Day 44

In Business Math, we’ve moved on to calculating interest, principle and amortization–a great topic if you have money invested the bank, perhaps a more depressing topic if, like most brewers, the bank has money invested in you.

In Intro to Brewing, it was “Fermentation, Part Deux”, as we went into more detail about the types of fermenters that we might be dealing with and their various pros and cons–open tank, horizontal tank, vertical cylinder with dish bottom, vertical cylinder with conical bottom. The last design is increasingly popular due to its smaller footprint. However, as Gordo Slater pointed out, using those tanks probably requires that the fermenting room floor be reinforced, since even a small 10-hectolitre tank has a filled weight of about 12,000 kg (13 US tons), and all that weight is concentrated on a relatively small area. In our previous “design a brewery” assignment, some of us had designed brewpubs set in picaresque old houses with the fermenting tanks in or visible from the main floor dining room. The vision of the fermenting tanks suddenly disappearing from view during dinner had a lot of us hastily revising plans so that the fermenting tanks were placed in the basement (rather than ending up there.)

Gordo also pointed out the various parts of a fermenting tank that have to be in place for safe and practical operation: pressure relief valve, vacuum breaker valve, pressure gauge, level gauge, sampling valve, some means of CO2 removal after the beer has been removed, possibly a CIP (cleaning in place) system. And for safety, some means of ventilating the fermentation room to remove build up of carbon dioxide.

Then it was back to yeast: normal fermentation phases, and the various problems that can occur during fermentation, causing an unfinished or “hung” fermentation.

And that was it for another week. The next ten days looks to be crunch time, with a test on Monday, a test and a mid-term exam on Wednesday, another mid-term exam on Thursday, yet another mid-term exam on Friday, and then another mid-term exam on the following Monday. Hopefully there’s time in there to sample some good beer.

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2 Comments on “Day 44”

  1. Canageek Says:

    The brewpub doesn’t seem impossible; No basement under that area, concrete floor. Orient the safety release values away from the dining area, and place either 1″ plexiglass (I belive that is bullet-resistant at that thickness) or similar between the two.

  2. Alan Brown Says:

    All good ideas. The problem was that we had envisioned the brewpub in a beautiful Georgian-era house. Hence the vision of a quiet Sunday lunch, a bit of classical music, the waiter presenting a list of dessert beers–and the fermenters suddenly disappearing through the floor into the basement with a mighty crash and a cloud of dust. Not too many Georgian homes were built with concrete floors…


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