Author Topic: Clay fermentation vessels  (Read 1560 times)

Offline dcb

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
  • Num, me vexo?
    • View Profile
Clay fermentation vessels
« 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!

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #1 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.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline Philbrew

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 867
    • View Profile
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #2 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.
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline hophead636

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 221
    • View Profile
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #3 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, 

Online hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8872
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2015, 04:59:49 PM »
The Youngs brewery in London had large concrete fermenters lined with a white coating.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline TimT

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #5 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.

Offline dcb

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
  • Num, me vexo?
    • View Profile
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #6 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.

Offline bengelbrau

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 146
    • View Profile
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #7 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

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #8 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.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline kylekohlmorgen

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1363
  • Saint Louis, MO
    • View Profile
    • The South House Pilot Brewery
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2015, 08:40:12 PM »
So could I use this?



Cover it with:

Twitter/Instagram: @southhousebrew

Recipes, Brett/Bacteria Experiments: http://SouthHouseBeer.com/

Offline TimT

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2015, 10:09:35 PM »
Old school carboys


Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2015, 10:19:32 PM »
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline DW

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
    • View Profile
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2015, 02:04:44 AM »
With the high porosity wouldn't there be a high chance of contamination?

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #13 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.

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9636
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Clay fermentation vessels
« Reply #14 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.