120BBL Fermentation Tank: What Need You To Know

May 23, 2023

A 120-barrel (bbl) fermentation tank is a vessel used in the brewing and fermentation process to produce beer or other fermented beverages, A 120-bbl fermentation tank has a capacity of 120 barrels or around 3,710 gallons (14,040 liters). These tanks are typically made of stainless steel, which is the preferred material for its durability, ease of cleaning, and resistance to corrosion.

The size of a fermentation tank can vary depending on the brewery's production needs. Larger breweries may have multiple fermentation tanks of different sizes to accommodate various batches of beer. The 120-bbl size is considered relatively large and is suitable for breweries with substantial production capacity.

Features of 120bbl fermentation tank

A 120-bbl fermentation tank typically possesses several features designed to facilitate the fermentation process and ensure the quality of the final product. Here are some common features you might find in a fermentation tank of this size:

Material: Fermentation tanks are usually constructed from stainless steel. Stainless steel is preferred due to its durability, resistance to corrosion, and ease of cleaning, which helps maintain hygienic conditions during fermentation.

Insulation: Fermentation tanks may have insulation to help regulate and maintain the desired temperature during fermentation. This is especially important for breweries that produce beers requiring precise temperature control.

Cooling Jackets: Some fermentation tanks are equipped with cooling and heating jackets. These jackets allow for the circulation of temperature-controlled fluids, such as glycol, to regulate the temperature inside the tank and control the fermentation process.

Pressure Relief Valve: To manage the release of carbon dioxide produced during fermentation, fermentation tanks are fitted with pressure relief valves. These valves prevent excessive pressure buildup inside the tank while maintaining the necessary fermentation conditions.

Design: These tanks are usually cylindrical in shape, with a conical bottom to facilitate the collection and removal of yeast sediment. They often feature a top manway for access, as well as various ports and fittings for temperature control, sampling, and transferring the fermented beer.

Sampling Valves: Sampling valves are installed to draw samples of the fermenting liquid for quality control and testing purposes. They allow brewers to monitor the progress of fermentation and make any necessary adjustments.

Manway Access: A fermentation tank typically has at least one large access point, known as a manway, for easy cleaning, sanitization, and adding or removing ingredients during the brewing process. The manway is usually fitted with a secure and easy-to-open hatch.

CIP  System: Many fermentation tanks are equipped with a CIP system, which enables easy and efficient cleaning of the tank without the need for disassembly. This system uses high-velocity water or cleaning solutions to sanitize the tank after use.

Racking Arm/Outlet: A racking arm or outlet is positioned near the bottom of the fermentation tank. It allows for the removal of the fermented liquid, leaving behind any sediment or solids that have settled during the fermentation process.

Sight Glass: Some fermentation tanks may include a sight glass, which allows brewers to visually monitor the fermentation process and observe the beer's clarity and color.

Integration with Brewery Systems: These larger tanks are typically integrated into a brewery's overall production system. They may be connected to piping systems, filtration units, and other equipment for efficient transfer of the fermented beer to subsequent stages of the brewing process.

These features may vary depending on the manufacturer and specific design of the fermentation tank, but they are commonly found in tanks of this size to ensure effective and controlled fermentation.

Advantages of using the 120bbl fermentation tank

Using a 120-bbl fermentation tank in a brewery can offer several advantages. Here are some benefits of utilizing a tank of this size:

Increased Production Capacity: The primary advantage of a larger fermentation tank like the 120-bbl size is its increased production capacity. With a larger tank, breweries can ferment larger batches of beer in a single vessel, allowing for greater production volume. This can be particularly beneficial for breweries that have high demand or need to scale up their operations.

Efficiency and Time Savings: Fermenting larger batches in a single tank can lead to improved efficiency and time savings. It reduces the need for multiple fermentation cycles, cleaning, and setup time associated with smaller tanks. With a 120-bbl tank, brewers can streamline their production process and potentially increase overall output.

Consistency in Beer Quality: Large fermentation tanks provide better control over the fermentation environment, including temperature and yeast activity. This consistency in the fermentation process can help ensure a more consistent and higher-quality beer from batch to batch. It reduces variations in flavor, aroma, and other characteristics of the final product.

Cost-Effective: While the initial investment for a larger tank may be higher than smaller tanks, the use of a 120-bbl fermentation tank can be cost-effective in the long run. By fermenting larger volumes in a single vessel, breweries can reduce energy consumption, labor costs, and cleaning/sanitization efforts associated with managing multiple smaller tanks.

Space Optimization: Utilizing a larger fermentation tank can help optimize space in the brewery. Instead of having several smaller tanks that require additional floor space, a single 120-bbl tank allows for consolidation and efficient use of the available area. This can be particularly advantageous for breweries with limited space.

Scalability: A 120-bbl fermentation tank provides scalability options for future growth. As a brewery expands its operations, it can easily increase production by adding more 120- bbl tanks or other equipment that complements the existing tank.

It's important to note that the choice of fermentation tank size should align with the specific needs and production capacity of the brewery. While a 120-bbl tank offers numerous advantages, smaller or larger tanks may be more suitable depending on factors such as demand, space availability, and production goals.

 How to choose the right 120bbl fermentation tanks

Choosing the right 120-bbl fermentation tank involves considering various factors that align with your brewery's specific needs and requirements. Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed decision:

Production Volume: Assess your production volume and projected growth. Ensure that a 120-bbl tank matches or accommodates your desired batch size. Consider factors such as current demand, expansion plans, and potential market growth to determine if this tank size will meet your needs.

