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Old 03-05-2010, 05:50 AM   #1
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Default Why Brite Tank?

Why do breweries use brite tanks? Why can't they just pressurize the fermenter after fermentation is done to carbonate the beer and then fill bottles/kegs directly from the fermenter?

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Old 03-05-2010, 08:52 AM   #2
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Temperature is a concern. Your typical fermenter needs to run at 68-72, while you want your beer at 32 to get it to carb up properly. Additionally, commercial beer is meant to be as clear as possible, so the brite tank can be post filtration. Mostly, though, they're meant to be cold and hold pressure.

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Old 03-05-2010, 08:57 AM   #3
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I beleive also the brite tank was a less complicated vessel so likely cheaper than the fermentor. By adding a brite tank for conditioning, it freed up the fermentor for another batch of beer without having to invest in additional fermentors.

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Old 03-05-2010, 10:57 AM   #4
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This (10 char)

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Originally Posted by Zen_Brew View Post
it freed up the fermentor for another batch of beer without having to invest in additional fermentors.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:05 PM   #5
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Because most breweries don't let beer drop bright in the fermenter. They filter it, with either DE or sheets. You have to have a tank for the filtered beer to go into. Since the filtered beer is "bright beer", the receiving tank is a "bright beer tank". Once the beer is in the bright tank, it's carbonated then packaged.

Some breweries do achieve a certain amount of carbonation in the conical through the use of spunding valves.

In brewpubs the bright beer tanks do double-duty as serving vessels.

You can do the same process at home. Northern Brewer (and other outlets) sell rough-polish filtration systems where CO2 pressure is used to push finished beer from one keg through a filter to another. Many amateur brewers scoff at filtration. I don't. I think the visual presentation is important, and I don't have the patience to let all my beers drop bright through patience; I don't get to brew as much as I'd like. My Classic American Pilsner, for example, needs to be absolutely star-bright for me to be satisfied with it. I don't want to lager it for months and months, so I filter it through 5-micron sheets.

I'm lucky enough to have a winemaking store near me that will rent me a small, pump-drive plate-and-frame filter for an afteroon. I assemble and sanitize the machine, connect the filter's input line to the output of my fermenter, the filter's output to the input of a keg, then turn the filter on. In only slightly more time than it takes me to merely transfer, I've got star-bright beer. Then it's connect the gas and carbonate. I can be drinking that beer the same day I filter it.

Yum.

Anyhow, that's what a bright tank does in a commercial brewery.

Bob

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Old 03-05-2010, 03:33 PM   #6
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Well if no other reason motivated them I should think the enormous stored energies from any pressurization would be a serious limiting factor.

The load that One PSI would produce on a vessel surface of a paltry 1000 Sq inches is a thousand pounds. The fermenters are huge, so they have a hell of a lot of square inches. Trying to build a vessel as large as a commercial fermenter that can be rated for even a lousy few PSI would be a crippling cost undertaking.

It'd have to be like three inches thick. More probably, and reinforced with external buttressing.

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Old 03-05-2010, 03:36 PM   #7
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Don't overthink this, Cliff.

Many BBTs are single-wall stainless. They're not three inches thick. They're sheet-metal welded together. Some of them hold 300bbl.

They usually have 30psi pressure-relief valves, though, so they don't exceed a safe load.

Bob

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Old 03-05-2010, 10:09 PM   #8
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THat and the fermentation chambers are 'premium' space so they want those constantly in production, not sitting and clearing or being carb'd. The brite tanks are very basic holding vessels.

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Old 03-06-2010, 02:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Don't overthink this, Cliff.

Many BBTs are single-wall stainless. They're not three inches thick. They're sheet-metal welded together. Some of them hold 300bbl.

They usually have 30psi pressure-relief valves, though, so they don't exceed a safe load.

Bob
They are not the size of the fermenters.
Read with comprehension
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff897 View Post
They are not the size of the fermenters.
Read with comprehension
I don't understand your point. Most BBTs are bigger than the fermenters that feed them. So breweries are force carbonating beer in tanks of similar construction and larger than their fermenters.
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