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Brewery drain pipe sizing (Uh-oh, our plumber screwed up!)

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  • Brewery drain pipe sizing (Uh-oh, our plumber screwed up!)

    OK, this can only go in the stupid stuff category:

    We installed all new drainage in our new, ten-barrel brewery, including a trench drain and a couple of hole drains. It was specified to be all 4 inch PVC pipe, to handle all the thick brewery sludgy stuff. Well, our plumber screwed up big time. He put in all 3 inch pipe. I didn't notice until it was all covered up with concrete. At this point, it is completely irreversible as far as we are concerned. So, 2 questions:

    -How big of a problem will this be? I think we can get away with it fine, although we will have to take more time and effort to wash down our yeast, trub, and hops down the drain.

    -How should we resolve this with our plumber? We haven't talked to him yet. I feel like this is a pretty major screw up. Luckily for him, we are not doing a bigger brewhouse, or we would be making him cut out the concrete and replace everything. Should we ask for money back, and how much? Our total plumbing bill for rough plumbing and finish plumbing is about $10,000. I was thinking of asking him to take off $1000. Thoughts?

    Thanks as always for the help.
    Last edited by Sean W.; 04-13-2015, 04:54 AM.

  • #2
    Did your quote/contract specify 4" plumbing? If so then I'd either have them dig it up and replace it or not pay for the work.


    • #3
      Originally posted by SMiller View Post
      Did your quote/contract specify 4" plumbing? If so then I'd either have them dig it up and replace it or not pay for the work.

      Well, yeah, he was supposed to be going off the plumbing permit drawings drawn up by our architect, which clearly show 4 inch pipe on the brewery side. This is why I think he, or one of his guys, just screwed up. Unfortunately we have already paid him about $4000 for the rough plumbing portion, so I can't just withhold that money from him. And if we have him dig it up, it's going to delay our opening date, which I really don't want to do.


      • #4
        3" PVC still flows about 140gpm using only gravity, so long as your pipes are sloped correctly you shouldn't have a big problem. I can't imaging your trying to run more than that through your trench drains. I would discuss it with him, but busting up concrete and redoing it doesn't seem like the best option.


        • #5
          Well, I wanted to update this thread after we talked to our plumber. It was a very good conversation and it re-inspired our faith in him. He would like us to try the plumbing, and if we have any problems within the first year, he'll come out and fix it for free. If we feel that after one year, we really need the 4", he will dig it up and replace it at no cost. He also mentioned that the smaller pipe size might self-clean better than a bigger pipe would in our application. In addition he is going to throw in a little extra work for free for us.


          • #6
            3" is kinda small in my eyes. We have 4" with a 15 bbl system and have had a few clogs in 4 years. First, glad it was a good meeting I would be sure that there are enough clean out points that it all can be reached without much problem. From a brewery standpoint be sure the flush very well and run as little grain as possible down the drain. We also purchased a drain cleaner that expands to plug off the drain and then forces a jet of water down the drain. We havent had to call anyone since we bought that
            Mike Eme