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 fermentation tank

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.