Most homebrewing beginners start their brewing journey with very little equipment. They usually use glass carboys and a simple plastic bucket for the fermentation phase.
Although this is one of the cheapest way to store your fermenting beer, they are not really made for brewing.
In addition, glass carboys can break easily and there is a high risk of not just ruining your beer but also hurting yourself in the process.
In order to avoid this, there is good brewing kit out there that resembles the fermentation tanks which are used by large breweries. But don’t worry, these fermentors are not as big as with a commercial brewery.
We had a look at some of the best conical fermentors for homebrewing of batches of around five gallons.
Here is our ultimate guide to fermentors, including our eight top conical fermentors and a fermentor buying guide.
What’s A Conical Fermentor?
Just as the name suggests, conical fermentors are essentially fermentation vessels that are shaped like a cone.
They have a valve at the bottom of the cone which catches all the solids and yeast that fall to the bottom during fermentation.
This little tub can be removed. This will remove any risk of oxidation or infection, which makes a conical fermentor ideal for all homebrewing projects.
Benefits Of Conical Fermentors
Besides from there being no risk of breakage similar to a glass carboy, conical fermentors come with a number of great advantages.
Here is a list of some of the benefits of conical fermentors in comparison to flat-bottomed fermentors and other fermentation vessels.
No Need For Transfers
One of the biggest advantages with a conical fermentor is that you do not need to transfer your beer to a secondary fermentor.
All you have to do is open the bottom valve and remove any of the yeast or other sediments that have dropped to the bottom out of suspension.
This means that you also won’t run the risk of accidentally adding any air or bacteria into the beer.
As all the sediments fall out and you can remove them regularly, your beer will also become clearer, which also prevents any sediments inside your bottle of keg when you transfer the final brewing result.
Talking of your final beer! Thanks to the valve at the bottom of the conical fermentor, you can easily transfer your beer from the fermentor into bottles or kegs.
This means that you won’t need to siphon the beer anymore, and there is going to be a lot less mess.
Most conical fermentors also have a racking arm that rotates, so you can move away from the yeast sediments which allows you to transfer a clear beer into your bottle or keg.
Easier To Clean
The majority of conical fermentors are made of good-quality plastic or stainless steel. This allows you to clean the fermentor much easier than a soft plastic bucket.
Additionally, conical fermentors have been specifically designed for the brewing process, so they have a large opening at the top and an easy-to-clean valve at the bottom which can be removed for thorough cleaning.
Collect Yeast Easily
Another great advantage of the bottom valve on a conical fermentor is that you can easily harvest any good yeast that has dropped out of suspension during the fermentation process.
You can use this yeast for future brewing processes, saving you time and money buying more yeast.
Also look out for any fermentors that a yeast container attached to the bottom. This collects the yeast and makes harvesting an unused yeast a great add-on.
The Top 8 Conical Fermentors For Homebrewing
Canonical fermentors may be a step up from the cheap plastic bucket or glass carboy, but for the best homebrewing results, you also need the right equipment.
We put together a summary of the best eight conical fermentors that we found useful for homebrewing.
OUR TOP PICK
The FastFerment conical fermenter is one of the cheapest fermentors on our list.
It is made of HDPE plastic, which is easy to clean but you need to be careful to avoid scratches.
It is essential to make sure that the plastic isn’t scratched because any scratches can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
This conical fermentor from FastFerment comes with a one-inch bottom valve which is attached to a yeast collection ball. Any unused yeast can be collected and used for your next batch.
Although this is not the perfect fermentor, it is functional and ideal for tight budgets.
- Comes with yeast collection ball at the bottom to collect unused yeast for your next homebrewing batch
- Suitable for batches up to 7.9 gallons
- Ideal for making beer, cider and wine
- Affordable homebrewing equipment for smaller budgets
- Made with soft plastic so you need to be very careful when cleaning to avoid any scratches
What Customers Say
Buyers of the FastFerment fermenter really liked how easy it is to brew their beer with this product but they noticed that the light doesn’t sit on tight enough, so may need some additional fixing.
Slightly more expensive than our cheapest fermentor on this list, the FermZilla fermenter is made with PET food-grade plastic.
It has a yeast collection system with a three-inch butterfly valve at the bottom, so you can collect any unused yeast for the next homebrewing batch.
Although the kit doesn’t come with a thermowell, there is an adhesive thermometer included, so you can measure the temperature of your batch.
