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Fermentation Tanks


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Hey Mudpuppy

I think you'll find it varies. It depends what you are doing. The thing to keep in mind is that brewers are very cocerned about contamination and so will spend money to make sure that the tanks a very asceptic. You end up drinking what comes out of the tank. We do too but if you are distilling you will be killing any nasties in the boil. Not to say that you should throw caution to wind. But you will hear stories about carribean rum production where they let wild yeast settle on the wash in open air vats and reuse the dunder in the next fermentation. Sometimes its about flavor.

That said I find that an economical fermentation vessal is a food grade 55 gal drum. They can be hermetically sealed and you can put a bubbler in a plunger in the small hole. they do not impart any flavor and can be easily cleaned. It works great for my honey fermentations but they are not temp sensitive which is another consideration with beer.

Do not Do not Do not use these same vessels to store spirit or mix spirit. They are supposed to be resistent to alcohol but they degrade and effect the taste. You will have to redistill anything you put in them.

Stainless steel is always good but expensive. If you get a tank make sure it has a man hole at the bottom so you can clean it.


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I'll echo what Nick said as far as "it depends", but the short answer is "YES".

You'll need to answer some questions and see what type of vessel fits your needs:

Do you want to harvest your yeast?

What product(s) are you fermenting? Is it necessary to separate these items (solids) at some point?

What distillation technique will be used?

What temperature do you *need* to ferment at?

What is your budget?

If you can narrow down your needs, then you may find that fermenting in an open-top non-jacketed Cyprus tank will work just fine.... OR you may feel the need for a fully jacketed and clad 316 stainless cylindro-conical vessel. It just really depends on individual need.....

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You would proably want to clean it if you are not going to put another batch right on top of it. I"harvest" the yeast already used and put another batch on top and just add nutrients. It will depends on what your fermenting and the resiliency of the yeast you are using but i would say that you can count on recycling the yeast. At least that has been my experience.

For cleaning I would recommend the same procedures for sanitizing equipment for home brew. Any sanitizer that kills the bacteria growth and keeps it off. depending on how long between uses you may have to clean it again before use as you won't be able to completely keep the nasties out. Again your not worried as much as the beer or wine producers because nothing can live through the distillation process but you don't want to start growing off flavors either so it's better to just clean it.


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