Today I will be reviewing one of the more unique kits out there, the 3 gallon starter kit featuring a conical fermenter by BrewDemon.
BrewDemon knows marketing well. Their box is very appealing and I was excited to open it up and brew some beer. You can find them at Amazon (affiliate link).
Here’s what came inside:
- Conical Fermenter
- Three Pronged Stand
- Temp Gauge
- No-Rinse Cleaner
- 2 Cans of HME (Hopped Malt Extract) Pilsner
- Dry Yeast
- 8 1-liter bottles
- Bottle Filler and Hose
- Plastic Mixing Spoon
The set up is very easy considering that homebrewing kits don’t have many moving parts. The legs for the stand of the conical fermenter were a bit tricky. The pegs stuck while placing them inside the legs of the holder. It required you to push them in one side at a time. Other than that, it was smooth sailing. The actual size of the fermenter was great. I don’t have a large kitchen and I found the set up of the fermenter made it easy to for hydrometer readings. The fact that the fermenter was elevated meant that any leaks or spilled wort was easily spotted before my closet became a beer tsunami.
One negative of the equipment is that I found the lid to be too loose. Similar to the Mr.Beer LBK (little brown keg), this fermenter is not meant to be completely air-tight like a glass carboy. However, the lid was seemed to be shallow while screwing it. This didn’t affect my brewing in any way but it made me little uneasy that it would come off in the event of a blow-off during fermentation.
One of my favorite features is the spigot. I tend to brew a lot of Weizen beers and they often generate their fair share of trub (a layer of sediment that collects at the bottom of the fermenter). The spigot was high enough off the bottom of the fermenter to not gather as much trub during bottling.
Brew day was very smooth. As with any brew day, the cleaning and sanitation steps are standard regardless of the equipment: clean, sanitize and dry the fermenter and any other equipment. Then follow the instructions that came with the packet. Extract brewing should be easy and painless. Ideally you want to pitch (adding yeast to the wort) the yeast in the low 70°F range. I pitched my yeast a bit high at 79°F. This won’t have a negative effect except perhaps jumpstarting a more vigorous fermentation.
This was the schedule of my brewing. I’m not an exact brewer. I brew when I want, I bottle when I want and I drink when I please. Therefore, my brew schedule does not follow the instruction booklet. However, this is a minor detail in the overall brewing beer experience and I have never had any issues *knock on wood*.
5/12: Brew Day
2 weeks in the fermenter
1 month carbonating/conditioning in bottle
6/24: Cold Conditioned (Placed Beer in Fridge)
5 days in fridge
Bottling and Cleaning
Compared to the Mr. Beer Keg, bottling out of this fermenter was much easier. The location of the spigot made for a perfect fit with my 3/8 inch tubing. The location of the spigot is a few inches off the bottom of the fermenter. This resulted in leaving most of the trub at the bottom instead of the bottle. For the last few bottles, I did have to tilt the fermenter a bit in order to get the last of the beer.
Cleaning was a breeze. The krausen (leftover sediment from fermentation) that is caked on the walls of the fermenter was removed with ease. The shape of the conical fermenter made reaching all inner areas much simpler compared to other fermenters. Instead of having to go over the walls several times with the Mr. Beer Keg, I only had to wipe down the fermenter a few times and krausen washed away. As with any homebrewer, any way to make the cleaning part easier is a win in my book.
Tasting and Final Thoughts
I shared the pilsner with friends and family on a recent trip. I thought it came out decent. The taste is different from my typical batches. However much of this is likely due to the brewing style (extract) versus my typical brew style (partial mash). The pilsner had a clean, refreshing feel to it. I enjoyed how easy it went down and was also surprised at the subtle bitter hops flavor which gave a nice rounded feel to the beer. Definitely something I would try again.
Disclaimer: I’m grateful to BrewDemon for this homebrewing kit. The Beginner’s Brew makes every effort to review products with transparency. The views expressed here are the personal views of the reviewer and was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give me the product for testing and review purposes.