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Brewery Heating Method

Views: 1     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-05-10      Origin: Site

The brewhouse is the heart and soul of the brewery.

For many brands, it is the centrepiece of the space, tying everything together. If the aesthetic is on point, it can also be a major feature – being the primary attraction to get people in the door.

Good brewery design can also lead to huge cash savings. Time is money – so we design our brewhouses to reduce time spent on tasks. Poor brewery design leads to inefficiencies, haphazard processes and over extended resources.

While many parts of brewery design definitely come down to preference and opinion – there are some staples to getting it right that we follow, to give our clients the best results.

When we are helping a client lock in their brewhouse design, we focus on three main points – heating method, configuration and controls.  (To help everyone keep up, we have created this handy Glossary of Terms!)

  • MT – mash tun

  • LT – lauter tun

  • KT – kettle

  • WT – whirlpool

  • MLT – mash and lauter combination tun

  • KWT – kettle and whirlpool combination tun

  • HLT – hot liquor tank

  • CLT – cold liquor tank


DEGONG 5000L brewery equipment

Brewery Heating Method

This is a really critical question – as your heating method could possibly dictate your entire configuration.

The heating methods we offer are steam, direct-fire and electric – and we prefer them in that order as well.

Before deciding on your heat source it is best to look at your site and the utilities coming in.

Do you have a natural gas line? Can you put gas bottles onsite? (These are important for gas steam boilers or direct-fire.) What are your electricity costs? (This is important for electric heating elements and electric steam boilers.)

Steam Heating Method

This, in our humble opinion, is the best option. Primarily because it gives you efficiency (make sure to return the condensate) and flexibility.

With a steam heating method you are able to perform step mashing in a mash and lauter combination vessel. Not to mention steam can be used in other equipment in the brewery, for example cleaning and packaging equipment.

We can also utilize external HEX for hot liquor tanks – not only for heating your ambient water coming in, but also faster temperature gains altogether by recirculating liquor in the HLT.

It’s also useful to note that the same method of employing a HEX for steam heating can be used on the cold side for cooling liquor in the CLT, with exactly the same process as described above, but using glycol as opposed to steam.

An important note – in terms of installation cost, it is typically the most expensive option as steam boilers are expensive and installation of steam lines and componentry is also pricey. In terms of maintenance and upkeep, the steam boilers require professional engineers to maintain the longevity of these units, so choosing the best boiler supplier is crucial.

Pros: flexibility, efficiency, multi use around the brewery, fastest heating.

Cons: expensive installation, regulations and maintenance.

Direct-Fire Heating Method

Imagine a big flamethrower aimed at the bottom of a vessel via a firebox this is essentially a direct-fire system! The burners used are intense, but you will get a good rigorous rolling boil with a direct fire flame.

Pros: cheap installation, low maintenance, faster heating

Cons: least efficient, single infusion mashing, more expensive due to the firebox

Electric Heating Method

Depending on your electricity rate this can be pretty expensive. This is why we generally don’t recommend this heating method for anything over 7BBL or 10BBL – unless you have crazy cheap electricity.

You can get good boils from heating elements, but they can also prove problematic for cleaning and also whirlpooling, as they can disrupt the effects.

Pros: cheapest installation, low maintenance (but can be expensive depending on electric bill)

Cons: not the best when using a kettle and whirlpool combination vessel, scorching of wort, no heat source for mash tun

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