Brewing your own beer at home is an interesting experience. For some, it is little more than a weekend hobby. Others fully embrace home brewing as an art form. One way or the other, home brewers have to invest in beer-brewing equipment. One such piece of equipment that doesn’t get a lot of attention is the brite tank.
Brite tanks are fairly common at industrial breweries. When you are making millions of gallons of beer every year, you need consistency. Brite tanks offer that consistency. At home though, you might decide a brite tank isn’t something you want to spend your money on. Yet a good tank can speed up your production time and help you master a recipe you have been struggling to perfect.
What a Brite Tank Does
Brewing a good craft beer is a multi-step process that requires as much knowledge as it does equipment. The brite tank is one of the last pieces of equipment in the brewing cycle. In fact, some home brewers serve their beer directly from brite tank to glass.
The first step is to combine your ingredients and allow them to ferment. The best craft beers are fermented twice. You can do this with separate fermentation tanks or with a single uni-tank. Either way, the goal is to complete both fermentation cycles before conditioning the beer and letting it mature.
Properly conditioned beer is quite clear. That’s because it is also pure. It has a very bright color, explaining why brew masters call it ‘bright beer’. Do you see where this is leading? Bright beer is put into brite tanks for final conditioning and aging.
Brite tanks are generally stainless-steel tanks that store the product under pressure. This allows for further conditioning, clarifying, and carbonating. In almost every case, a brite tank can be used to speed up carbonation by injecting CO2 directly into the liquid. The alternative is to just let the beer carbonate naturally.
Reducing Carbonation Time
Cedarstone Industry is a Houston company that manufactures brite tanks and other beer brewing equipment – among other things. They say the number one reason for using a brite tank to enhance carbonation is speed. Natural carbonation can take 5 to 7 days depending on the type of keg you utilize. You can cut that down to 24 hours or less with a brite tank.
In addition, a brite tank allows for burst carbonating. This is the process of setting different input and head pressures until the desired carbonation limit is achieved. You then readjust CO2 to achieve a more balanced pressure that better conditions the beer.
Finally, a brite tank allows you to condition and age a lot more volume. You can also serve directly from the tank if you so desire. You have less equipment to deal with, you can brew larger batches at a time and, because you are brewing in volume, your finished beer is more consistent.
Not Essential for Home Brewing
Industrial breweries use brite tanks out of necessity. They need the ability to condition in volume and to carbonate with consistency. They also rely on consistent maturing. An industrial brewery sidestepping the brite tank is asking for trouble.
At home, brite tanks are not essential. They do make conditioning, aging, and culminating a lot easier though. If you are seriously into home brewing, you might want to consider investing in a brite tank at some point. Among all of the beer brewing equipment manufacturers market to home brewers, brite tanks are probably the most underrated. They really can make a difference.