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What Is A Topping Tank?

For those who are familiar with the winemaking process, there is a good chance that you have heard of, or used, a topping tank yourself. If you aren’t familiar with this process then you might be asking, “What exactly is a topping Tank?”

Topping tanks are exactly what you might think when you hear the name. They are used to top off containers and/or barrels so that the content is filled completely to the top. This is done to ensure that the least amount of oxygen is stored inside the tank with your product, which should slow down the growth of bacteria and spoilage.

Many craft beverage producers will age products to impart certain flavors. These flavors sometimes develop from age alone, and other times they come from foreign additives, or the aging container itself. Wood barrels are a common choice for aging. This is because wood will allow liquid to lightly absorb into it, passing through the tight grains that hold it together, which will impart a distinct flavor onto the product.

Oak tends to be the barrel of choice when it comes to aging beverages. This is not always true but often is the case. “Oak is a ‘pure wood,’ as opposed to pine or rubber trees, which contain resin canals that can pass strong flavors.”

Being strong enough to hold liquid, while not imparting undesirable flavors, is what make Oak such a great aging container.

If you were to fill an oak barrel to the top and leave it to age, you will eventually see the fill level lower. This is because the wood is soaking up your product as it ages and imparting those delicious flavors you want. The downside is that oxygen is replacing that liquid, which can cause bacteria to grow and spoil your wine! This would be a catastrophe, which is where your topping tank comes in.

So, what exactly do you need in a topping tank? In a perfect world, a portable pressure rated tank like the one on the right would be used. These tanks operate very similarly to a large beer keg on wheels.

This option would allow the user to easily move the tank to each barrel or container you are aging product in and needing to top off. The pressure rating would let them to charge the tank with pressure, which means no additional equipment is needed to pump liquid out.

With a topping tank, a person simply needs to get liquid from point ‘A’ to point ‘B,’ so many options exist of course. However, this example would be the easiest, and most efficient for anyone looking to top off many aging tanks in a quick manor. Contact CSC

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