Brewing one’s own beer at home has become an incredibly popular hobby. It really exploded at the height of the COVID pandemic when people couldn’t go down to that favorite watering hole to grab a cold one. With its new found popularity, the hobby is also introducing home brewers to all sorts of equipment they might have never considered before. The conical brewing tank is a good example.
Also known as a unitank in some circles, a conical brewing tank is easy to recognize by its shape. The top portion is a typical cylinder while the bottom is a cone shape. There is generally a release valve at the bottom of the cone for easy drawing off. Conical tanks can be made from stainless steel, plastic, or even glass.
Do home hobbyists have to use a conical brewing tank? No. In fact, home brewing doesn’t require any fancy equipment at all. A couple of plastic buckets can accomplish the same thing. So why invest in one? For the same reasons commercial breweries do.
Efficiency and Convenience
In a commercial setting, maximizing production is critical. The brewery needs to push out as much beer as it can in a limited amount of time. That is the main advantage of the conical brewing tank. Conical brewing is efficient because you are not transferring beer from one vessel to the next during the various stages of brewing. Everything takes place in one tank.
Not transferring beer saves time. It also reduces the chances of ruining the beer. For example, every time beer is transferred from one vessel to another, the risk of oxidation increases. The one thing commercial breweries do not want to do is allow their beers to oxidate.
Efficiency is also improved by requiring less floor space to produce the same amount of beer. Inversely, the same amount of floor space is capable of producing more beer when conical brewing systems are chosen. It is all about maximizing the footprint.
Cleaning and Sanitizing
Tanks need to be cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis. It stands to reason that fewer tanks means less cleaning and sanitizing. Thus, a commercial brewery spends more time brewing beer and less time cleaning things up. The results should be self-evident.
Houston-based CedarStoneIndustry says that commercial breweries tend to invest in stainless steel conical tanks. Plastic is an option, but stainless steel tends to be easier to clean and sanitize. Commercial breweries cannot afford to take any chances on sanitation.
Greater Batch Consistency
In addition to maximizing productivity and efficiency, it is in a commercial brewery’s best interests to maintain batch consistency day-after-day, month-after-month, year-after-year. Conical brewing utilizing a unitank setup makes this easier to achieve.
Completing the entire process in a single tank reduces the variables that could affect the beer’s taste. The fewer variables in play, the more consistent a brewery’s products are. So again, conical brewing with a unitank setup is the best way to go for a large-scale commercial brewery.
Conical Brewing at Home
There is no doubt that investing in conical brewing equipment can cost a home hobbyist quite a bit of money. Stainless steel tanks are obviously more expensive than plastic. Whether or not conical brewing is worth the extra money is a matter of preference.
If you are only putting out a batch or two per month, an expensive conical brewing system might not be worth it to you. But if you’ve constantly got a batch going, why not? Conical brewing is efficient and consistent. Master it and you will produce great beer every time.