Innovative Brewery Heating Techniques

The brewhouse is the core of the brewery.

For many brands, it serves as the centerpiece, bringing everything together. When designed with aesthetics in mind, it can also be a major attraction, drawing people in.

Effective brewery design can lead to significant cost savings. Time is money, so we focus on designing our brewhouses to streamline tasks. Poor design results in inefficiencies, disorganized processes, and wasted resources.

While some aspects of brewery design are subjective, there are key principles we follow to ensure the best results for our clients.

When assisting clients with their brewhouse design, we prioritize three main points: heating method, configuration, and controls. (To assist everyone, we have created a helpful Glossary of Terms!)

Mash tun (MT)

Lauter tun (LT)

Kettle (KT)

Whirlpool (WT)

Mash and lauter combination tun (MLT)

Kettle and whirlpool combination tun (KWT)

Hot liquor tank (HLT)

Cold liquor tank (CLT)

ACE 5000L brewery equipment

Brewery Heating Method

This is a crucial consideration as the heating method may impact the overall configuration.

We offer three heating methods: steam, direct-fire, and electric. We prefer these methods in the same order.

Before choosing a heat source, it’s important to assess your site and available utilities.

Do you have access to a natural gas line? Can you have gas bottles on-site? (These factors are important for gas steam boilers or direct-fire systems.) What are your electricity costs? (This matters for electric heating elements and electric steam boilers.)

Steam Heating Method

In our opinion, this is the optimal choice due to its efficiency (remember to reclaim the condensate) and versatility.

With a steam heating method, you can perform step mashing in a mash and lauter combination vessel. Additionally, steam can be utilized in other brewery equipment, such as cleaning and packaging machines.

We can also employ external heat exchangers (HEX) for hot liquor tanks. This not only heats incoming ambient water but also facilitates faster temperature adjustments by circulating liquor in the HLT.

It’s worth noting that the same heat exchange method used for steam heating can be applied on the cold side to cool liquor in the CLT. The process is identical, but glycol is used instead of steam.

Be aware that installation costs for steam heating are typically higher due to expensive steam boilers and the need for professional engineers to maintain them. Choosing a reputable boiler supplier is crucial.


flexibility, efficiency, multiple uses throughout the brewery, fastest heating


expensive installation, regulatory requirements, maintenance

Direct-Fire Heating Method

Imagine a powerful flamethrower directed at the bottom of a vessel through a firebox – this is essentially a direct-fire system! The burners used are intense, ensuring a vigorous rolling boil.


cost-effective installation, low maintenance, faster heating


less efficient, limited to single infusion mashing, higher cost due to firebox requirements

Electric Heating Method

Depending on your electricity rates, this method can be quite expensive. As a result, we generally do not recommend it for sizes exceeding 7BBL or 10BBL, unless you have exceptionally cheap electricity.

Heating elements can produce good boils, but they may pose challenges for cleaning and whirlpooling as they can disrupt the effects.


cheapest installation, low maintenance (although potentially expensive depending on the electric bill)


not ideal for kettle and whirlpool combination vessels, wort scorching, no heat source for the mash tun

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