What is the Best Shape for a Brewery Fermenter?
When it comes to the highest standard of commercial craft brewing, cylindroconical fermenters are considered the best and have become the industry standard.
Cylindroconical fermenters are engineered with a conical-shaped bottom and cylindrical top (see diagram). These vessel are designed to be 3 to 4 times higher than their diameter and fabricated from stainless steel. In addition to these dimensions, the tanks are manufactured with racking and adjustable foot supports for optimal anti-seismic stability.
The cylindroconical-shape fermenter inventor – Leopold Nathan – claimed faster fermentation rates when he registered his patent for the design in 1927. But this shape tank offers more than increased fermentation times: the setup minimizes space requirements, operating costs, and initial capital outlay. There are proven scientific advantages when a fermentation tank has this shape as well.
Scientific Advantages of the Cylindroconical Fermenter Shape
When a fermenter has its specific and recognizable shape, it offers the brewer many advantages scientifically speaking.
- Better mixing because the optimal convection currents are produced by the rising gas (CO2) bubbles
- It is easier to control the temperature inside a vessel of this shape
- Easy to clean
- Easy and hygienic to recover yeast from the cone base – this is because the aperture inside the cone is most typically around 70°(YoLong offer 60 – 90 degree options) which is an angle that allows yeast to flow toward the apex of the cone.
Some systems combine conditioning and fermentation within the same vessel called a unitank. This is a fermentation vessel that offers primary and secondary aging and fermenting in one (uni) tank. Some breweries use a brite beer tank or a conditioning tank for all three processes: aging, conditioning, carbonation.
Different types of yeast and fermentation methods are used according to the beer type.
Ales: Made with top-fermenting yeast strains (when the yeast ferments near the top of the fermenter).
Lagers: Made with bottom-fermenting yeast strains that sink to the bottom of the fermenter.
YoLong Brewtech manufacture fermenters that are designed to offer both beer-making styles, and further customized for each individual need.