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Thread: Tank ratio for Belgian Ales

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    Halifax
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    Tank ratio for Belgian Ales

    Been lurking here for years as thatís how long itís taken for me to get serious about opening my brewery. This is my first post!

    We plan to open in about 6-9 months given a few miracles and will be primarily producing Belgian styled Ales. Something Iíve experimented quite a bit with on the homebrew side and done some researching on is the effect of tank width to height ratio on flavor production. (Negligible difference on homebrew scale btw)

    The way I understand it is that thereís a few variables going on with having wider tanks. Some of these that I can muster are;

    1) Greater area of yeast cake to beer contact

    2) Less pressure on yeast (higher/different ester production)

    3) this one Iím not sure but I imagine a high and narrow tank will have more vigor in regards to the column of co2 pushing up through the tank during more active ferment. Not sure the mechanism of that affecting flavor but perhaps a wider tank would allow for increased flocculation. Iím sure this would affect flavor but could get the beers through a little faster

    So thatís some of what Iíve come up with.

    I am now working out tank specs with my manufacturer and wanted to reach out here to see if any other Belgian inspired brewers had something special made or could give me some pointers so I can be comfortable with sacrificing the floor space.

    Another concern of mine beyond lost floor space is that I know a lot of the Trappist breweries top crop and understandably because beyond the desire to extract the healthiest of yeast, from what Iíve seen their tanks look near flat bottomed. I imagine if I order really wide tanks it may change the degree of cone they can fabricate or at least whatís reasonable in design to fabricate, where waste is concerned. I can see a low slope creating some issues in regards to cone to cone transfers.

    Any thoughts and recommendations are welcomed!

    Thanks













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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    Personally, I would worry in the slightest about height to diameter ratios in a micro brewery. If starting from scratch I assume you are talking about something like a 10 UK brl brewery (16.5 hl). At this volume a change of a few cm in wort depth is meaningless. It is only when you get to large breweries with 5+ metre wort depth that the hydrostatic pressure starts to make any flavour changes. Optimise your tank dimensions to suit the cropping regime, the vertical height you have, access to different parts of the vessels (don't forget the safety and maintenance aspects) and numbers of vessels to suit your brewery space - floor area and height.
    dick

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    Halifax
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    Quote Originally Posted by dick murton View Post
    Personally, I would worry in the slightest about height to diameter ratios in a micro brewery. If starting from scratch I assume you are talking about something like a 10 UK brl brewery (16.5 hl). At this volume a change of a few cm in wort depth is meaningless. It is only when you get to large breweries with 5+ metre wort depth that the hydrostatic pressure starts to make any flavour changes. Optimise your tank dimensions to suit the cropping regime, the vertical height you have, access to different parts of the vessels (don't forget the safety and maintenance aspects) and numbers of vessels to suit your brewery space - floor area and height.
    Great, thanks. I hadnít considered that most of the literature i viewed was likely on larger breweries.

    I know that any effects of hydrostatic pressure that are beneficial are likely achievable elsewhere in the process.


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Singapore
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    Good information, I am a homebrewer looking to move to a small scale (3 - 5 BBL) commercial brewing with similar concerns. Out of curiosity, should I decide to move to large tanks where hydrostatic pressures make a difference, what are some methods I can use to retain the ester profiles I am used to at a homebrew scale? The beers I brew are especially yeast driven and will therefore be the most susceptible to these differences.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
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    If you are only brewing 3 - 5 US brls, then hydrostatic pressure is irrelevant unless you want to deliberately ferment under pressure to help suppress esters. In which case I would ferment a degree or so colder to achieve a similar effect.

    We are talking cylindroconical vessels (generally) which could be perhaps 5 and probably closer to 10 metres wort depth or more before you notice much flavour change due to ester suppression. So we are talking around 50,000 litres + wort volume.
    dick

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