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Hot Liquor Tank vs. On-Demand Water Heater

It costs a lot of money to open a brewery, and you might ask, “Do I really need to spend all that  money?”.

Some brewers look for immediate savings is in the brewhouse by eliminating a hot liquor tank.   Do you need a 3-vessel brewhouse, with a mash tun, brew kettle and a hot liquor tank?   Or can you get by with a 2 vessel brewhouse, just the mash tun and the brew kettle?  Some people claim that the hot liquor tank (or “HLT”) is just a glorified hot water tank anyway, and you can brew beer just fine without it.  Other’s claim that the hot liquor tank is an essential part of their brewing process, and it would be hard to brew without it.

So, can you get buy without a hot liquor tank?  The answer, of course, depends.  There are plusses and minuses.  Tradeoffs must be considered before decisions are made.

One common strategy to replace the HLT is to install an on-demand water heater, otherwise known as a tankless water heater.  The up-side of an on-demand water heater is they can be very efficient at heating water.  Most of them run on natural gas and are almost or over 90% efficient with their energy.  Because natural gas is a low-cost source of energy, the cost of raising the temperature of your strike water from ground temperature to your mash-in temperature can be every economical.   So getting hot water from a tankless heater can be pretty cheap.

By eliminating the HLT from your brewhouse, you have saved the cost of one vessel, which can be a significant investment.  But what are the down-sides?  What do you give up when you eliminate the hot liquor tank?120 Gallon Hot Liquor Tank used in Pro Breweries

One of the big things you give up is time.  Many tankless water heaters are limited in the volume of hot water they can produce.  When mashing in, it can sometimes take quite a while for a tankless heater to reach your strike temperature.  The higher the temperature you need for your strike water, the longer the tankless water heater will hold the water in the heat exchanger.  Tankless water heaters will reduce the flow of water until the water hits the target temperature.  Depending on your starting groundwater temperature, the actual gallons per minute (GPM) of your tankless water heater can be significantly below the stated rate.

At 4 gallons per minute, it will take almost 25 minutes to fill a 5 BBL mash tun completely.  How long does your mash last, and how long will it take to fill the mash tun?

Another thing you give up is precision mashing.    Many of our brew houses come standard with HERMS coils.  HERMS stands for Heat Exchanged Recirculating Mash System.   With a HERMS coil you recirculate your wort through a heat exchanger coil in the HLT.  You can precisely control the temperature of the mash by how quickly you recirculate the wort through the HERMS coil, and by how hot you keep the water in the HLT.

Some brewers like to step mash.  Step mashing is raising the temperature of the mash in stages.  This is much easier with a HERMS coil in your hot liquor tank because you can precisely control each step of the mash.  This is hard to do with a tankless water heater that has only a single temperature setting.

120 Gallon Hot Liquor Tank used in pro breweries

Another tradeoff is volume.  Many brewers opt for an oversized HLT simply because it is handy to have a lot of hot water around for clean up, especially if you are using a CIP cart.  The pump on your CIP cart drawing from an HLT can give you a large volume of hot water fast.  Sometimes faster than any water heater can.

An electric HLT can also provide convenience.  With a Stout Tanks and Kettles electric brewing system, it is possible to set your HLT on a timer so it can start heating your water overnight while you sleep.  Your HLT can be automatically making hot water while you are still at home making your coffee.  You can show up in the morning to hot strike water, ready to brew beer.

HLT’s can also save energy.  At the end of your boil, when you run your beer through the heat exchanger on the way to the fermenter, you can put all of that heat back into your HLT for your next brew.  For those brewers that double batch, or brew back to back days, this can save a significant amount of energy.  Heating your strike water can be almost half of the energy you use in your brewery.

Finally, and HLT makes it easier to treat your water for Ph, minerality, chlorine and other impurities.  For brewers who treat their water, the HLT can be very helpful.

So in the end, whether you build your brewhouse with 2 vessels or 3 is really about your personal preferences.  Many great beers have been brewed without a hot liquor tank.  And for cash strapped start-ups, getting started can be better than waiting until you can afford the perfect brewery.   But if you can afford it, the HLT can make your brew days easier and more enjoyable, and help you make great beers.

