There is so much variety of beer brewing equipment in the market these days. So, it’s obvious that we may get confused about which one to buy. Well, there are plenty of factors on which you should base your beer brewing equipment. There is size, quality, quantity, heating and cold concerns that every buyer has. Here is a little guide for you on how to choose different beer brewing equipment.
- Vessels: If you are looking to buy commercial equipment for beer brewing then an important thing that comes in your mind is vessels. You need to have several vessels made of stainless steel for the whole beer brewing process.
- Hot liquor tank: The first step of brewing beer includes heating water in a vessel known as Hot Liquor Tank.
- Lauter tun: Once the water is heated enough it is then transferred to another vessel which is called Lauter Tun. In this vessel, saturation happens to milled grain to extract the sugars and induce yummy flavors.
- Boiling kettle: After a few hours, this carbohydrate water is transferred into the boiling kettle where this liquid is boiled at high temperatures. Different things are added at this stage and boiled on to the point the kettle becomes the Whirlpool.
- Whirlpool: In this process, the large cluster hops separate from the rest of the liquid solution through gradual cooling. The whole equipment for this process is always next to each other with few stairs along with other ingredients in the same room which collectively known as the brewery. The person who oversees all the operations of beer brewing is referred to as a brewer.
- Third & fourth vessel: The big commercial breweries usually manage to make beer in 24 hours period. To speed up the process, they use a third and fourth vessel to increase the churn rate and increase labor efficiency as well.
- Fermented vessel: Once the hot liquid is cooled off then it is transferred into other vessels called fermented vessels where they add yeast in the liquid. This process will convert the sugar into alcohol and this might take a few days.
- Brite tank: It is transferred into another vessel named Brite Tank where the liquid is cooled further to the point where it allows the beer particles to remain at the bottom of the vessel. Once the beer is free of insoluble, it is kegged and bottled for the final stage.
- Size: Size of your brewery is another important thing that you must consider before buying your beer brewing equipment.
- Brewer size: If you start with a too big brewery, you might end up unsuccessful so it will be a waste of money, time, and effort. But if you are careful and choose a microbrewery size, then that would be right for you in the initial stages of start-up beer brewing business. Most of the time, the start-up microbreweries try to size their brewhouse at 10-30 barrels. Usually, 1 barrel is equal to 31.5 gallons which is like 2 big kegs and in terms of pints, it will be 240 pints. Also, 1 barrel is like the equivalent-sized fermenter/brite tanks. Once you have started from the micro stage, you can develop your business in a few years and expand your breweries eventually.
- Vessel size: Small and manageable brewery would need you to have small or medium-sized vessels and other equipment. Also, managing it would be easy and it will take less physical space. If you could manage your brewery well and yield 100 % results, it won’t be a bad investment.
- Number of vessels: Considering that all the beer brewing happens in vessels, you need to be sure how much space you have and how many vessels could be right for your space and operation. The basic thumb rule says that you need to buy enough vessels to go through the first 2 or 3 years of production. The following simple formula can help you get an estimate of how many vessels could there be in 2 to 3 years of production.
Daily fermenting volume available = # vessels * volume of vessel
Turns per-year = # of brew days per year/days to ferment average beer
Annual capacity = fermenting volume * turns per year
If you are planning to produce different flavors in the beer, then maybe having a few fermenter vessels would be a good idea.
- Heating source: Just like vessels are important for handling liquid, the heat is important to begin any operation of beer brewing. There are three types of heat sources that are usually used in all types of breweries.
- Direct fire: A direct flame is ideal to heat your tank full of liquid. When the tank is heated, it transfers heat inside to the liquid. It is the least expensive and best option for microbreweries. Also, you have to be careful about distributing heat equally in the tank because a constant flame can cause the scorch the wort.
- Indirect fire: It is a relatively new method where flame heats air in a separate burner box which then is circulated throughout a jacket around the tank to warm the liquid. This indirect fire is not as efficient as direct fire and rather costly than direct fire, but it won’t scorch the wort.
- Electric: Large heating bars are placed in the electric tank. It works the way you warm your residential bathing water. This method is being used by people but it is a little expensive than direct fire because electricity is expensive than gas but not expensive than the indirect fire source.
- Where to buy different beer brewing equipment?
Finally, when you have figured out what type of equipment you need in which size and quantity, then there comes a question of where to buy all the equipment. There are big manufacturers and suppliers from China who sell equipment at cheap prices, but we recommend you buy US-based equipment for better quality and almost no shipment cost. If you choose to buy from a foreign supplier, make sure to evaluate design and quality in your language to encounter any ambiguity.