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Tools of the Trade: On the Brinks
Just last December, Sixpoint made an upgrade in the form of two brand new 30 barrel vessels. Rather than have to work these pieces into existing ones, these beauts are standalone improvements. The first tank is a fermenter: its slanted, cone shaped bottom ideal for the early brewing process. The second tank is for conditioning, with a shallow, domed bottom perfect for carbonating, gravity-fining, dry-hopping, and eventually racking from (utilizing the renovated Medusa you’ve heard so much about).
Pete Dickson, Head Brewer and Brew House Manager, explained that, “some breweries use the fermenters for the entire beer making process” but at his facility they match a fermenter with a conditioning tank, preferring to use “gravity, temperature, and time” to filter the beer, instead of plate filters. Simply put, post-fermentation, Pete and his team move the beer into the conditioning tank and allow the yeast to settle naturally out of the now cold beer over the course of the week, and also allow it to sit on dry hops, if necessary.
The yeast brinks are a later addition, which the crew retro-fitted just last month. Again, Pete’s background in engineering came into play. The brinks are 20L kegs from the existing fleet, but the brew-crew removed the Sankey fitting (the top you see on most kegs) and attached a different clamp. As Pete explained, “this allows us to easily and reliably clean and fill a stainless steel vessel that doesn’t have any small nooks and crannies for potential beer enemies to hide in while we collect, transport and store our precious yeast!”
A brewer’s greatest strength may be a desire to innovate and a pragmatic approach, but that kind of passion for yeast doesn’t hurt either.