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Conical Fermenters


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Good Morning…I would like to discuss fermenters. We are in the process of buying equipment, doing research etc. I have visited a number of distilleries and noted all different types of tanks used. Square totes, Cheese processing tanks, plastic, etc for fermenters…I called White labs and they suggested conical bottom fermenters makes re-pitching yeast a he…of a log easier so…..I know that breweries use conical fermenters and therefore I assume they are best in the ideal world??? There fermenters are also temp controlled. I anyone using sloped bottom fermenters? (Metal-craft) Are they as effective in drawing off the dead yeast after fermentation and collecting the good stuff? Also, in the perfect world should they be temperature controlled? Maybe that is phase 2!!! If the room we are fermenting in is temp controlled is that as effective as temperature controlled, jacketed fermenter?

THANKS!!!! This is a complex business. Don't want to make a mistake and buy the wrong equipment. Any recommendations of who to buy from?

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You need to ask yourself if you're distilling on or off the grain. This will tell you what fermenter you could use. If on grain, all you need is a container of any sort. A cheap 275 gl. tote would work well. If off grain, then the conical would be most practical so it would be easy to remove your wash from the lees. Temperature control is needed when you are using a yeast that is effective in a specific temp window. One can do this through jacketing, room temp. or wait for the proper season and use the ambient temp. Jacketing is the most precise way of doing it though. There are chiller/heaters in one unit that can control your jacket fermentors to a fraction of a degree.

Best of luck to you with your decision.

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CCTs are designed specifically for beer production, the cone bottom facilitates harvesting yeast by allowing you to exclude the trub / cold break and harvest only the highest viability yeast. In brewing one key step in the process is crashing (quickly lowering beer temperature) prior to yeast harvest and the jacket is designed around this requirement (oversized as compared to only controlling fermentation temperature). The need for temperature control will be effected by the fermentor volume, geometry, type of fermentable, anticipated fermentation time and more. At $1000/barrel for small CCTs I'm guessing a lot of tubs and other vessels are a result more of budget limits.


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