What is the Best Conical Fermenter for Homebrewing?

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:

Yeast management

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.

Pressure Rated

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 Reduction

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?

FastFerment

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.

Features:

  • Removable yeast and trub reservoir
  • Recommended optional accessories:
    • Sample port
    • Thermometer
    • Insulated jacket

Dimensions: 

  • Diameter: 14.25”
  • Height: 37.5″
ProsCons
Very affordablePlastic construction
Large top opening for easy cleaningHops 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 kitNot pressure rated

Where to buy: Amazon, MoreBeer

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.

Features:

  • Optional sample port that needs to be user installed
  • Insulated cover option
  • Durable and sleek design

Dimensions: 

  • Footprint: 17” by 13.75”
  • Height: 26.25”
ProsCons
Very sturdy constructionPlastic 
Compact designNot 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

Where to buy: Amazon, MoreBeer

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.

Features:

  • 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.

Dimensions: 

  • 15.7″ Diameter
  • 32.7” Height
ProsCons
Pressure Rated to 35 psiPET plastic
Option to ferment, carbonate, and serve from same vesselButterfly connection can be difficult to open without a lot of force
Large 3” bottom butterfly dump valveNo 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.

Features:

  • 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

Dimension: 

  • 14” Diameter
  • 33” Height
ProsCons
Professional grade manufacturing and qualityHigh price
304 Stainless Steel ConstructionNot rated for fermenting under pressure or carbonation 
Pressure rated for closed transfers (1-2 psi)

Where to buy: Amazon, MoreBeer

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.

Features:

  • Simple design
  • Very easy to clean
  • Similar size to a carboy

Dimensions: 

  • 13.5″ Diameter
  • 28” Height
ProsCons
Easy to useReported issues with top seal – not airtight
Innovative air lock designPlastic construction
Affordable priceYeast 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. 

Features:

  • 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 

Dimensions: 

  • 10″ x 14” Footprint 
  • 43.5” Height
ProsCons
Ferment, carbonate, and serve in same kegVery tall assembly
Blichmann has amazing reputation for quality and customer serviceSome assembly required might be complex for certain users
Pressure rated for carbonationMay be overwhelming for new homebrewers

Beer is exposed to oxygen before carbonating when replacing corny lid

Very tall overall height

High price

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.

Features:

  • 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

Dimensions: 

  • 15″ wide by 21” tall
ProsCons
304 Stainless SteelNo bottom dump valve
Good price versus quality ratioOptions can get pricey
Compact size

Where to buy: Spike Brewing

Final Thoughts

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. 

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