Conical Fermenter Review
The 7.1-Gallon FermZilla is a perfect option for homebrewers who are looking for a cost-saving alternative to a more expensive stainless steel conical fermenter.
The FermZilla Conical Fermenter is a simple way for the homebrewer to brew with the advantages of a conical fermenter without the stainless steel price tag.
If you’ve ever toured a professional brewery, you know that the conical design is what they use. While there are many conical fermenter options on the market, our job here is to specifically talk about the new and improved FermZilla.
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The FermZilla Conical Fermenter Review
The FermZilla Conical Fermenter is designed by Kegland, which previously sold the popular Fermentasaurus. Their new design takes what they learned from feedback from homebrewers, and created a better product.
Recent Upgrades To The FermZilla
The FermZilla now includes a few improvement designs over the Fermentasaurus:
Butterfly Valve: It now includes a larger 3-inch butterfly valve to helps solve the problem of trub clogging.
Wide mouth opening: It has a big 4.75-inch diameter top opening, which makes the inside of the tank much easier to clean.
Less headspace: The FermZilla was re-designed to eliminate excess headspace in the tank, and is the perfect size for brewing 5-gallon batches of beer.
What's Included In The Box?
- 7.1 gallon tank with butterfly dump valve
- Upgraded steel stand
- Top lid with 35 psi pressure relief valve
- Adjustable easy opening tool
- 1000ml collection container and lid
- 3-piece airlock
- Adhesive thermometer
- Strap wrench
- Graduation sticker
- Grommet bottle cap
- (3) Black bottle caps
- Spare seals
- The price
- Can be used as a regular fermenter or an Unitank
- Clear tank
The Price Tag: Compared to the much higher cost of other stainless steel conical fermenters, you can’t beat the price and functionality for what you are getting. The price is what makes this fermenter accessible to most homebrewers.
Easily Perform a Pressure Transfer: You can ferment, carbonate, and serve your beer directly from this tank, without exposing your brew to any oxygen at all.
Clear conical tank: You can see the fermentation process taking place, so no need to keep removing the lid of a plastic bucket. Just make sure you keep it out of the light and direct sunlight.
Lightweight: We really don’t need to explain too much about this, other than it is not near as heavy as a stainless steel conical fermenter, and much easier to move and handle.
- Plastic construction – Can scratch and not as durable as stainless steel
- Can be difficult to clean
- Pressure tests are needed
Plastic construction: Although it’s made with Triton plastic, it just doesn’t have the same durability, and won’t last as long as stainless steel. Just through normal brewing use, some parts, including the tank will eventually need to be replaced.
The good news is that the parts can be replaced when the time comes. Take extra care when cleaning and working with a plastic fermenter. If the inside of the tank gets scratched, you will have an infection risk on your hands.
Cleaning: Bacteria loves to find places on brewing equipment to live. Although the large opening in the tank makes it easy to clean, there are parts that need to be removed so they get thoroughly cleaned after each use.
Pressure tests: It is recommended that a pressure test be taken before each use, and definitely after 2-years of use. It is for safety reasons, it can turn into a hassle doing it every time.
Things To Consider Before Buying
As your homebrewing hobby becomes more serious, you’ll want to make upgrades to your equipment. It can be hard to know which upgrades will make the biggest difference in your experience and end result.
There will be a few things you should think about before you make your decision.
Your Brewing Space
A conical fermenter does take up more space in your home. This unit is small compared to some other options, but that’s still something to consider before buying. Buckets and carboys are much easier to store.
The stand has a diameter of 15.7” and the unit has a total height of 32.7”.
Conical fermenters can be made stainless steel or plastic.
The FermZilla is made from plastic. The tank itself is clear enough that you can see through it to get a look at the fermentation process while it’s happening. Plastic can handle the fermentation process just fine, but the main advantage is a much lower price tag.
However, you do need to be mindful about not scratching the tank while cleaning or using it. A stainless steel tank would be very difficult to scratch in this way. However, a stainless steel conical fermenter costs several times more than this.
Generally, you’ll always want to think about your budget and how often you plan to brew. Both of these are factors will determent which fermenter you ultimately decide to go with.
If you’re only brewing a couple of times a year, you might prefer to stick with your buckets. If you have a larger budget, stainless steel equipment is an upgrade you might want to consider.
You should never buy a piece of brewing equipment that you cannot comfortably afford.
Beer Batch Size
One of the changes Kegland made to this unit after the Fermentasaurus, is that this unit has less headspace now, and is not made for large batch brewing
The FermZilla’s tank has a 7.1-gallon capacity, and is specifically designed for five-gallon brews. If you plan on brewing smaller 1 or 2 gallon batches, or a larger 10 gallon batch, you should look into other options.
There are certainly extra toys you can purchase that can make using the FermZilla more fun and more functional. This fermenter will work on its own without them.
Handle Kit: This stainless steel handle is probably something you want to add on to your purchase to save yourself from a potential mess.
The previous plastic handles were removed on the new version. Put these new handles around the top of the unit and then you’ll be able to easily pick up and move your tank.
Other Options To Choose From
If you still can’t decide if the FermZilla conical fermenter is the right choice for your, there are more options to choose from on our best conical fermenter page.
Other alternatives include stainless steel and other non-pressurized conical fermenters from SS Brewtech, Craft a brew, Brew Demon, and FastFerment.
Kegland learned a lot from the feedback they received on the Fermentasaurus. It’s always a big plus for brewers when a product has had the first version and then comes out with something new and improved.
The FermZilla managed to pack in a lot of features only found on conical fermenters in much higher price ranges. The clear viewing of the fermentation process is a nice touch.
If you’re looking to upgrade from a brewing bucket or carboys, this FermZilla conical fermenter has a lot to offer the homebrewer who wants a consistent and quality beer.