November 15, 2018 4 min read
Pressurised fermentation is a common practice among commercial breweries, both macro and micro alike, and comes with many benefits. Most home brewers use a closed fermentation system, in that the surface of the wort has no contact with the air. Typically, homebrewers use a bucket or a glass carboy, fitted with an airlock and blow-off tube to achieve this.
For a pressurised fermentation however, a bucket or carboy won’t cut it. You’re going to need a fermenting vessel that can handle a bit of pressure. Brewers who are already kegging their beer will probably have most of the necessary equipment, so upgrading to a pressurised system may be the next logical step.
Nothing is perfect and there are some potential turn-offs for those thinking about switching to pressure fermentation. However, for the most part the quality of the finished beer isn’t a factor, with most disadvantages focussing on equipment and process.
Fermenting in a corny keg, or a sanke keg is a great way to save time and streamline your fermentation. Many brewers using this method will cut a couple of centimetres off the dip tube of the fermenter keg. This prevents the yeast and sediment from being sucked up when serving or transferring.
To prevent your beer sitting on the yeast cake for too long, it’s a good idea to transfer to a separate serving tank after you’ve cold crashed the beer. This is easily done, without risk of oxygen entering the beer.
When fermenting in a corny keg, a spunding valve is invaluable. This small piece of kit enables you to naturally carbonate your beer to exactly the right pressure. Simply set it to the desired psi and let your beer ferment away. It’s best practice to set a low pressure for the primary fermentation, raising it after the first 3 or 4 days.
One of the biggest disadvantages of fermenting in a corny keg is that you’ll end up with smaller batches. The fermentasaurus is a great solution and one that offers many more benefits besides a little extra beer. This 35l conical, PET unitank can function with a simple airlock or be pressurised, using a special ball lock post lid.
A small collection jar at the bottom of the vessel holds all the yeast and sediment, keeping your beer off the trub and improving its flavour. This can be easily removed by shutting off the valve and unscrewing it. The yeast can then be harvested for your next batch, or thrown away. In this way, you can safely store your beer in the vessel for extended periods without having to worry about undesirable flavours from the trub, making transferring to a secondary vessel a thing of the past.
With the pressure kit, the fermentasaurus allows an entirely closed system, pressurised fermentation, rated for 2.5 Bar (34.8 psi). A spunding valve can be fitted, allowing you to naturally carbonate to the perfect pressure. You can then complete an oxygen free transfer to a serving keg, or simply serve from the fermentasaurusitself. A floating dip tube draws the beer from the top of the vessel, ensuring you get the clearest beer with each pour.
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