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  • Fermenter shape questions

    so it seems that the "ideal" ratio is 2:1 for fermenter tanks, per some research literature. thats the cylindrical body, not including the cone, right?

    it sounds like that ratio gets good convection and wort mixture. but some purported negatives are more loss of volatile esters due to stronger convection/co2 currents, more hydrostatic pressure (low esters), and less surface area for yeast cake (d rest?) and hops.

    so wondering what's the experience for folks who've used both 2:1 and 1:1 ratio tanks? hopefully in same brewery/same recipes?

    in theory you should be able to combat pretty much all of this stuff- higher temps/lower pitches for more esters, recirc for yeast and hop mixing, etc.

    we need to order new tanks and i've got options of 1100:1300 or 2300:1000. these are going to be unitanks if that makes a difference.

    we could definitely use the extra floor space of a tall skinny tank, but also dont want to have a neipa, hefe, saison or some other ester driven beer be impossible to make.

  • #2
    Tank size is a big factor in how much this sort of thing matters. If you are dealing with 7BBL brewpub tanks, shape, open vs closed, etc isn't really much of a factor. If you are talking about 100+ BBL 15+ foot tall tanks then it makes a big difference. I will say though that I don't know of anyone with tall skinny tanks who really likes them, even if they are only like 40BBL...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by brain medicine View Post
      so it seems that the "ideal" ratio is 2:1 for fermenter tanks, per some research literature. thats the cylindrical body, not including the cone, right?

      it sounds like that ratio gets good convection and wort mixture. but some purported negatives are more loss of volatile esters due to stronger convection/co2 currents, more hydrostatic pressure (low esters), and less surface area for yeast cake (d rest?) and hops.

      so wondering what's the experience for folks who've used both 2:1 and 1:1 ratio tanks? hopefully in same brewery/same recipes?

      in theory you should be able to combat pretty much all of this stuff- higher temps/lower pitches for more esters, recirc for yeast and hop mixing, etc.

      we need to order new tanks and i've got options of 1100:1300 or 2300:1000. these are going to be unitanks if that makes a difference.

      we could definitely use the extra floor space of a tall skinny tank, but also dont want to have a neipa, hefe, saison or some other ester driven beer be impossible to make.
      You could look at double stack unitanks with a standard 60 degree cone. They use these a lot of places to make up for a shortage of floor space. White Labs uses this setup.

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      • #4
        Ours would be 15bbl. So not huge tanks, but not little nano size either.


        Ive been to white labs, dont recall seeing any unusual tanks. What are double stack?

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        • #5
          Click image for larger version

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          I think this worked.

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          • #6
            Wow. Thats crazy. I didnít see that area. Although that seems like an odd choice. Maybe it makes sense for yeast propigation needs, but for a brewery a 30bbl is way more cost efficient than stacking two 15s, assuming you are starting new. I guess they have so many strains it makes sense for them.

            Pretty bitchin in terms of plant design. But our ceilings are only about 16í so not an option even if we wanted to do it.

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            • #7
              Double stack tanks are a pain in CA, we've got all that seismic stuff to deal with. The footing and anchors for them would be substantial. Tall and skinny can work, and you have hit the nail on some of the issues. Esters are suppressed, and convection is not as good, thus cooling also suffers. You will also see increased settling times, possibly decreased attenuation, and poorer yields because the cone may not have the proper angle. Theres been a lot of research over the years into CCV design, and a 60 degree cone with the 2:1 ratio has been found to be one of the best.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jebzter View Post
                Double stack tanks are a pain in CA, we've got all that seismic stuff to deal with. The footing and anchors for them would be substantial. Tall and skinny can work, and you have hit the nail on some of the issues. Esters are suppressed, and convection is not as good, thus cooling also suffers. You will also see increased settling times, possibly decreased attenuation, and poorer yields because the cone may not have the proper angle. Theres been a lot of research over the years into CCV design, and a 60 degree cone with the 2:1 ratio has been found to be one of the best.
                i didnt even think about getting these structurally approved in a brewery. christ almighty.


                well i guess then maybe i'm worrying a bit too much. a 2.3 to 1 ratio is pretty damn close to 2:1 so i guess we'll just go with those. and the cones are still set for 60 degrees, just smaller diameter.

                jebzter- and just to be clear, we're talking about just the cylinder portion of the tank right? i.e. the ratio is not including the cone area's height. i thought thats what was the basis of the ratio, but i cant find a reference.

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                • #9
                  A 30/60/90 triangle(the cone is essentially one of these rotated 360 to create the shape) the vertical distance is 1.73 times the radius. Which is 2:1.73 or almost 1:1, the cone is always a fixed ratio, the final diameter of which is set by the diameter of the cylindrical portion. The sum of these together is about 2 times in height as the diameter of the cylinder. Separately, they are both nearly 1:1, put them together and you get 2:1 ish.

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                  • #10
                    uhoh. ok, then i got the wrong info into my head somewhere. i think that'd be closer to 3:1 ratio. a bit out of whack. sounds like not such a great idea.

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                    • #11
                      thanks. i'm not sure why but i had it in my head that the 2:1 ratio did NOT include the cone. no idea why, must have been confused or misunderstood someone. the "regular" design of the tanks is about 2:1 in its normal shape. i guess it never struck me as odd that the special order "skinny" tank would be 2:1 and not the normal tank design.

                      hindsight. etc.

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