5 BBL Stackable Brite Tanks

5 BBL Jacketed Fermenters

A 5 BBL Jacketed Fermenter is a critical piece of equipment for intermediate-scale craft breweries producing 1,500-3,000 barrels annually. This stainless steel vessel with temperature controlled outer jacket allows efficient fermentation of 5 barrels (155 gallons) of wort into beer. We elaborate specifications, designs, suppliers, prices, installation, operation, maintenance of 5 BBL Jacketed Fermenter to help brewers make the right equipment choice.

5 BBL Jacketed Fermenter Equipment Guide

This table summarizes key details about 5BBL jacketed fermenters:

FunctionFermentation vessel to convert brewer’s wort into beer
Capacity5 barrels or 155 gallons
ConstructionStainless steel (304 or 316 grade)
ShapeCylindrical or conical
Jacket designWelded outer jacket with 2-4 inch annular space for glycol/water cooling
Operating temperature32-75°F (0-24°C)
Pressure rating15 PSIG maximum
AgitationImpeller or paddle mixing system
Glycol/water systemExternal cooling unit recirculates chilled fluid in jacket
ControlsDigital temperature controllers, gauges, valves, switches, sample ports
Support systemsStands, platforms, stairs for top access hatches
ComplianceASME, OSHA, UL/ETL, 3A (sanitary)
5 BBL Jacketed Fermenter

Types of 5 BBL Jacketed Fermenter

5BBL fermenters come in two primary configurations – cylindrical and conical:


  • Traditional straight-walled vessel with hemispherical heads
  • Manual/automatic bottom draining
  • Top or side harvesting manway
  • Difficult yeast handling without cone


  • Angled cone bottom with yeast dump valve
  • Promotes sedimentation for cleaner beer
  • Ergonomic bottom harvest port
  • More expensive than cylinder


  • Mix of cylinder and cone
  • Conical bottom, straight walls
  • Compromise design for cost savings

Specialty shapes:

  • Horizontal configurations
  • Non-standard dimensions
  • Custom tanks possible

5BBL Fermenter Design Elements

Key design elements that impact performance, convenience and budgets:

Inner shell304 or 316L stainless316L better corrosion resistance for sour beers
FinishInside: polished, electropolished <10RaSmoother surfaces resist bacteria
Outer jacketTIG welded separate chamberNo exposed welds touching beer
Rotation systemDirect drive, gear drive, chain driveSlow rpm for gentle agitation; adjustable impeller height
StandsAdjustable feet on framesFlexibility for unloading; seismic anchoring
Manways (access ports)Top and side tunnels with doorsConvenience for loading, unloading, cleaning
Harvesting systemBottom valve or racking armMinimize oxygen uptake; sanitary tri-clamp connections
CO2 purgeBlanketing during transfersPrevent oxidation especially for hoppy styles
Sample valveExtract mid-fermentation samplesEnsure quality, gravity without opening vessel
Sight/light glassView yeast behavior and clarityBorosilicate or stainless constructions
ThermowellMonitor internal tempCritical to control fermentation temperature
Pressure reliefBurp the tank; vent excess CO2Safety release valve
Stand pipe Internal dip tube Maintains liquid level for blowoff Prevent overflow contamination
Variable speed drivesPrecise impeller agitation controlOptimize mixing for each yeast strain
Flow metersMonitor glycol/water flow ratesDetect fouling; balance cooling across banks
CIP sprayballInterior spray cleaningAutomated cleaning saves enormous labor

5 BBL Jacketed Fermenter Suppliers

Many tank fabricators offer 5BBL jacketed fermenters in stock or custom designs. Budget $10,000 to $50,000 depending on features.

CompanyBase Price RangeOfferings
JV Northwest$10,000 to $15,000Standard cylindrical and conicals; budget-friendly
SS Brewtech$12,000 to $20,000UniTanks; modular upgrades available
Rietschle Brewart$15,000 to $25,000Custom conicals for craft breweries
AAA Metal$16,000 to $35,000Custom dimensioned feature-rich conicals
Psychosomatic$20,000 to $50,000High-precision build; extreme customization
American Beer$25,000 to $45,000Widest selection; innovative features
Premier Stainless$30,000 to $60,000Top-tier manufacturing; industry leaders

Many more suppliers exist across the country and abroad. Get multiple quotes before purchase comparing warranty, lead times, specific options and freight terms.

Installation Considerations

Proper installation of a 5BBL fermenter requires planning electrical, plumbing, glycol and sanitary connections:

Electrical208-480V, 3 phase circuitSize breaker for cooling unit, agitator load
PlumbingPotable cold water inlet1⁄2” NPT min for CIP sprayball
PlumbingFloor drain near unit2” drain for blowoff, drainage, overflows
GlycolSupply and return recirc lines from chiller1” flexible hoses with camlocks
SanitaryTri-clamp fittings on harvest path1.5”-2” ID smoothbore tubing
VentilationRoof jack with fanAvoid pressure buildup; positive air pressure
PlatformStairs for top hatch accessSafety rails; 5ft platforms typical

Ideally locate centrally in brewhouse near mill room for easy raw material handling. Allow 3ft clearance all around tank for service access. Install seismically anchored stands adjustable for unloading.

