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ryan
04/28/07 03:29 PM  
Square fermenters
I was reading some long lost thread on the use of tuff tanks for fermenting. Is there some reason to believe that fermenting in a square-shaped vessel promotes some difference in yeast performance and/or flavors?

r

ryan
04/29/07 07:21 PM  
Re: Square fermenters
Really?

NO one has a thought on this?

bstill
04/30/07 07:51 AM  
Re: Square fermenters
Dupont uses square fermenters if anything would change the yeast performance i would say it would be the shallowness of the fermenter.
SteveG
04/30/07 10:02 AM  
Re: Square fermenters
Since when? I was there in '99, I don't remember anything odd about the fermenter shapes. I remember the thermometers registering 90F+, but not squareness.

But I agree that fermenter depth is probably more a factor. I can't comment beyond that, I have no experience of any kind with cubical containers.

ryan
04/30/07 11:27 AM  
Re: Square fermenters
What does "a factor" mean?

Does a shallow fermentation go faster, more evenly, what?

SteveG
04/30/07 11:34 AM  
Re: Square fermenters
Smarter people than me would have to give specifics here, but the general explaination is that the depth - or the proportional height - of the tanks play a part in yeast performance during fermentation. It is not (as far as I know) a matter or speed, the resulting beer actually tastes different.

Around the turn of the century Chimay GR really took a hit, it went from a top shelf Belgian to something of a yawner. There has been loads of speculation as to why, by all accounts the recipe did not change. Jim Busch pointed out that they updated their brewhouse though, installing taller fermenting tanks. Here's the thread from the BBB from September 03:

www.babblebelt.com/bbb_classic/readarc.html?id=1063201531

ryan
05/01/07 06:23 AM  
Re: Square fermenters
I talked with Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River last night while trying to place an order and went ahead and asked him about this. He mentioned that its a simple question of heat dissipation. A fermenter with a 1:1 depth to width ratio can dump more heat than a tall narrow one. This means you can at once blow off more unwanted byproducts and ferment at higher temps.
SteveG
05/01/07 09:47 AM  
Re: Square fermenters
Hey, neat - a very to the point explaination. Thanks for persueing this, that's good to know.
petecz
05/01/07 11:56 AM  
Re: Square fermenters
Taller fermentors = higher pressure in the tank due to liquid height.

square fermentors are usually also open allowing top cropping of highly viable yeast during max fermentation.

pressure changes yeast performance in terms of esters, attenuation, CO2 in dissolution, etc.

square fermentors are usually also open allowing top cropping of highly viable yeast during max fermentation.

changing pitching rates, ferment temperatures, ferment times could allow one to match a short fermentor with a tall one though - which is how many older breweries have modernized.

petecz

JoeFleischman
05/01/07 12:44 PM  
Re: Square fermenters
I use a tuff tank for exactly what you're talking about: mostly square, 1:1 almost height to width ratio(for 5 gallon yields). I ferment most of my Belgian beers and German Hefe's in there. Personally, I believe it makes a difference but I've never made side by side batches as a comparison.

I keep the lid off my fermenter for the first couple days(in a temp over ride small chest freezer) and yes - a ton of heat and co2 blows off. I now put a jar of Damp-Rid in there to keep the freezer from forming condensation.

SteveG
05/01/07 12:55 PM  
Re: Square fermenters
Wait - petecz made me think of something...Ommegang might use square fermenters. They are definately open, and I've only seen them peering in a window on the door to the fermenting room. But I think they were sqaure.
ryan
05/01/07 05:01 PM  
Re: Square fermenters
another thing vinnie told me is that they go totally open for the first four days...that matches what others are saying here.

I think I'll get a squat little tough tank and do a side by side. The only problem I for-see is that my two dogs may make

open fermentation a REALLY bad idea.

Sean White
05/16/07 06:47 PM  
Re: Square fermenters
OK, this is all interesting and I think fermentor shape can make a difference on a commercial level. But in a commercial brewery they're dealing with large amounts of beer, where the hydraulic pressure is really building up in the fermenter because of sheer weight. This can be a stress to the yeast and make it mutate or flocculate faster.

However, I don't think we're dealing with any of that on a homebrewing scale, whether you're doing 5, 10, or 20 gallons batches. It's hard for me to imagine how fermentor shape would effect the final beer at all. I mean, if you want to do an open fermentor or a bucket to crop yeast, that's one thing. But assuming all other variables are the same, I doubt you'd see any noticable difference due to fermentor shape.

