What to Keep in Mind When Purchasing Beer Brewing Equipment

What to Keep in Mind When Purchasing Beer Brewing Equipment

1. Brewhouse Unit

Currently, the primary equipment for hotel bar craft beer brewing is composed of two vessels: one mash/lauter tun and one kettle/whirlpool tun. If the budget allows, it is recommended to add a hot water tank to assist with sparging. The volume of the hot liquor tank can be equal to a single batch or double batch of the mash/lauter tun. If you plan to brew multiple batches in a day, investing in a 3 or 4 vessel brewhouse equipment would greatly benefit you.

It is suggested to use a flat bottom lauter tun with a wort collection ring and an anti-rinser pipeline, as well as an easily removable false bottom. After each brewing batch, the false bottom should be taken out, cleaned, and dried. Craft beer brewers in Europe and the United States often disassemble and clean the false bottom as there are areas where dirt can accumulate, which are usually not visible. During summer, bacteria can grow within half a day in such areas.

The method of heating the brewery equipment is also crucial. Steam heating is the preferred choice as it ensures a uniform heating surface and prevents excessive color development in the wort, thus maintaining the quality of the beer.

2. Fermentation Tank

If your brewery project allows, consider adding side manholes or top manholes, bunging valves, breath relief valves, sampling valves, laser welding jackets, and a dry hopping port with a direct hop doser.

The most important factors are the material and thickness of the raw materials. Since the fermentation tank operates under pressure exceeding 1 bar, it falls under the category of pressure vessels. Additionally, the temperature variations, high pressure, and exposure to acid and alkali during usage can cause fatigue in the steel plates, thereby affecting the lifespan of the fermenters. The inner shell of a capacity above 500L should have a thickness of no less than 3 mm, the glycol jacket should be 1.5 mm, and the external shell should be 2 mm. If your fermenter develops leaks after a year of use, it is possible that the manufacturer did not use sufficiently thick steel plates or the welding quality was poor, resulting in oxidation.

3. Chillers

The role of chillers in the brewing process is extremely important. Proper temperature control, especially for lager beers, is essential for maintaining the quality of all craft beers. If a chiller malfunctions, the temperature of all beers can rise, significantly impacting their quality. Therefore, it is recommended to have two sets of chillers, such as using two 5HP units instead of one 8HP unit. During less busy brewing days, you can operate only one set, allowing the two chillers to work alternately, thus prolonging their lifespan.

4. Steam Boiler

It is advisable to choose large or well-known brands when selecting a steam boiler for brewing. If possible, purchase from a reputable local supplier to avoid potential issues with certifications or after-sales service. Additionally, the use of boilers must be accompanied by a water softening device to prevent scaling inside the boiler, which can become a serious safety concern within a few months.

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