Conical fermenters save you energy and effort when homebrewing. No more time wasted siphoning your beer off the trub. No more risk of shattering a glass carboy. Homebrew sized conicals will make your brewing easier and help you make better beer!
Great equipment will help get your homebrew to professional quality. One of the most critical aspects of brewing is the fermentation process. The best homebrew conical fermenter is the SS Brewtech Chronical. It’s easy to use, easy to clean and will help bring your beer quality to the next level.
We’ll give a break down of the major considerations when purchasing a conical. For this article, we compare typical homebrewing volumes of 5 gallons. That means a 6-8 gallon fermenter. We’ll give you a comprehensive overview of our favorite options on the market to help you make the best choice.
What is a conical fermenter?
A fermenter is a vessel where wort and yeast are mixed to start the transformation into beer. A conical fermenter – or conical for short – is a cylindrical fermenter with a cone-shaped bottom. Most professional breweries use conicals. There are many advantages compared to flat bottom vessels.
What are the benefits of a conical fermenter?
There’s a reason almost every brewery has rows of conical fermenters. Conicals are the best fermenters for the majority of beer styles brewed today. At the homebrew level, there are all kinds of benefits, too.
Let’s take a look at the main advantages of conicals:
The cone shape at the bottom of the fermenter allows for the yeast to settle and compact under the “clear” beer above. Most conicals have a dump valve at the bottom of the cone. The yeast layer can be quickly and easily removed into a sanitized container. You can store and reuse that yeast, saving you money.
Fermenting under pressure can change the flavor of your beer by suppressing off-flavors. Plus, if the fermenter’s rated for it, you can naturally carbonate your beer inside.
Transferring beer from the fermenter to your bottles or kegs under pressure also limits the chance you’ll oxidize your beer. This is called a “closed transfer” and is especially useful for hoppy beer styles like NEIPAs.
Trub is the mix of yeast and protein that settles to the bottom of your fermenter. The cone-shaped bottom of a conical helps reduce the amount of trub in beer.
After you dump off the yeast from below the clear beer, you’re left with almost all beer and no trub in your fermenter. This means that when you package in either bottles or keg, you don’t have to worry about transferring over much trub. If you bottle, you can even mix your priming sugar directly into the fermenter to limit oxidation.
Durability (no glass!)
Most of these conicals are super durable – either stainless steel or high-grade plastic. Never worry about dropping a carboy again when you switch over to conicals.
What is the best conical fermenter for homebrewing?
Best Entry Level Conical
The FastFerment conical is easy to use and easy to clean. The HDPE food grade plastic construction means it’s durable and light.
These make great conicals for entry-level homebrewers. The 7.9-gallon version is the most affordable conical on our list.
- Removable yeast and trub reservoir
- Recommended optional accessories:
- Sample port
- Insulated jacket
- Diameter: 14.25”
- Height: 37.5″
|Very affordable||Plastic construction|
|Large top opening for easy cleaning||Hops and trub can clog the bottom of the cone due to its small valve opening|
|Can be mounted to a wall with optional wall mount kit||Not pressure rated|
Catalyst Fermentation System
The Catalyst is another great option for beginner to intermediate homebrewers. We love this fermenter for its sleek look and ease of use. The wide opening makes cleaning a breeze.
Harvesting and storing yeast is simple. The butterfly valve’s connection is compatible with a typical mason jar’s opening. We would recommend adding the sample port option – the baseline model doesn’t come with one.
- Optional sample port that needs to be user installed
- Insulated cover option
- Durable and sleek design
- Footprint: 17” by 13.75”
- Height: 26.25”
|Very sturdy construction||Plastic|
|Compact design||Not pressure rated|
|Large 3” butterfly dump valve will not clog|
|Yeast reservoir “Trub Trap” fits standard Mason jars for easy harvesting and storage|
|Very large top opening for easy cleaning|
FermZilla Conical Fermenter
Best Affordable Conical for Pressure Fermentation
The FermZilla is a PET plastic conical that has a few awesome features. This fermenter is pressure rated for 35 psi. This means you can ferment, carbonate, and dispense your beer directly from the fermenter!
The biggest flaw in FermZilla’s design is the use of PET plastic. This type of plastic is easily damaged during cleaning and transport. You need to be very careful not to scratch the walls of the fermenter. Bacteria can live inside minor scratches and contaminate future batches of beer.
The FermZilla is very affordable, especially the 7.1-gallon version. We recommend adding the pressure kit option including a spunding valve.
