I’m used to fermenting beer in glass carboys or specially designed plastic things.
For a long time I used a digital temperature controller from Johnson Controls. It had a probe that you’d stick down a thermowell via a specially designed bung. I’d wrap the fermenter in a heated jacket, set my hot and cold range in the temperature controller, and that’d be the end of it.
While that setup isn’t the end of the world, it was not ideal. So, finally I broke down and bought a fermenter.
I purchased the 7.5 gallon fermenter, as I brew 5 gallon batches (or so). The unit came with a power strip, a power supply, a Ranco Controller for temperature, built-in heating, and a fan for cooling.
The fermenter uses a Blow Off Tube that drops into a bucket that attaches to the leg. A Blow Off Assembly and Thermowell. An insulating jacket and stainless steel stand. A Slide Racking Arm and a Bottom Dump Valve. And all the Tri-Clamps and gaskets you’ll need to put it together.
I’m not a biochemist so I’m not taking yeast samples for culturing. However, I do use the Racking Arm to move the fermented beer directly into my kegs.
There’s a handy gas manifold that connects by Tri-Clamp to the top of the Blow Off Assembly (after you remove the Thermowell). I connect the gas manifold to my CO2 and push the beer out of the Racking Arm into my corny keg. Make sure you disconnect the Blow Off tube before you push in the CO2, else the Blow Off tube will suck like a straw right out of the bucket. (It was Star San water in the bucket…)
Now, when I’m at the end of the brew session, I use the Grainfather to pump the wort out. It goes through the Wort Chiller, the line, my Thrumometer, and right into the top of the Fermenter (before I attach the Blow Off Assembly). I oxygenate the wort with my O2 stone, pitch the yeast, and seal it all up.
The beer never hits the air again until it’s in a glass, and the world is a wonderful place.