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Thread: Finding Frankenbrew Equipment

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Gallatin, TN
    Posts
    4

    Finding Frankenbrew Equipment

    I am in the planning stages of opening (funded and am scouting for locations). I have read Hennessy's book, as well as perused dairyengineering.com for equipment, however I feel woefully inadequate when it comes to selecting tanks which will inevitably require modification (and, gulp, installation). I am, of course, tempted to just say screw it and go with a new setup, but the upfront savings are no joke. I have two questions:

    1) For those that began or still use a Frankenbrew approach to the brewhouse/cellaring, do you regret it? Did it hamper expansion? Has the upfront savings been offset by additional labor and maintenance due to everything being non-standard?

    2) Is there a company that specializes in helping connect breweries with Frankenbrew-style equipment? Sort of like a middle-man? I know the endstate I want, but am a bit lost on the multiplicity of ways to crack the nut.

    Thanks for any insight.
    Last edited by trandahl; 03-30-2019 at 10:43 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    180

    Here’s your equipment

    Paying a middle man for frankenbrew equipment defeats the purpose of being cheap. Here you go...

    For a 7bbl Frankenbrewery:

    Mash tun: https://www.bascommaple.com/item/td240/tank_stainless/

    Hot water storage/“HLT”:
    Don’t spend any money on this and use your fermenter that you’ll be transferring into on brewday as your hot liquor tank

    Brew Kettle:
    “Econo line 7bbl brew kettle”
    https://youtu.be/dxP-7mXzqto
    http://rockymountainvessels.com

    Fermenter:
    Letina Z1000C tanks
    http://www.stpats.com/index.htm
    http://www.stpats.com/2016%20Letina/...0HV8_Ver.1.pdf

    Cold liquor tank:
    Just place one of these in your cold room with your serving tanks:
    https://m.plastic-mart.com/product/6...tank-vt0250-36

    Brite/serving tanks:
    Unjacketed 900L tank:
    http://www.blackforestmktg.com/produ...-serving-tanks

    Instead of using sankes to keg off your serving tanks use corny kegs:
    https://beveragelements.com/beverage...ioned-class-3/

    Corny Keg washer:
    https://www.morebeer.com/products/ma...iABEgIWGvD_BwE

    Pumps:
    For hot transfers:
    https://www.cpesystems.com/collectio...3450-rpm-motor
    For cold water transfer from cold liquor tank to heat exchanger:
    Jet05 pump at http://www.stpats.com/index.htm

    Hoses:
    https://www.gwkent.com/brewt-food-beverage-hose.html
    http://www.thevintnervault.com/produ...naline-FW.html

    Heat Exchanger:
    https://www.dudadiesel.com/choose_item.php?id=HX9540

    For various triclamp parts and other fittings:
    https://www.brewershardware.com
    https://www.glaciertanks.com
    Last edited by Catfish002; 03-30-2019 at 11:43 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    The South
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    And I’ve seen frankenbrew brewpubs and frankenbrew packaging microbreweries be successful and still in business many years later.
    Last edited by Catfish002; 03-30-2019 at 06:55 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Gallatin, TN
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by Catfish002 View Post
    And I’ve seen frankenbrew brewpubs and frankenbrew packaging microbreweries be successful and still in business many years later.
    Thanks for the resources. I'll check them out.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    180
    If you want to go more frankenbrew on the brew kettle you can get...

    Kettle
    https://www.gwkent.com/1100-l-290-ga...ttom-tank.html

    Stand
    Bubbas Barrels can make you a custom stand for either direct fire or electric
    http://www.bubbasbarrels.com/catalog...hoses/stands-0

    For direct fire heating
    https://www.glaciertanks.com/jet-and...jb-44-nat.html

    For electric heating
    Three of these: https://ebrewsupply.com/products/208...t-with-housing
    With three of these:
    http://stilldragon.com/index.php/2-t...d-fitting.html

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    34
    Catfish has given you plenty of great resources, but I'll throw in my 2 cents.

    We started as a 4bbl Frankenbrew, now open 3 years as a 7 bbl partial Frankenbrew, brewpub style, full restaurant, no significant distribution, around 350 bbl/year.

    The real savings for us was that I spent about a year putting my whole kit together, and could shop around. If it was within a days drive, could fit in the back of a 1998 Ford Ranger pickup, and I had the cash for it, then I would get it. Got used gear from 8 different breweries and 1 dairy farm that was switching from dairy to meat production.

    Assembled the 4 bbl brewhouse for under $6k, 200 gallon dairy tank MT, 200 gallon dairy tank HLT, 140 gallon Letina wine fermenter with a burner under it for the kettle. Around $5k for the tanks, the remainder for some welding and retrofitting and piping. I have upgraded to a real 7 bbl kettle from Forgeworks in Colorado , but still have my frankenbrew MT and HLT, love them, plan on continuing to use them indefinitely.

    Started fermenting in a few proper fermenters and a few Letina wine tank with variable capacity lids. Cleaning and labor was a huge pain in the ass for the wine tanks, but it saved a ton of money up front. I have upgraded to all proper fermenters and brites now.

    Personally, I would avoid a brazed plate HX like the Duda Diesel, and recommend spending $2k on a good professional one, but I have fouled a heat exchanger resulting in infections and tossed batches, so I love my Thermaline, which I am able to disassemble and really clean if needed. My first HX was from the old dairy, it was old, but I was able to disassemble it and clean it really well before using it for beer, and it was nearly free. But a year later when I had cash I got the Thermaline. I haven't fouled the HX in a few years due to much better processes (knock on wood), but I still am wary of those brazed Hxs, even though other folks use them successfully.

    Also, I second CPE for good quality all purpose pumps. Be ready to spend around $2k to get a good pump from them.

    All this to say, yes you can do this, yes you can make good beer on these systems, but it can take significantly more labor. I used to have more time than money, so it worked out well, and was worth my while. Since I had no debt, I was able to cashflow upgrades as needed, and now 3 years later I pretty much have everything I want in a brewhouse, I have upgraded and added tons of gear with cash.

    As Catfish noted, using a middleman does cut out much of the savings, but there is a fellow on the forum who does some good welding work on old tanks, James Gimurtru I believe is his name, I think 'Gimurtru' is his user name. Check out his posts and you can get an idea of what it would cost to have someone find and fix up tanks for you. It might be worth it for a some items. I haven't used any of his gear, but I've met him briefly and he seems like a super nice guy, and his prices seem fair to me.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    180
    Yes “Gimurtu” has posted nice frankenbrew equipment that he makes here on probrewer. All of his tanks that he makes look really good. You should contact him as well.
    Last edited by Catfish002; 03-30-2019 at 10:50 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    34
    Thanks for the spelling correction on Gimurtu. I was shooting from memory, and it is very fallible.

    Also, to clarify from my earlier post, about half of my frankenbrew equipment was already being used by other breweries, specifically the kettle and the letina fermenters. (The MT and HLT I modified myself.) So I didn't have to worry so much about modifying and installing, I could already see how to use it and knew it could make good beer. And, 2 years later I was able to sell it to another start up in the area when I upgraded. So, you might be able to talk to some breweries that are 1-5 years old in your vicinity that use some frankenbrew equipment, they might be upgrading and selling in the near future.

    Good luck.

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