- Perform 100% closed transfers due to airtight and pressure-rated design
- 4.75” top port allows for easy cleaning
- 3” butterfly dump valve is large enough to ensure your hops and trub won’t clog
- Many options available:
- Pressure kit for carbonating and dispensing directly from the fermenter
- Insulated jacket
- Large yeast reservoirs for harvesting, storing and re-using yeast.
- 15.7″ Diameter
- 32.7” Height
|Pressure Rated to 35 psi||PET plastic|
|Option to ferment, carbonate, and serve from same vessel||Butterfly connection can be difficult to open without a lot of force|
|Large 3” bottom butterfly dump valve||No sample port|
|Very tall design|
Where to buy: MoreBeer
Ss BrewTech Chronical Fermenter
Ss BrewTech makes great quality stainless steel brewing equipment. The Chronical Fermenter is no exception. We love this fermenter for its ease of use, stylish design, and many available options. Chronicals are a bit more expensive but you’re paying for quality.
These fermenters are rated at 1-2 psi which is great for pressure transferring. Note, these are not rated or suitable for carbonating.
- Sample port with rotatable racking arm
- ¾” dump valve and ½” racking valve
- Etched volume markings
- Tri-Clamp fittings and 3-piece ball valves that can be completely disassembled to clean
- 14” Diameter
- 33” Height
|Professional grade manufacturing and quality||High price|
|304 Stainless Steel Construction||Not rated for fermenting under pressure or carbonation|
|Pressure rated for closed transfers (1-2 psi)|
BrewDemon Clear Conical Fermenter
Best Conical for Busy Brewers
The BrewDemon Clear Conical is very simple to use plastic fermenter. It has a beautiful looking design with a compact size. Its huge open top and shallow angled walls make cleaning easy. It’s not the most suitable for harvesting yeast but it is possible with an optional bottom dump valve.
- Simple design
- Very easy to clean
- Similar size to a carboy
- 13.5″ Diameter
- 28” Height
|Easy to use||Reported issues with top seal – not airtight|
|Innovative air lock design||Plastic construction|
|Affordable price||Yeast dump valve sold separately|
Where to buy: Amazon
Blichmann Cornical Fermenter
Best Stainless Conical
Blichmann is known for its exceptional quality and customer service… also its high price. The Cornical is their budget-friendly stainless steel conical. This very unique hybrid fermenter-Cornelius keg is an interesting option.
- You can ferment, carbonate, and serve directly from the fermenter
- Or you can remove the corny keg after fermentation, replace the lid and carbonate
- Full 1.5” sanitary butterfly dump valve
- Rotating racking arm with sanitary sampling and racking valve
- Pressure rated to 50psi
- 10″ x 14” Footprint
- 43.5” Height
|Ferment, carbonate, and serve in same keg||Very tall assembly|
|Blichmann has amazing reputation for quality and customer service||Some assembly required might be complex for certain users|
|Pressure rated for carbonation||May be overwhelming for new homebrewers|
|Beer is exposed to oxygen before carbonating when replacing corny lid|
|Very tall overall height|
Where to buy: MoreBeer
Spike Brewing Flex
Best Conical for Homebrewers
Spike Brewing offers Flex and Flex+ stainless steel conicals. With the Flex, you’ll get a very high-quality piece of equipment that meets the needs of 90% of homebrewers. The Flex+ gives you a full professional brewery experience at home.
There is quite a large range of prices based on the accessories and options you choose.
- Pressure rated for closed transfers (Flex)
- Pressure rated for carbonation (Flex+)
- Fully polished finish
- Rotating racking arm
- Sanitary welded Tri-Clamp fittings
- Etched volume markings
- Over 20 available upgrades and accessories
- 15″ wide by 21” tall
|304 Stainless Steel||No bottom dump valve|
|Good price versus quality ratio||Options can get pricey|
Where to buy: Spike Brewing
There are a lot of options out there for homebrewers when it comes to conical fermenters. You’ll have to consider your budget, space restrictions, and desired features.
SS Brewtech’s Chronical is a great fermenter for any brewer but its also not cheap. It’s super high-quality construction, range of features, ease of use, and great price make this our top pick.
If you are on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the FastFerment.
We hope we’ve made your decision easier. Fermenting in conicals will get you one step closer to make your perfect beer!
Frequently Asked Questions
What other sizes do conicals come in?
We focused on typical 5-gallon homebrew size batches in this article but there are plenty of other sizes. If you brew 10-gallon batches, almost every fermenter listed above is available in a larger volume. Be sure to buy your fermenters at least 2 to 3 gallons larger than your typical brew volume. This allows some headspace for fermentation.
Will a conical fit in my fermentation chamber?
We’ve provided typical dimensions for each conical in this article. For reference, a typical 6-gallon glass carboy is 20.5″ tall by 12″ in diameter.