This is part of the "traditional." Open fermentation. In this low-ceilinged fermentation room there were at least four different shapes of fermenters, clearly varying in age significantly. The brewery also has a cooperage which makes and repairs their wooden barrels (not all their beer is served "From the Wood," but quite a bit of it is) and two working 19th-century steam engines.
Here's more of the "traditional." When the yeast ferment the sugars, they give off heat (that's called an exothermic reaction). Rather than use jacketed stainless steel cylindroconical fermenters, Young's still uses these open fermenters with attemperators to keep the temperature of the fermenting beer from getting too hot. Most modern breweries use tanks that are cylindrical at the top and conical at the bottom (so the yeast collects and can be drawn off neatly at the bottom of the cone) and have tubes or plates that form a jacket around the outside of the fermenter. In these traditional fermenters, the copper pipes are mounted inside the fermenter. Cold water is run through the pipes to cool the fermenting beer. In modern fermenters, water or glycol (antifreeze) is circulated through the jacket by a refrigeration unit.
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