Brite tank?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by CraftBeerCrazy, Mar 13, 2013.

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  1. CraftBeerCrazy

    CraftBeerCrazy Initiate (0) Mar 7, 2013 Texas

    I was wondering the general feeling from homebrewers on the idea of a "brite tank" in your setup...I'm not concerned that the beer I brew needs to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but rather that they taste delicious. Some brewpubs and commercial breweries pour carbonated beer directly from the brite tanks for consuming...what would be potential roadblocks for homebrewers in the use of these tanks? Thanks for any response! Cheers!
     
  2. epk

    epk Initiate (168) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    I don't think that there is really any roadblocks. Filter into a keg, cold crash, carbonate and condition as needed. Serve from the keg, basically the same thing, but on a smaller scale... a homebrew scale. Or bottle it up form the keg.

    http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/beer-filtration-system-173358/

    Personally, I would probably invest my money in other brewing equipment upgrades first. A certain amount of time will have beers at least nearly (which is fine by me) or even completely crystal clear. Keep enough brews in the pipeline and you can be patient. If time is the issue, I can see filtering helping. I've also read that it could remove impurities that may not even with expanded conditioning time.

    I do appreciate appearance though so many I would give it a try in the future.
     
  3. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Fermentors are expensive and they have one role - to ferment beer. Once that is accomplished they need to be emptied. It seems that homebrewers are the only group that feels the need to keep beer on the yeast for weeks or after fermentation is done. A brite tank can be a cheaper vessel than the fermentor and the beer is typically filtered during transfer.
     
  4. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (742) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    For the most part...

    Keg = very small brite tank.

    Brite tank = very large keg.
     
  5. epk

    epk Initiate (168) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    I don't think it's that homebrewers "feel the need" to do so, but rather that your first two sentences don't really apply as much to homebrewers. Our fermentors may be as cheap as a plastic bucket and being a hobby, "time is money" is not a credo we need to follow. So we leave the beer on the yeast, well, because we can. If it doesn't need to be moved, we don't move it. I suppose some still use secondaries (I'm one that only uses them when making some additions post fermentation), which in a way, is one step away from a brite tank in that people may use it to free up their primary.
     
  6. epk

    epk Initiate (168) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    Agreed. If you had the means to brew larger batches or multiple batches and transfer them together into a larger "brite tank", all you have to do is come up with a vessel you can seal off, keep cold and carbonate in.
     
  7. IKR

    IKR Defender (651) May 25, 2010 California
    Trader

    And to add to what you said, Chris White in his "Yeast" book discussing his troubleshooting of taste defects in professional brewer's beers and finding out the problem was moving the beer off the yeast too quickly. A lot of what's done at the big boy level is dictated by $$$$$s.
     
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  8. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I would hope not, I'm just going by the comments that I read.
     
  9. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    And don't forget all the articles about the aeration and pitching levels that vary greatly between them.

    edit: somehow I see where this might go.

    If someone beers needs to sit on the yeast longer, then it should. If you find that for the same yeast/gravity that your beer needs to sit on the yeast longer than like brewers, then you might have fermentation issues.
     
  10. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (428) Dec 12, 2011 New York
    Industry

    I guess I'd like some more clarification here.

    1) How long do (good) brewers typically keep their beer on the yeast?

    2) Brite tanks are almost the exactly the same price as fermenters. Brewpubs use brites to store their beer because they are cheaper than kegs. Production breweries use brites to carbonate prior to filling, that's it.

    3) Filtering the yeast out of the beer is exactly the opposite as conditioning it. You can't filter out fusels, esters, diacetyl. These are comepletly different functions, in my mind.

    The scales may change, but the science is the same. Not sure why condtioning would not benefit a production scale beer.
     
  11. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    1) It depends on the gravity of course. IIRC it's only about a week or less. I really don't want to give time frame, but I'd say that it's safe to say that most HB'ers would be surprised.

    2) I always was thought that there were cheaper, but I looked at a few sites that sell to nano's and some brites were 2x the cost. And yes, bite tanks aren't what we think of as secondaries.

    3) Filtering does do some conditioning functions. You can filter out some of the elements that will drop out during lagering. But no you really can't filter out things like diacetyl, but if they aren't present then it's a moot point.
     
  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,183) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Some interesting discussion about time in the fermenter. I will be very interested in knowing the answer to Matt’s question of: “How long do (good) brewers typically keep their beer on the yeast?”

    It seems that this overall discussion concerns a few topics:

    · When is primary fermentation complete? To my mind, primary fermentation is complete when the final gravity is reached.
    · What occurs in the primary if you let it sit there a while (e.g., a week) after primary fermentation is complete.

