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#7 – Choice of brewing method for industrial brewing

In this newsletter you can read about the selection of brewery and hear the story of how we tailored a few 200 litre tanks so that they could fit right into a very low basement in Lyngby.

Have a summer. We wish you a comfortable read (and remember that we can always deliver new and custom-made, combined yeast- and storage tanks in just three months.)

Choose your first brewing system with care

Many customers turn to us because they are brewing some nice beers at homebrew-level, and now they want to produce more beer and perhaps even get a business out of it. Others already know how to brew beer on a special type of microbrewing system and are feeling unsure of how to expand or replace the facility.

We are of course helping everyone with advice and guidance. There are some key considerations that can be usefully done in advance.

The very simple and inexpensive breweries consist of only two vessels. It results in some disadvantages, which you must be confident that you can come to terms with:

The first is that you cannot mash the barley at increasing temperature, because there is no heater in the mash tub. Stepwise Infusion – that is, mashing at an increasing temperature – gives a better use of the sugar content of the malt.

You can raise the temperature during mashing by sparging with warm water given that there is room in the vessel – or use so-called decoction mashing, where you tap out a part of the herb, heat it separately and pump it back into the mash vessel. A relatively work- and time-consuming process.

It may be tempting to start with a two-vessel system like this 600 liter brewery – but it is important to consider in advance whether the system can grow with the ambitions and the business.

How much beer do we want?

If you want to brew several brews one after the other on a two-vessel system, then you have to stick to mashing at one temperature – so-called single infusion.

It points to the first and most central consideration that one has to make as a microbrewer: How much beer do we want to brew annually? Or rather: How little can I brew and still monetize it?

As a rough rule of thumb, we usually say that you have to brew between 80,000 and 120,000 litres of beer per year to give a reasonable salary to a brewmaster. In that equation it is of course relevant to calculate how many hours of work it takes to brew the desired amount of beer.

The equation quickly indicates the fact that it is not easy to create a sensible brewery business with a simple two-vessel system. It must at least be suitable for an extension with an additional vessel later.

Two-vessel system

A brewing system with two vessels is typically divided with mash and straining vat in the first vessel and a boiling pans and whirlpool in the second vessel. This means that the herb has to go back and forth between the two vessels several times – and the vessels must be emptied and cleaned along the way.

You can also get a two-vessel system, where the first vessel is both boiling vessel, mash vessel and whirlpool and the other tub is exclusively straining vat. With this configuration it becomes easier to extend to a three-vessel system with a separate boiling vessel or separate whirlpool later on. There are also special models where the upper half of the second vessel is a straining vat and then there is a whirlpool in the chamber under the straining vat.

Three or four vessels

A three-vessel system does not need to be large or bulky. Here is a compact three-karssystem of 300 liters.

For profitably industrial use, microbreweries consist of three or even four vessels, each with its own separate function in the process: mashing, straining vatting, boiling and whirlpooling. Many are complemented by a separate hot water system – i.e. a separate boiler. The hot water system typically consists of an insulated tank with a heat spiral and the double capacity of the brew system itself.

A three-vessel system is typically suitable for brewing two brews on a working day. In the end, whirlpool will become a disadvantage if you want to brew several batches in succession.

On a four-vessel system you can put a new brew over after two to three hours.

Many microbreweries would prefer to begin with a three-vessel system and then possibly expand to a four-vessel system later.

The decision on which system to invest depends, as first mentioned, first and foremost on how much beer you want to brew. And how many working days and hours of work you can put into the brewing process. It takes money and space to start with the great, large solution.

We are happy to help you get started correctly so that things can grow naturally along the way.

Read more about brewing beer on Wikipedia.

From thought to reality

In March we wrote about a few special tanks which, after four attempts on the drawing board, were designed to fit into a basement with a low ceiling. There are only 205 centimeters from floor to ceiling in the basement, so the tanks had to be as wide as possible so that there could be room for taking the manhole at the top off and inspect the tank inside.

Lars Boldt from Lyngbeer in Kgs. Lyngby does not conceal the fact that it was an exciting day when the tanks came from China and had to enter his ceilinged cellar.

“I took the sill of the door, and so there was only a couple of cm of room on each side, so the tanks they could just get into the basement where they were going to stand,” he says.

He is very satisfied with his new 200 liters combined yeast- and storage tanks.

“There was much more equipment included than what I had figured from the specifications. One could say that I have gotten even more than I expected, says Lars Boldt, adding:

“Now I just have to sell some beer, so I can afford to buy a few more. Produced exactly as these I just received.

Combined yeast- and storage tanks

  • 500 liters approx. 40,000 kr.
  • 1000 liters approx. 50,000 kr.
  • 2,000 liters approx. 67,000 kr.
  • 3,000 liters approx. 91,000 kr.

Prices are only indicative for a piece, excl. VAT We give nice discounts when ordering more tanks in the same order.

The price is among others regulated by the dollar rate of exchange and freight rates. Call or write for a get a current offer. Call or write for a get a current offer.

Remember we are always ready with good advice, guidance and a good deal – just call or write.