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7BBL : Ager vs. PKW vs. Premier Stainless vs. Stout/Brewmation

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  • 7BBL : Ager vs. PKW vs. Premier Stainless vs. Stout/Brewmation

    We are doing a bit of research on 7BBL brew houses.

    First a bit of background:
    We are based in Cape Town and would prefer to use a skid mounted brew house fully plumbed and tested in the factory.
    Direct gas fired is not an option. In all likelihood we will use direct electric heating and/or electrically generated steam

    At the moment we have quotes from Portland Kettle Works, Ager Tank and Stout/Brewmation. We will be contacting Premier Stainless as well.

    We would appreciate feedback on Pros & Cons and any experience you have with these manufacturers.
    Do not hesitate to recommend any other manufacturers


  • #2
    Tim Wills

    Hi Schalk,

    I am the Premier Stainless rep in Australia & New Zealand. We have place 6 new breweries in both countries in the last 2 years and can give you contacts about both our equipment and our ability to support your brewery both at the point of install but also into the future. In my opinion an electric boiler and steam fire would be the best option over immersion heat.



    • #3
      Like Tim, avoid direct electric heated if possible. Steam is always the best.
      Head Brewer Rocks Brewing Co.
      Sydney, Aust


      • #4

        Hi Tim & Scotty,

        Thanks for the input. Steam fired seems like the most viable and probably safest option.

        How many of the small Premier Systems are running in Aus & NZ?
        It would be great to get a few contacts...



        • #5
          *Electric Brewing Myth Buster*

          I'm not sure why scmorgan would say to avoid direct electric if possible. As an equipment supplier, we offer steam, electric, and direct fire brew houses, so I don't have a built-in bias towards any option - we recommend the best option for our customers based on their situation and goals. There are many situations where electric heating is the best option.

          Direct electric heating with immersion elements is 100% energy efficient, vs. 50% to 65% for steam. As long as the system has enough kilowatts in the elements, the electric systems perform very well.

          I think that there may be some underpowered electric systems that have been sold by some suppliers that do not transfer enough heat into the liquid and have slow/poor heating times and/or evaporation rates (either due to not enough heating elements or less efficient heating elements that are not direct immersion type).

          The 7 bbl systems that Stout offers in conjunction with Brewmation have 60kw of direct heat available to the brew kettle and hot liquor tank. The HLT can be heated to strike temperatures in just over an hour (and electric heated HLT's can be started with a timer before the brewer arrives), and you can well exceed an 8%/hr evaporation rate in the brew kettle (> 10%, actually).

          Element cleaning is not an issue - rotating the elements 45 degrees after each use (before CIP) avoids buildup. For periodic inspection, the elements are removed in a matter of seconds due to the tri clamp attachment to the kettle.

          Scorching is not an issue due to the use of low density elements.

          Control with an electric system is a big plus - it is easy to manage temperatures and timing and consistency with a well-designed electric controls system using immersion elements.

          We have a good number of 7 bbl electric brew house installations that are achieving excellent results due to the high degree of process control.

          In short, I suggest keeping your options open and making the decision based on what is most suitable for a particular brewery based on the local conditions, regulations, codes, energy sources and costs, etc.


          John Watt
          Stout Tanks and Kettles, LLC


          • #6

            We use heating elements submersed in the wort and have had no problems. We use four 5500w ulwd elements and can boil 3.5bbl in 45 minutes. For clean up we cip them in pbw or use a brush on a stick and they come nice and clean with very little effort.
            Steam would be nice but the additional cost of furnance and the plumbing for it,, is expensive.
            Direct fire an alternative too but isn't as precise.
            that's why we went electric, have been using it for 18 months and wouldn't change.


            • #7
              More to it than efficiency...

              100% efficiency sounds impressive. But now look at costs necessary to run electric vs. municipal gas. It may come out in favor of electric. But most often not. Cleaning IS an issue. With my steam heated kettle, I CIP twice a year. And I'm brewing 4 times a week. I don't have electric coil surfaces to clean, rotate, burn out, gasket failure, or anything else. I brush the smooth interior surface of my kettle with a long-handled kettle brush (Foxx has some great ones) immediately after knock-out, and I'm good to go with no residue on any surface. Takes me about 15 minutes. How much water/energy/chemicals/time are you using to CIP a kettle? Any electric elements will also impede your whirlpool. Most small, inexpensive, 2-vessel systems use the kettle for whirlpool. Elements certainly break up smooth flow of a whirlpool. But if money is the most important issue, then direct electric may be your choice. I can't think of another reason why it would be. I'm a firm believer that you get what you pay for. That's why I'm with Tim and scmorgan. I wouldn't do it, but that's just me. Give me steam.
              Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--


              • #8
                Still undecided...

                Thanks for all the comments. I am still not quite sold on any one option yet...
                So far the only option eliminated is gas fired...

                Our experience thus far with immersion electric heating is pretty good. Originally we had the wrong elements... Now with proper low heat density ones we had custom made our pilot brew system runs very well. Hot caustic after every 4th brew and a soak in peracetic acid every other time keeps the elements sparkly clean.

                I think our final choice will somehow be dictated by the system size. We have a 60amp, 3phase 480W electrical system in our brewery. To run the brew house. Enough to run a serious electric steam generator. From what I've researched so far it should be fine to provide steam for a 10BBL system. If the cost of steam is less than having to upgrade our electrical supply we will go that route. In SA it is damn expensive and sometimes a major mission to upgrade the supply.