We are going to go over home brew beer fermenters. I’m going to tell you the do’s and the don’ts based
off my personal experiences to help you navigate your buying decisions.
Fermenters – there’s a lot on the market, plastic, glass, stainless steel. Let’s talk about fermenter’s price, conical, cleaning, racking.
Homebrew fermenters – my opinion I do not buy glass fermenters. Here are some bullet points for starters.
They can be dangerous, they’re fragile – if you homebrew long enough, we’ve all broken these, you usually break them when they’re full, like when they weigh 50-60 pounds. So you spend the rest of the day cleaning up glass and starting over your home brew.
The five- or six-gallon glass are about 50 bucks, they don’t have handles or you can
buy the straps for another 12 bucks so we’re already around $65.
To clean it you can’t take the lid off so you have to have to get a brush for $10 bucks on Amazon so now we’re at 75 dollars.
There’s no spigot so you have to rack and siphon for another 20 dollars. Now we’re at a
hundred dollars for something that’s inefficient, not conical and fragile.
Plastic through and through – it’s so easy to clean, the lid comes off, plastic does scrape or scratch – just don’t use steel wool to clean. Use hot water PBW or Oxiclean. With plastic you can get every nook and cranny without even thinking about it. Plastic doesn’t give you a headache, it has a handle so you don’t have to buy any strap. They are the most affordable fermenters and they have spigots. If you google plastic fermenter, for example a six-gallon plastic fermenter with lid and spigot they’ll probably range from anywhere from $25 to around $60.
But there’s a trick on how I make them for seven dollars.
Yes, it’s the Home Depot orange buckets which I have no problem brewing with but if you need that peace of mind you can always check the aisles for the white food grade bucket for about the same price.
Let’s bundle it with a food grade spigot on Amazon, which is where I buy mine. Now we have a four-dollar bucket and a three-dollar spigot.
The best part about these buckets is they do not need gaskets.
I never really throw the buckets away, there’s kind of a life cycle with these buckets in my garage. They always start as fermenters, and then switch to grain buckets or they turn into coolers.
I’ve always used plastic, stainless steel fermenters were always way too expensive for me and they weren’t mandatory so I didn’t feel the need to have one. I’ve only had one over these last five or six years – they are gorgeous and they have them at pretty much every price point these days. I’ve been around a ton of homebrewers that do have them and noticed a love/hate relationship.
I have the Anvil 7.5-gallon stainless steel bucket beer fermenter – incredibly easy to assemble the spigot
and connect. Embossed level markings let you always know your quantities which is very important. It has a rotating racking arm, handles so you can pick it up. There are fermenters out there with legs and
wheels at the bottom but they really don’t do anything except jack up the price. We can all lift five gallons up, but the biggest factor by far is the price tag $130.
As far as beer clarity goes and less sediment, I cut an inch off my corny cake’s dip tube so I’m
already good in that department. Are you reusing yeast all the time? I don’t – I will keep some in the fridge but usually I’m only brewing once or twice a month and with a completely different
Do stainless steel conical fermenters make better homebrew? I think it comes down to the homebrewer.
A huge factor is they have resale value much more than plastic. A stainless-steel fermenter you could drop and nothing would happen – maybe a dent.
Plastic beer fermenter probably would break, glass fermenter for sure. It’s stainless steel so it’s going to
Here’s the question – which homebrew fermenter to buy? I think it’s just completely subjective.
Some beer fermenters are expensive, I have a DIY temp control system, so I don’t have to worry about that.
Price is a factor or maybe it’s not. Maybe you don’t even need temp control, maybe you have a basement or a wine cellar you can store your stuff down there that will save you money. But it is
just subjective, I know somebody who has bought a $700 GrainFather fermenter and they said it wasn’t worth the price. I’ve talked to people who have loved them.
I’ve talked to people that bought stainless steel Brewtech that they absolutely loved, also homebrewers who have conical stainless-steel beer fermenters and love it. I love my Anvil I brewed with – it will last a lifetime.
If you’re excited about your purchase or not, or maybe looking for someone’s opinion – there you have it. My biggest concern is you are out there, home brewing beer and enjoying it. Cheers!