Fermentation is a crucial step in the brewing process, as it is during fermentation that the wort (the unfermented beer) transforms into the delicious, carbonated beverage that we know and love. Choosing the right size fermentation tank for your brewery is therefore an important decision, as it can impact the efficiency, quality, and profitability of your operation.
In this post, we will explore the factors that you should consider when selecting a fermentation tank, as well as provide some tips on how to choose the right size tank for your needs.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fermentation Tank
1. Production Capacity
One of the most obvious factors to consider when choosing a fermentation tank is the production capacity of your brewery. You want to ensure that you have enough fermentation capacity to meet the demand for your beer, but you also don’t want to waste money on tanks that are too large for your needs.
To determine the size of fermentation tank that you need, you will need to consider the following factors:
The number of batches that you produce per week
The size of each batch (in barrels or hectoliters)
The amount of headspace that you need in your tanks (more on this later)
2. Type of Beer
The type of beer that you brew can also impact the size of fermentation tank that you need. Some beers, such as lagers, require a longer fermentation period, which means that you will need a larger tank to accommodate the additional volume.
On the other hand, beers that have a shorter fermentation period, such as ales, can be fermented in smaller tanks.
3. Fermentation Process
The fermentation process can also impact the size of tank that you need. For example, if you use a yeast starter or if you practice open fermentation, you may need a larger tank to accommodate the additional volume.
Headspace is the empty space at the top of the fermentation tank that is left to allow for expansion during fermentation. The amount of headspace that you need will depend on the type of beer that you are brewing and the fermentation process that you are using.
For example, beers that produce a lot of CO2 during fermentation, such as ales, will require more headspace to accommodate the expansion. On the other hand, beers that produce less CO2, such as lagers, will require less headspace.
5. Tank Material
Fermentation tanks can be made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, plastic, and concrete. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the choice of material will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
For example, stainless steel tanks are durable, easy to clean, and resistant to corrosion, but they can be expensive. Plastic tanks are lightweight and affordable, but they may not be as durable as stainless steel. Concrete tanks are good for open fermentation, but they can be difficult to clean and maintain.
6. Tank Features
Fermentation tanks can also come with a variety of features, such as temperature control, conical bottoms, and pressure gauges. These features can help to improve the efficiency and quality of your fermentation process, but they can also add to the cost of the tank.
Tips for Choosing the Right Size Fermentation Tank
1. Start Small and Scale Up
If you sure to start small and scale up as needed. It’s better to err on the side of caution and invest in a smaller tank that you can easily expand upon as your production increases, rather than investing in a larger tank that you may not fully utilize.
2. Consider Future Growth
While it’s important to consider your current production capacity when choosing a fermentation tank, it’s also important to think about your future growth plans. If you anticipate expanding your brewery in the near future, it may be worth investing in a larger tank that can accommodate your future needs.
3. Seek Professional Advice
If you are unsure about which size fermentation tank is right for your brewery, it’s always a good idea to seek the advice of a professional. They can help you to assess your specific needs and recommend the best solution for your operation.
4. Consider the Cost
Fermentation tanks can vary significantly in price, depending on the size, material, and features that you choose. It’s important to consider the cost of the tank and ensure that it is within your budget.
5. Consider the Benefits of Customization
If you can’t find a fermentation tank that meets your specific needs, you may want to consider the benefits of customization. Custom tanks can be tailored to your exact specifications, allowing you to get the perfect size and features for your brewery.
Fermentation is an essential step in the brewing process, and choosing the right size fermentation tank is crucial for the efficiency, quality, and profitability of your operation. When selecting a fermentation tank, be sure to consider your production capacity, the type of beer that you brew, the fermentation process, headspace, tank material, and tank features. By considering these factors and seeking professional advice, you can choose the right size fermentation tank for your brewery.