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  • January 22, 2024 10 min read

    The comprehensive guide to conical fermenters

    Conical fermenters have become increasingly popular among home brewers and professional breweries alike. These specialized vessels offer numerous advantages over traditional fermentation methods, allowing brewers to achieve better control and consistency in their beer production process. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the world of conical fermenters, exploring their basics, types, benefits, fermentation techniques, comparisons to other vessels, and tips for choosing the right one for your brewing needs. Whether you're a seasoned brewer or just starting out, this guide will provide you with valuable insights to enhance your brewing experience.

    Understanding the Basics of Conical Fermenters

    Before we delve into the intricacies of conical fermenters, let's start by understanding their fundamental principles. A conical fermenter is a specialized vessel designed for the fermentation of beer. It features a cone-shaped bottom that allows for the collection and removal of sediment, such as yeast and trub, during fermentation. This unique design separates the beer from unwanted debris, resulting in a clearer and cleaner final product.

    Conical fermenters are typically made from food-grade stainless steel, which offers excellent durability, easy cleaning, and temperature control capabilities. The vessel also includes a valve at the bottom, usually referred to as a racking valve, which allows for the easy transfer of beer without disturbing the sediment.

    Let's take a closer look at the benefits of using conical fermenters. One of the main advantages is the ability to perform primary and secondary fermentation in the same vessel. This eliminates the need for transferring the beer to a separate container, reducing the risk of contamination and oxidation. Additionally, conical fermenters provide a larger surface area for yeast to settle, resulting in a more efficient fermentation process.

    Another important aspect of conical fermenters is their temperature control capabilities. Stainless steel is an excellent conductor of heat, allowing for precise control of fermentation temperatures. This is crucial for producing consistent and high-quality beer. Some conical fermenters even come with built-in temperature control systems, further enhancing the brewer's ability to maintain optimal fermentation conditions.

    Furthermore, the cone-shaped bottom of the fermenter plays a vital role in the clarification process. As the fermentation progresses, the heavier sediment, such as yeast and trub, settles at the bottom of the cone. This sediment can be easily removed by opening the racking valve, ensuring that the beer remains free from unwanted particles. The ability to remove sediment during fermentation not only improves the clarity of the final product but also reduces the risk of off-flavors and aromas.

    Conical fermenters are also highly versatile and can be used for various types of beer fermentation. Whether you're brewing ales, lagers, or even sour beers, a conical fermenter provides the flexibility to accommodate different styles and yeast strains. This versatility makes it a popular choice among homebrewers and commercial breweries alike.

    In conclusion, conical fermenters offer numerous advantages for beer fermentation. From their ability to separate sediment to their temperature control capabilities, these vessels provide brewers with greater control and consistency in the brewing process. Whether you're a seasoned brewer or just starting out, investing in a conical fermenter can elevate the quality of your beer and enhance your brewing experience.

    Types of Conical Fermenters and Their Features

    When it comes to brewing beer, having the right equipment is crucial for achieving the desired results. One essential piece of equipment that every brewer should consider is a conical fermenter. These specialized vessels offer numerous advantages over traditional fermentation methods, allowing brewers to have better control over the fermentation process and ultimately produce higher quality beer.

    There are various types of conical fermenters available in the market, each with its own set of features and advantages. Let's take a closer look at some popular types:

    1. Standard Conical Fermenters:

      Standard conical fermenters are the most basic type available. They feature a single-wall construction and do not provide any additional temperature control. While they may lack some of the advanced features found in other types, they are still a popular choice among homebrewers and small-scale breweries due to their simplicity and affordability.

      With a standard conical fermenter, brewers can still benefit from the conical shape, which allows for the easy separation of trub and yeast, resulting in cleaner and clearer beer. Additionally, the conical design promotes better yeast health and fermentation efficiency.

    2. Jacketed Conical Fermenters:

      Jacketed fermenters take the fermentation process to the next level by offering precise temperature regulation. These fermenters come equipped with a cooling jacket that surrounds the conical vessel, allowing brewers to control the temperature of the fermenting beer.

      This feature is particularly beneficial for controlling fermentation and achieving optimal yeast activity. By maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the fermentation process, brewers can ensure that the yeast is working at its best, resulting in better flavor development and overall beer quality.

    3. Insulated Conical Fermenters:

      For brewers who ferment in environments with fluctuating temperatures, insulated fermenters are an excellent choice. These fermenters are designed with a layer of insulation that helps maintain a stable temperature throughout the fermentation process.

