Just to ask what is the general feeling of using a "Conical" fermenter rather than a normal flat based fermenting barrel.? I realize that you cannot use a heat pad, so would have to use heat belts. See they have 2 valves to the base, one being to drain the beer/yeast sludge with the one above for the transfer to bottling ? Be good to understand other brewers experience's of all this fermenting.

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    This isn't the right place for asking about general experience - if you have a specific question about conicals then please rephrase and ask about specifics. As it stands, the question is likely to be closed. Thanks.
    – mdma
    Nov 9 '15 at 7:14
  • OOPS...Sorry about that, I thought this would give me (and) other people to share and give valued insight of fermenting / brewing ways, ideas........ as with brewing, and liking this brewing question site and to gain specific experiences from any of your members to pass on. Nov 9 '15 at 14:28
  • Ask it like this? Which is better, flat bottoms or conical bottoms?
    – Escoce
    Nov 9 '15 at 18:39
  • @Escoce can you define better in objective terms?
    – Mołot
    Nov 10 '15 at 19:29
  • I was making a recommendation to the asker how to better format the question. It's not really up to me. Obviously there will be some subjectivity in this kind of question, so the answer will have to be answers in two parts, flat bottoms is better for these reasons and conical is better for these other reasons.
    – Escoce
    Nov 10 '15 at 19:31

The main point of conical fermenters is to allow all the sediment to be funneled and drained out the bottom. With a conical fermenter, it's easier to separate the beer from the sediment so less beer is wasted. As you noted, the bottommost valve is for drawing out the yeast and sediment, and the upper valve can be used to draw out the beer to a serving tank or bottling unit while leaving the sediment behind.

Another benefit to conical fermenters is yeast management. If you will be reusing yeast from one brew to another, the cone allows you to collect the yeast, of course, but the cone is also the best place for short term storage until you're ready to re-pitch. The newly flocculated sediment remains as clean as you can hope for (vs. anything but brand new yeast) when it hasn't been touched, and the beer environment has the nutrients and pH to keep the yeast healthy, at least for a few days. If you leave it for too long it does begin to degrade and can aversely affect the beer, but here too the cone is beneficial because the yeast surface touching the beer is minimized.

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