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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: dcb on January 16, 2015, 04:30:28 PM

Title: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: dcb on January 16, 2015, 04:30:28 PM
Just saw this article this morning.  It's about Benson Brewing of Omaha, which has begun riffing on the idea of using custom made clay amphora for fermentation and aging:

http://www.craftbeer.com/craft-beer-muses/amphora-ancient-vessel-modern-beer

I have yet to obtain a wooden keg and we're already off to the next great thing!
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: morticaixavier on January 16, 2015, 04:35:56 PM
Cool!

There is a guy in Napa that makes concrete fermenters for the wine industry. similar idea but I like the carbon footprint of clay much better than concrete.

I also like that they can be manufactured from locally sourced materials using local labor and expertise.
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: Philbrew on January 17, 2015, 06:18:16 AM
Just saw this article this morning.  It's about Benson Brewing of Omaha, which has begun riffing on the idea of using custom made clay amphora for fermentation and aging:

http://www.craftbeer.com/craft-beer-muses/amphora-ancient-vessel-modern-beer

I have yet to obtain a wooden keg and we're already off to the next great thing!
Well, waaaay back in the day, a friend and I used to brew beer in a 12 gallon crock.  That's clay, just highly fired.
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: hophead636 on January 17, 2015, 04:28:13 PM
That's awesome I love the look of the fermenters might have to find a local clay worker and see what it would cost to have made, 
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 17, 2015, 04:59:49 PM
The Youngs brewery in London had large concrete fermenters lined with a white coating.
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: TimT on January 17, 2015, 06:39:33 PM
It used to be a thing in Britain. I was skimming through a pottery book at a friend's house who happens to be a Brit and a potter. In it I found pictures of clay "carboys" used for home brewing.  I am not having luck finding one on google images, but will take a picture of the book later as I am going there in a couple hours for a wassail.
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: dcb on January 18, 2015, 04:23:01 PM
This might seem like a dumb question, but it wasn't clear to me whether the inside of these amphora were glazed or not.   If glazed, I can't see how they would be much different than a glass carboy.   If not, i'd worry about the porosity. 

But this is still something I'd love to fool around with.
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: bengelbrau on January 18, 2015, 06:54:27 PM
I keep thinking that if a clay amphora is used, it should only be transported with a trireme
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: morticaixavier on January 19, 2015, 08:10:27 PM
This might seem like a dumb question, but it wasn't clear to me whether the inside of these amphora were glazed or not.   If glazed, I can't see how they would be much different than a glass carboy.   If not, i'd worry about the porosity. 

But this is still something I'd love to fool around with.

I"m sure they are unglazed. the porosity is exactly what they are after. micro-oxidation/aeration. Similar to fermeting in wood.
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on January 19, 2015, 08:40:12 PM
So could I use this?

(http://images.lowes.com/product/converted/029501/029501201266.jpg)

Cover it with:

(http://images.lowes.com/product/converted/029501/029501202249.jpg)
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: TimT on January 19, 2015, 10:09:35 PM
Old school carboys
(http://i.imgur.com/PNb9m63.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/V5Daurm.jpg)
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: morticaixavier on January 19, 2015, 10:19:32 PM
Old school carboys
(http://i.imgur.com/PNb9m63.jpg)
(http://i.imgur.com/V5Daurm.jpg)

those are cool
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: DW on January 20, 2015, 02:04:44 AM
With the high porosity wouldn't there be a high chance of contamination?
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: Stevie on January 20, 2015, 02:10:39 AM

With the high porosity wouldn't there be a high chance of contamination?
I imagine the inside is completely glazed. Good quality glaze can be smooth as glass.
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: majorvices on January 20, 2015, 02:12:32 AM
With the high porosity wouldn't there be a high chance of contamination?

Theoretically, if you use the same yeast for every batch and keep strict sanitation procedures... not a problem.   More importantly, like infusing a wooden keg with brett or other bugs, the porosity may be exactly what you are after. I am working with a 55 gallon wooden cask right now, infusing it with bugs so that the porosity of the wood hold the wildness I want it to impart. Fun stuff.
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: morticaixavier on January 20, 2015, 03:01:05 PM
With the high porosity wouldn't there be a high chance of contamination?

Theoretically, if you use the same yeast for every batch and keep strict sanitation procedures... not a problem.   More importantly, like infusing a wooden keg with brett or other bugs, the porosity may be exactly what you are after. I am working with a 55 gallon wooden cask right now, infusing it with bugs so that the porosity of the wood hold the wildness I want it to impart. Fun stuff.

right, it would only get contaminated if you put contaminated beer in it. Then it would be more or less permanent.
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: pete b on January 20, 2015, 04:19:02 PM
I wonder if the clay they use is tested for heavy metals etc.. I'm thinking Rome and lead.
Title: Re: Clay fermentation vessels
Post by: morticaixavier on January 20, 2015, 04:35:22 PM
I wonder if the clay they use is tested for heavy metals etc.. I'm thinking Rome and lead.

to be fair, the romans were kind of asking for it what with lining the pipes AND drinking glasses with lead. IIRC they even occasionally added powdered white lead to wine as 'seasoning'