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How the Cooling Jacket of a Fermenter Works

Views: 48     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-02-27      Origin: Site

Regardless of the size of the operation, the processes of making wine, lagers, stouts, ales, and IPAs requires the careful regulation of your brewing and fermenting environment. The fermentation stage is particularly critical to the outcome of the brew as any adverse temperature levels (too high or too low), can ruin a batch altering the final flavors and aromas, resulting in a poor brew.

To prevent the exposure of a fermentation mix to undesirable temperature levels, brewers typically attempt to actively cool the process. For breweries producing their beverages on a larger scale, the most effective way of ensuring optimal temperature regulation is using fermentation cooling jackets combined with brewery chillers or winery glycol chillers.

Importance of a Temp-controlled Fermenter

Winemaking is an extremely sensitive process that requires strict temperature control within a narrow range of values. The typical wine fermentation temperature is between 40oF to 80oF. Keeping brewing conditions for larger fermentation vats within this narrow range is usually difficult to achieve with simple cooling fans and tubs. In these instances, temp-controlled fermenters are a better choice.


DEGONG Jacketed fermenters

Approaches to Cooling Fermentation Vessels

Cooling a fermentation vessel can be achieved by using a cooling device submerged in the fermenting liquid or externally using a fermenter cooling jacket.

  • Internally Cooled Fermentation Vessels

In some instances, cooling rods or coils can be introduced directly into the brewing fluid to maintain the desired temperatures. While this technique is relatively cheaper and easy to set up, it has significant drawbacks.

To begin with, introducing an immersion chiller or plate chiller into fermenting wine increased the chances of exposing the brew to microorganisms and rapid oxidation which will alter the flavors. Also, internal cooling significantly diminishes chilling efficiency. Unequal cooling of the fermentation vat will result in the formation of hot and cold spots with uneven fermentation.

  • Externally Cooled Fermentation Vessels

Cooling a brew using an external fermenter wrap cooling device is a highly effective means of keeping brewing temperatures at an optimal level. An external brewing cooling jacket will provide uniform cooling without exposing the liquid within the vessel to contamination by microorganisms and unwanted oxidation.

What Is a Fermenter Cooling Jacket?

A fermenter/wine tank cooling jacket is a temperature regulation technology that achieves brew cooling from the exterior. Standard tank cooling jackets are made of flexible materials with cavities through which coolant (usually a mix of glycol and water) flows. When wrapped around a winery or brewery vat, a glycol jacket will absorb heat from it.


How Does a Fermentation Tank Cooling Jacket Work?

Fermentation tank cooling jackets are composed of flexible material with coolant channels running within them. When wrapped around a brewing vat, coolant flowing within the jacket’s channels will absorb heat from the brewing liquid by a simple heat exchange process.

Some of the advantages of using a tank cooling jacket include:

  • Easily adjustable temperature levels permitting more even cooling and fermentation

  • Prevention of accidental contamination as vat integrity is not tampered with

  • Easy installation and maintenance

A fermentation tank cooling jacket is an integral part of the overall brewery chiller setup. The industrial chiller unit helps to re-cool heated coolant returning from the tank cooling jacket in preparation for recirculation. The chiller maintains coolant at the optimal wine or beer fermentation temperature.

Temperature regulation can be achieved using manual shut-off valves or by an automated process that uses direct thermal feedback from the circulated coolant.

What Is the Ideal Chiller Fluid to Use in a Wine Cooling Jacket?

In most instances, a mixture of glycol and water (30% glycol solution) is the best coolant to use in a wine tank cooling jacket. Some key benefits of using glycol as chiller fluid are listed below:

  • Glycol can hold heat longer than water resulting in an increased efficiency

  • It can provide additional lubrication for the chiller pump

  • Glycol has antifreeze properties so it can be cooled to subzero temperatures without freezing and clogging up the chiller tubing

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