All Fermentation Vessels You Can Use at Home
Brewing your own beer can be an incredibly rewarding experience. But before you begin crafting your own brew, there’s one essential piece of equipment you’ll need: a fermentation vessel.
Fermentation vessels are temperature-controlled containers where your wort ferments into a delicious drink. You can purchase commercial fermentation vessels or repurpose mason jars and wooden barrels. For precise temperature control, it’s best to keep jars and barrels in a fermentation chamber.
There are all sorts of containers you can use as fermentation vessels, and you can either purchase brand-new or use existing household items. This article will suggest fermentation vessels and fermentation chambers you can use at home.
1. Mason Jars
The most affordable fermentation vessels are repurposed kitchen items such as mason jars. However, these can only contain small amounts of wort, which isn’t ideal for large batches of home-brew. Since brewing can take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks, most people prefer to brew larger batches.
You can easily turn mason jars into fermentation vessels by purchasing fermentation lids and temperature control devices on Amazon.com.
I recommend the Raw Food Kitchen Fermentation Kit, a complete set that includes:
- Fermentation lids with timer and airlock valve
- Fermentation weights
- Vegetable tamper
Jars are not included in the fermentation kit, but the lids can fit most wide-mouth mason jars. The lids are easy to close and grip.
The Hemlock Home-Brewing Kombucha Heating Pad is an easy-to-use heating pad that you can wrap around your mason jar to ensure ideal temperatures for fermentation. It’s ideal for use on 1-gallon (3.8-liter) containers.
For more information on jars and airlocks for fermenting, check out this YouTube video.
2. Fermentation Crocks
This type of brewing vessel is great for those who are new to the craft or learning how to make beer at home.
Fermentation crocks are traditionally made of pottery or stoneware, which can help keep your brew at a steady temperature throughout the entire process. Plus, they come with lids that secure tightly to prevent any contaminants from getting into your beer.
The TOMO Fermentation Crock is a great buy on Amazon.com. This stoneware is made with durable, non-porous ceramic walls that block sunlight. It’s available in 3-liter and 7-liter capacities (0.8 gallons and 1.8 gallons) and includes weights and a wooden tamper.
3. Wooden Barrels
Wooden barrels would be great for beginner batches of beer. They’ve been used in brewing for centuries and are still a popular choice among craft brewers.
Not only do wooden barrels look aesthetically pleasing, but they also provide an array of flavor profiles that can be added to the beer during fermentation.
Do You Need a Fermentation Chamber for Home Brewing?
The most crucial aspect of fermentation is temperature. If the temperature of your wooden barrel, mason jar, or fermentation crock can’t be maintained, it may ruin your batch of brew.
Therefore, consider using a fermentation chamber or fermentation cooler for precise temperature control.
You can use the following household appliances as fermentation chambers:
- A large cooler with ice
- Repurposed mini-fridge
However, you may need a few additional tools to use these appliances as fermentation chambers. I recommend the following temperature control devices:
- FermWrap Watt Fermentation Heater: It may be necessary to use a heater to keep beer warm when brewing in the winter. The FermWrap heater promotes even heat distribution and can be attached directly to your freezer or refrigerator.
- Inkbird Dual Stage Temperature Controller: This handy device displays measured temperatures and come with an alarm and sensor. You can easily connect the Inkbird device to your fermentation vessel and set an alarm to maintain the temperature.
Fermentation coolers are compact, insulated, and convenient for small spaces. They’re incredibly simple to use and perfect for beginner brewers.
If you’re looking for a handy fermentation cooler, I recommend the Cool Brewing LLC Home Brewing Fermentation Cooler, which fits up to 6.5-gallon (24.6-liter) fermenters. It is waterproof, insulated, and made with quality materials, making it one of the most efficient fermentation chambers on the market.
Those who consider themselves handy can build a fermentation chamber for home brewing. This option is ideal for those who do not have spare freezers or rooms for fermenting.
A good example of a DIY fermentation chamber is the Milt’s Fermentation Chamber, a custom chamber built with the following materials:
- A mini-fridge
- Plywood sheets
- Insulation and paneling sheets
- Caulk and aluminum tape
Below are two other DIY fermentation vessels worth considering:
Son of Fermentation Chiller
Developed primarily by home brewing connoisseur Ken Schwartz in the 90s, the Son of Fermentation Chiller is made entirely with affordable parts, such as:
- Digital thermometer
- Woodworking supplies
After assembly, all these parts help to control the vessel’s temperature in a more efficient manner.
You can find full instructions for constructing the original chamber here. Be sure to use protective equipment when building the chamber.
A swamp cooler is basically a large steel basin filled with ice packs. Although the ice packs will need regular changing, swamp coolers are excellent and very basic options for fermentation chambers. You’ll also need an electric fan to aid in the cooling process and a digital thermometer to stick onto the side of the basin.
When using a swamp cooler, you’ll need to check on the fermentation process regularly and often change out ice packs since there is no temperature regulation control. This process can be inconvenient for some, so timing is key when using this form of fermentation chamber.
4. Commercial Fermenters
Finally, there are fermenters that you can purchase to use at home, thus saving you the time and energy it takes to build your own.
I recommend the following products on Amazon.com:
- FastFerment Plastic Conical Fermenter: This vessel is wall-mounted to save space and is designed to promote the yeast growth process. The conical fermenter is excellent for moderate home brewers that have a more in-depth understanding of the nuances of home brewing.
Chicago Brew Werks Bottling Bucket with Lid and Spigot: This perfect fermentation vessel includes a lid and a spigot, making it super convenient to ferment and then bottle your beer or wine. The purchase can come with a few other accessories for home brewing, such as airlocks or carboy bungs, but these aren’t necessary to use this fermentation vessel properly.