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Microbrewery Equipment List

Views: 11     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-08-10      Origin: Site

If you are really passionate about homebrewing and want to consider starting your own business, I offer an overview on how to get started with your own microbrewery.

There are two types, brewpubs and microbreweries. A brewpub is smaller, perhaps 3-7 barrels (1 US barrel equals 31 gallons).  A microbrewery is larger, perhaps from 10 bbls. to 30 bbls. and up. The barrelage is measured by the brew kettle, or how much wort you produce in one batch.

Microbrewery Equipment List

1) Grain mill

If you buy a grain mill, a three-roller mill is best but much more expensive. The malt husk of the grain needs to be evenly split and largely intact to properly filter the mash during the sparge. The three rollers give the best results.

You can buy pre-milled malt or crack your own for freshness and cost-savings.  It is worth the investment and will save money. An augur may be added to move your malt directly into the mash tun, ultimately labor-saving.

2) Mashing system

A mash/ lauter tun (tank or vessel) is your primary piece.  In it, you mash your malt and extract your sugar from the raw grain.  It will also serve as your lauter (lauter is to wash).  After the mash, run a specified amount of water through the mash to bring the volume of the wort up to capacity.

There will be an electric stainless-steel pump for transfer.  You will fire the kettle with electric or a steam boiler.

The kettle is just this, a big pot for boiling.  It is vented through the ceiling.  Steam is more efficient.

A hot-liquor tank is for bulk hot water heating.  You can live without it but not recommended.  Its primary role is to heat water for mashing. It also provides ready water for cleaning the plant. Brewers scrub the inside of tanks with hot caustic washes.

A cold liquor tank is useful, and a luxury. You keep cold water solely for cooling the wort after boiling.


DEGONG mill machine and mashing system

3) Heat exchanger

Your brewhouse pump will transfer your raw wort through a heat exchanger.  The heat exchanger is a tall block-shaped device made of layered plates.  200° wort goes in one side, 40° (or ambient) water goes in the other.  This counterflow process cools your wort in 30-40 minutes.  A cold liquor tank really comes in handy.

There are double-bank heat exchangers that are the most effective. They chill the incoming water with glycol first, possibly eliminating the need for a Cold-Liquor tank.

4) Fermentation system

Fermenters are the vessels in which raw wort transforms into beer. As seen in the photo, they are cylindroconical.  They have a 45-60° cone that facilitates the drop out of solids once fermentation is complete: dead yeast, proteins, hops, and the healthy yeast too.  This is to effectively clarify the beer.

This is one of the time-consuming aspects of brewing. Fermentation will last 7-14 days for ales and 21-35 days for lagers. You will need to have ample fermentation equipment set up and ready to store and monitor the progress of your beer.

5) Brite tanks

Brite tanks are beer tanks used for storage, conditioning, carbonation, and packaging. They will have dish bottoms and sight glasses (a thin glass tube running the vertical height of the tank).  They will also have ports for a carbonation stone and sample cocks (small spigots) for measuring CO2 volumes.

They are cheaper than fermenters as the dish bottoms are single-walled and easier to make than cones.

Brewpubs will serve beer from Brite tanks.  In this case, you pay taxes based on the volume in the tank.  Production brewers will pay taxes based on what makes it onto the pallet and into the walk-in, whether steel, bottle, or glass package.


DEGONG fermentation tanks and brite tanks

6) Cooling system

Beer tanks have cooling jackets.  They are double-walled stainless-steel, insulated and have large sections for the circulation of coolant- propylene glycol.

A glycol chiller has a large reservoir as well as a refrigeration compressor.  It keeps the glycol at 28-30° F.  As you circulate this through the fermenter or Brite-Tank jackets, the beer is finished, aging, or being prepared for packaging.  Glycol chilling keeps the beer stable and inhibits bacteria growth and prepares the beer for sale.

7) Valves and Hoses

You’ll need 100’ plus of 1.5 – 2” Brewers and Vintners sanitary transfer hose. It is not cheap, depending on the quality and fitting. The sanitary fitting for the ends will be separate.

Also, 200’ of ⅜” ID braided reinforced gas hose is needed for cellaring, feeding CO2 and O2 to all corners of the brewery.

Butterfly, ball, pressure, and half a dozen other types of valves are usually included with your equipment. It’s a good idea to have extra.

8) CIP system

You will need a portable CIP (clean-in-pace) tank that you can use for housing your sanitation solution, caustic (alkaline cleaner for organics) wash, and acid washes (largely for mineral build-up). It may have a built-in circulation pump or can be paired with a portable pump.

You can use the vessels themselves as reservoirs, but the portable CIP tank streamlines the process.

With the CIP and pumps, you will sanitize all your production equipment as well as sanitize the other empty tanks so that you can run multiple processes simultaneously: racking, filtering, wort production.

Without the right sanitation equipment and applicable chemicals, you should not even consider getting started with brewing a new batch of beer on-site.



9) Control system

You will need to have temperature controls set up for your beer tanks.  You may also have a centralized control panel for your brewhouse, depending on its level of automation.

A main control panel is optional that can be mounted directly to the tanks. The brewhouse (production area) switches can all be thrown manually.  It depends on your budget and priorities for your brewery that determine what kind of switch system you have.

Control panel can also be viewed as safety measures you can use to halt production and prevent accidents in your facility.

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