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Thread: Bulk Beer Transport

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Bulk Beer Transport

    I was wondering peoples experience with bulk transport of beer on a truck. We have no bottling line (and NO space for one) and want to truck our beer to 45 miles to get bottled (this would be 17bbl batches). We brew lagers and the idea is to transfer the beer either finish to get bottled, or after move it after fermentaion to get lagered/filtered/bottled. Contract brewing is not an option as we brew decoction and nobody (nearby) does that. The thought is to have a horazontal tank made up and bolt it inside a refridgerated truck. We also only naturally carbonate (we have made a big deal about following the purity laws) so that posses an issue during a 45 min car ride. Has anyone done this? Should I transport before or after lagering? Any tips on the design of the tank special for this purpose? I am concerned about the beer slouching around in the tank for both microbiological and carbonization reasons. A bit of a hair brained scheme, but you work with what you have.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    beer transport

    Jasimmon: We have looked into a similar situation for our Brewers Alliance: a central bottling facility for local breweries. Transport shouldnt be your concern, the TTB should be. From what information I have gathered. For you to package your beer at a facility owned by another brewery, you would need to have your beer "processed" there in some way. You would also need to be an "alternating owner", which means you "own" the brewery for that day you package. best guess would be to set up an "alternating owner" agreement (simlar to a contract brewing agreement) with the packaging brewery, get a bulk tank for shipping, pressurized or not, and finish your lagering/ natural carbonation in another tank stationed at the packaging brewery. When you go to bottle, that facility will be under your ownership for that time period. Got it?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Fredericksburg, VA
    When I was visiting a Brauerei-Gasthaus in Franconia, a tanker truck showed up in the AM. I asked the brewer/owner what liquid he was having delivered in such quantity, and he told me that a larger brewery nearby picked up his beer for bottling at their plant, and this was how it was transported. I am certain the beer was Reinheitsgebot, but don't know if it was carbonated before or after transport.
    -Lyle C. Brown
    Camelot Brewing Co.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007

    bulk beer transport

    mmm... the TTB. Don't we small brewers have enough to worry about just to make a high quality product without also having to jump thru the governments hoops. Sigh... Guess I will add lawyer to the the many skills need to be a one man brewing operation. Thanks for the heads up on the legal side of things, most useful.

    Jacob Simmons
    Einfach Beer

  5. #5
    mic_mac Guest
    No idea on the legal side, as I'm in UK, but I've been sent bulk beer for external packaging - ales & lager, on micro-scale (using 2.5 & 5 UK-Bbl grundy tanks on the back of a normal 3.5ton transit van) & on a bigger scale sending 100 UKBbls away for canning (sometimes in a contract tanker, previously used for dairy - that always used to worry me!)

    We sent the beer out unfiltered & basically uncarbonated/pressurised, sometimes straight from FV (depending on the agreement & capabilities of the packager) but in the case of the lager, we lagered it ourselves for flavour, before the bottlers cold-stabilised it for shelf-life/haze prevention.

    Good luck,


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Whitefish, Montana

    Alternating Proprietorship

    You'd have to set up an Alternating Proprietorship search this forum for more info.

    Not sure if it'd be an issue with only 17 bbls but you might need baffles in the tank to keep the truck from lurching around; dairy or petroleum transporters could answer questions about that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    St. Louis, mo
    I agree that the legal hurdle will be more trouble than the act of transporting the beer. We regularly transport 7-21 bbl of beer between our two locations. Granted it's only 8 miles or so. We have several 7 bbl grundies we fill, load onto our panel truck and strap down.

    We then off load them and transfer the beer into a bright tank or serving tank.

    Given that you are trying to stay within the purity laws, finishing the beer at the facility where you plan to bottle may be a better option, since you won't be polish carbonating prior to packaging.

    Do you krausen your beer? You could transport the beer once it has reached attenuation to the packaging facility and then krausen it there to get your CO2 target and then let it finish its maturation on-site.

    As for finished, ready to package beer, we fill our grundies as full as we can when we transport them, but we also re-check the carbonation and adjust if necessary. However, if you can keep your beer cold (~32 F) and minimize the head space and keep decent pressure on the tanks (15-20 psi) when they are transported the 40 odd miles you mentioned, you could transport them with some comfort that you aren't losing significant carbonation. Depending on the volume of head-space and CO2 pressure, you might even pick up a smidge from all the agitation.

    As long as you follow your regular CIP practices on the tank you intend to use for transport, I don't think there would be any unusual micro issues to worry about.

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