So here’s a few pictures of the tanks we have so far. Out initial brewery set-up will be three 500 liter fermenters and two 300 liter conditioning tanks.
I’m using stainless steel flat bottom wine fermenters for our vessels. As much as it sucks to be using flat bottom vessels the beers we are brewing are very high gravity and use multiple yeast strains. This makes cropping and reusing yeast for several generations futile. As such, I see no reason to further sink myself into crushing debt for conical bottoms!
The other major issue with using these rather… crude vessels is of course temperature control. As you can see the tanks are basically just big metal cylinders, little more. Here’s the plan:
After brewing Enlightenment Brut and other Enlightenment beer dozens of times at home I’m confident that relatively unrestricted fermentation is going to produce the flavors I want. The yeasts I’m using love warmer temperatures and produce their most interesting flavors once they get rocking in the 80’s! However, we DO need someway to ‘override’ the fermentation temperature is it skyrockets too much or drops into the 60’s.
For the three fermenters we will be wrapping the tanks with several coils of copper tubing and covering this tubing with heavy layers of insulation. There will be a fitting for a garden hose at the top of the tank’s copper tubing system which will allow us to cycle hot or cold water through the tubes to either heat or cool the liquid within. Hopefully this will only need to be used very rarely.
As for the bright beer tanks, a similar copper tubing system will be built around the vessel. In this case, however, the tubing system will be connected to a solenoid valve which is in turn hooked up to a temperature controller/sensor. This controller has a temperature probe that lives in the thermalwell which we had welded into the side of the tank. If the temperature gets too high (above 35 degrees Fahrenheit or so) the solenoid clicks open allowing VERY cold glycol to be pumped through the copper coils.
This is a part of the project I am decidedly NOT looking forward to!
So far we have only had one of the tanks, our first 300 liter BBT welded. Thanks to Josh the welder for working for working for growlers of CBC amber and material costs.