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View Full Version : Equipment and Manufacturer Advice for a small start-up.



rocksteadybrew
02-04-2013, 01:24 PM
Hello All,

I am currently in the process of working through which equipment to go with for a 15BBL start-up brewery on the East Coast. At this point, I have sourced several quotes on turnkey system from a few US and Canadian manufacturers and believe I have a good idea of what each provides.

My hope in this thread is to hear input from others who have been through this process before me. Any advice that you can offer as to a system and/or manufacturer that you have been happy with or unhappy with is greatly appreciated. Likewise, any thoughts on individual components that you feel strongly about one way or another is also great.

As you can tell this request is rather broad, but any and all input is highly valued.

Thank you in advance.

Justin

Ray Hodge
02-05-2013, 01:24 AM
I have been recommeding Specific Mechanical for years, I have my third brewery from them on the way, and this time we did pretty substantial customization to the system, all the time finding them more than helpful, to the point of coming up with some of the best ideas yet as far as functional brewhouse layout and design. Other very reputable suppliers are Pub Systems and Premier Stainless, as I travelled accross the country looking at systems and talking to brewers, these two stand out as well, being the favorites in the industry as far as I can tell. I went with Specific for price, customization, product support, expansion, and on time delivery.
As far as system goes, I recommend you have an expansion plan in place prior to decisions on equipment, as your brewery grows, if its a micro moreso than a pub, you will need to consider multiple brews per day and at some point look at upsizing your brewhouse. The idea of having a mash/kettle, dedicated lauter, and dedicated whirlpool allows you to add one more mash/kettle, doubling your capacity with the addition of just one more vessel. Its kind of a poor man's 4 vessel system, but in reality its better on the capitol investment aspect than re-purchasing a 30 or 60 bbl before you have returned adequately on your original investment.
I suggest an additional wort outlet from kettle, 1/2 way up from bottom or so, for earlier runoff after whirlpool, this is better quality for the beer as well as a big time saver probably the best time saver for the money, IMHO. Trim off 15 minutes or so from the time you quit boiling to pitch, way better for the beer.
I also am a big fan of VFD controls on all pumps, it will be easier on the beer, and the motor life is increased dramatically due to the power being "conditioned" by the VFD. I am also a big fan of power conditioners on all refrigeration systems, for the same reason, to extend motor life and prevent power spikes.
Hope this helps.

rocksteadybrew
02-05-2013, 05:03 AM
Ray,

Thanks for the advice. It is very, very appreciated! I sent you a PM with a quick follow-up.

tomhennessy
10-20-2015, 06:50 AM
Justin,
Much depends on what type of brewery you are planning. A 15 bbl will get you going for a long time but get an adequate hot liq. tank so you can do multiple brews. A 15 bbl brew house will get to 5000 bibles this way. Once you are there you can easily upgrade, you will have plenty of money. That being said have a great tap room. That will provide needed cash in the early stages and be your most profitable revenue center. If you shoot me an email with specifics of what you are planning I can be more specific with your equipment needs. I have owned 7 breweries and through our Colorado Boy Immersion class we have helped open at least 70. Don't worry, no charge for advice!
Cheers,
Tom Hennessy
Tomhen@mac.com

Starcat
02-19-2016, 08:13 AM
I have been recommeding Specific Mechanical for years, I have my third brewery from them on the way, and this time we did pretty substantial customization to the system, all the time finding them more than helpful, to the point of coming up with some of the best ideas yet as far as functional brewhouse layout and design. Other very reputable suppliers are Pub Systems and Premier Stainless, as I travelled accross the country looking at systems and talking to brewers, these two stand out as well, being the favorites in the industry as far as I can tell. I went with Specific for price, customization, product support, expansion, and on time delivery.
As far as system goes, I recommend you have an expansion plan in place prior to decisions on equipment, as your brewery grows, if its a micro moreso than a pub, you will need to consider multiple brews per day and at some point look at upsizing your brewhouse. The idea of having a mash/kettle, dedicated lauter, and dedicated whirlpool allows you to add one more mash/kettle, doubling your capacity with the addition of just one more vessel. Its kind of a poor man's 4 vessel system, but in reality its better on the capitol investment aspect than re-purchasing a 30 or 60 bbl before you have returned adequately on your original investment.
I suggest an additional wort outlet from kettle, 1/2 way up from bottom or so, for earlier runoff after whirlpool, this is better quality for the beer as well as a big time saver probably the best time saver for the money, IMHO. Trim off 15 minutes or so from the time you quit boiling to pitch, way better for the beer.
I also am a big fan of VFD controls on all pumps, it will be easier on the beer, and the motor life is increased dramatically due to the power being "conditioned" by the VFD. I am also a big fan of power conditioners on all refrigeration systems, for the same reason, to extend motor life and prevent power spikes.
Hope this helps.

I am going to Agree with Ray on a few points and add some futher ones.
Expansion plan. YES. Definite and a major situation if you do not look ahead carefully. Layouts, space and your ability to move things around easily and without gridlock, especially if you are large enough to need a Forklift. These things must be considered carefully. Logistics and the flow of materials and work need large focus.

As far as going into Bona Fide Power conditioners for HVACR machines, Phase Protection devices are sufficient in my area at much less the first cost.
ON the VFD matter I will agree if they are correctly installed, applied, and setup. They are also loaded with electronics and can be prone to weird failures when you don't need it. So I don't necessarily think they belong on everything. It depends on the application.

On Brewery Vessels I recommend checking out Silver State Stainless out of Nevada. They are First rate number one Engineering and Quality and you will not be disappointed.

On Chiller Systems I advise strongly you go with a System made for Brewery duty if you are at 30 HP or less for sure.
Pro Refrigeration and G&D Chillers are some of the best. The Engineering and Design calculations from Pro will be accurate and they have some good resources for setup if you are new to the matter. There are a lot of mistakes made in glycol system configurations that don't have to happen but do because people get in a hurry with the build out of what is one of the most critical systems in the plant. It will pay off in spades if you have a Cracker Jack Chiller Tech look at your property and your proposed layout before you run one piece of pipe. Furthermore, many do not consider that Redundancy on the Chiller side of things might be a very very good idea and they have a single machine with one compressor in it. There is a lot more than can be done with 2 machines that are creatively arranged with respect to the glycol supply header and the cooling load, and you will have a back up system already in place if you have a compressor or pump go down.

Boilers. There are a lot of modern boilers out there that are properly worthless and fail very quickly. Especially with bad water quality. The absolute best thing you can do is get a time tested design and one that is correctly matched for your load. My top pick is the modulating fire Scotch Marine Fire Tube Boiler. They are expensive, but if set up and run correctly they are just about indestructable.You need a chemical feed system, a blowdown schedule, and your boiler must be in a room that can be supplementally heated if you get below freezing temps. The best Boiler rooms will have thermostatically controlled induced makeup air along with the correct combustion air. really fancy ones may have all that on louvers etc. to control cold air incursion during lockout conditions or shutdowns, all interlocked with the starting control system.

There are some real innovations and assistance coming out of " Ska Fabricating " in Durango. I recommend you check out what they are doing with respect to your needs.

It helps and the value is without question to be able to spend some time in a few successful operatiing Breweries, or at least tour as many as possible while taking note of all facets of what seems to work well and what in fact may not.
It can be seen over and over that many are attepmting to reinvent the wheel going in, which no doubt you will view as a serious mistake.

Sincerely