Winemakers all over the world have rediscovered concrete as a medium for fermentation. Now, most of the world's finest wines are made in concrete. The craft beer industry is extraordinarily creative, and beer makers are much more interested than wine makers in discovering new flavors and new varieties.
We are thrilled to offer you artisans of fermentation a new medium to create with. We predict a renaissance of innovation, producing an exciting, new generation of wild beers, sour beers, meads and porters.
Concrete can take the heat, or the cold. It's a natural insulator and will stabilize the temperature of whatever is inside of it. This stability makes for a smooth and gradual fermentation, because there are no temperature spikes to make the yeast become aggressive.
Sonoma Cast Stone also offers a unique temperature control system. Our system is hidden within the walls of the tank itself and does not make contact with the beer.
Concrete is porous, albeit on a microscopic scale, and that's where it beats stainless steel. The environment in stainless steel is too perfect to be ideal for fermentation. The porosity of concrete allows for micro-oxygenation to aid in initiating the fermentation process.
It's worth noting that wine fermented in concrete has the round mouthfeel of wine fermented in oak, but it has much greater purity of fruit flavor, even a greater intensity of fruit color.
Even neutral oak is not neutral. All oak will give a bit of itself to your beer, whether you like it or not. Concrete makes for a truly neutral vessel, imparting only a slight and desirable minerality.
What this means for a beer maker is control. Control over what your beer tastes like, and with the optional, embedded glycol tubing system, you also have precise control over the temperature you maintain throughout fermentation.
Pax Mahle, winemaker for Wind Gap Winery, says, "…concrete gives the wine the weight and texture of a barrel fermentation, but rather than tasting like a barrel, the wine tastes like where it was grown.”
Michael Bartier, winemaker for Haywire Winery, puts it this way, "Concrete does a very good job of showcasing a wine’s true terroir. Oak can mask those distinctions, but concrete doesn’t add, remove, or mask anything. It lets the fruit shine through to be a true statement of the place it was grown." Again, brewers should realize a great deal of control over the taste of their product.
Concrete can hold virtually any size or shape. At Sonoma Cast Stone, we exploit that attribute to the fullest with conical tanks, square and rectangular tanks, teacups, and even stackable NuBarrel™ tanks.
Concrete allows for the inclusion of any valve, gauge, hatch or cover. A manfacturer with our unique capabilities can also offer any color scheme you like or the benefit of having your logo displayed proudly on the tank itself. Also unique is our hidden temperature control system that makes no contact with the beer.
The strength and durability of concrete is truly the stuff of legend. Our tanks employ seismic engineering and a unique system of layered concrete that makes our tanks amazingly durable. We also use soft seals around our hatches to accommodate the different rates of expansion between the concrete and the steel fixtures.
Our overall expertise allows us to offer you a ten-year guarantee against structural cracking or leaking. That guarantee is also, you guessed it, unique.