      The insulation acts as a barrier, preventing external temperature fluctuations from affecting the fermentation. This is particularly important during the cold winter months or in hot climates where maintaining a consistent temperature can be challenging.

      By using an insulated conical fermenter, brewers can have peace of mind knowing that their beer is fermenting at the optimal temperature, regardless of the external conditions.

    Each type of conical fermenter offers its own unique advantages, so it's essential to consider your specific brewing needs and preferences when selecting the right one. Whether you're a beginner brewer or an experienced professional, investing in a conical fermenter can greatly enhance the quality and consistency of your beer.

    Benefits of Using Conical Fermenters in Brewing

    Conical fermenters offer several benefits that make them a preferred choice for many brewers:

    • Sediment Removal: The cone-shaped bottom of conical fermenters allows for easy collection and removal of sediment. This results in clearer and cleaner beer.
    • Improved Yeast Management: Conical fermenters provide better control over yeast management, allowing brewers to harvest yeast for future use and eliminate the need for separate yeast vessels.
    • Temperature Control: Jacketed and insulated fermenters offer temperature control capabilities, ensuring consistent and optimal fermentation conditions.
    • Reduced Oxygen Exposure: Conical fermenters minimize oxygen exposure during transfers and sampling, leading to better flavor stability and extended shelf life.

    The benefits of using conical fermenters extend beyond these points, making them a valuable addition to any brewing setup.

    One of the key advantages of conical fermenters is their ability to facilitate efficient sediment removal. The cone-shaped bottom of these fermenters allows the sediment, which primarily consists of spent yeast and other particles, to settle at the bottom. This sediment can then be easily collected and removed, resulting in a clearer and cleaner beer. This is particularly important for brewers who strive for a visually appealing final product, as well as those who want to minimize the presence of unwanted flavors that can be associated with sediment.

    In addition to sediment removal, conical fermenters also offer improved yeast management capabilities. With a conical fermenter, brewers have better control over the yeast harvesting process. The cone shape allows the yeast to collect at the bottom, making it easier to separate and harvest for future use. This eliminates the need for separate yeast vessels, streamlining the brewing process and reducing the risk of contamination. By reusing harvested yeast, brewers can save money on purchasing new yeast for each batch and maintain consistency in their beer's flavor profile.

    Temperature control is another significant benefit of conical fermenters, especially those that are jacketed and insulated. These fermenters allow brewers to maintain consistent and optimal fermentation conditions. By regulating the temperature throughout the fermentation process, brewers can achieve desired flavors and aromas, as different yeast strains thrive at specific temperature ranges. Temperature control also helps prevent off-flavors that can arise from excessive heat or cold. With conical fermenters, brewers have the flexibility to experiment with different temperature profiles and fine-tune their brewing process.

    Furthermore, conical fermenters minimize oxygen exposure during transfers and sampling. Oxygen can have detrimental effects on beer, leading to flavor instability and a shorter shelf life. The design of conical fermenters reduces the contact between the beer and oxygen, preserving the beer's freshness and extending its shelf life. This is particularly important for brewers who distribute their beer commercially or those who want to enjoy their homebrews over an extended period.

    Overall, the benefits of using conical fermenters in brewing go beyond the points mentioned above. These fermenters offer brewers enhanced control, improved quality, and greater efficiency in their brewing process. Whether you are a professional brewer or a passionate homebrewer, investing in a conical fermenter can elevate your brewing experience and help you achieve exceptional results.

    Exploring Different Fermentation Techniques with Conical Fermenters

    Conical fermenters open up a world of experimentation when it comes to fermentation techniques. Here are a few techniques and practices that brewers can explore:

    • Pressure Fermentation: With the aid of a pressure-rated conical fermenter, brewers can experiment with pressure fermentation techniques to achieve unique flavors and characteristics in their beer.
    • Dry Hopping: Conical fermenters offer easy access to add dry hops during fermentation, maximizing flavor extraction and aromatics.
    • Yeast Propagation: The ability to collect and reuse yeast directly from a conical fermenter simplifies the process of yeast propagation, saving time and resources.

    By leveraging the versatile capabilities of conical fermenters, brewers can elevate their craft and create truly unique and exceptional beers.

    Comparing Conical Fermenters to Other Fermentation Vessels

    While conical fermenters offer numerous advantages, it's essential to understand how they compare to other popular fermentation vessels. Let's take a closer look:

    Carboys and Glass Jugs: Conical fermenters have the upper hand when it comes to ease of use, cleaning, and sediment removal. Carboys and glass jugs can be more challenging to clean and transfer beer without disturbing the sediment.

