Crucible™ Conical Fermenter

Looking to ferment like the Pro’s? The new ANVIL Crucible™ Conical Fermenter is the hands-down best value in a stainless steel conical fermenter on the market. The rotating racking arm and large pro-style tri-clamp bottom dump will have you racking crystal clear beer and harvesting yeast like a pro! Let the Crucible™ be the showpiece of YOUR brewery!

Crucible™ Conical Fermenter

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The two defining features for conicals are the bottom dump and the rotating racking arm. Let's start at the bottom (of the conical).


Simple Secondary Fermentation

Secondary fermentation gives your brew more maturation by separating the wort from the trub after your initial fermentation is complete.

The bottom dump on a conical fermenter makes secondary fermentation fast and easy, and some brews, like lagers, definitely benefit from racking off excessive sediments for long-term maturation.

So How Do You Do It?

Using the bottom dump on your conical, open the valve and dump the sediment, leaving the clear beer behind. That's it! Not only is this a significant time and cost saver, it reduces the potential for contamination and oxidation.

Bottom Dump Tips

  • Always dump sediment from the bottom dump valve after high kräusen, and then again in a week or so for lagers. For ales, normally only one sediment dump is needed.
  • If you've waited too long to dump the sediment you might open the valve and discover that it doesn't drain. Wait patiently for it to begin flowing, and be ready to close the valve quickly. When compacted, yeast can support the weight of the beer above it, even with the large butterfly valves commonly used on conicals. If you have a stuck dump, applying a little CO2 pressure to your tank will usually get things moving again. But, of course, never exceed the pressure rating of your fermenter.

Harvesting Yeast

For homebrewers who have discovered their favorite brews and recreate them often, harvesting yeast is a big money saver. Using your bottom dump, you can harvest yeast for future batches with ease and build large, healthy yeast pitches for your upcoming brews. This is a particularly great option if you brew frequently and use the same yeast strains regularly.


The second defining feature of a conical is the rotating racking arm. While some manufacturers offer this as an optional item, it shouldn't be. This is the easiest way to transfer the clear beer to your kegs or bottles while leaving the sediment behind.

This curved rotating drain tube and valve allows you to begin draining into your keg (or bottling bucket). Once you've got it draining, you slowly rotate the arm downward until you see a bit of yeast being drawn through the hose letting you know you've reached the yeast cake.

Then rotate it back slightly and continue to drain.

Monitor Fermentation Progress

The racking arm is also a great place to take gravity samples to monitor fermentation progress.

Spray some sanitizer Inside the valve, and then simply open the valve and fill the sample cylinder. Then spray the surfaces again to sanitize and remove beer drips from the valve after taking the sample. This keeps bacteria and mold off of the surfaces for subsequent samples and draining.

Racking Arm Tip

  • One thing to keep in mind is that when you're removing beer from a fermenter, is that you're also drawing air into the headspace to replace the beer you've just removed.
  • The easiest way to ensure you don't leave oxygen in the headspace for a long time is to apply a bit of CO2 pressure to the tank prior to drawing a sample or dumping sediment.
  • The CO2 will simply expand to keep any oxygen out. A couple PSI is plenty. If you don't have a pressure-capable tank, the best option is to purge the headspace after a sample by placing a CO2 hose in the airlock hole as described earlier.


What is a Conical Fermenter?

Conical fermenters are named for their shape. The cylindrical section at the top of the fermenter leads into a sloped, cone-shaped bottom. This cone structure allows the fermenter to collect sedimentation and gives you the power to discharge that sedimentation with the dump valve.

In short, it's the best friend of homebrewers around the world, and yes, commercial brewers use it too!

What angle should my conical fermenter cone be?

Generally, the steeper the cone the better the removal of sediments. However, the steeper the slope, the taller the unit needs to be. The cone angle on a conical fermenter is usually 60 degrees.

If you’re brewing at home, you’ll likely be able to use a 60 degree conical fermenter. If you’re brewing in a tight space, look for a shallower cone angle. Steeper slopes require taller units, while shallower slopes can be shorter.

What does uni-vessel or uni-tank mean?

Uni-vessel or uni-tank units have the ability to hold enough pressure to carbonate your brew. Nearly all commercial, and most homebrewing conicals are able to hold pressure up to 15 PSI and have cooling capability, allowing them to both ferment and carbonate your brew.

Carbonation in a conical is rarely done in commercial brewing. Usually the brewers allow time in the conical for the beer to clear reasonably, and then transfer it to a bright beer tank for final clarification and carbonation.

From the bright tank, the beer is either transferred into bottles, cans, or kegs.

For homebrew-size batches, it makes financial sense to transfer the finished beer straight into kegs (or bottles) since kegs can be had for a fraction of the cost of a stainless conical. And you can get another batch in the fermenter much sooner since it isn’t tied up dispensing.

Why Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel conicals have rugged durability and are easy to maintain. Stainless is UV impermeable, eliminating light-struck beer issues! Like glass, stainless steel is also impermeable to oxygen.

Stainless Steel vs. Other Fermenter Materials

  • Glass carboys are awesome for corrosion resistance and overall ease to clean, but are quite fragile and present some serious safety issues. We’ve all seen the cuts and carnage from glass.
  • PET conicals eliminate the safety issues of glass, but care must be taken to use the right chemicals for cleaning, and at cooler temperatures to prevent damaging the material over time. PET plastic has a fairly high resistance to oxygen ingress, but is not impermeable.
  • Plastic conicals will be more cost effective, but scratch easily and are harder to keep bacteria-free.
What Size of Conical Fermenter Do I Need?

A frequent question when buying a conical fermenter is selecting the right unit for doing multiple size batches. While you can make a 5-gallon (19-L) batch in a 10-gallon (38-L) conical, it is even more important to pay attention to keeping oxygen out of the tank after fermentation activity has stopped.

In general, we recommended going with the batch size you do most often. If 90% of your batches are 5 gallons (19 L), and 10% are 10 gallons (28 L), go with a matching size for the 5-gallon (19-L) batch, and fill a carboy with the extra 5 gallons (19 L) you’ve made on those less frequent occasions.

If you’re torn, go with the bigger size. In general, a 10-gallon (38-L) batch size conical isn’t a lot more cost than a 5-gallon (19-L) batch size unit.

Have more questions about what size is right for you? Contact us to speak with a specialist.