FAQs

General Questions

  • How do I set up my brewing system?

    Homebrewing and pro brewing setups will differ, so there is no one true answer to this question. To discuss the specifics of your setup, please call us directly at (503) 372-9580. We are here to help in any way that we can.

  • How do I care for my Stout Tanks and Kettles equipment?

    Great question. Stainless steel does NOT mean stain-proof. Under specific environment, all stainless steel will stain. We make our tanks with the highest quality non-recycled 304 stainless steel. Your job is to keep a healthy layer of chromium oxide on the surface of your equipment. This will prolong the life of your brewing equipment and make it easier to clean.

    1. Never use chlorine bleach on or in your stainless items. Chlorine breaks down the protective chromium oxides on the surface and will cause rust.
    2. Never use steel wool scouring pads (or stainless steel pads either, for that matter). The scratching will break the protective surface and cause rust. In addition, the steel wool will leave deposits that will rust and disrupt the layer of chromium oxide on your stainless.
    3. Do passivate your stainless steel from time to time. You should passivate all new stainless steel brewing equipment when you receive it, and every 4 to 6 months thereafter. There are several ways to passivate your stainless steel.
      1. Use cleansers with oxalic acid in them (We recommend using Bar Keepers Friend). You need to dry the kettle with a towel and let it remain dry in air for about a week. The dry exposure to oxygen will create a passivation layer on the stainless
      2. Apply a 4 to 10% citric acid solution (by weight) at 70F to 120F for 20 minutes, rinse, dry. (Citric acid may be available at your local home brew shop). Lemon juice typically has a 5% to 6% citric acid concentration.
      3. We recommend you never use nitric acid solution. Oxalic and citric acid methods work well and are much safer).
    4. After each use, disassemble the valves (it is very easy to do) and clean the parts. Beer and other liquids can get trapped inside the body and ruin your next batch of beer. Our engineers have made disassembly easy! This means you can be sure to keep your equipment in top-notch condition without any headaches.
  • What kind of steel is my brewing equipment made of?

    All of our tanks are made from virgin SAE 304 stainless steel, which meets the standards established by the engineering standards organization SAE International. 304 Stainless contains between 18-20% chromium and 8-10.5% nickel. We work only with verified factories that use food grade virgin steel. Knowing your supplier is key to getting the level of quality needed for brewing.

  • How long will I have to wait to receive my brewing equipment?

    Unlike other companies, we do not mass produce "shell" templates of our brewing equipment. We are leaders in innovation and are constantly improving our brewing equipment to ensure that you are getting the most advanced products on the market.

    All custom order equipment has the standard lead time of approximately 20 weeks. For most brewers, this is perfect timing because it gives you time for permitting and construction, so the building will be ready about the time your equipment arrives.

    Many of our products are in stock in Portland, Oregon. We can ship many products within a couple of days. If items are not in stock, they are often in our supply chain, and are on the way. Check our website or give us a call if you have question on a specific item.

    Lead time is determined when you place an order, depending on whether your item is in stock, in our pipeline, or needs to be custom built. Your order is placed as soon as we have received your deposit and confirm your technical information, including your electrical voltage and water temperature.

  • Where is our equipment made?

    All of our brewing equipment is designed in the United States. We manufacture our brewing equipment in one of our global manufacturing partners, mostly in China. We have long-standing relationships with all of our manufacturing partners, and can therefore guarantee the quality of the materials and workmanship. Our long term supply partnerships mean that you will get quality products, in the best time frame, without having to worry about the complexities of international trade.

    Our electro-mechanical equipment is all manufactured in North America and is listed with UL (Underwriters Laboratories). Most local governments require electrical equipment to be UL listed in order to pass inspection.

  • What is the best way to purchase our products?