Eric K
05/16/07 08:28 PM  
Re: Square fermenters
I just brewed a farmhouse ale last saturday and put 30 gallons worth in a 40 gallon square fermentor. The heat dissipation of real. I never went above 75 degrees F. Also, the floculation is quicker; less distance to travel to the bottom of the tank.

I have a 12 gallon conical as well and I've reached temps well above 80 degrees F.

SteveG
05/16/07 09:11 PM  
Re: Square fermenters
Dude - you brewed 30 gallons?? Hats off man! Impressive selection of fermentation vessels there too.
tomc
05/17/07 06:46 AM  
Re: Square fermenters
I read once that Rhinegold beer in NYC used to do all their fermenting in rectangular shallow tanks (these were lagers). Seems like your need to get good krausens would limit your choices of yeast.
Eric K
05/17/07 07:38 PM  
Re: Square fermenters
Actually Steve I have enough fermentation space for 120 gallons per brew session. Really! I brew 20-40 gallon batches 2-4 times/month...which requires lots of fermentation space and kegs.

My favorite vessels are 15 gallon ss kegs with the stem pulled out. These Sanke kegs take a #10.5 or #11 stopper to make them a $60 wonder. PBW in water does the cleaning for me. Why spend $500 on a 12+ gallon conical.

tomc
05/18/07 05:21 PM  
Re: Square fermenters
I always wondered: how do you control the temperature when you have a 12 gallon conical fermenter?
Eric K
06/05/07 07:20 PM  
Re: Square fermenters
Here's a few pic's of the 40+ gallon square fermentor in full karusen. I racked the brew into 2, 15 gallon sanke kegs for aging.

picasaweb dot google dot com slash ekelchlin

SteveG
06/05/07 07:31 PM  
This makes it easier
picasaweb.google.com/ekelchlin
Baums
06/06/07 10:08 AM  
Re: Square fermenters
Do you keep another pair of wooden slats that you've dumped a bunch of cantillon on? Anyway, Eric that is sick.
Brendan
06/06/07 11:07 AM  
Re: Square fermenters
Amazing set up..

Steve, He might have spelled the site out so the trolling robots don't grab it. they look for .coms to spam the hell out of.

SteveG
06/06/07 11:52 AM  
Re: Square fermenters
I'd think that would be the case with a message board or any page that allows user comment. God robots in that case can be Satan. But I think for pages that do not invite comment what you'd get is enhanced traffic. Baums, did you mean to hide the URL or were you just playing it safe knowing live URLs are not legal here? On the other board people sometimes spell everything out for fear of being blocked.
MarkO
06/06/07 06:14 PM  
Re: Square fermenters
That is a very nice set up. What do you have in the oak?
Eric K
06/06/07 11:18 PM  
Re: Square fermenters
I had some serious error messages posting the "normal" web address for the pictures, hence the weird dot this and com that. Sorry about that.

Anyway, Baums, I have stainless steel cover for the fermentor but the plastic wrapped wooden slates with more plastic wrap on top of it..worked great. The heat was dissipated and everything was very sanitary. It's safe from aerial contaminants as long as you have a layer of CO2 during primary fermentation. The trick is to rack the brew over to an enclosed vessel after the krausen is gone. Do the research, the usage of open fermentors are normal for German and Belgian beers!

The Oak: I have 50 gallons of english strong ale in a heavy roasted bourbon barrel. Extremly tasty. I'll keg it next month.

Baums
06/07/07 11:03 AM  
Re: Square fermenters
I think my post before was a little too vague... I was trying to say that intentionally infected slats would be a cool idea -- coolship in a barn kind of thing. Anyway the whole setup is great.
Eric K
06/08/07 11:52 AM  
Re: Square fermenters
Ohh. Total misunderstanding. Sorry, I didn't mean to jump on your Baums. Sick as in "Dude, that's really Cool". Got it.

Are you planning on fermenting in different vessels? I was getting tired of the same old thing, so I try to experiment as much as possible.

Baums
06/08/07 03:22 PM  
Re: Square fermenters
No problem Eric.

Different vessels: no room in the old one-room apartment unfortunately. But, I am thinking of messing around with "open" carboy fermentation. On a 5 gallon scale maybe the primary difference with open fermentation is that instead of 1 atm of CO2 in the headspace, you have 1 atm of air? (Which affects the CO2 and O2 seen by the yeast.) We kind of swayed everything to the ultra-sanitary while working out the infection problem we had, but since that appears to be gone (was in the CFC, it appears), we can start doing some other stuff, which will be fun.

 
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