Sometimes a phrase really resonates. The new phrase for me is “Once you go conical you won’t go back.”
And seriously this is probably true for everyone who switches from flat bottomed to conical fermentation vessels. (If you are someone who proves me wrong, I would love to hear from you.)
What is conical fermentation?
So what’s the big deal? Well have you ever toured a brewery? All those big shiny fermenters have something in common with each other. They all have an ice cream cone shaped bottom.
why is that good? Well there are two huge reasons. One, it’s easier and two it produces a better brew.
when we brew in flat bottom vessels we have to siphon off from one vessel to another to take the brew off the “lees” that can spoil the flavour of our cider or beer.
With a conical fermenter you don’t need to do this. The dead yeast falls to the bottom of the cone where you can simply close a valve and unscrew and empty the lees leaving the brew happily working through its second fermentation. You don’t need a siphon, you don’t need a secondary fermentation vessel and there are no contamination concerns to keep you awake at night.
When you take the little pot of lees out of the system, you can use the yeast to start the next batch of brew.
so to sum up the benefits of conical fermenters:
You only need one so it’s cheaper
You only need one so it’s space saving
They are easy to use
They are less likely to lead so spoiled batches
For these reasons I think the phrase “On e you go conical you won’t go back” really is justified.