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Old 06-10-2012, 12:07 PM   #1
jvend
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Default How exactly a bright beer tank works?

Im doing an investigation proyect. I've been told that in large breweries they are able to pressurize co2 to carbonate beer but they dont have to wait a week like homebrewers for the co2 to mix with the beer. Its within the hour or something like it. How is this fast carbonatation called? That mechanism comes with the bright tank? How does a bright tank works with this?

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Old 06-10-2012, 02:17 PM   #2
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Carbonation stone. The gas is attached to the stone (basically a long, stainless-steel rod with a bazillion microscopic holes in it) and it diffuses more easily into the beer.

Having a tank that can get really cold helps immensely. Carbonation is often done with a bright tank around 35F... maybe slightly higher if it is a serving tank in a pub.

If you have a situation where you are actually carbing that rapidly (and hour or three), the typical procedure is to set the pressure relief to blow off at the required pressure for the desired volumes of CO2 and set the pressure on the stone at around 30psi. The gas will rapidly diffuse through the beer and gas will blow off through the relief valve while the head pressure ensures that a certain amount stays in solution. You can carb beer quickly this way, but it wastes a lot of CO2. In a commercial setting the cost of the lost gas is offset by production schedules and the need to get beer ready to go as soon as possible.

The ideal method, when using a stone, is to put the pressure required for the volumes of CO2 needed on the stone and wait a few days. This carbs quicker than by head pressure alone, cutting time in half or so depending.

Another slightly less common method of carbing commercially is the use of a spundig valve. This allows the brewer to carbonate during primary fermentation using the CO2 that is produced in the process. Basically, the tank is capped with a pressure relief valve that is set to blow off a the level required for a given volume of CO2 in the beer. By the time primary fermentation is finished, the beer is carbonated.

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Old 06-10-2012, 03:59 PM   #3
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Ok, that system is composed of what? A stone, a co2 gas tank filled and what else? I assume something creates the pressure for the co2 to come out fast in carbonation. Right? What is it?

Also, for lets say a 1,000 gallons of beer, its always 30 psi but quantity and pressure of gas, how can I know how much?

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Old 06-10-2012, 04:07 PM   #4
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the brewery I worked at uses these things to carbonate their beer in an hour or less. They are hitting the tank with higher amounts of pressure than you would normally force carb with and there is also a valve where they allow some of the excess co2 pressure to vent and escape, i am assuming so that the tank doesnt explode from the excessive pressure. I asked and they confirmed that this is a very big waste of CO2 but I guess to them that is pennies wasted and the time saved in carbing the beer so quick is worth more to them. They also chill the beer to about 34*F in these things to help the CO2 dissolve into solution quicker. I would say to help with clarity as well but they filter while transferring into the BBT's.

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Old 06-10-2012, 04:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvend View Post
Ok, that system is composed of what? A stone, a co2 gas tank filled and what else? I assume something creates the pressure for the co2 to come out fast in carbonation. Right? What is it?

Also, for lets say a 1,000 gallons of beer, its always 30 psi but quantity and pressure of gas, how can I know how much?
Yeah... you would have a tank of CO2 feeding the stone via a gas line... The stone would typically be affixed to the side of the tank with a tri clover clamp. Not sure what you mean about something creating pressure for the CO2 to come out. CO2 is already under pressure, you set your regulator to the pressure you want and there ya go. As to "quantity" that is a factor of solubility, which itself is affected by many other variables. You put the gas on it, wait awhile and check it with a pressure tester (like those made by Zahm and Nagel). There are dozens of charts that you can find online to figure out volumes of CO2 needed (and the temperature and pressure to get there) I would suggest googling "volumes of carbon dioxide in beer" and reading as much as you can.

What exactly are you trying to accomplish?
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:14 PM   #6
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I see... So the pressure doesnt need to be always at 30psi and the quantity I find it in charts, right? but how do I know if the product is ready for filling in bottles? After an hour or 2?

how does the system of chilling the tank works? How does it keep the tank cooled. Let me know thanks man

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Old 06-10-2012, 11:26 PM   #7
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A bright tank has an inner vessel where the beer is held with an outer jacket or shell.
In between the inner vessel and the outer jacket there is a coil of tubing along with insulation that wraps around the tank that is in contact with the vessel.
Glycol is recirculated thru the tubing to chill the vessel and maintain the temperature of the beer.
A separate unit called a chiller, essentially a refrigeration system is used to keep the glycol cold.
The chiller also is used to keep the fermenters as well as the bright tank set to a chosen temperature each with it's own temp controller.
Fermenters are constructed in a similar fashion.

I have friends that own a brewery and I am not an expert but I hope that explains enough about how it works.

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Old 06-11-2012, 12:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jvend View Post
I see... So the pressure doesnt need to be always at 30psi and the quantity I find it in charts, right? but how do I know if the product is ready for filling in bottles? After an hour or 2?

how does the system of chilling the tank works? How does it keep the tank cooled. Let me know thanks man
The tanks are either chilled by ambient temperature in a cooler or by glycol jackets (some European systems use cold water). You measure the level of carbonation using a tester like this one: http://www.zahmnagel.com/Products/SE...0/Default.aspx

You fill it with beer form the tank, under pressure, shake the living crud out of it and then consult the gauge and temp against the volume chart
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:31 AM   #9
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You attach this instrument to a sample point right? or what?

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Old 06-11-2012, 02:15 AM   #10
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You attach this instrument to a sample point right? or what?
Yes, exactly. With the style of Zahm bottle in the link, you use the black pressure bulb to pressurize the bottle to the same pressure as the head pressure on the tank. You then seal that valve (the green one on the top) and remove the pressure bulb. Next, where the fitting comes out of the back of the bottle, it attached to a standard sample port that is found on the majority of brewing tanks. You open the green valve at the fitting, then slowly crack open the green valve on top... being careful to make sure that the pressure gauge stays constant. Beer will flow through the bottle and out the top tube that looks like an upside down U. When beer is flowing out you close the top valve, then the bottom valve... and the sample port on the tank. You remove the fitting from the sample port and then shake the bottle hard for at least 30 seconds. Cross check the pressure that the bottle now reads against the volumes of CO2 chart. If your pressure and temp show the volumes you need, you're done and the beer is ready for packaging or serving... if it is still low, you attach the gas again and give it some time before checking again.
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