Whether you’re a recent convert to or an old hand, odds are good you started out with simple equipment. Really, a big stainless steel kettle and a couple of five-gallon buckets are the main equipment. You may need a few other accessories, like a hydrometer and an airlock, but you can get started for a couple of hundred bucks give or take.
Once you’ve been at it a while, though, you may want to up your game. That’s when you start thinking about a conical fermenter. So, the question becomes, how to pick the best conical fermenter for you.
Keep reading for some key information to help you choose.
What Is a Conical Fermenter?
Think of a bucket. Instead of a flat bottom, though, the bottom has a cone shape. To make everyone’s life easier, the bottom of the cone comes with at least one valve.
That is a conical fermenter in a nutshell.
Benefits of a Conical Fermentation Tank
The key benefit of the conical fermenter is that it lets you remove yeast and other waste products directly from the fermentation tank after they settle. This comes with the secondary benefit of letting you salvage yeast for future use. It also lets you perform your secondary fermentation in the same container.
Needless to say, cleaning and sanitizing a conical fermentation tank is a lot easier than cleaning five-gallon buckets.
Types of Conical Fermenters
There are two main types of conical fermenters available. You can get plastic conical fermenters. You can also get stainless steel conical fermenters.
Beyond that, the differences largely boil down to options. For example, you can larger or smaller tanks. You can get stainless steel tanks with heating options. You can even find ones that will connect with glycol chillers for additional temperature control.
Choosing the Best Conical Fermenter Option
Choosing the best fermenter option depends a lot on your brewing needs and goals. If you want to up your game but keep the cost down, a plastic conical fermenter makes sense. You pick that option knowing that plastic scratches easily, which makes sanitizing tricky.
If you’re thinking that you may make the leap to a craft brewery or microbrewery in a few years, then stainless steel brewery fermentation tanks make more sense. They’re more durable and less prone to bacteria problems. You’ll pay more, but you’ll get a lot of life out of them before you outgrow them.
Conical Fermenters and You
A conical fermenter is one of the simpler ways that you can up your brew game without adding a lot of work. They help you produce clearer beers and do away with a secondary fermentation bucket.
At the same time, there is a very reasonable line of thought that says the best conical fermentation tank is the one you can actually afford. If a high-end stainless steel option with all the bells and whistles costs too much, start with a plastic one.
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