You don’t have to be a skilled brewer to know that alcohol is fermented. Fermentation is all about giving the yeast the ideal environment to convert the carbohydrates in the wort, the heated solution of grains, malts, and hops which create beer, into alcohol, carbon dioxide, and flavourful and aromatic compounds.
Since fermentation is the most important phase of the home brewing process, a fermenter is one of the most essential homebrewing tools to have. It’s a container that wort is poured or siphoned into after cooling to begin primary and sometimes secondary fermentation. Different fermenter designs are advantageous in different situations.
Types of Fermenters Every Homebrewer Needs
First things first, opt for a high-quality and easy-to-use home brewing fermenter to make the fermentation phase a breeze. Keep in mind though that the type of beer you plan to brew will dictate the type of vessel that will ultimately give you the best results in the long run. However, here are the most popular types of fermenters every serious homebrewer needs!
The most popular material for fermenters, particularly among amateur or casual homebrewers, is food-grade plastic. Plastic is lightweight, affordable, and generally brittle. It does, however, have one significant drawback: It is prone to scratching, which gives the bacteria a place to grow.
A plastic carboy is a top choice for many novice brewers. Despite popular belief, even the most delicate of brews won’t pick up any off smells or scents from a well-made plastic carboy, and the colours and flavours won’t transfer to the plastic.
High-quality plastic carboys are manufactured of a particular PET plastic, which has numerous advantages over glass in terms of durability, especially breakage. Moreover, brewing-grade plastic carboys are free of DEHP, plasticizers, and BPA, thus safety issues shouldn’t ever arise.
Plastic carboys come in various sizes, but the most popular are the 1, 3, 5 and 6-gallon ones. Most classic carboys made of plastic have narrow necks, however, there are also home brew fermenters with wide necks to make the cleaning much easier.
Buckets made of food-grade plastic are frequently used for amateur fermentation. The majority of brewers start the primary fermentation with a bucket, as it is an excellent method to get accustomed to the procedure. The fact that you can observe your fermentation when utilizing a plastic bucket might not seem like a big deal, but it is an interesting one, especially for newbies.
One of the main reasons why plastic conicals are becoming so popular among the homebrewing community is that you can avoid transferring your beer to a secondary, lowering the risk of contamination. In this little, easily removed and discarded home brewing fermenter the yeast sediment settles at the bottom. It also allows you to harvest and collect the yeast.
Moreover, conicals made of plastic are available in a range of sizes, making it simple to produce various batch sizes. But you will need a pedestal or a wall mount. However, it might not be the best option for larger brews because this vessel makes it hard to control the temperature.
Glass can be used for fermentation, but it is not nearly as popular as plastic. Glass has many benefits over plastic, including being harder to scratch and airtight when an airlock and stopper are utilized. Glass, however, is fragile and heavy.
One of the most common and popular home brewing fermenters is the Carboy made of glass. It is an excellent piece of equipment for newbies.
The most popular glass carboy sizes are 3, 5, 6, and 6.5 gallons. Moreover, these are available in a range of sizes. For small-scale brewing, excess wort, or portioning your beer into experimental batches, a 3-gallon glass carboy is an ideal fermenter size.
For instance, you may divide your wort into distinct batches and ferment each glass carboy separately using various yeast varieties or flavouring agents. To make it simple to share and transport your beer, the 1-gallon glass fermenters are also available in jug form.
However, for full-scale home brewing, upgrading to a 5 or 6-gallon glass carboy is an excellent idea because it will produce around 54 beers per gallon, which is plenty to share with friends and family.
Stainless Steel Options
In contrast to the cost of plastic buckets and carboys, stainless steel fermenters initially appear to be an extravagant investment for homebrewers. Nonetheless, when properly cared for, stainless steel is much more resilient than plastic and outlives it by a wide margin.
Stainless Steel Keg
The keg is the most affordable option to move to stainless steel fermenting. It is also the easiest to set up with a little DIY time. As such, removing the IN-gas fitting and replacing it with a grommet that fits a blow-off tube or airlock is the simplest way to get your keg ready for fermenting.
You can drill a hole in the keg lid to accommodate an airlock and stopper if you’re feeling handy and don’t want to reuse your keg for anything other than fermentation.
Stainless Steel Bucket
Fermenting buckets made of stainless steel have a coned bottom and a movable racking arm to prevent trub during transfer. At a relatively inexpensive cost, these bucket fermenters are one of the key elements for home brewing a great lager as they frequently include an airlock, a stopper, and all fittings required for transporting your beer.
Stainless Steel Conical
A stainless steel conical is the best option if the initial cost is not a concern. They are significantly more resilient than plastic homebrew fermenters, much like stainless steel bucket fermenters, and have a conical bottom that enables yeast and sediment to settle at the bottom and not adhere to the vessel’s edges. Some top-notch conicals made of stainless steel have a digital temperature controller and are built of double-walled stainless steel.