Beer Conditioning Tanks
Conditioning tanks or commonly referred to as bright beer tanks are either horizontal or cylindroconical and are usually constructed of AISI 304 stainless steel, as shown in Figure 14.1. Horizontal tanks usually range in size of 100 to 500 hl while vertical cylindroconical tanks can be up to 6,500 hl in size (5). The greater ratio of surface area to beer depth for horizontal tanks provides a distinct advantage over vertical tanks in the conditioning of beer. Although horizontal tanks use more floor space per barrel of capacity, they offer quicker clarification, and the sediment has a shorter distance to fall, than in upright vessels. Horizontal tanks are usually located within the brewery in a temperature controlled room while cylindroconical tanks can either be located in the brewery or outdoors. Tanks are normally fitted with impellers for mixing.
If the sole purpose of the tank is for conditioning, there is no restriction on the height of the tank. However, if the tank is also used for fermentation the height can't exceed 15 m (5). This has to do with the hydrostatic pressure on the yeast during fermentation. Tank diameters and the cone angle can vary but generally fall within the range of 3.5-4.75 m and 60° to 75°, respectively (5).
For temperature control of cylindroconical tanks the brewer can either use direct or indirect cooling:
The coolant is circulated through the conditioning tanks (i.e., cooling jackets) and then returned to the plant. Cooling jackets are of several designs:
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