    The terminology that I use for the process that occurs in the primary after the primary fermentation is complete is “conditioning”. John Palmer discusses conditioning in his online book How to Brew:

    "8.3 Conditioning Processes
    The conditioning process is a function of the yeast. The vigorous, primary stage is over, the majority of the wort sugars have been converted to alcohol, and a lot of the yeast are going dormant; but there is still yeast activity. During the earlier phases, many different compounds were produced by the yeast in addition to ethanol and CO2, e.g., acetaldehyde, esters, amino acids, ketones- diacetyl, pentanedione, dimethyl sulfide, etc. Once the easy food is gone, the yeast start re-processing these by-products. Diacetyl and pentanedione are two ketones that have buttery and honey-like flavors. These compounds are considered flaws when present in large amounts and can cause flavor stability problems during storage. Acetaldehyde is an aldehyde that has a pronounced green apple smell and taste. It is an intermediate compound in the production of ethanol. The yeast reduce these compounds during the later stages of fermentation.

    The yeast also produce an array of fusel alcohols during primary fermentation in addition to ethanol. Fusels are higher molecular weight alcohols that often give harsh solvent-like tastes to beer. During secondary fermentation, the yeast convert these alcohols to more pleasant tasting fruity esters. Warmer temperatures encourage ester production.”

    So, it seems that some ‘extra’ time (conditioning) is beneficial to permit the yeast to process by-products. For a commercial brewery this would seem to occur in the primary fermenter if you assume that commercial breweries filter in the transfer to a brite tank; you need the yeast to be present during the conditioning phase.

    As homebrewers we have the option to have this conditioning occur in bottles as part of the overall bottle conditioning (there is that word again) process. So, we have the option to transfer the beer once primary fermentation is complete (final gravity is reached) and then let the yeast ‘clean up’ the beer during the two week bottle conditioning phase.

    Cheers!
     
  13. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (334) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    'Fermentation is done' is not the same as 'the yeast is done'. There's a lot of cleaning up and conditioning that the yeast performs after fermentation is complete. My take on it is that homebrewers are the only group that doesn't have to answer to bean counters who tell them when it's time to get the beer off the yeast to free up the fermenter for another batch.
     
  14. epk

    epk Initiate (168) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    I agree with Jack and Mike.


    Obviously there is benefits to allowing the beer to condition so I feel that -
    A. There is typically no time restraints on our fermentors. We don't need to move the beer
    B. There is also no downside to leaving the beer on the yeast (except for more extended periods aging)

    A+B = Why not just let it sit in the primary 3-4 weeks? (especially if you are force crabing).

    I take it that Yinzer is probably an advocate of using a secondary. Even transferring, the yeast that is going to do the conditioning anyway is still in suspension so there is no problem with said transfer. Some homebrewers have just come to see it as unnecessary.

    I think that even if I was filtering, I would let it bulk condition in the primary. (<--- attempting to swing the conversation back to the actual topic of the thread :stuck_out_tongue:)
     
  15. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I agree with the first point- but I've never seen any proof that conditioning need to be done on the yeast cake.

    Are there probrewers that make good beer that don't have their beer in the primary for as long we homebrewers? Yes.

    I got just a response from a brewer who brews for two breweries. I think that he makes some great beer. He's in the primary for 10-14 days and filters most beers. I'm 7-14 and don't filter. I've done <4% in five but I wouldn't recommend it.
     
  16. epk

    epk Initiate (168) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    I'd say it doesn't, you can transfer to secondary and let it condition there. Yeast is still in suspension and those ones in suspension are the active ones to my knowledge finishing up.But the point I've already made is simply - why move it (in the case of a secondary) if you don't have to?

    What do you do after the 7-14 days? Kegging, bottling? I'm curious, at what point are you actually drinking the finished beer?
     
  17. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I think that we're all having one of these internet moments.

    I have no problem with people leaving their beer in the primary after the yeast has fermented, cleaned up, dropped, whatever. I made one sentence that should be looked at in the context of the paragraph that it was in. I have read posts where it is said that beer needs to be in the primary on the yeast cake for three week. I was just pointing out at that does not need to be the norm.

    To answer your question I keg and just the consumer conditions bottled beer, I sure that I get conditioning in my kegs. When my only freezer that I use to ferment in is empty, I try to cold condition my kegs. But I drink my beer at all stages and I don't have any terrible off putting flavors at any stage.
     
  18. epk

    epk Initiate (168) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    Fair enough, and probably so.

    I suppose another part of my own timeline is also driven by the fact that I brew with a friend at his place. So we may not bother transferring to kegs until we are ready to brew our next batch which winds up being like once month (and see no harm with them sitting).

    If it was at my place, I might take matters into my own hands and do it sooner given the proper gravity. I probably still wouldn't do it before 14 days though, I would think that cold conditioning slows down the yeast and the clean up process. Once in the keg, I usually give it another week force carbing the slow way. That part I actually do at my place at least.