    1. Purchasing Commercial Brewhouses: The best way to buy a commercial brewhouse and cellar tank system is to get a “System Quote”This will give you the option to receive a Quick Quote, or a Detailed Quote.
    2. Purchasing Individual Tanks, Fermenters, Kegs etc.: You can purchase these items online, or simply call us directly to quickly find what you need.
    3. All Items are available on our website. Please use our website to determine if the item you are looking for is currently in stock.
      1. If we have the item en route to us you may reserve it by contacting us and placing a deposit (70%).
      2. If the item you are interested in is neither in stock nor in our production stream, please place the order and refer to our Product Availability page to determine the estimated ship date. We will also email you an estimated ship date with your order confirmation.
      3. Please note that we welcome custom orders and will be happy to design brewery equipment to meet the specific requirements of your operation.
  • I don't have a PayPal account. Are there other payment options?

    You don't have to have a PayPal account to purchase items on our website. Use the "Add to Cart" or "Place Deposit" buttons to add items to your cart. When you are ready to complete your transaction, click the "Pay Now" button in your shopping cart and you will be taken to a PayPal payment page. Underneath the PayPal log-in area, there is an option that says, "Don't Have a PayPal Account?" Select this option and you can pay directly with your credit or debit card.

  • What is the best heat source for my brewery: Electric, Direct Fire, or Steam?

    There is no "best" heat source. We make equipment that works with all kinds of heat sources according to our customers' needs. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, as outlined below. In general, gas fired systems are more likely to be optimal for home brewers and small commercial operations. Electric is most likely to be optimal for small commercial systems (2 to 10 bbls), and steam heat is most likely to be optimal for larger systems. You can learn more about the advantages and disadvantages below.

    Electric Heat

    Advantages

    1. Highest efficiency: 100% of heat generated is transferred to the water or wort
    2. Excellent control of the brewing process. Our control systems provide pinpoint accuracy in temperature control.
    3. Predictable cost
    4. No concerns about carbon monoxide, open flames or explosive gases
    5. Cost effective at 2 to 15 bbls
    6. Can be highly automated if desired

    Disadvantages

    1. Cost of electricity is typically higher than gas, but it is often offset by much better efficiency
    2. Up front cost is usually higher than gas fired, but lower than steam boilers and steam piping
    3. Your building needs to have enough amperage available to heat the kettles and operate everything else (varies according to the system size)

    Direct Fired Gas

    Advantages

    1. Can be lowest upfront cost (depending on installation)
    2. Many brewers are accustomed to gas fired kettles
    3. Some brewers prefer the caramelization that can occur with gas fired systems

    Disadvantages

    1. Probably the highest long term cost – gas is typically only 25% to 50% efficient
    2. You will likely need to provide make-up air and provide an exhaust system for your direct fired gas system. (your city may require a professional mechanical engineer to provide a plan for your building and installation)
    3. Some buildings will need fire suppression systems
    4. In some states (e.g., CA and TX), the emissions regulations and requirements on gas burners result in significant added costs and reduced efficiencies

    Steam Heat

    Advantages

    1. When combined with gas fired boiler, you get good (but not best) efficiency and low energy cost

    Disadvantages

    1. Highest cost of brew kettles and heat source (boiler system)
    2. Generally, not very cost effective at a small scale
    3. In some states (e.g., CA and TX), the emissions regulations and requirements on gas boilers result in significant added costs and reduced efficiencies
  • How do I prevent scorching?

    On an electric system, as long as you use low density or ultra-low density elements, scorching will not be a problem. On a gas fired system, you only need to ensure that the gas burners to not directly heat an outlet pipe or some other feature that has "trapped" wort in it. Steam is not hot enough to cause scorching.

 

Professional Brewing

  • Is starting a brewery right for you?

    Brewing is a challenging, around the clock job. However, if you’re committed to starting a brewery, it could be one of the most rewarding things you ever do!

    If you’ve loved homebrewing or are ready to get into the business of beer, learning about the capital and space you’ll need is essential. Many brewers end up wishing they’d started with a larger infrastructure, and, like all business ventures, your brewery will likely cost more and take more time than you expect.

    If you’re ready to embark on your dream job, choosing the right partner can make all the difference. At Stout Tanks and Kettles, we have helped hundreds of brewers achieve their dreams of opening a brewery. If you’re ready for the challenge, click the “System Quote” button to get started. Fill out the form to tell us what you want to brew and a little bit about your location and your energy sources. We will get to work designing a brewery for you.

