Fermentation container shape experiment

I’m about to brew a 12 gallon batch and split it up into 3 different shaped containers. I’m trying to see for myself whether vessel shape has any effect at the homebrew level.

First one will go in a corney keg. Tall and skinny. The second one will go in a cube shaped container where the length, width, and depth are all about the same. I’ve already got those.

For the third one I want something wide and shallow. I’m thinking about something like this:
. But does anyone have a different suggestion? It’s food grade plastic, and will only be in there for a few days, so I’m not too concerned about plastics leaching or anything like that. But if anyone has a different suggestion, or maybe some type of protective liner or anything, let me know. I figured I’d ask for suggestions before ordering it.

For the sake of consistency, my plan is to open ferment all 3 w/o airlocks. I’ll transfer them to secondaries once the kreusen starts to drop. The shape of the container will obviously effect the surface area exposed to air, but I think this approach will give me a better “apples to apples” comparison than I would get if I put airlocks on some but not all.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Is the goal just to compare OG to FG? I do not know what else could be learned.

That and flavor. They claim that fermentor shape can create different pressure levels, which in turn can influence yeast performance. While that may be true on the commercial level when thousands of gallons are being fermented in the same vessel, I’d just like to see if it’s also true on homebrew level.

I read an article recently where a commercial brewer claims that he only fills his fermentors 1/2 full, because he didn’t like how the yeast performed when they were entirely full. That would obviously cost the brewer money in lost efficiency, so there must be something to it.

Plus, since I need 3 primaries anyway, it seems like an easy experiment to do.

Correct me if i’m wrong but with open fermentation I think you are introducing more variables. I’m not very familiar with the practice but i remember there being a BTV episode on open fermentation and if I remember correctly the beer was more estery.

True. I’m doing a mild, so open fermentation is not atypical. But unless I can find a wide and shallow fermentor with a lid and airlock (any suggestions?), I don’t think I have another option if I want to try to keep other differences to a minimum. Plus, if they are all from the same wort and fermenting right next to each other, the extra variables associated with open ferment should be roughly the same.

btw, I’m also doing an air lock vs. open ferment experiment on a slit batch of ESB. I’ve got a starter of Ringwood yeast going for that right now, and will brew it next week. My container shape experiment will be next, after I get the third container.

Ah, I did not realize that you were going to taste them. I assumed with open fermentation that you would not be tasting. On the flat container, could you source some adequately sized plastic wrap and punch a little hole into it to allow the CO2 to escape?

If you have a big kettle, you could use that as your shallow fermenter. It comes with a lid, so it wouldn’t be an open-fermentation.

what about a 150-quart marine cooler?

http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-150-Qu ... uckgo-d-20

Have you asked the yeast if they care or not? :wink:

Ringwood is to yeast as the honey badger is to less superior badger strains.
Frick. I wish I had an abuse pack of it.

[quote=“Scott Miller”]Ringwood is to yeast as the honey badger is to less superior badger strains.
Frick. I wish I had an abuse pack of it.[/quote]
Ringwood is some crazy yeast. Never seen anything as active as it is.

Ya, if you’re just going for consistency in all three, why not cover them all, to prevent extra variables.

You could cover each with tin foil (tape it together if need be, over the low/wide fermenter) or plastic wrap.

Open fermentation with a wide low fermenter as compared to a carboy IS a factor, as a wide fermenter’s opening will collect more bacteria/wild yeast if it’s allowed to remain open.