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Building a nano brewery

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  • Building a nano brewery

    Hi Guys

    I am going to build a brewery, but I never done it before, so I humbly ask for your advice on my plans.

    I made a contract batch a few months ago, which turned out quite well so I managed to convince some investors to join my dream. Budget is tight though.


    We are going to have it fabricated in SS by a professional according to our plans. We plan a 3-vessel system with Boil Kettle, Mash Tun, Whirpool. All 3 are 300 liters, we brew 250 liter batches. A double batch will fill a 500 liter fermenter. The boil kettle preheats water for the infusion mash with a 15 kW electric coil. The mash is double infusion, fly sparge through 2mm holes. The runoff is stored in the whirlpool, then goes back into the Boil Kettle where we boil it with hops. Then back to the whirlpool, we separate wort from trub, chill through a plate chiller (60kW, SS, brazed). We use stainless steel pumps and a small puffer tank for the runoff instead of sucking with the pump.

    4x500 liter fermenters, 2 weeks fermentation time (Ales). The fermenters are plastic/SS. The room is cooled to 18°C (64F) the fermenters are not jacketed.

    We produce bottle conditioned beers. We pump them in a mixing tank where we mix the beer with either sugar or DME. Cap and store for 10 days.

    We fill still beer into the pre-washed kegs, leave about 1 liter headspace. Force carbonate with 40 psi 36 hours set-and-forget method (or something along these lines.)

    Would this work in theory?
    Don't worry about the economical side, we did our calculations. We have a good amount of spare money, and wholesale price of craft beer is a lot higher than in the US. The brewery will be set in Székesfehérvár, Hungary

    Your help is greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    A couple things.
    One - I would skip the dedicated whirlpool and add a Hot liquor tank to your brewhouse. Always having hot water on hand will make your life much easier in the long run, and you can whirlpool in your kettle if it is built right. Having a dedicated HLT will help you with cleaning, and allow you to make double batches in much less time.
    Also - your idea of a 2 week turn for fermenting beer may be quite optimistic if you cant cold crash your FV's. I'm just not sure you're going to be able to get finished, clear beer out of the FV's in that time frame without crashing. You can certainly make beer with your current plan. Temperature controlled FV's would obviously be better.


    • #3
      One more thing I forget to mention. I'm currently force carbonating kegs in a similar fashion as you plan. I would highly recommend getting a brite tank or a single wall tank in a cold room you can carbonate in. carbonating beer in kegs that way is a huge waste of time and very inconsistent.


      • #4
        Thanks Manuel

        Let's say we turn the whirlpool into a kettle. How would you distribute power between the HLQ and the kettle? 9kW/6kW?


        • #5
          We are a 1.5bbl nano that's been open for about a year. We carbonate in kegs. If budget allows, get a brite. Can't wait to get one.
          If you do decide to carbonate in kegs, my experience is one day at 20-25 PSI does the trick. Chill your beer first. I think 40 PSI for a day and a half would over carb. There are a lot of factors, just sharing my experience.
          As for bottling, leave it for special release stuff if you're doing a nano. There's just not much money in bottling at a small scale and the man-hours is not worth it. We've done three bottle releases. For two of them we force carbed in keg and then filled bottles with a bottling wand. For the last one we did a "cask" version (British brewers please pardon my abuse of the word cask) where we added priming sugar to the kegs and allowed them to carbonate naturally. If you would like to carb naturally for your bottled beers I recommend this method. All of your bottles will have the same carbonation level.
          Good luck


          • #6
            Sorry I haven't gotten back to you recently.

            I'm running a 3.5 bbl system here and I have 15kW in both the Hot water and the Kettle. To be honest I wish I had more too. It takes me about an hour from the end of the sparge to start boiling.


            • #7
              Originally posted by GusztavKiss View Post
              Thanks Manuel

              Let's say we turn the whirlpool into a kettle. How would you distribute power between the HLQ and the kettle? 9kW/6kW?
              We've got a slightly bigger brewery than yours with an electric HLT and kettle.
              The HLT holds ~500L and we usually fill the kettle to around 430L and get a bit under 400L into the fermenter.

              The HLT has 9kW in it (2x4.5kW elements), the kettle 18kW (4x elements.) (The actual power is a bit lower than this, since we're using 240V elements with a 230V service.)

              We have an auto-start on the HLT, so can just set it to turn on about 4-5 hours before we'll be in the brewery and have hot water waiting for us when we arrive.

              The kettle is a bit underpowered for brewing in winter (when the ambient temp in the brewery is around 13C.) It takes roughly an hour to get to a boil after we've finished sparging.

              So based on our brewery you'd probably want about 12kW for the kettle, 6kW for the HLT (though you could get away with even less if you just start heating your strike water a couple hours earlier.)