    Buckets and Plastic Fermenters: Conical fermenters provide superior temperature control and reduce oxygen exposure compared to plastic fermenters, resulting in better beer quality.

    Flat Bottom Fermenters: While both conical and flat-bottomed fermenters serve the same purpose, the conical design offers better sediment collection and yeast management capabilities.

    While the choice ultimately depends on personal preferences and budget, conical fermenters often come out as the preferred choice among brewers.

    Choosing the Right Conical Fermenter for Your Brewing Needs

    Choosing the right conical fermenter requires careful consideration of various factors. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

    • Capacity: Determine the required volume of the fermenter based on your batch sizes and brewing frequency.
    • Temperature Control: Decide whether you require a jacketed or insulated fermenter based on your temperature control needs.
    • Budget: Consider your budget and prioritize features accordingly, ensuring the chosen fermenter offers good value for money.
    • Brand Reputation: Research and choose a reliable and reputable brand known for producing high-quality fermenters.

    By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and select the perfect conical fermenter that aligns with your brewing needs and aspirations.

    What Is a Jacketed Fermenter?

    A jacketed fermenter is a type of conical fermenter that features a cooling jacket surrounding the vessel. This jacket allows for precise temperature control during fermentation. Through the circulation of chilled coolant, the jacket helps maintain the desired fermentation temperature and provides brewers with better control over the fermentation process.

    What Is the Difference Between a Conical and a Flat Bottom Fermenter?

    The primary difference between a conical and a flat bottom fermenter lies in their design and functionality. While both serve the purpose of fermenting beer, conical fermenters offer several advantages over their flat-bottomed counterparts:

    • Sediment Removal: Conical fermenters have a conical bottom that collects and separates sediment, resulting in clearer beer. In contrast, flat bottom fermenters do not provide the same sediment removal capabilities.
    • Yeast Management: With a conical fermenter, brewers can easily harvest the yeast for reuse. Flat bottom fermenters often require separate yeast vessels or more complicated harvesting procedures.
    • Space Efficiency: Conical fermenters maximize space utilization with their compact design, while flat bottom fermenters may occupy more floor space.

    Considering these factors, conical fermenters are generally preferred for their improved sediment management and yeast handling capabilities.

    What Is the Purpose of the Cooling Jacket of the Fermenter?

    The cooling jacket of a fermenter, commonly found in jacketed conical fermenters, serves a critical purpose in temperature control during fermentation. By circulating cool liquid, such as glycol or chilled water, through the jacket, the fermenter can maintain a specific temperature throughout the fermentation process. This capability is especially vital for temperature-sensitive yeast strains and precise beer styles that require controlled fermentation conditions.

    Can You Bottle from a Conical Fermenter?

    Yes, it is possible to bottle beer directly from a conical fermenter, although additional steps and equipment may be required. Some brewers choose to attach a bottling wand or a bottling attachment to the racking valve of the fermenter. This allows for easy and controlled filling of bottles without excessive oxygen exposure or disturbing the sediment. Alternatively, brewers can transfer the beer to a separate bottling vessel using gravity or a siphoning method.

    Before bottling, it's essential to ensure that fermentation is complete, and the beer has reached its desired carbonation level. Additionally, proper sanitization of bottles and equipment is crucial to maintain the beer's quality and prevent contamination.

    With the right equipment and attention to detail, bottling from a conical fermenter can be a straightforward and effective process.


    Conical fermenters have revolutionized the brewing industry, offering brewers of all levels greater control over their fermentation process. Whether it's the ability to easily remove sediment, precise temperature control through jacketed or insulated designs, or the flexibility to experiment with different fermentation techniques, conical fermenters provide an array of benefits for brewers seeking to elevate their craft.

    By understanding the basics, exploring the different types, and considering the various advantages of conical fermenters, brewers can confidently choose the right vessel to meet their brewing needs. So, whether you're a hobbyist or a professional brewer, embrace the power of conical fermenters and unlock new levels of brewing excellence.

    Ready to take your brewing to the next level with a conical fermenter? Look no further than Bräu Supply, the pioneers of the all-in-one brewing system, the Unibräu. Our commitment to quality is evident in our use of 304 stainless steel and modular, electric-powered designs. Whether you're eyeing the countertop convenience of the Unibräu, the advanced capabilities of the Unibräu Pro, or the efficiency of our HERMS system, we have the perfect solution to fit your brewing style. Plus, with our Unitank jacketed fermenters and a vast selection of accessories, you'll find everything you need for a seamless brewing experience. Don't settle for less—choose Bräu Supply for better value and the highest quality brewing equipment available. Check out our products today and transform your brewing process!


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