Fermentation is arguably the most important step in the brewing process. This is when your sugary wort turns into a bubbly, boozy beer. How? While the wort is sitting in a specially designed fermenter, the yeast converts the glucose into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. This gives your brew its alcoholic kick and that all-important carbonation.
There are a million different variables at play during this process—heat, bacteria, time, to name but a few—and one small misstep has the potential to ruin an entire batch. Hence, investing in a good fermenter is vital. Generally, fermenters are finished in plastic or metal—both materials have their pros and cons—and come in an array of sizes and shapes.
Here, we’ve selected four of the best fermenters on Amazon that’ll help you create a perfect batch every time. As an added bonus, you can also use some of the models for fermenting cider, kombucha, mead or wine.
1. Ss Brewtech Stainless-Steel Fermenter
Ss Brewtech built its name on quality brew gear that is affordable yet effective. Take, for instance, this stainless-steel fermenter. It was the first product the brand invented and they well and truly nailed the brief. Crafted from 304 stainless steel, it’s more sanitary than plastic models and a lot safer than glass. The steel is not only easy to clean, but it is also tough-as-nails and resistant to rust and corrosion. The bucket gets slightly more narrow toward the base to help all the sediment to drop to the bottom for a cleaner transfer. The 3.5-gallon design can also fit comfortably into a chest freezer if you need temperature control and comes with a wide lid that’s secured with spring clamps to keep any nasty germs or bacteria out.
2. Fastferment Plastic Conical Fermenter
The first thing you’ll notice about Fastfermenter’s best-selling model is its balloon-like silhouette. This conical shape, along with our good friend gravity, forces all the sediment to drop to the bottom. All the while, the yeast continues carrying on its good work fermenting the rest of the wort. Together, this produces a more consistent and higher quality beer. The 7.9-gallon design comes with a removable screwtop lid and wall mounting system that makes both brewing and cleaning a breeze. It also has a flat-bottomed collection ball that allows you to save and harvest your yeast strains. Furthermore, it can double as a Marcel Duchamp-style readymade sculpture when not in use.
3. BrewDemon Conical Fermenter
BrewDemon has created one helluva devilishly cool fermenting system for homebrewers. The cone-shaped contraption is made from crystal clear PVC that gives you a window into the entire fermentation process. This is particularly good if it’s you’re a first-timer and want to keep an eye on all the fun and funky things. The plastic is, of course, BPA-free and won’t impart any unwanted flavors. Thanks to its conical design, rogue floaties and sediment will never make it to your finished beer. Furthermore, the premium adjustable flow spigot with barbed spout allows you to transfer liquids easily. Perfect for small batches, this model can ferment up to 2.5 gallons of beer, cider, mead, wine or kombucha and includes everything you need, from a temperature gauge to a CO2 vent plug.
4. Chapman Brewing Equipment Universal Fermenter
Anyone who’s ventured into homebrewing will know equipment (and cost) tallies up quickly. To reduce the amount of gear, opt for a multipurpose workhorse that has more than one function. Chapman Brewing Equipment’s fermenter is a perfect example as it doubles as a hot liquor tank, too. With an impressive 5 gallon capacity, the stainless steel design is easy to clean and comes ready to use for any impatient brewers. Although it’s not conical in shape, the hardwearing design is far more durable than glass and a touch more sanitary than plastic. It also features an airlock lid that allows CO2 to escape while keeping harmful contaminants out. On top of that, it’s an unquestionably handsome fermenter.