BrewDemon Conical Fermenter: The Devil is in the Details

A while back we decided to buy this little 2-gallon conical fermenter from BrewDemon for brewing experimental batches when 5 or more gallons just seemed like too much.

From perusing their website, we were enticed by a few things: a conical fermenter (check!), plastic and easy to handle (check!), and last but not least, inexpensive (check and check). We had been looking at other conical fermenters but always walked away saying they were too expensive for our current homebrew hobby. But this one was economical enough to buy and give a whirl.

So once we received the BrewDemon fermenter in the mail, we started up the propane burner for a quick experimental batch.

First thing we noticed was that the fermenter didn’t come with an airlock but just a vent plug, and the lid wasn’t really as airtight as expected. Granted, the website listed a “venting plug” in the included items, which I just assumed to be an airlock.

BrewDemon offers an airtight upgrade kit (airlock and lid gasket) for a small fee on their website, but who expects to buy a kit that is an open fermentation setup? Not to mention, I get satisfaction from hearing my beer bubble away as it ferments.  I know — I need instant gratification.

On to our first brew in the BrewDemon — looked to be going great until day 3 when we came into the kitchen to find this…

BrewDemon Spill

Cue whomp whomp sound effect and sad face. Once we cleaned up the beer-soaked floor and shed a tear for the lost beer, we found the source of the leak. The spigot threading had cracked right at the seal, causing a leak.

Cracked BrewDemon Spigot

So I put in a call to the BrewDemon guys to figure out what went wrong, fully expecting to have to pay for a new spigot to get my BrewDemon back to fully operational.

Boy was I shocked when I got the BrewDemon guys on the phone — they were great.  All I said was that my spigot broke in the middle of a brew. They were overly apologetic, offering to send me the ingredients to my brew so I could make another batch, and immediately got my information to send me TWO spigots free of charge.

They were quick to explain that the plastic spigots don’t need a ton of tightening because it will lead to cracking very easily. So word to the wise — Don’t. Overtighten. The. Spigot.

Oh how customer service really can change your mind about a product.  The spigots came in the mail within a week, and we set to brew again.  The second batch turned out wonderful.  I did miss the bubbling of an airlock, but that is an easy fix for a couple of dollars worth of parts at your local homebrew store.

The collection of the trub in the conical was great and made bottling through the spigot easy.  The real indicator that the BrewDemon worked as intended was how fast the beer we brewed disappeared.

Overall, I would recommend the BrewDemon for those wanting a conical fermenting experience on a budget. Just be gentle with it.

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