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Small Batch Fermenter - Brew the World!

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Once you start brewing there's no turning back. It changes you. Everything is a potential ingredient, everything a new chance at fermentation. Andrew knows this, so what did he do? He decided to ferment the world!
Not really, but with this nifty DIY fermentation chamber you could try. Crafted from a 2 1/2 gallon Montana jar with an integrated silicon seal, and a blow off valve that most brewers have just sitting around, Andrew has managed to create one of the more versatile and ingenious small scale fermenters out there and all of it for less than $25. So how did he do it?

First, buy, borrow, or beg your wife for her Montana jar. It's that thing in the corner of your kitchen full of old candy. Empty that candy out and scrub it down good. Just because we're building on the cheap doesn't mean we take shortcuts. Whenever you're going to ferment something you need to be certain you're working with the cleanest option you can have. We're more than happy to answer "Is this infected" threads, but if you didn't sanitize I can go ahead and tell you
"Yeah, probably.".
From there it's pretty straightforward. You need to make sure all the holes not being used for your airlock are sealed. A little hot glue will take care of that. Then you need to drill the hole for you airlock.

Pop in the grommet (onto the silicone seal, not the metal cover) ...

Push the airlock through the top and...

Viola!

So what all can you do in this?
Sauerkraut for one

oh and kimchi,

Pickles? Oh yeah.

And of course everyone's favorite low maintenance alcoholic beverage tepache!

So the next time you're looking to try something new in the fermented foods category give this a try and please be sure to stop by Andrew's build thread to see how this all got started.
TxBrew
 
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  • #5
The spirit of homebrewing is something I love above all else. Have an issue? Will solve. No issue? That's an issue. Will solve.
 
BTW, if anyone else reads this and wants to try, that exact jar is still available at Target. I built this several years ago, but I saw that same jar there only a few weeks ago.
 
I love naturally fermented salsa. I also make hot sauce and pickles from time to time. This setup here is fancy. I use quart jars with standard rings and lids and tighten down. When the lid gets harder to press in I 'burp' it by unscrewing a hair and hear the hiss then I tighten it back down. When I feel its ready I put it in the fridge to slow it down.
 
I use a similar jar from Walmart that is a little over 2 gallons. If I recall correctly it was $10. I ditched the glass lid and use a plastic plate as the cover. I use it to make mead.
 
@cernst151
I say go by what you like. You can ferment practically any fruit or vegetable. For my fermented salsa I get about 2 lbs of roma tomatoes, 3 jalapenos, 1 small/medium red onion, and a few cloves of garlic. I chop everything separately to get a consistent size for each separate ingredient. I put everything in quart jars with one tablespoon of pickling salt and top the quart off with water if needed. I then add a little oil on top to keep the food underneath and not exposed to air. The key to fermenting veggies is to have high enough salt water brine to fight off any nasties and to keep the contents submerged in the brine. Fermentation can and most likely will take off naturally or you can give it a boost by using whey from a live cultured yogurt or from sourdough hooch. The container in the picture is a little overkill for fermented food. A plastic bowl with a plate keeping the food submerged in a brine with a saran wrap film on top is more than adequate. Saying that the fermenter in the pic is still really cool and safe bet.
 
@Jsamp
Overkill is my middle name! For an extra $10, though, why not do it in style. If you've got a wife like mine, you have to make these things presentable or expect stormy weather.
 
@passedpawn
I'm not dissing you or your equipment at all sir ;) My comment is more or less aimed at people who may run into this and feel they need fancy equipment to get started. They don't. In fact they probably already have the necessary tools in their kitchen already available. I would also like to add that 'live' foods are really good for you and aids in intestinal well being.
 
I have my first batch of homemade sauerkraut in the fridge. I cooked up about a third of it, absolutely awesome. I have the ingredients for Kimchi to do this weekend. Definitely pickles are planned for the future. One great tip I got online is to use a gallon ziplock filled with saline water to weigh down the veggies or fruit- works great.
 
@Cyclman
The weights a bag trick I believe are more for open fermenters to keep the veggies submerged in the brine. When food floats above the water it becomes susceptible to oxygen and mold. With the type of fermenter in the pics once fermentation takes off the oxygen is pushed out.
 
According to their web sites:
Target sells it for $24.99.
Walmart sells it for $27.42.
Amazon has it for $19.99 and free shipping.
 
My wife just bought 2 similar jars at Target yesterday. They have spigots on them, a gasket in the lid and she paid $6 each. I asked her if they had any non-spigot at that price. She doesn't remember.
 
Cool fermenter! I made a few similar ones until I realized that fido jars are 100% airtight and release co2 buildup through there rubber gasket like an airlock would without having to drill a airlock or modify them at all. The best part is I could buy fido jars at my local Christmas tree shop for dirt cheap. I actually bought anout 7 liters worth for around 15$ yesterday to ferment some more pickles and peppers. Not to mention they look nice and clean.
 
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