Space Availability: Evaluate the available space in your brewery. Measure the area where the fermentation tank will be installed and ensure that a 120-bbl tank can fit comfortably without hindering other operations or workflows. Consider the layout and accessibility for cleaning, maintenance, and future expansion.

Equipment Compatibility: Consider the compatibility of the 120-bbl tank with your existing brewing equipment and infrastructure. Ensure that the tank's dimensions, fittings, and connections align with your brewing system, including pumps, pipes, and cooling systems. Compatibility will help streamline integration and prevent costly modifications or adaptations.

Material and Quality: Look for fermentation tanks made of high-quality stainless steel. Stainless steel is the preferred material due to its durability, hygiene properties, and resistance to corrosion. Ensure that the tank meets industry standards and specifications to ensure longevity and ease of maintenance.

Temperature Control: Assess the tank's temperature control features. Depending on your brewing processes and beer styles, you may require precise temperature control during fermentation. Look for tanks with integrated cooling and heating systems or insulation  capabilities to maintain optimal fermentation temperatures.

Cleaning and Sanitization: Consider the ease of cleaning and sanitizing the tank. Look for features like manways, CIP systems, and appropriate access points that facilitate thorough cleaning, removal of sediments, and proper sanitization. Effective cleaning and  sanitization are critical for maintaining beer quality and preventing contamination.

Manufacturer Reputation: Research and choose reputable manufacturers or suppliers known for producing high-quality fermentation tanks. Read reviews, seek recommendations, and assess the manufacturer's experience, customer support, and warranty policies. A reliable manufacturer will provide you with a well-constructed tank and reliable after-sales service. 

Cost and Budget: Evaluate the cost of the 120-bbl fermentation tank, considering your budget and return on investment. Compare prices from different suppliers while ensuring that the tank meets your quality and functional requirements. Remember to consider long-term operational costs, such as energy consumption and maintenance, in addition to the upfront price.

Customization Options: Determine if the tank can be customized to meet your specific needs. Some manufacturers offer customization options for fittings, accessories, or additional features tailored to your brewing processes and preferences. Customization can enhance efficiency, workflow, and functionality.

By considering these factors, you can choose a 120-bbl fermentation tank that suits your production goals, space availability, quality standards, and budget while ensuring compatibility with your brewing setup. Don't hesitate to consult with industry experts, brewers, or suppliers for additional guidance specific to your brewery's requirements.

Maintenance of a 120bbl Fermentation Tank

Proper maintenance of a 120-bbl fermentation tank is essential to ensure its longevity, hygiene, and optimal performance. Here are some maintenance practices to consider:

Regular Cleaning: Clean the fermentation tank thoroughly between batches to remove any residues, yeast sediment, or other impurities. Use appropriate cleaning agents and follow recommended procedures provided by the tank manufacturer. Ensure all parts, such as manways, valves, and fittings, are cleaned effectively.

Sanitization: Prior to each use, sanitize the fermentation tank to eliminate any potential contaminants and ensure a clean environment for fermentation. Use sanitizing agents approved for food and beverage industry use and follow recommended contact times and procedures. Pay special attention to areas that come in contact with the wort or beer, such as valves, pipes, and sampling ports.

Inspections: Regularly inspect the tank for any signs of damage, leaks, or wear. Check for loose fittings, damaged gaskets, or corrosion. Inspect seals, valves, and pressure relief devices for proper functioning. Detecting and addressing issues early can prevent further damage and maintain the tank's integrity.

Temperature Control: If your fermentation tank has integrated temperature control systems, regularly check and calibrate them to ensure accurate temperature control. Monitor temperature sensors, heating elements, and cooling systems to ensure they are functioning properly. Verify that the tank maintains the desired fermentation temperature during operation.

Pressure Relief: Ensure that pressure relief valves or airlocks are functioning correctly. These safety features allow excess carbon dioxide produced during fermentation to escape while maintaining appropriate pressure levels inside the tank. Regularly inspect and clean these components to prevent blockages or malfunction.

Gasket Maintenance: Inspect and replace gaskets as needed to maintain a proper seal. Gaskets can wear out over time, leading to leaks or contamination risks. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for gasket maintenance and replacement intervals.

External Surface Cleaning: Clean the external surface of the fermentation tank regularly to maintain its appearance and hygiene. Use appropriate stainless steel cleaners or detergents to remove stains, fingerprints, or other contaminants. Avoid abrasive cleaners that can scratch or damage the tank's surface.

Documentation and Record-Keeping: Maintain a log of maintenance activities, including cleaning, sanitization, inspections, and repairs. Keep records of any maintenance performed, replacement parts used, and dates of service. This documentation helps track maintenance history, troubleshoot recurring issues, and ensure compliance with quality standards or regulatory requirements.

Professional Servicing: Periodically schedule professional servicing or maintenance by qualified technicians or manufacturers. They can perform in-depth inspections, preventive maintenance, and address any specialized servicing needs of the fermentation tank. Professional servicing ensures that the tank is operating optimally and helps identify any potential issues before they become major problems.

Remember to consult the tank manufacturer's guidelines and recommendations for specific maintenance procedures and intervals, as they may vary based on the tank's design and specifications. Regular and diligent maintenance practices will help extend the life of your 120bbl fermentation tank and ensure the production of high-quality beer.


120bbl fermentation tanks are suitable for breweries with high production volumes or those looking to scale up their operations. They provide the capacity and flexibility needed to handle larger batches of beer and maintain consistency in the fermentation process.

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