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Home Brewing with Pressure Fermentation

Pressure fermentation enables beer to be fermented faster and more consistently, and it increases beer quality. It’s not new to brewing but it is fairly new to homebrewing and it’s key to the brewing success you’ll get with a WilliamsWarn® system.

 

How is it different to traditional home brewing? That’s typically done in a container with an airlock for the first ferment and then the flat beer is transferred into bottles with a measured amount of sugar so that when the bottle is capped, the fermented sugar will produce enough CO2 to carbonate the beer in the bottle.

 

Pressure fermentation, which basically keeps the CO2 produced by the yeast during fermentation inside the fermenter, enables complete carbonation control during brewing. Being able to produce quality beer at home with minimal effort and no long learning curve, while being able to customise beers to match your craft or mainstream favourite beers means you can be confident about your brews from the get go. Other advantages of pressure fermentation include:

 

  1. Carbonation is captured and maintained during the ferment and excess CO2 is released
  2. There is no need to do a second ferment in a bottle to get the carbonation right
  3. The carbonation can be adjusted to exactly how you want it during or towards the end of the ferment
  4. The beer can be clarified under pressure which reduces oxidation and risk of infection
  5. Sediment removal can be done under pressure and with the WilliamsWarn® BrewKeg™ which has a transparent sediment bottle, you can see what is being removed and how clear the beer is before dispensing
  6. The ferment can be completed at higher-than-normal temperatures, which makes it fast
  7. The beer can be chilled and clarified straight after ferment, so once it is clarified it is ready to drink as soon as the clarity is to your liking
  8. Beer can be dispensed directly from the BrewKeg™ (pressure fermenter)
  9. Transferring the beer to bottles or kegs can be done under pressure
  10. Having a consistent ferment process means you can gauge whether your wort, ingredients in layman’s terms, are of a good quality or not and this is helpful for both all-grain and extract brewers

 

As the process becomes more understood, the interest in brewing under pressure at home has gained momentum, and it has helped to double the number of homebrewers in New Zealand over the past five or six years. With pressure fermentation, the beer making process is simple and repeatable and you avoid the problems typically found in a traditional two-step ferment. These include:

 

  • Transferring the beer from vessel to bottle while not under pressure, which exposes the beer to oxygen and increases the risk of infection
  • The process of transferring to bottle and adding sugar to each bottle takes time and once the bottle is capped there are no options to remove the sediment created from the second ferment
  • Consistent quality is harder to achieve, as each bottle creates its own ferment pressure and even a small difference in sugar content added to each bottle or even a different fill height in each bottle will adjust the amount of CO2 produced in each bottle
  • The process takes longer, to be able to get clear beer from the top of each bottle means that you have to wait for the sediment to settle and it can’t be removed from the bottle
  • Inconsistency during fermentation can make it hard to gauge if the beer is not as good as it should be because of fermentation factors or because the wort (ingredients) is not as good as it could be

 

With the consistency of pressure fermentation, you can have confidence in your base ingredients and the equipment to do the job. You can produce beers of good quality every time and focus on creativity and how you can enhance the base flavours by tweaking your recipes.

 

Next up – the engineering behind pressure fermentation and the science of why the process produces better beer.
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