- Quick and easy to clean as the top opens and you can remove the bottom valve
- Ideal for batches up to 7.1 gallons
- Additional option of upgrading to a pressure fermentation kit which allows you to ferment spirits under pressure which makes it ideal for high ABV spirits
- Doesn’t come with any instructions, so does require previous experience with fermentors
What Customers Say
Customers of the FermZilla conical fermenter believe that this fermentor is extremely easy to use and also to clean.
However, some buyers found it difficult to disassemble the dump valve and the collection container.
The tough Tritan plastic of the Catalyst fermentation system makes this fermenter particularly durable and hard-wearing.
You don’t have to worry about scratches. In addition, you can even place it into the dish washer for thorough cleaning.
A great benefit of this fermentor is that it uses clear plastic, so you can watch the fermentation process in action.
This mid-budget fermentor comes with a three-inch butterfly valve and a small jar where you can collect any unused yeast.
- This fermentor is scratch-resistant and dishwasher safe, so super quick to clean
- Made with BPA-free hard plastic to ensure that your beer is hygienic
- Ideal for smaller batches up to 6.5 gallons
- No thermowell or thermometer
- No Racking valve or racking arm included (but can be bought as an upgrade)
What Customers Say
Customers of the Catalyst fermentation system really liked that they don’t need to transfer their beer into a secondary fermentation vessel mid-fermentation.
Some buyers noticed that there is only a small amount of headspace in the fermentor which is going to require a blow-off tube for any batches of around 5.5 gallons.
The FermTank from Delta Brewing Systems is a step up from the smaller homebrewing fermentors we talked about so far.
This solid stainless steel fermenter has a welded bottom ball valve which makes yeast collection simple.
The FermTank features a rotatable racking arm, a domed lid and a thermowell. You can even have the option to use this fermentor under pressure (4 PSI max.).
- Made from stainless steel which doesn’t scratch easily
- Can be pressurized to create higher ABV alcohols and spirits
- Locking clamps so that the container is fully airtight preventing any oxidization
- Adjustable legs to ensure the vessel stands solid and the fermenting beer isn’t disturbed
- More expensive than hard plastic fermentors
What Customers Say
Buyers of the FermTank from Delta Brewing Systems found this stainless steel fermentor very easy to clean and sanitize.
Although this piece of homebrewing kit is more expensive, customers found it definitely a worthwhile step up from the standard plastic fermentors.
Technically, the Spike Flex fermenter isn’t actually a conical fermentor. It also does not have a dump valve.
However, it is a big upgrade compared to a bucket and a carboy, and this also reflects in the price.
Made with polished stainless steel, Spike Flex fermentors are welded in the USA.
The tri-clamp fitting, thermometer ports and special racking makes this fermentor an excellent piece of kit for homebrewing beer, wine and other low ABV spirits.
- Made from durable stainless steel that is very easy to keep clean
- Ideal for batches up to 6 gallons
- A tri-clamp fitting ensures that your batch is protected from any air preventing oxidization
- Although Spike offer over 25 accessories for this fermentor, some of these are standard with other fermentors we have seen
What Customers Say
Many customers of the Spike Flex fermenter managed to get some excellent beer brewing results.
Some customers noticed that the Flex wasn’t quite as solid on three legs, and they felt that four legs would make the fermentor more stable.
Slightly cheaper than the Spike Flex, we found that the Anvil Crucible fermentor from the Anvil Foundry is a great mid-range alternative.
This fermentor comes with a leg extension which lifts the unit up, so you can transfer your beer into even larger kegs.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t include a thermowell. However, it does feature a tri-clamp dump valve at the bottom.
The stainless steel design also comes with a rotating racking arm for easier transfers.
- Extendable legs allow you to raise the unit for easier transfers to kegs
- Made with stainless steel so you can ensure that your fermentor is fully sterilized before brewing
- Suitable for small brewing batches of 6.5 gallons
- No thermowell that would allow you to read the temperature of your batch
What Customers Say
Buyers of the Anvil Crucible fermentor were surprised how easy it was to use this unit, and they noticed the clear brewing result.
Together with a 60 degrees cone, the Ss BrewTech chronicle fermenter features a full port dump valve that allows you to harvest any of the unused easy.
Thanks to its stainless steel construction with rotating racking arm, this fermentor makes it very easy to transfer any beer into kegs or bottles.
