Connecting our new 10 bbl fruit fermenters
This morning we had our seemingly yearly delivery of new fruit fermenters, but these ones are extra special! They’re custom built for us and our unique needs.
If you’ve ever been to our cellar, you know that we filled the space up pretty quickly. In order to maximize our space, I decided to get stacked tanks to double the aging space in the same footprint as one tank. There are three main reasons for these tanks.
Last year we increased our barrel aging space and volume to the maximum I’m comfortable with for our cellar. With that increase in base beer comes the pleasure of making more fruit beer! More fruit beer means more tanks! Last year we limped along with the help of some IBC totes. The quality of the beer that aged fruit in them was amazing, but the issue we had with them was trying to get the spent fruit out of them. Eric was doing a great job, but after the first time I had to do it myself I vowed to get stainless tanks for 2018. Thanks for the hard work, Eric. Consider this a little lesson; you should always make me do something that sucks if I’ve never done it before, it seems to create change faster haha.
Another reason we got these tanks is because Colorado has such a limited window for fresh, whole fruit compared to other areas in the country. For instance, apricots are only available fresh for 2 to 3 weeks in the beginning of the summer. In order for us to make all the blends we want with apricots, we have to have the storage space to ferment them all at once. Compare this to peaches or nectarines, which are available for at least 2-3 months! The irony of having all these tanks is that they will probably only be filled up collectively for a few weeks this summer. The rest of the time we get a little buffer space to play with. There’s nothing worse than having to turn down a farmer’s delivery because you don’t have the space to ferment the fruit. We’ve got the barrel stock, now we’ve got the ability to get it on fruit.
The third reason we’re getting these tanks is so that we can do what we’re calling “double fruiting.” This is when we age beer on fruit for the standard amount of time and then transfer it into another tank with new fruit! We’ve experimented with this before and loved the results so we’ll be doing much more this summer. We’ve got some plans to take beer fermented with apricots and then put it on different additional stone fruit. The apricot season is usually over before the free stone peaches start coming off. Our method of double fruiting is the only way we’re able to blend apricots and peaches or nectarines together. If you’ve seen these fruit combos before, they are most likely done with purees or concentrates, neither of which we’ll ever do. Only whole local fruit.
Thanks for reading, now time to go level those new tanks.