Last week I received my Catalyst Fermentation System, a relatively compact conical fermenter for home brewing. I backed the Craftabrew Kickstarter campaign in the summer and was excited to finally get my hands on the product. I’ll be doing a review of my experience brewing my first batch in the Catalyst in a few weeks. For now I thought I’d give you a taste of what’s in the box.
First off, what is the Catalyst? Well the short answer is that it’s a conical fermenter for home brewing beer. What sets the Catalyst apart is that it comes with a unique butterfly valve at the bottom and fits a standard mason jar to catch the trub (sediment left over after fermentation). A fresh jar is then attached to collect and recycle yeast, if desired. This is the main feature that sets this home brewing product apart from other conical fermenters on the market. Further, the fermentation vessel itself is dishwasher safe so cleaning and sterilization are made even easier.
When I backed the Catalyst I secured the early bird price so even with shipping and duty it worked out to just over $200 CAD. A bit pricey you might think when you can buy a standard white bucket fermenter for as little as $20. However, after brewing both beer and wine in these types of fermenters, I am excited about the idea of not having to siphon my beer to remove the sediment.
You see, with the Catalyst I can simply let the sediment collect into the mason jar, close the butterfly valve, and remove the jar of sediment to discard it. When it comes time to bottle, I stir my priming sugar directly into the fermenter – since this won’t stir up the sediment – and then using the included bottling attachment I am bottle directly from the Catalyst, saving plenty of hassle.
This is all good in theory. The Catalyst promo video was pretty slick and I admit I was sold from the off. But the proof of the product’s usefulness and value will come once I brew my first batches and really test it out.
As part of my reward for backing the project I got a discount on a one of Craftabrew’s beer kits. I opted for a Belgian Abbey Dubbel, which I’m really excited to make. While the kit is a partial grain kit, meaning that it uses both malt extract and grains to create the wort, I had good success from this type of recipe in the past. What’s particularly exciting is that the kit came with everything I’ll need, including vacuum packed whole hops, a cheesecloth bag to steep the grain, and even some packaged Belgian Candi Sugar that will add some nice flavour to the finished product.
Let me know if you have any questions about the Catalyst Fermentation System and I’ll be happy to answer as best I can. And keep your eyes out for my post in a few weeks’ time when I’ll break down the process of using the Catalyst and what it was like to brew with it.
For those interested in how the system looks I’ve embedded the promo video below as well as my un-boxing videos that I originally posted to Instagram.