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A plastic 'Ale Pail' fermenter

Any food-safe vessel used to house the wort (or must) during the process of fermentation.

The most basic vessel is a Food Grade Plastic Pail. These are normally 6-7.5 gallons in capacity and have a lid that can be sealed. The lid has a hole drill into it so a airlock (or blow off tube) may be placed to let gas escape from the fermentation.
Another common fermentation vessel, ranging from 1-6.5 gallons these vessels normally have a 1.25" opening on the top. A drilled rubber bung is placed in this opening to accommodate an airlock (also a 1" ID tube may be use for a blow off tube).
An advanced fermentation vessel used in home brewing. Usually made of durable Stainless Steel and ranging from 7.5 gallons to in excess of 30 gallons these are the preferred fermenter of professional brewers.

See Also

Fermentation cabinet 
An insulated cabinet for keeping the fermentation temperature cool or at a set temperature. They can me made from a refrigerator or custom made from insulation material.