  • What do I need to start a brewery?

    We’ll be honest: money, time, and the right partner. Our expert brewers are ready to show you the ropes. Having someone to go to with questions, about everything from water sources to attracting customers, makes a big difference.

    Our advice? Talk to other brewers in your area and get a feel for the community and its needs. If you live in a booming beer town, finding the right differentiator will be key. If you’re in a less crowded market, it will be about attracting potential customers who aren’t yet accustomed to brewing and brew pubs.

  • How long does the average build out take after my lease is signed?

    Most of our customers are averaging about 20 weeks to get their brewery ready. Variables that can affect your timing include your local permitting authority, state liquor control board, federal TTB, your landlord, and your contractor. Once you place an order with us, we will work on setting a ship date that corresponds with your schedule.

  • Can you quote a 2 bbl, 3 bbl, 5 bbl, 6 bbl, 7 bbl, 10 bbl and 15 bbl system?

    Yes. We can quote any professional system between 1 and 20 barrels. Just hit the “System Quote” button and tell us a little bit about what and how you want to brew, and some details of your location, and we will get a quote out to you.

 

Home Brewing

  • Why would I want a conical fermenter?

    There are a number of excellent reasons to use conical fermenter for home brewing. They are very convenient, easy to use, and look great, too.

    1. First and foremost, a conical fermenter allows you to drop the trub and yeast out of the beer before and during fermentation by using the bottom outlet. This removes solids that contribute to off-flavors in your beer.
    2. Second, it allows you to capture your good yeast near the end of fermentation for re-use either immediately or later (you can store it in your refrigerator for a week or two).
    3. Third, you can use the same tank, without having to bother with a transfer, for primary and secondary fermentation.
    4. Lastly, it is very convenient for racking your beer directly into kegs using the side outlet. The bottom line is that a conical fermenter takes a lot of hassle out of home brewing.
  • What are the tradeoffs of plastic versus stainless steel conical fermenters?

    There are several key differences:

    1. Durability. Plastic is not as durable as stainless steel.
    2. Sanitary. Often brewers switch from large plastic tubs to glass fermenters due to concerns about the inevitable scratches that occur in plastic. If you purchase a plastic conical, consider that you will have to be extremely careful about causing bacteria-harboring scratches. Also, plastic fermenters will only have threaded fittings; there is no option for sanitary tri-clamp fittings like the kind made by Stout Tanks and Kettles.
    3. Light Exposure. Plastic conicals are somewhat translucent. We suggest wrapping a towel around it to prevent harmful UV light from reaching your beer. With stainless, you have no worries about that.
    4. Cost. Plastic conicals will almost always cost less – in the short term. However, because they are more susceptible to scratches, you could spend more in the long term because you will have to replace it sooner.
  • What do I need in a home brew fermenter?

    Here are some critical items to consider before purchasing a home brew fermenter:

    1. Is it easy to clean? Can you reach inside it?
    2. Can you easily inspect it for cleanliness?
    3. Can you see the welds inside the fermenter?
    4. Do you need to remove a lot of parts to clean it?
    5. Are there threaded parts with nooks and crannies that need to be dismantled to ensure cleanliness?
    6. Are the welds generally smooth, without pits?
    7. Can valves be disassembled for cleaning? (This does not apply to butterfly valves due to their sanitary design)
    8. Are there non-stainless metal parts, such as legs, that will rust with time and use?
    9. Is it made with 304 or 316 stainless steel?
    10. Does it include all necessary valves, and hose barbs, etc.?
  • What do I do if my fermenter is clogged?

    Here are some things you can try to help with clogged fermenters.

    1. Drain the trub 30 minutes or so after you dump your wort in (before you add yeast).
    2. Dump the yeast when fermentation slows down significantly.
    3. Dump a little yeast each day for several days in a row. Don't try to get it all out in one day. Once it gets very runny stop and close the valve. The more highly flocculent the yeast is the more it needs time to resettle so you can dump it again.
  • Do I need a jacketed fermenter for home brewing?

