Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Outdoor tank farm

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Wauconda, IL
    Posts
    5

    Outdoor tank farm

    I'm looking to add a few unitanks to out brewery, but space is an issue. Can anyone shed some light on what would be required to buildout an outdoor tank farm of unitanks? I'm in the midwest, so the temps can get sub-zero in the winter and 100+ in the summer. With a solid Glycol setup I wouldn't be too worried about the heat, but in the winter what about keeping tank temp up?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    5
    This is also something we've been considering with our cidery but in a more temperate area, 40f to 90f.

    A glycol heater might be a good option for you, our G&D Fire and Ice unit can do both, we use the heater to bring temp up on juice before starting ferm since our process has no other need for a real big heat source. Can't do both at once tho so you'd prob need a separate unit as we do.

    That said I don't have much more info to offer but def interested in pros/cons of outdoor tanks.

    We see wineries with the outdoor setup all the time here in CA.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    west coast
    Posts
    305
    Id run the idea by your health inspector. Just a guess but i could see them asking for at least a covering over tanks, maybe a shed roof lean-to or something like that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Wauconda, IL
    Posts
    5
    Quote Originally Posted by APCider View Post
    This is also something we've been considering with our cidery but in a more temperate area, 40f to 90f.

    A glycol heater might be a good option for you, our G&D Fire and Ice unit can do both, we use the heater to bring temp up on juice before starting ferm since our process has no other need for a real big heat source. Can't do both at once tho so you'd prob need a separate unit as we do.

    That said I don't have much more info to offer but def interested in pros/cons of outdoor tanks.

    We see wineries with the outdoor setup all the time here in CA.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
    Thanks. That seems like a great option.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Wauconda, IL
    Posts
    5
    Quote Originally Posted by brain medicine View Post
    Id run the idea by your health inspector. Just a guess but i could see them asking for at least a covering over tanks, maybe a shed roof lean-to or something like that.
    We reached out to them and they gave a non-answer. We’re planning an awning over the tanks to at least shield from direct sun/snow.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Littleton, CO
    Posts
    55
    Quote Originally Posted by SideLot View Post
    I'm looking to add a few unitanks to out brewery, but space is an issue. Can anyone shed some light on what would be required to buildout an outdoor tank farm of unitanks? I'm in the midwest, so the temps can get sub-zero in the winter and 100+ in the summer. With a solid Glycol setup I wouldn't be too worried about the heat, but in the winter what about keeping tank temp up?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    There should be no issue if you have tanks built for outdoor conditions. In Denver we had temperature swings similar to what you describe. Make sure the tanks are insulated to at least 100 mm on sides AND on the top of the tanks. The first brew I put into the 30 bbl outdoor tanks, it was -5F outside. The heat of fermentation will keep the temperature up. Once fermentation is over, we dropped the temperature to 50F to pull yeast and dry hop. We ended up with 5) 30 bbl tanks outside in direct sunlight on the western side of the building.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Moab, Utah
    Posts
    581

    It all Depends....

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne1 View Post
    There should be no issue if you have tanks built for outdoor conditions. In Denver we had temperature swings similar to what you describe. Make sure the tanks are insulated to at least 100 mm on sides AND on the top of the tanks. The first brew I put into the 30 bbl outdoor tanks, it was -5F outside. The heat of fermentation will keep the temperature up. Once fermentation is over, we dropped the temperature to 50F to pull yeast and dry hop. We ended up with 5) 30 bbl tanks outside in direct sunlight on the western side of the building.
    What laypersons need to get is that insulation is meaningless unless you are conditioning the " space." Heat of fermentation is only good for so long and is volume specific.
    There are a lot of maths involved in this kind of thing, and it is quite possible to get it wrong if you are cutting corners and trying to fly by the seat of your pants.
    If there is a possibility you may need to add heat, you better have it ready to go before you ruin a lot of beer.
    The CONs of outdoor fermenters FAR outweigh the pros anywhere where there is real winter that sets in.
    Its a major cut corner way to go.
    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Posts
    93
    Quote Originally Posted by Starcat View Post
    What laypersons need to get is that insulation is meaningless unless you are conditioning the " space." Heat of fermentation is only good for so long and is volume specific.
    There are a lot of maths involved in this kind of thing, and it is quite possible to get it wrong if you are cutting corners and trying to fly by the seat of your pants.
    If there is a possibility you may need to add heat, you better have it ready to go before you ruin a lot of beer.
    The CONs of outdoor fermenters FAR outweigh the pros anywhere where there is real winter that sets in.
    Its a major cut corner way to go.
    Bell's Brewery might disagree.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
    Posts
    1,929
    In the UK, being temperate, there is no problem with outdoor fermenters with a bungalow working space below. HOWEVER, the breweries I have seen in Finland, where there are extremes of cold, rather than heat, the FVs are all indoors. This as much as anything is to ensure that things like CIP supplies, antivac valves, pressure relief valves are all capable of working no matter how cold. SO, even an uninsulated wrinkly tin shed will help, but I suspect it should be insulated and have at least a degree of heating. Hot weather, as experienced in Tunisia or southern India was not a problem with well insulated vessels outside.

    Don't forget though, that not all insulation is equal in performance - for example, crudely speaking, PU foam has twice the insulation value of rockwool. So it is important to speak to suppliers and give them a spec, e.g. if minus 40 C outside, and your beer is 20 deg C, then the beer inside the vessel must not cool by more than say 0.01 degrees C per hour, assuming no heat is generated by the beer (because for instance it is at diacetyl rest after completion of primary fermentation)

    BUT, if you have vessels outside under these conditions, you need to ensure any external pipework is fully insulated, self draining, and any antivac vales etc are trace heated - and then implement a strict maintenance regime. For a small brewery, probably easier to put them in a building. And don't forget, some poor sap will have to do that maintenance at minus 40 C !!
    dick

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •