I’ve been homebrewing beer for more than a decade, and thinking about how much time and energy I’ve wasted is enough to... drive me to drink. I wish I had owned Craft A Brew’s Catalyst conical fermenter from day one.
I’m currently drinking the result of a Craft A Brew partial mash beer kit produced using their Catalyst Fermentation System, a 6.5 gal conical fermenter with a BPA-free Tritan polymer tank. I’m a little awestruck at how well it turned out despite how easy it was to brew.
This Fat Friar beer ingredient kit is an accurate clone of New Belgium’s Fat Tire ale. It’s like most other extract kits, though Craft a Brew gets some extra credit for beautiful box design and excellent how-to-brew instructions. Boil, add ingredients, cold-break, transfer to fermenter with yeast, and wait a few weeks. Easy boozy.
I have brewed similar kits in various fermenters, and while my success rate has been consistent, my level of time, effort, stress, and attention was not. This time, the one change to my typical brew schedule was the Catalyst.
Craft A Brew’s system combines the economy of bucket to carboy fermentation with the ease and consistency of an expensive conical fermenter. It has a huge air-tight top opening, solid stand, and costs less than $200. It lets you easily save your yeast and remove trub thanks to a massive 3-inch bottom valve that mates to a standard wide-mouth mason jar. On top of it all, the Catalyst is crystal clear, so you can monitor your active fermentation (or lack thereof.)
These points may seem minor individually, but they all add up to improved efficiency, reduced equipment, less oxygen exposure, easier operation, fewer mistakes, and better beer. I hope I never have to rack homebrew from a primary to secondary fermenter ever again.