    The short answer is no. A jacketed fermenter has an extra "skin" on the outside of the tank that allows liquid to flow around the outside of the tank. By controlling the temperature of the liquid that flows around the outside of the tank, you control the temperature of your fermentation. For those interested in building a commercial quality home brewery, a jacketed fermenter may be a better choice. For home brewers, a conical fermenter does the trick just fine.

  • Why is it wrong to use beer kegs to make my brewing system?

    A lot of home brewers have built pretty slick brewing systems using beer kegs. There is one main issue that you should be concerned about – chances are pretty high that the keg you intend to use for your system is stolen property. The only legitimate way to buy a keg is directly from a keg supplier or from the brewery itself. You might find your local brewery is happy to sell you their cast offs.

  • How can I transition from a homebrew setup to a professional brewing setup?

    Congratulations on wanting to take the next step! If your brews have been eliciting great feedback and you’re ready to start professionally brewing, there are a few things to keep in mind.

    • See if you can shadow or work at a small brewery in your area. Understanding their process and story may help you write your business plan.
    • Determine your budget. It is challenging, if not impossible, to get started in brewing without capital. The more money you have, the better. If you have this lined up first, you’ll be able to come to your equipment and space providers with the right answers and expedite the actual set up process.
    • Your recipe may not remain the same. Just because you’re making more beer doesn’t mean you can simply double the recipe. The shape of your brew kettle and kind of beer can impact your ingredients in different ways at different capacities.
    • Start slow and work your way up with high quality brews. Having a few great beers will serve you better than many that are mediocre.

 

Kombucha

  • Why should I brew using stainless steel?

    Brewing kombucha on a large scale requires more precision than the traditional mason jar wrapped in a towel approach. The cleanest, easiest, and most precise way to brew kombucha is using a stainless steel brewing system. Using Stout Tanks and Kettles brewing systems mean that your product will be kept clean and secure, producing a better quality product. With the right fermenter, you’ll be able to improve your kombucha quickly and take your business to the next level.

  • Why isn’t my kombucha fizzy?

    Kombucha doesn’t become fizzy until the CO2 from the SCOBY’s yeast is trapped. Once your kombucha has reached the right balance taste wise, it can be bottled and will then develop a fizzy quality during its second, in-bottle fermentation. Be careful if you choose to use secondary fermentation in the bottle. Two things can go drastically wrong. First, if you have too much fermentation in the bottle, carbon dioxide can cause too much pressure, causing the bottle to break. Bottle bombs are not good for your brand. Second, too much fermentation can increase the alcohol by volume (ABV) of your Kombucha.

    The best way to carbonate Kombucha is in a brite Tank. Our brite tanks are designed to hold more than twice the atmospheric pressure. You can use a carb stone to infuse your kombucha with clean pure CO2 until you have exactly the right fizz, with none of the bottle bombs or illegal ABV numbers.

  • I think my kombucha is molding. How can I tell?

    Mold is a big concern for kombucha brewers, and rightly so. Fortunately, preventing and spotting it is easy. If temperatures drop too low or there isn’t enough sugar or tea, mold can form, so make sure you’re using at least one cup of sugar and 12 grams of tea per gallon.

    How to spot mold:

    • Mold is dry and fuzzy, not dry and bubbly
    • Mold doesn’t form below the surface of the liquid
    • Mold will generally grow in circles or arcs

    Mold is not the brown blots of yeast cells that form in the brew. These form just under the surface, usually at the edge of your tank.

  • How do I know how alcoholic my kombucha is?

    Using an alcohol meter will help you ensure your kombucha is safe to be sold at a non-alcoholic level. If your kombucha ends up being higher than 0.5% ABV in the United States, it is subject to the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau, which falls under the US Department of Treasury laws.

 

Cold Brew Coffee

  • What are the benefits of adding cold brew to my coffee shop?

