We’re making progress getting out fermenter(s) online. The first is getting hooked up now and the other three should be arriving next week (hooray). Here is a list of things that need to be done to bring a fermenter online:
1. Get the floors sloped: technically, this isn’t absolutely necessary, but ask a brewer that doesn’t have the fermenters on a sloped floor and they’ll tell you they spend their days chasing puddles.
2. Move things that will get in the way: This time around we’ve had to move a section of lighting and an overhead heater that would have been in the way.
3. Get the tank off the truck: We are buying from DME this time around, and they send the tanks in really nice, metal cradles, that make this part easy enough with a forklift, but in the past we’ve had to rent a crane to lift the tanks off the truck.
4. Get the tank vertical: Not as easy as it sounds. With our other tanks, we’ve done this ourselves, but with bigger tanks it was way too scary to do ourselves. We contracted local riggers to come in and it took a group of 4 people with two special forklifts about 4 hours to get the tanks on the sloped floor and vertical. There is very little extra ceiling space, so it was some finesse work to get it standing. One rigger had told us we would have to cut a hole in the ceiling to get these tanks in, and I’m glad we didn’t have to ‘cause its been cold outside.
5. Plumbing: The tanks we purchased have three cooling jackets each, so we need to run piping from our glycol reservoir to the inlet/outlets. Our plumber also needs to make sure that we have enough pressure in the line to keep the glycol moving through the extra distance or else we’ll need an additional pump. Luckily, our chiller is strong enough to keep up with the extra tankage, or else we would require more chilling capacity.
6. Electrical work: The tanks need to be able to turn the cooling on and off, so each one needs a thermostat and solenoids to turn the glycol on and off.
7. Acid Wash: To get the tank ready for action, it needs a heavy duty acid wash – kinda like when you acid wash your jeans, except not quite as 80’s chic.
8. Bits and pieces assembled: There are valves, racking arms, sample cocks (heh heh, shut up, Beavis) and the like to get onto the tank before its first brew.
And then change-o prest-o your tank is ready for its first batch of beer!