The beer production process can be divided into two phases. The first phase, brewing, is performed inside a brewhouse, where a mixture of malt, water, and hops is used to obtain wort. The second phase, fermentation and maturation, is carried out in specially designed tanks (fermenters and maturation tanks). These tanks are used to transform wort into young beer, which then goes through the maturation process in order to obtain the final product - beer.
beer brewing system beer tanks
Some brewers swear by traditional methods, others prefer a modern approach to beer brewing. In both cases, the brewer's knowledge, experience, and creativity always play the pivotal role, while the right equipment facilitates the brewing process and helps bring their beer recipes to life.
Brewers around the world use various containers to carry out the fermentation and maturation process; in modern brewing, this phase is mostly performed in stainless steel tanks. In essence, tanks can be either atmospheric or pressurized; according to the design, they can be further divided based on their shape and position (vertical or horizontal, cylindrical, cylindroconical), equipment (with/without temperature control equipment), or other characteristics (insulated or uninsulated).
Primary fermentation tanks
Primary (main) fermentation
After boiling, the wort is pumped from the kettle into the fermenter. During pumping, the wort passes through the plate heat exchanger, where it is cooled to a suitable temperature. Cooled wort is then aerated with sterile air in order to provide additional oxygen, which is needed so that the yeast can start the fermentation process.
Primary fermentation starts once brewer's yeast is added to the cooled and aerated wort in the fermenter. The main function of the yeast during the primary fermentation phase is to convert sugars into alcohol. This also creates a by-product - carbon dioxide. The fermentation process produces heat, which means the fermenter must enable temperature regulation in order to maintain the desired alcoholic fermentation temperature.
When most of the sugars in the wort are converted into alcohol, the fermentation slows down and the yeast begins to settle at the bottom of the tank. The wort is then cooled to a temperature of 0 to 4 °C. The low temperature accelerates the settling of the yeast at the bottom of the tank.
During primary fermentation, wort is transformed into young or green beer.Young beer is still cloudy and microbiologically unstable. In order to fully develop the desired taste and aromas, the young beer needs to go through a maturation phase - secondary fermentation.
beer maturation tanks
Secondary fermentation (beer maturation)
The young beer is pumped from the fermenter into a maturation tank, where the secondary fermentation (beer maturation) is then carried out under controlled conditions. Compared to primary fermentation, secondary fermentation takes place at lower temperatures and higher pressure values, and lasts longer (3 to 8 weeks).
At this stage, the remaining sugars are converted into CO2. In order to keep the CO2 inside the tank and thus enable its absorption into the beer, you will need a tank that can withstand high pressures.
What happens during secondary fermentation?
Conversion of residual carbohydrates (sugars)
full development of taste and aroma