Beer Fermentation Equipment
Beer fermentation equipment consists of fermentation tanks and yeast expansion tanks. The fermenter is responsible for the production process, providing the necessary conditions for microbial life and metabolism. It should be easy to operate and control in order to ensure optimal process conditions and high yields. Fermenters allow both fermentation and storage to occur in the same vessel. The conical bottom collects sediment, which can be removed by opening the bottom valve to clarify the liquid and promote beer aging.
A fermentation tank is a vessel designed to create an ideal environment for specific biochemical processes. Depending on the complexity of the process, a fermenter may be a closed vessel with advanced control systems or as simple as an open container, such as a jar with an opening.
Composition of the Fermentation Tank
- Tight and secure structure
- Effective liquid mixing properties
- Efficient mass transfer and heat transfer rates
- Equipped with reliable detection and control instruments
Cylinder Cone Bottom Fermentation Tank
A cylinder cone bottom vertical fermentation tank, also known as a conical tank, is commonly used in beer production. This tank can be used for pre-fermentation or post-fermentation separately, or both pre-fermentation and post-fermentation can be combined in one tank using the one-pot method. The advantage of this equipment is its ability to shorten fermentation time and accommodate various types of beer production.
This equipment is typically placed outdoors. Sterilized fresh wort and yeast enter the tank from the bottom. Cooling jackets are utilized to maintain the desired fermentation temperature during the most vigorous phase. Ethylene glycol, alcohol solution, or ammonia can be used as the refrigerant. CO2 gas is released from the top of the tank. The tank body and cover are equipped with manholes, pressure gauges, safety valves, and glass sight glasses. A purified CO2 gas tube is installed at the bottom, along with a sampling tube and thermometer connection. The equipment is also wrapped with thermal insulation to minimize cooling loss.
Advantages of Fermentation Tanks
- Low energy consumption and cost reduction due to small pipe diameter usage
- The ability to deposit yeast at the bottom of the cone and reserve some for future use by opening the valve
Factors Affecting the Cost of Fermentation Equipment
The size, format, operating pressure, and required cooling workload of fermentation equipment play a role in determining its cost. The container’s surface area per unit volume, expressed as m2/100L, is a key factor.
Pressure Requirements of Tanks
Consideration must be given to the recovery of CO2. A certain pressure must be maintained in the tank, especially for large tanks, which need to be pressure-resistant with safety valves to prevent excess pressure buildup. The working pressure of the tank depends on the fermentation processes it undergoes. If used for both pre-fermentation and storage, the pressure resistance should be higher than that required for pre-fermentation alone based on the CO2 content during storage.
During the rotation or cleaning of a series of fermenters, a vacuum may occur, resulting in negative pressure and the retention of CO2 gas in the tank. Large vacuum fermentation tanks should be equipped with safety valves to ensure a balance of pressure. The amount of CO2 removed during cleaning can be calculated based on the alkaline content of the cleaning solution, allowing for the determination of the necessary air intake.
Convection and Heat Exchange in the Tank
Convection in the fermenter is driven by CO2 action. A gradient of CO2 content is formed throughout the conical tank’s fermentation liquid, causing lighter fermented broth to float. Rising carbon dioxide bubbles and drag force from fermentation create gas stirring effects that promote circulation and heat exchange. Cooling operations can also induce convective circulation in the tank.
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