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Thread: Servings Tanks In Cold Room vs Glycol Jacketed?

  1. #1
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    Question Servings Tanks In Cold Room vs Glycol Jacketed?

    Piecing together equipment for a startup with the vast majority of sales done through the taproom via draft and some on-site bottle sales. I have worked in breweries with serving tanks before and found them to be a tremendous time saver vs kegs. I notice single walled brite tanks are much cheaper than glycol jacketed brites. Wondering if anyone has any input on glycol jacketed brites outside of the cold room vs single walled in a cold room as far as operational costs? I would prefer to spend less time in the cold room if possible, but if it saves cash, so be it. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odious_Atelier View Post
    Piecing together equipment for a startup with the vast majority of sales done through the taproom via draft and some on-site bottle sales. I have worked in breweries with serving tanks before and found them to be a tremendous time saver vs kegs. I notice single walled brite tanks are much cheaper than glycol jacketed brites. Wondering if anyone has any input on glycol jacketed brites outside of the cold room vs single walled in a cold room as far as operational costs? I would prefer to spend less time in the cold room if possible, but if it saves cash, so be it. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
    In my experience, if you are doing a taproom only or brew pub sales model than having multiple single shell serving/brite tanks in a walk in cooler is the better option because:

    1) You can fill, clean, keg off etc. your serving tanks while you are open for business and it won't impact normal taproom/brewpub customer sales and work flows. Typically with jacketed serving tanks in this business model they are in full view of the customers and normally located just a few feet from behind the bar. It can be very difficult, and possibly unsafe, to work with your jacketed serving tanks that are just a few feet from your customers. Think about trying to keg off the last bbl or so, vent the tank, spray it down, fill with chemicals, do your CIP loop, sanitize and fill with your next batch while you have a jam packed taproom and multiple bartenders blocking your tanks. Usually breweries with taproom only/brewpub sales with jacketed tanks have to do all of there serving tank work prior to normal business hours in the early morning. By having your single shell serving tanks out of the way in the walk in cooler, your brew staff can perform all of the above tasks while out of the way during business hours.

    2) When your beer runs very low on your jacketed serving tanks the beer level falls below the glycol jackets and temperature probe on the tank. This causes warmer beer and foaming issues at your taps meaning product loss
    and therefore lost profits. Single shell tanks in a cold room will keep the beer at a constant temperature until the tank is run completly empty.

    3) Single shell serving tanks are cheaper than jacketed tanks. You can possibly get 1-2 extra tanks for the same price as the jacketed ones.

    Again, this is just my experience in this situation. Others may feel differently.
    :-)
    Last edited by Catfish002; 11-15-2016 at 05:32 PM.

  3. #3
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    I have different views than Catfish (like he said someone would). I wouldnt put tanks into an area where customers could be splashed. I have always had a wall or a glass wall between the brewery and a tap room. I prefer double jacketed tanks for several reason: First you arent working in a cold room thats no fun, second while you can cold acid wash tanks I still like to run some hot caustic thru the tanks and in a cold room you cant get the tank hot enough to really work the caustic. The foaming and warm temp beers that cat talked about was most likely caused by serving beer from a Brite tank and he is correct that there are no cooling jackets in the bottom part of the tank and it will indeed get warm. If you have actual serving tanks they are jacketed all the way to the bottom of the tank eliminating such problems.

    He is right they are much more expensive and that is a major consideration in putting together a brewery. But, I am sure you would be much happier and warmer working in the brewery rather than a cold room
    Mike Eme
    Brewmaster
    Cheboygan Brewery
    Cheboygan Michigan

  4. #4
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    thoughts on brites with wheels or a skid to make transport in and of cold storage possible ?
    i am sure size is the biggest factor with moving one .

  5. #5
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    I didn't see a tank volume - I'd say that at <3 bbl you should absolutely be kegging, 3-10 bbl you have options, and >10 bbl it's most likely going to be jacketed brites. If you're looking at a small enough (<150 sq ft) cold room for a CoolBot then I think single-wall tanks are a no-brainer. If you'll have enough tanks, or large enough tanks, that they'll require a real commercial cold room then a lot of the financial advantage goes away. Being in Chicago, you may have some overzealous local health codes that come into play as well.

    If you're going to be doing much bottling, you may end up with a jacketed brite regardless, because you'll want to package well below serving temperature - ideally a couple degrees below (water) freezing.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the information fellas. I forgot to mention Ill be using a few 15 bbl FVs and a single 30 bbl FV. I definitely would prefer to work outside of a cold room simply for comforts sake. Perhaps single walled tanks on casters to clean outside of the cold room or just spend the cash for bottom jacketed serving tanks outside. I definitely would not try to put them anywhere near front of house, that would be far too difficult to clean, keg, etc. I guess the deciding factor between single walled in cold room vs jacketed serving tanks will be the amount of cash I can piece together. Input is greatly appreciated.

  7. #7
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    I would recommend using jacketed ans insulated serving tanks. Just make sure that they have glycol running all the way to the bottom of the tank. It's more predictable than using single wall tanks. At your size it does not make sense moving the tanks around. It's gonna be a major hassle.
    Just because you have jacketed and insulated tanks does not mean you have to put them front and centre is your bar.

    Also using proper tanks is a lot more flexible and expandable if you end up wanting to do more production.
    Marius Graff,
    Head Brewer, Graff Brygghus
    Tromsø, Norway

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catfish002 View Post
    2) When your beer runs very low on your jacketed serving tanks the beer level falls below the glycol jackets and temperature probe on the tank. This causes warmer beer and foaming issues at your taps meaning product loss
    and therefore lost profits. Single shell tanks in a cold room will keep the beer at a constant temperature until the tank is run completly empty.
    Interested in this point - most jacketed serving tanks seem to have the thermowell near the middle of the tank and that seems like a huge oversight (and potentially cause freezing). Once the beer falls gets below the thermowell and the probe starts measuring ambient air, how does that ambient air temperature compare to the beer temperature? Guessing it depends on how empty the serving tank is?

  9. #9
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    A brite tank is not a serving tank. It is where you hold the beer prior to kegging or packaging. You will keg or bottle all of the beer in one shot. This is why the thermowells are not at the bottom. Also, proper placement for accurate readings is about 1/3 the way up the side and 1/3 the diameter into the tank.

  10. #10
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    everyone has their own opinion, but i say do serving tanks.

    remember that glycol jackets are going to up your requirements for your chiller. not as much as crash cooling, but its still a consideration.

    you'll still need a walk in to keep your hops, kegs, and other random crap so at the end of the day you're gonna need a cooler anyways.

    caustic is a no-no unless you plan on bleeding off all your co2 every time you CIP, so most brewpubs use non-caustic low temp products anyways, 120-140 is fine.

    walk in is cold? c'mon. wear a jacket. its not a big deal. we're from california and we dont mind. not saying we enjoy it, but thats not where we spend most of our time.

    if you're resourceful the cost of a walk in cooler will be much less than the extra cost for jacketed tanks and bigger chiller. ive gotten massive walkins for as much as $4k, with mechanical, and as low as $0 aka Free, with mechanical. just keep your eyes out on craigslist, ebay, auctions, etc. no joke.

    high labor? single walls are much cheaper to add on and help you expand your tap list at a more profitable rate than kegging, and much cheaper than adding jacketed tanks.

    high rents? you need to maximize your floor area. single walls are skinnier, and easier to cram together since theres no glycol lines.

    if you eventually plan on distributing then your priorities may be different, but at 15bbl size brewpub, single walls have a whole lot of positives.

  11. #11
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    absolutely single wall serving tanks. No ifs ands or buts.

  12. #12
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    I have yet to see a brewpub where cooler space was not at a premium. What the brewery doesn't use to store finished product, the kitchen will. It's amazing how the needs to cold-store seem to increase exponentially--seemingly by the day. Every usable cc of cooler space will rapidly be occupied--and the unusable space will too.

    When it's time to move a serving vessel out of the cooler, how much crap will you have to move first? Changing kegs is often enough of a chore.

    Jacketed serving vessels don't take up cooler space.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  13. #13
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    thats bad planning. Our giant cooler has a chain link fence inside, kithchen gets their little section and has their own door. Brewery has its own section. New location has two separate coolers, one for each, big and small. Gotta keep them separate.

    Tanks sit around the perimeter, hops, kegs, etc sit on pallets in the middle. Easy to move. And we have never removed a tank, only crammed more tanks inside. It was pretty easy. Gotta lay it all out when you plan your build.

  14. #14
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    Having worked with both many times, I much prefer jacketed tanks over the cooler. There are a handful of reasons, some already mentioned. The biggest for me is the ability to control each of my batches of beer separately (such as take one tank colder or warmer than the others).

    To the actual point of the question though, I would have to side on the jacketed tanks as being more economical over the long run. I think the coefficient of heat transfer is greater from the glycol liquid than it would be from air temperature surrounding the tanks. That is calculable, however my brain isn't at full capacity right now. In a jacketed setup there will only be energy used when the tank is calling for it as opposed to running regardless of tank volumes (chilling empty tank in the cooler). The investment of a cooler with single wall tanks typically saves up front, but you will get a better return over time with jacketed tanks due to energy efficiency (JMHO).

    There are a myriad of factors such as jacket surface area and volume, total tank volume, type of chiller, that make a significant impact, so obviously YMMV.

  15. #15
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    You’re forgetting this is a brewpub. Hes gonna need a cooler anyways for kegs, hops, kitchen ingredients, etc. Efficiency is gained by using system thats already gonna be running. Not to mention the more mass you have in the cooler the more of a heat sink you get. If you need a cooler, might as well maximize it.

    You have a point about different serving temps, but pretty narrow. If youve got a remote draft setup then the trunk dictates final temp, so one temp for everything. I feel like most of brewpubs seem to use remote as the kitchen, bathrooms, etc are usually between the brewery and the bar. Except maybe in the old school “showcase” setups where you’re trying to display the equipment.

    On that note, saw a CA brewpub hack that setup. They had one UK beer the patrons loved and they served it warm(er) by gettin a 100’ roll of heater tape, two dozen old wetsuits they sewed into a jacket on the tank, and then wrapped it all with thin foam. Cooler was 38, SV was 48 (i think). Direct draw through cooler wall. But they could only serve it at that point, which was a small secondary bar, not the main bar up front.

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