SsBrewtech’s Unitank is now available for home brew scale batches. We got our hands on one to check out!
Ssbrewtech a few years ago took the home brew market by storm with their stainless brew bucket. Over the years they have engineered some of the best home brewing equipment to hit the market. They didnt stop there, within the last year they began production on commercial brewing systems. With the continued success at the commercial level, they never forgot their roots, home brewers. Their Unitank was first available at 1bbl which was just out of reach for most home brewers until now. Ssbrewtech has introduced their home brewing line up of Unitanks at the 7gal, 14gal and 1/2bbl sizings! Bringing commercial quality and design to the home brewers scale. We got our hands on the 14gal Unitank to take a look.
What is a Unitank and how is it different from a Conical? Looking at them side by side, you probably wouldnt be able to tell the difference. They are both fermenters and have the iconic conical shape. In a typical brewery you ferment in a fermenter, once the beer is done and clear you can transfer it into a brite tank to pressurize and carbonate. Unitanks are designed to combine the fermenter and brite tank allowing you to ferment and pressurize to carbonate all within the same vessel. So quick and dirty, the difference is Unitanks you can pressurize to carbonate, Conicals you cannot.
Temperature control is arguably the most important variable for your finished product. You want to be able keep the temperature between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (depending on the yeast) around 32 degrees Fahrenheit at which you can carbonate beer efficiently as well as cold condition a beer to clarify it. SsBrewtechs Unitank comes equipped with a built in chilling coil and comes with a neoprene jacket to help reduce heat loss. No need to put it into a chest freezer, just connect it a chilling source such as a cooler with ice water or one of their glycol chiller. SsBrewtech also offers a temperature control unit (FTS) available for purchase separately.
Oxidation is a beers worst enemy. Pressure transferring beer is the best way to reduce oxidation. SsBrewtechs unitank is ready for pressure transfer directly out of the box. Simply connect your gas line to the ball valve on the racking cane. You are able to push the liquid from the top using 2-3psi and out of the transfer port or lower port of the conical. This allows for complete closed transfer of liquid with minimal exposure to oxygen. The really nice thing about this unit is that it comes equipped with a 15psi pressure release valve (PRV) which is great from a safety perspective. It also comes equipped with a pressure gauge so you can see the internal pressure of the vessel. The unit is rated for 30psi which gives you a nice safety cushion as well knowing that you are not pushing the bounds of pressurization.
Carbonation is the big feature that makes this Conical a Unitank. Out of the box SsBrewtechs unitank is ready to be used as a unitank. As mentioned above the unit is rated to hold 30psi and is equipped with a 15psi 1.5″ TC sanitary PRV as well as a 1.5″ TC sanitary diaphragm pressure gauge. What makes this unitank perfect for carbonating is the carb stone that is included. Pressurization is pretty straight forward on the vessel. Connect your gas to the 2pc ball valve / carb stone and set your regulator to 20psi or so. Monitor the gauge on the top of the vessel for what the head pressure is. Once the head pressure reaches the psi you are aiming for your beer is carbonated. Whats really nice about this is you can carb a beer in 24-48 hours, not days or weeks like with a keg. Few things to note when using this unitank, make sure everything is nice and tight. Check all your TC clamps and fittings and do a pressure test before putting beer into the vessel. We didnt have any issues but its always good to check a vessel before pressurizing. When pulling samples its best to turn the gas off and purge off some of the pressure. Or if you want to be fancy, SsBrewtech sells an attachment for the sample valve which is a coil that will help prevent the beer from foaming.