    Cold brew coffee offers cafés a product to serve when the weather gets warmer, as well as being great for warmer climates where hot coffee consumption is limited. Cold brew can help boost sales year round, being the fastest growing trend in the independent roasting sector. With the right tools, you can make cold brew a part of your cafe, restaurant, or bar.

  • When do I make the switch to a professional stainless steel cold brew system?

    Brewing cold brew in a plastic Toddy in 1 gallon or even 15 gallon batches can work well for a 1 location independent café. But if you own multiple cafés, or a roaster who distributes your coffee to multiple retailers, you might soon have the volume to justify a professional grade stainless steel cold brew system. If you are brewing every day in your Toddy, it may be time to step up to a Stout System.

    A bigger consideration is sanitation. Plastic is a notorious medium for harboring bacteria. Any scratch in the plastic will provide a hiding place for bacteria where they can avoid most sponges, brushes and soaps. A colony of bacteria in your brewing vessel can ruin your flavors and provide a food safety issue. All of our tanks are made from food grade 304 stainless steel, with every weld and surface polished. There is no place for bacteria to hide. Our stainless will preserve your flavors, protect your customers, and be easy to clean and maintain for years to come.

  • What will I need to make cold brew?

    A good cold brew system has three components: A brew vessel, filtration system, and a storage/packaging vessel. The size of your system will dictate the size of the components. Many independent roasters or multi-door café’s start with a 1 barrel system that can brew around 31 gallons of cold brew coffee or concentrate. We have systems that go up to 10 barrels, or 310 gallons. If you brew a concentrate, this could yield more than double the volume of ready to drink coffee, from 61 gallons all the way up to 620 gallons. You can scale your system by using multiple tanks in the same process.

    Most filtration systems are multi-stage. There may be as many as 5 or 6 different components to the filtration. Some of our systems us paper or nylon filter bags to contain the bulk of the most coarsely ground particles. Many of our brew vessels have false bottoms that act as the coarsest level of filtration, keeping out particles greater than 50 microns. We use stainless steel mesh inside the brew vessel to filter down to 20 microns or so. Many of our systems use conical or rounded bottoms to allow much of the particles to the bottom. We use racking arms and outlet valves to draw coffee from above the sedimented layer. Finally, we have in-line mesh and fiber filters that can eliminate particles down to 1-5 microns. We design our filtration systems for each system based on the speed of desired flow, the maximum particle size desired, and the time available for brewing.

    Storage systems for cold brew coffee will vary according to what your final packaging will be. We can set you up or the right system based on whether you plan to keg your product, whether it will be still or on nitro, and whether you will be filling growlers, bottling or canning. We recommend having a larger storage vessel than your brewing vessel, which will allow you to dilute concentrate if necessary, and to store multiple batches. We recommend using a tank that allows you to pressurize with compressed nitrogen. If you want to offer a nitro version, we can install a nitrogenation stone that will infuse nitrogen bubbles directly into the coffee. Once nitrogenated, you will need to refrigerate the product. Many of our tanks have glycol chilling systems that can keep your coffee at the right temperature. 

    If you don’t offer a nitro version, having nitro can still be a good idea. You can purge the storage vessel of oxygen by filling with nitrogen, which is an inert gas. Nitrogen will not react with the volatile flavor compounds the way oxygen will. Storing your cold brew in nitro will make it more shelf stable and will preserve flavors.

  • How do I get nitro cold brew?

    There are several ways to infuse nitro into your cold brew. There is some equipment available on the market that will allow you to infuse nitro into your coffee as you serve it. This can be a good option for a small café that doesn’t have the space for professional grade equipment. You can infuse nitro in the keg. Once your coffee is kegged, you add extra pressure of nitrogen through the regulator. Over time the coffee absorbs the nitro particles. Once the nitrogen is infused, you’ll need to maintain higher pressure on the keg and pour at a higher pressure -- at least 40 PSI. The keg should be kept chilled at 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

    We recommend nitrogenating in your storage vessel. Our bright tanks are designed to allow you to nitrogenate several batches at once. Once the coffee is in the storage tank, you infuse nitrogen directly into a nitrogenation stone. From there you can keg it, bottle, or can it.