Six Tips for Choosing a Yeast Storage Vessel
Yeast is the magic catalyst in beer production, and yeast brink storage vessels are not just for the big breweries anymore. An agitated yeast brink that is glycol cooled is an exceptional collection vessel that is available and recommended for any size craft brewery today.
Sprinkman Brewing Systems custom designs yeast brinks. When Founders Brewing Co., in Grand Rapids, Michigan, needed a yeast management solution, we built a 5-Barrel Yeast Brink to best fit their operation.
“We came to the point where we were spending an inordinate amount of time managing yeast,” said Alec Mull, Vice President of Brewery Operations at Founders Brewing. “Adding a yeast brink with a better controlled environment preserved more quality yeast cultures and cut our propagation time in half.”
There are several key factors to keep in mind when choosing a yeast storage vessel. Graham Broadhurst, Sprinkman’s Director of Brewing Operations and industry veteran, suggests the following:
- Proper Size/Volume – Once the barrel size of your vessel has been determined, slurry expansion during storage and feeding needs to be accounted for in your vessel design. The vessel should have 25% to 30% freeboard.
- Temperature Control – A well-designed vessel will utilize a Heat Transfer Surface (HTS) for efficient glycol distribution in order to maintain storage temperatures of 34°to 36°F (1-2°C).
- Agitation – Low-shear agitation for yeast slurry to prevent settling / temperature stratification and precise temperature control.
- Ease-of-Use – A yeast brink can either be mounted on a scale, fitted with a flow meter, or incorporate load cell plates in place of adjustable feet for delivering accurate and consistent re-pitching volumes. A yeast brink allows for easy washing and QC sampling as well as propagation.
- Clean-ability – You will want to disassemble and clean the fittings before every use, so insist on a design that provides easy access for effective cleaning and sanitation. Consider a rotating spray head over a static spray ball.
- Purge-ability – A good design makes it easier to purge yeast vessels with CO2 before collection in order to minimize exposure to oxygen. Make sure your vessel is outfitted with the appropriate manway and seal on the agitator.
“Every brewer’s needs are different,” adds Graham. “The importance of correct yeast handling and management protocol is important to maintain a healthy and viable yeast strain, which will help to achieve consistent fermentation profiles.”
While it’s difficult to determine ‘the right time’ to buy new equipment, at Sprinkman Brewing Systems we encourage any brewery with a capacity to produce in excess of 5,000 barrels each year to consider the investment. In addition to maintaining better yeast, making a commitment to the correct design and size of yeast brinks, and propagation equipment will generate cost savings over time.
For more ways to improve yeast handling, click here to request information or a quote from Sprinkman Brewing Systems.