- Professional stainless steel design that looks the part
- Weldless thermowell to monitor the temperatur of your batch
- Upgrade option to pressurize to maximum 5 PSI
- Although you can buy a large variety of accessories, we found that some of these are a must-have for your homebrewing, for example, a heating and cooling system
What Customers Say
Buyers of the Ss Brew Tech chronicle fermenter commented on the professional design.
They found it a joy to clean, and there is a large range of accessories available for this fermentor.
You can buy the Ss BrewTech fermentor on ssbrewtech.com.
Welded in the US, the Conical Unitank from Spike offers a lot of great features for homebrewing beginners as well as brewing professionals.
Spike’s Canonical Unitank comes in four different sizes. The CF5 is the smallest size, and it fits between 2.5 and 6 gallons.
Similar to some of the other mid-range to premium fermentors, this fermentor is made with polished stainless steel.
It is designed with a lot of weldless fittings which keeps any bacteria and air out. This means that you can also use it with a pressure of maximum 15 PSI.
- Two inches wide bottom dump valve to remove any thick yeast from even heavily-hopped beer
- Working pressure of 15 PSI for fermenting higher ABV alcoholic drinks and spirits
- One butterfly valve, a sample valve and another valve with dial thermometer
- Not suitable for smaller budgets due to the premium price
What Customers Say
There is a lot of positive feedback from customers who bought Spike’s Conical Unitank.
Even professional brewers who want to make a small test batch are very happy with this conical fermentor.
Undoubtedly, fermentation is the most important process when brewing beer, cider or other alcoholic beverages.
Although most homebrewing beginners try to use what they may have already available, it is worth looking at some special homebrewing equipment to ensure the results are what you want.
Conical fermentors come in a range of different sizes, designs and budgets, but they all will make your fermentation process when brewing beer much easier.
We put together a handy guide on what you should look out for when buying your first conical fermentor.
Choose The Right Fermentor Size
One of the first things to consider when you are looking for a conical fermentor is the size. You need to ask yourself how large is your batch going to be?
The majority of beer recipes start with around 5 gallons, although they typically yield up to 6.5 gallons.
You need to allow for roughly 1.5 gallons of extra space because your batch will produce additional air bubbles.
If you are looking to make a standard batch, then we recommend going with a 6.5 gallon fermentor to allow enough space without having to buy a blow-off tube.
The majority of small fermentors are suitable for 2.5 gallons to 6.5 gallons, but it is best to check the manufacturer description.
Find The Right Material
Another important thing to look out for when buying a conical fermentation tank is the material the unit is made of.
Plastic can scratch very easily, and scratches are a breeding ground for bacteria that you don’t want in your beer.
Saying this, some plastic fermentors are excellent, but it is best to ensure that you buy a hard plastic fermentation tank that is more resilient to scratches.
However, the best material for a durable fermentor is stainless steel. It is very easy to clean, and it also lasts for much longer.
As stainless steel fermentation tanks are usually more expensive, they may be a better option for everyone who already tried making a few homebrewing batches with a plastic fermentor.
This goes hand in hand with the material. Any type of plastic fermentor is more difficult to keep clean because the plastic surface will wear off after some time.
In comparison, a stainless steel surface is much more resilient to scratches. Some stainless steel fermentors can even be put into the dishwasher.
In addition, you also need to look out for how easy it is to unscrew any parts. You should also be able to lift off the lid and wipe the inside.
Especially smaller parts, such as the bottom dump valve, can get dirty very quickly, so you will need to clean this part after each batch.
It is also worthwhile looking out for any available accessories that you can buy with your conical fermentor.
Some fermentors do not come with all the standard features but the manufacturer may offer them as accessories or upgrades.
This is typically the case with thermowells or thermometers that allow you to monitor and control the temperature of your batch.
Accessories, such as leg extensions, casters and control thermometers can be very useful during the homebrewing process.
If you want to brew spirits or beer with a higher ABV, you may need to look for a fermentor that offers a pressurized option.
Some premium fermentors allow you to upgrade to a working pressure of up to 15 PSI.
You can spend as much or as little money as possible for a fermentor but it is important to remember that the low budget units will also offer fewer essential features.
So, are conical fermentors really worth it? We tried and tested the above eight fermentors, and we found that they all do a very good job.
It takes some trial and error to find what works for you and how many different features you need for your homebrewing.
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