    Back on topic though... the more I think about filtering, the more I'd like to give it a try but transferring to a keg just to transfer to another keg seems like a waste of time.

    We did recently get a conical fermenter (sadly haven't used it yet - no temp control) which I believe we can push the beer out with Co2. Suppose if it's going right into a keg, we could hook a filter up to that.
     
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,183) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Matt asked: “How long do (good) brewers typically keep their beer on the yeast?”

    Yinzer posted: “I got just a response from a brewer who brews for two breweries. I think that he makes some great beer. He's in the primary for 10-14 days and filters most beers.”

    I can’t comment on how long it takes for the professional brewer’s ales to complete primary fermentation but it is not unusual for my homebrewed ales to complete primary fermentation in 5-6 days. So, for the sake of discussion let’s assume that the professional brewed ale completes primary fermentation in 5 days. Then the additional time in the primary (5-7 days) is the conditioning time for the professionally brewed ale. Depending on the yeast strain used I find it conceivable that adequate conditioning occurs in a 5-7 day timeframe. Would the beer be even ‘better’ if it had conditioned longer? Who knows.

    Cheers!
     
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  20. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (428) Dec 12, 2011 New York
    Industry

    My thoughts are that many breweries cold crash and filter at the end of primary fermentation - and this is a mistake, and it can lead to a more muddled flavor profile. But I'd also guess it's not as big a deal as us homebrewers would think, ie if you pitch enough healthy yeast, there will be very few off flavors produced during primary fermentation and the beer will be (mostly) clean. Allowing for a secondary/conditioning phase could therefore be the difference between good and very good beer.

    As for brite tanks - yes, a keg is a brite tank. No need for another intermediate step for the homebrewer.
     
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  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,183) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    “I would think that cold conditioning slows down the yeast and the clean up process.” That is definitely true and especially so for an ale yeast. If you truly want the ale yeast to properly ‘clean up’ the by-products then you really should condition at ale yeast temperatures (e.g., 60’s F).

    Cheers!
     
  22. epk

    epk Initiate (168) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    Unfortunately, if you want to filter, you need go from one keg to another. Which means, you could use a secondary after all and transfer into that intermediate keg and give it a little more time before you filter.

    EDIT - Actually, maybe you could use a pump attached to the filter which is attached to the keg? The pump could siphon right from the carboy, bucket or whatever. Oxidation comes to mind though...
     
  23. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Disciple (365) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Trader


    Bright tanks take up less space and are often cheaper than fermenters. They take up less space because they don't require a conical shape. They can be quite a bit cheaper because they don't have to be individually temperature controlled, so a lot of brewers actually choose to use unjacketed bright tanks stored in a cold room. These are much cheaper than the jacketed ones (which are indeed about the same price as fermenters). This technique also eliminates the need for the glycol plumbing Etc.
     
  24. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (428) Dec 12, 2011 New York
    Industry

    Yes, good point. Unjacketed tanks are a lot cheaper than jacketed tanks. Of course, then you need to spend the money to build a cold room big enough to hold an entire tank, or series of them.
     
  25. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Disciple (365) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Trader

    Yes, It's failrly common to have a cold room with multiple bright tanks.
     
  26. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (334) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    I didn't say it needs to stay on the cake. But it needs yeast to finish the job. You speak of filtering when you move it to a brite tank when fermentation is complete. One of the purposes of filtering is to remove yeast and other suspended matter that clouds the beer. This is at odds with the goal of letting the yeast clean up after itself - and there is, indeed, evidence that beer benefits from being left in primary for 14 days or more instead of filtering it after two or three days when primary fermentation is complete. But, even if you're not filtering it, since there's no harm in leaving it on the cake, why risk moving it at all?
     
  27. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Is this better?

    Official vessels called "Brite Tanks" are used in a professional environment where fermentors are expensive and they have one role - to ferment beer. Once that is accomplished they need to be emptied. It seems that homebrewers are the only group that feels the need to keep beer on the yeast for weeks or after fermentation is done. A brite tank can be a cheaper vessel than the fermentor and the beer is typically filtered during transfer.
     
  28. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (334) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Maybe I'm simply misinterpreting your meaning. It sounds like you're disparaging homebrewers for feeling the need to keep their beer on the yeast for weeks after fermentation is done. With experience as my guide, I can say, with a high degree of confidence, that the beer is absolutely cleaner (better is a subjective term) after having spent weeks on the yeast after fermentation is done (varies by style, of course). So I'm not sure where you're coming from.
     
