Mini brew conical fermenters are small, cone-shaped vessels used by hobbyist and craft brewers to ferment beer on a small scale. They allow efficient fermentation and sedimentation of solids while taking up minimal space.
Key Features and Benefits of mini brew conical fermenter
|1. Facilitates easy yeast harvesting and trub separation.
|2. Improves the quality of the final beer or wine product.
|Stainless Steel Material
|1. Provides durability and resistance to corrosion.
|2. Ensures a long lifespan for the fermenter.
|Airlock and Gasket Seal
|1. Prevents contamination by keeping air out.
|2. Maintains a controlled fermentation environment.
|1. Allows for customization of the fermenter’s height.
|2. Eases the transfer of liquids into other containers.
|1. Enables easy monitoring of the fermentation process.
|2. Reduces the need to open the fermenter, minimizing the risk of contamination.
|1. Provides a location for a temperature probe.
|2. Allows for precise temperature control during fermentation.
|Easy to Clean
|1. Simplifies the cleaning process after use.
|2. Reduces the risk of bacteria or residue buildup.
|1. Available in various sizes to suit different batch sizes.
|2. Accommodates a wide range of brewing or winemaking needs.
Types of Mini Conical Fermenters
|1 – 3 gallons
|For very small test batches
|$100 – $250
|3 – 7 gallons
|Popular sizes for homebrewing
|$200 – $400
|5 – 10 gallons
|For scaling up to commercial batches
|$300 – $600
Mini brew conical fermenters offer various customization options:
- Volume – choose from typical capacities ranging from 1 to 10 gallons
- Number of rotation bands – more bands allow easier rotation
- Extra sample ports – multiple ports allow pulling samples from different heights
- Pressure-capable models – withstand added pressure for carbonation, spunding valves etc.
- Stand/base options – add castor wheels for mobility or fixed stands
Compared to simple bucket fermenters, mini conical fermenters provide better control, visibility and convenience during the fermentation process:
- Aeration: The conical bottom provides vigorous mixing when filling allowing good oxygenation
- Fermentation: Visual inspections are easier through the wide openings and sample ports. Integrated thermowells monitor fermentation temperature.
- Sedimentation and Clarification: Rotation helps sediment settle allowing clearer beer transfer. The cone shape prevents sediment resuspension.
- Yeast Harvesting: Bottom sample ports provide access to clean yeast which can be harvested for re-pitching into the next batch.
Optimal Fermentation Conditions
Ideal conditions for fermentation in mini conical fermenters:
- 10-25°C temperature range maintained by ambient controls or integrated cooling jackets
- Gentle rotation for 2 minutes twice per day keeps yeast in suspension preventing settling on vessel walls
- Use clarifying aids like Whirfloc tablets if desired 30 minutes before end of boil
Cleaning and Sanitization
Effective cleaning is essential to prevent infection and off-flavors. Use proper concentrations and contact times for cleaning and sanitation chemicals per manufacturer guidelines:
- Hot alkaline detergent cleaner to dissolve organic soils
- Acidic cleaner to remove inorganic mineral deposits if hard water is used
- Sanitizer like food grade iodophor or Star San before fermentation
Choosing a Supplier
When investing in a quality mini conical fermenter suitable factors to consider include:
|Build quality and durability
|Manufacturer reputation and support
|Brand reputation from actual customers
|Price relative to features
|Range of customization options
|Availability of replacement parts
Some recommended larger suppliers offering mini conical fermenters in a variety of sizes with different feature sets depending on individual needs and budgets are:
- Ss Brewtech – Market leader in stainless steel conical fermenters for wider range of capacities
- Spike Brewing – Specializes in electric brewery systems including popular conical fermenters
- Blichmann Engineering – Provider of innovative gear for home and craft brewing
Many local restaurant supply companies, online retailers and homebrew shops also carry smaller mini conical fermenter models. Quality and warranty support may not be guaranteed with such suppliers compared to more reputable manufacturers.
Advantages and Limitations
|Very compact size for small batches
|Not the most affordable option, higher cost than simple buckets
|Cone-shape enhances clarity, yeast harvesting
|Narrow openings make cleaning by hand more difficult
|Even fermentation, easy temperature monitoring
|Require careful cleaning and airlock maintenance to prevent infection
|Durable stainless steel construction, reusable
|Rotation bands add cost and complexity
|Sample valves allow monitoring fermentation
|Smaller volumes limit certain styles and special brewing techniques
Q: What size mini conical fermenter should I choose?
A: Consider your typical batch size – a 3 to 7 gallon fermenter allows flexibility for a wide range of volumes. Factor some headspace over your target batch size.
Q: Can mini conical fermenters be used for fermenting wines or ciders?
A: Yes, the stainless steel construction makes many mini conical fermenters suitable for wines and ciders, just ensure any fittings exposed to the brew are resistant to acidity.
Q: Should I get the version with rotation bands?
A: Rotation bands help compact the yeast cake but require gently rotating twice daily. If managing rotation timing will be difficult, get a pressure-rated fermenter that allows rousing yeast with pressure bumps instead.
Q: How difficult are mini conical fermenters to clean manually?
A: The narrow neck openings can make scrubbing by hand tricky. Upgrade to the removable top screen version or use bottle brushes and sanitizer sprays to simplify the process. Avoid abrasives that can damage the polished interior surface.