 or they should offer a package for $250 ish that includes the cover,gasket, airlock and pre-drilled top with racking arm.
I think that the Catalyst could be improved upon with a few minor adjustments but overall it’s a great fermenter and does the job well!
User submitted image
Added Jan 24, 2018
January 25, 2018
2 months ago
Great idea but sadly inefficient!
I have only used my catalyst fermenter once because I was disappointed at how much beer that I lost. I pride myself in being able to reduce the sediment in my bottling process and this method just isn't conducive for that. You lose some when you take the jar off of the bottom to waste the trub and there will alway be quite a bit in the bottom when you try to bottle. I also noticed that there was some trub stuck to the inside where the cone starts to funnel down which can loosen and fall down while bottling. I may use it again but will auto siphon like my carboys.
January 12, 2018
8 months ago
Nice upgrade
Nice upgrade over a bucket. Easy to use and clean.
January 10, 2018
Naysayers are aplenty
You will read a lot of reviews talking about a few items and I will address them all with my review.

1. Lid gasket: The gasket is difficult to reinstall, but realistically you should only take the lid off once during fermentation to pitch yeast, but if you use an aerator, you can pitch through the airlock bung. The gasket is great, because it is easily removed for cleaning and there will be no buildup of bacteria around the gasket because of this. It is probably the best system for strong seal and cleanliness on the market.

2. Headspace: Many complain about headspace and needing a blow-off tube. Well, blow-off tubes are pretty much standard in the homebrew business especially with very active fermentation. The Krausen will definitely come through an airlock with the system, but its mostly expected and not really a problem at all.

3. Particle collection on sides of cone: The nature of this system allows you to actually see this occurring instead of it being something that typically happens with all conicals. It is certainly not trub, but is yeast. If you cannot stand the issue (which really isn't one) you can swirl the fermenter around about a week into the secondary to allow the yeast to fall, you can use irish moss, or aerate and use gelatin or other fining agents. Regardless, being able to see the product and stop flow when and if yeast starts to come through the bottling hose is invaluable.

4. The dreaded oxygen from the trub trap: My guess here is that people are looking for a complaint, not a positive. If you rack your primary into an empty 6.5 gallon carboy or fermenter, you are exposing your entire batch to 6.5 gallons of oxygen as it fills, as am actual scientist, I will tell you that the amount of oxygen being exposed during trub removal and reopening of the butterfly valve is much less than the exposure in typical racking methods, and frankly it does a wonderful job at allowing you to fully clarify.

All in all, I think the only real design flaw is in the size for homebrewers as cold-conditioning is a must...but if you are looking to create a top-quality craft beer are you really looking at a 200 dollar fermentation system? That is the issue here. The Catalyst is an amazing product for the hobbyist homebrewer, and will help make a transition into exceptional craft brewing but that is another discussion altogether.
January 3, 2018
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
Start typing your question and we'll check if it was already asked and answered. Learn More
Browse 46 questions Browse 46 questions and 105 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!

You may also be interested in:

Please wait...

Your selected product has been added to your Cart.
Continue shopping
View cart & checkout