Harley Doughty Ss Brewtech
November 26 near Kotara, NSW, Australia ·
Thought I would share a write up on the new bright tank for those that are interested.
I love this thing. I have only put one brew in to it since getting it, but it will be in constant use I am thinking. I was travelling a bit and fermented out a double brew of Stone and Wood Pacific Ale and loaded that to the bright tank to condition.
You have to be very careful to do proper pressure testing on seals around the pressure inlet and sampling port, otherwise you will have 40 litres loaded and a slow leak under pressure, which causes a state of alarm.
A couple of things I have discovered and really love. The pressure gauge at the top allows you resolve discrepancy between regulator and actual pressure. The carb stone works super well and you can hear it bubbling away. Carb at 15 psi only took a day or so. I let the pacific ale condition for over a week while I was travelling and then burst carbonated on my return. There was no way I was going to risk doing the carb process for the first time while I wasn't there to carefully check pressures, leaks etc.
As you can see in the pics, I have the STC temp probe in the thermowell. This makes a big difference than just having in the fridge cabinet, as it obviously takes a lot longer for temp of 40 litres of beer to change up or down, and simply dangling in the fridge gives a false reading.
The pressure inlet port, which has the carb stone on the end, has a ball valve. I close this off when I am not pulling beer for any period, as it will avoid any loss of CO2 if any small leaks present or develop....something many people have experienced with posts and lines on corny kegs. So this eliminates that issue. I simply turn on periodically and top up CO2 pressure lost to absorption, then shut off the CO2 gauge and ball valve.
Similarly, I have the outlet line connected to the large dump valve at the bottom which has a short handled butterfly valve just like on the conical fermenters. I shut the valve off when not using the taps, as this reduces risks of slow leaks in beer line and returning to a pool of beer in the bottom of the fridge, and the associated sense of loss and despair that goes along with it.
The sight glass on the side is another really neat addition to tracking remaining beer, as opposed to my usual method of picking up a corny and guessing its weight, something that is a lot harder with a bright tank holding 40 litres.
I will be getting a set of handles for it, as it weights over 50 kg when full and is bloody hard to move. Castors are also an option. I made sure I had it in place first before loading in beer. And when I loaded out from the conical I used CO2 through the top of the conical using a pressure relief valve and reg to force transfer at a few PSI in to the tank. This meant I bottom loaded in to the bright tank and avoided oxygenating the beer, at the same time pushing oxygen up and out through the top tank valve port which I had opened.
The pic is of one of two brew serving fridges I have. As you can see, I am able to fit the bright tank, alongside a corny (Stone Ruination IPA) and have made a wooden shelf to take the weight of over 70 kg. under the shelf I was able to fit a 4.5 kg CO2 bottle and reg. In the freezer I run a 30 litre plastic tank with glycol/water mix to run through the conical and maintain constant temps via FTS controller.
The 10 gallon (40 litre) bright tank is well matched to the 17 Gallon conical in the pic and my two grainfathers. After fermentation of the double GF brew and dumping of the trub from the conical along the way, i ended up with 40 litres in the bright tank, and a little left over which I bottled.
The finished product tastes the best of any brew I have done. The head on the pacific ale is smooth, dense and creamy. The beer itself is wonderfully carbonated.
Certainly a bright tank is in the category of luxury bling for many, but the feature set makes it a wonderful addition to the brewery, and for about the same price as 3 to 4 corny kegs.
I will now be selling a couple of near new corny kegs if anyone is interested.