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  29. epk

    epk Initiate (168) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    I've seen some images of the brewing process that actually show filtering happening before packaging. For instance these show they are filtering right before it goes into kegs or bottles -
    http://www.montanitabrewingcompany.com/uploads/1/3/6/0/13605541/8574804_orig.jpg
    http://maltingandbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/beerprocess.jpg

    This one actually incorporates the "bright beer vessel" into the process -
    http://www.ilo.org/safework_bookshelf/english?image.gif&nd=857170812&src=857200044_files/image004.gif

    In either case, the beer is moved and stored into separate storage containers from the fermentation vessel. I'm sure other breweries use other slightly different tweaks on this, like this for a brewpub - http://adkpub.com/beer.htm

    Or even this slightly different brew pub version that conditions in the tanks they serve from - http://www.potosibrewery.com/ourbeer_process.cfm

    No filtration mentioned on those brew pub ones, which they probably just don't bother with.

    So in other words, in any of the illustrations above, the yeast stays with the beer for a period of time after primary fermentation is complete.

    Of course the whole point of this thread was discuss the implications of bright tanks for homebrew. Not commercial breweries.
     
  30. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Disciple (365) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Trader

    Industrial process management. Breweries like to keep their fermenters fermenting beer - as many batches as possible. Every successful brewery runs into production bottlenecks as they grow. They become very efficient at knowing exactly how long the fermenters will be "occupied." They have to make choices about what to brew. They worry the time required to dry-hop that special release. They agonize over how to keep it all moving so that they can get the product out the door. They agoinize over expansion decisions. How many shifts they can run. Etc
     
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  31. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (742) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    I'll also add that, rather than "feeling the need" to leave beer on the yeast, most homebrewers are simply leaving it there until it's convenient to transfer and/or package the beer. They're basically using the same line of reasoning the professionals are using: I'm doing this because it fits my needs as a brewer.
     
  32. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (334) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    I think the key point of contention here, as least the way I interpret it, is the filtering. I can easily rack my beer to a keg after 3 days and let it condition there. Since I racked all of the suspended yeast, it'll be the same as if I had waited 2 or 3 weeks before racking. If, on the other hand, I filter it after 3 days, I suspect it will suffer (though I suppose it depends on the filter).
     
  33. epk

    epk Initiate (168) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    Well all those diagrams I linked above do show that breweries don't necessarily filter directly from the fermenter instead allowing it to condition in a separate tank. I suppose if they do filter from the fermenter, the beer at least sat for more than just 3 days. Yinzer mentioned a probrewer friend saying they leave it sit for as along as 14 days. Under the right circumstances, perhaps that all it takes and can be filtered from there?
     
  34. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (334) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    You're right - he doesn't. But his point is, as I interpret it (and I hope he corrects me if I'm wrong) is that professional brewers typically filter their beers on the way to the Brite tank as soon as fermentation is complete. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom (a wisdom that is seemingly unique to homebrewers) that says a weeks-long period of conditioning in the presence of yeast makes better beer. I can't explain why the pros brew excellent beer without this conditioning period.
     
  35. epk

    epk Initiate (168) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    Oops, I edited that part out... but yea.
     
  36. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (742) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    A local brewer who uses a DE filter told me the filter is rated at 5-7 microns and the live yeast is no larger than 3 microns. So, at least with that filter size, you may still have enough yeast to clean up the beer.
     
  37. epk

    epk Initiate (168) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    Well there you have it, now everyone is right. Sneaky little yeast. I guess only the fat ones get caught.
     
  38. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,183) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    “I guess only the fat ones get caught.” I am uncertain whether that is intended as a joke. Yeast will clump together; the technical term is flocculation:

    “Yeast flocculation typically refers to the clumping together (flocculation) of brewing yeast once the sugar in a beer has been fermented into ethyl alcohol.”

    So, depending on the yeast strain and what stage you are in the primary fermentation, a 5-7 micron filter can indeed remove a significant amount of yeast (all of the yeast?) if the yeast strain is a flocculent strain.

    Cheers!

    Edit: It would appear that a 5-7 micron filter will also remove individual yeast cells. Below is from Wyeast website:

    “Yeasts are eucaryotic single celled fungi which reproduce by budding or fission. In brewing, Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the Genus and Species that is of the most significance. Ale and lager yeasts are currently both classified as Saccharomyces cerevisiae but historically have been considered separate species with lager yeasts in the Saccharomyces uvarum (carlsbergensis) classification. Yeasts are very small, typically 5 to 10 microns (1 micron = 10-4 centimeters) which is around 5 times the size of most bacteria.”
     
  39. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (742) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    Not sure who is right but here is an image from the Wikipedia page on S. Cerevisiae that indicates Wyeast may be using the high estimate.

    [​IMG]
     
  40. epk

    epk Initiate (168) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    It was a joke :wink:

    I can't wait until the OP comes back to see where his question has gone. We may have scared him away.
     
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