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Old 02-26-2013, 06:14 AM   #1
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Default Brewery fermentation time

Hi All
I was at the Newport Beach Beer festival yesterday. There was about 11 breweries there who had 2 beers for tasting.
I talked to a couple of the brewers about fermentation temperature and fermentation time.
It was interesting to hear that the length of their fermentation time was 5 days. Why are their times so short ? Are they adding some thing to the brew to make this happen ?
Slainte

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Old 02-26-2013, 10:08 AM   #2
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The time my beers take to ferment would be around 5 days as well. I do however leave my beer a little longer to condition.

It would be interesting what they do to the beer after it has finished fermenting. I assume they condition it for a while before they keg or bottle

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Old 02-26-2013, 01:51 PM   #3
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They probably use large conical fermenters, the design of which allows the yeast to stay in suspension better initially so it can work significantly faster. As far as I understand it, its something to do with the hydrostatic pressure.

Most of these fermenters have a cooling jacket as well which allows the brewer to cold-crash the beer to clear it quickly once fermentation is finished.

For a production brewery, the quicker they can get a beer out of the (expensive) fermenting tanks and into (cheaper) conditioning tanks, the more beer they can brew - so they make more money. As long as new technology allows this to happen without affecting the flavour it's fine, in the past the big commercial breweries cut so many corners to save money that it ended up with crap beers being sold.

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Old 02-26-2013, 02:01 PM   #4
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Temperature control, pitching rates, active washed yeast pitched from one fermenter to the next so very short lag times and very active ferementation. Yes, the shape of the conical ferementer has an impact.

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Old 02-26-2013, 02:04 PM   #5
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All of the above. Plus they wear aprons and rain boots.

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Old 02-26-2013, 02:24 PM   #6
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Conical fermenters are actually not entirely ideal for speeding up fermentation. The entire weight of the batch presses down onto the yeast putting pressure on it and hindering it's ability to work. The shape of the conical is more of a convenience to the brewer than the yeast.

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Old 02-26-2013, 02:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spintab View Post
Conical fermenters are actually not entirely ideal for speeding up fermentation. The entire weight of the batch presses down onto the yeast putting pressure on it and hindering it's ability to work. The shape of the conical is more of a convenience to the brewer than the yeast.
That's not entirely correct. The reason conicals speed up fermentation is two-fold. One, the height allows for CO2 bubbles to push upwards for a while in the middle of the tank. Two, the cooling jackets on the outside force the wort to descend on the outside. This creates a convection cycle which mixes the fermenting beer, keeping yeast in suspension and the wort well mixed. That's why conical fermentation can be so fast.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:44 PM   #8
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Same thing happens in buckets and carboys does it not?

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Old 02-26-2013, 05:21 PM   #9
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Not really. Most people don't have a glycol-chilled carboy or bucket, which is what causes the descending cycle on the outside of the cylinder. Even so, I don't know if there's enough volume in a carboy to really get that convection going.

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Old 02-26-2013, 05:52 PM   #10
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Convection is the result of fermentation being an exothermic reaction. It certainly helps to have a glycol jacket in play but it doesn't take glycol to cool beer. Cool air works too. Breweries use conicals because they can dump the yeast and trub easily, because they are stainless, and because they take up a whole lot less floor space than the ideal wide and short fermenter. The cooling/heating jackets help too, allowing the brewery to precisely control temperature but they could just as easily be applied to other shaped vessels.
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