You may have heard us mention a "third tank" before and were probably wondering what the hell that meant... after all, why the "third" tank?
Well, here's how things work here at Hopcraft towers. As our conditioning tanks are 4 barrels capacity each (well, 680 litres) this means we brew in multiples of 4 barrels so as to fit the brew into the conditioning tanks once it's fermented. Usually we brew 8 barrel batches, but sometimes we'll push the boat out and make 12 barrels of some beers; the extra 90 minutes on the brewday is quickly mitigated by an extra 4 barrels of beer to sell!
Now, imagine we've brewed 12 barrels of Golden Pixie. This might sell at a rate of a barrel a week, so therefore we'd be having the beer in tank for a good few months getting a bit old before it was all sold. It wouldn't go off or have any major issues, as we flush the tanks with CO2 before filling them and then top them up afterwards to maintain a blanket of protective gas, but we just don't like the beer sitting around for extended periods.
So, why brew so much if it won't sell in time? This is where tank 3 comes in! We'll generally, for a big 12 barrel brew, sell 2 tanks as the original beer then the third one will be dry-hopped differently and be released as something else, at present one of the "Grudge Match" series. This has the added bonus of giving us an extra - different - beer to sell, meaning we sell more beer, plus it also means the beer isn't sat in tank for too long and turns over quicker, meaning you get fresher beer and more choice to boot.... win/win, eh?
So, that's the third tank - a big brew of a particular beer, where the third conditioning tank is dry-hopped (or otherwise amended from normal) and sold as a different beer!