5 BBL Jacketed Fermenter Operation

Following SOPs for filling, fermenting, transferring and cleaning are critical:

Filling150-160°F pre-boiled wort with yeastPump slowly to avoid aeration
Fermentation48-72 hours typical durationAdjust temp ±2°F for ideal attenuation
AgitationBrief mixes 2-3 times dailyLet sediment settle before harvesting
TransferDrain yeast first then clear beerPurge headspace with CO2 when empty
CleaningHot detergent cycle every turnSoak filters/screens in caustic bath
WettingGlycol below dew point before fillingPrechill to pitching temp; thermal shock ruins stainless
SamplingPull 1-2 oz mid-fermentationAdjust recipes tracking gravity drop
RecordkeepingLog all fills, temps, attenuationIdentify trends; improve processes

5 BBL Fermenter Maintenance

Preventative maintenance protects your investment:

Inspect sealsMonthlyReplace cracked door seals
Lubricate partsMonthlyO-ring safe lubricants on shafts, rams
Check insulationAnnuallyRepair dings; replace if moldy
Test safety relief valvesAnnuallyManual actuation to avoid sticking
Inspect jacketAnnuallyLeaks indicate foulants or corrosion
Clean glycol strainsQuarterlyInspect chiller heat exchanger interior
Delime spray ballsQuarterlySoak CIP heads in acid solution
Calibrate sensorsAnnuallyEnsure accurate temp control
Check weldsAnnuallyCrack test carbon steel stands every 3yr

Choosing a 5BBL Fermenter Vendor

Use this scorecard when evaluating suppliers:

Build quality10Welds, surface finish, dimensional accuracy
Features10Assess usefulness of offerings
Configurability5Flexibility for future expansion needs
Lead time10Schedule with expansion projects
Shipping terms5Inland freight? Liftgate fees?
Install support10On-site or remote guidance?
Warranty10At least 1 year; inspections required?
Service ability15Response time, technician expertise, parts access
References10Talk to their existing customers
Brand reputation15Google for complaints and praise

Comparing 5 BBL Jacketed Fermenter Designs

First cost$ lowest$$$ higher$$ moderate
Yeast settlingRequires harvesting manifoldSediments into cone for easy draw-offSome cone settling action
Agitation effectivenessVaries; foaming possibleExcellent utilizng cone bottom shapeBetter than cylinder
Difficulty cleaningManual scrubbing neededCIP rinses cone thoroughlyModerate ease of cleaning
ErgonomicsChallenging side/top entryConvenient bottom accessSide entry still requires climbing
FlexibilityFully customizable dimensionsConstrained cone angles limit customization potentialHybrids can be customized
Footprint efficiencyVery compact lengthwiseConsumes more floorspace with cone baseIn between on space efficiency
Transfer flexibilityUsually just one racking armOften both top and bottom sample/drain valvesSide access hatch provides alternative transfer point besides bottom

Key Advantages of 5 BBL Jacketed Fermenter

  • Efficient fermentation temperature control
  • Gentle agitation optimizes yeast activity
  • Conical settling for cleaner beer transfers
  • ASME certified construction for safety
  • Automated cleaning minimizes risk
  • Sample extraction ports simplify tracking
  • Industrial components ensure reliability
  • Scalable to add more tanks
  • Excellent fermentation environment

Limitations of 5 BBL Fermenter Systems

  • High first costs ranging $15,000 to $40,000
  • Heavy weight requires reinforced mezzanines
  • Access hatches in awkward places for short brewers
  • Glycol cooling wasteful versus steam heating
  • Manual data logging without automation
  • Subject to thermal shock cracking if careless
  • Difficult modification after fabrication
  • Very long lead times presently for custom units
5 BBL Jacketed Fermenter


What is the typical footprint of a 5BBL fermenter system?

A 5BBL fermenter with platform occupies approximately 6ft x 6ft of floorspace. The tank itself is around 5ft diameter by 8ft straight side height plus the conical base section. Leave 3ft clearance on all sides for service access.

What temperature controls should I plan for in the brewery?

Provide 15-20°F of glycol temperature differential below your lowest fermentation temperature. For example, if fermenting lagers at 50°F, size the chiller cooling capacity to reach 30-35°F supply temperatures. Utilize redundant systems for critical processes.

How long should I expect glycols to last in a brewery?

With proper fluid maintenance replacing strains annually, mechanical cleaning every quarter, and annual deliming of jacketed equipment – brewers typically achieve 4-6 years of continuous operation before full system flushes become necessary.

Should I insulate small fermenters?

While insulation theoretically saves cooling costs for heavily utilized tanks, small systems may not recover the upfront expense during their lifespan. Focus resources instead on higher efficiency chillers, variable speed drives, and upgraded controllers for the best payback.

What are the most important characteristics brewers look for in a fermenter?

Brewers rate quality of welds, surface finish, ease of cleaning, durability, precise temperature control, gentle mixing, and advanced process monitoring capabilities as top criteria when selecting a fermenter.

How many turns can a brewery expect to get yearly from a 5 BBL fermenter?

Based on average 12 day fermentation cycles including cleaning, a conservatively operated 5BBL fermenter might achieve 20-25 annual turns. At higher utilizations with faster yeast and minimal aging, upwards of 30 turns are feasible. This translates to 500-750 annual barrels output per 5BBL vessel.

Should I choose 304 or 316 stainless for my fermenters?

304 stainless steel offers adequate corrosion resistance for most clean beer styles at significant cost savings versus 316 steel. For sours, wilds, and extreme ingredient/adjunct recipes – upgrade to 316L construction for maximum chemical compatibility. Electropolished interior finish also helps withstand acidic worts and prevent bacteria establishment.

What are the most critical operation and maintenance concerns for fermenters?

Taking care to thoroughly CIP clean after each turn, lubricate door seals and access points regularly, promptly address any leaks or damage, calibrate sensors annually, and monitor glycol fluid conditions goes a long ways towards reliable performance and extended service life. Technicians must receive thorough training for all vessels.

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