Cheers!

They came… they sampled… breweries were crowned.   Here some quick stats to review before we go over the winners of the 2018 Great American Beer Festival: (data courtesy of the Brewers Association)

  • 32nd edition of the GABF competition
  • 8,496 entries plus 101 Pro-Am and 49 Collaboration entries
  • 2,404 breweries in the competition from 49 states plus Washington, D.C. (no Mississippi)
  • 293 judges from 13 countries
  • Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 83
  • Category with the highest number of entries: Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (391 entries)
  • 280 medal-winning breweries (including Pro-Am and Collaboration)
  • 306 total medals awarded plus three (3) each for Pro-Am and Collaboration
  • 537 first-time GABF entrants
  • 31 first-time GABF winners

Great American Beer Festival Winners 2018

AND NOW… THE GABF 2018 Winners (in alphabetical order):

AGED BEER:

  • Gold: Quadtum Leap – Revelry Brewing Co., Charleston, SC
  • Silver: Lock, Stock and Brandy Barrel – Maize Valley Craft Brewery, Hartville, OH
  • Bronze: Solzhenitsyn – Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Media, PA

AMERICAN-BELGO-STYLE ALE:

  • Gold: Whitewall Wheat – Crank Arm Brewing Co., Raleigh, NC
  • Silver: #4.5 Dry Hopped Saison – Brown Truck Brewery, High Point, NC
  • Bronze: Mischief – The Bruery, Placentia, CA

AMERICAN-STYLE AMBER LAGER:

  • Gold: Pecos Amber Lager- Texas Beer Co., Taylor, TX
  • Silver: Märzen – Sudwerk Brewing Co., Davis, CA
  • Bronze: Oktoberfest – Lager Heads Brewing Co., Medina, OH

AMERICAN-STYLE AMBER/RED ALE:

  • Gold: West Coast Swing Amber- The Mitten Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI
  • Silver: Sepia Amber- Hopping Gnome Brewing Co., Wichita, KS
  • Bronze: Avalon Amber Ale – Slack Tide Brewing Co., Cape May Court House, NJ  (STOUT TANKS AND KETTLES SYSTEM)

AMERICAN-STYLE BLACK ALE:

  • Gold: Alpha Force Double Tap – Uberbrew, Billings, MT
  • Silver: Black the Riipper – Riip Beer Co., Huntington Beach, CA  (STOUT TANKS AND KETTLES SYSTEM)
  • Bronze: Midnight Moonlight – Fat Head’s Brewery, Middleburg Heights, OH

AMERICAN-STYLE BROWN ALE:

  • Gold: Davy Brown Ale – Figueroa Mountain Brewing, Buellton, CA
  • Silver: Groundswell Piloncillo Brown Ale – Groundswell Brewing Co., Santee, CA
  • Bronze: Wallops Island – Rocket Frog Brewing Co., Reston, VA

AMERICAN-STYLE CREAM ALE:

  • Gold: Gateway Cream Ale – Lockport Brewery, Bolivar, OH
  • Silver: Dayblazer Easygoing Ale – New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO
  • Bronze: El Sully – 21st Amendment Brewery, San Leandro, CA

AMERICAN-STYLE FRUIT BEER:

  • Gold: Raspberry Twist Lager – Garage Brewing Co., Temecula, CA
  • Silver: Cherry Blonde – Ignite Brewing Co., Barberton, OH
  • Bronze: Tropic Maelstrom – Peter B’s Brewpub, Monterey, CA

AMERICAN-STYLE INDIA PALE ALE:

  • Gold: Bine – Root Down Brewing Co., Phoenixville, PA
  • Silver: Not an IPA (P.S. it’s an IPA) – Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Portsmouth, NH
  • Bronze: West Coast IPA is Dead! – Green Cheek Beer Co., Orange, CA

AMERICAN-STYLE LAGER OR AMERICAN-STYLE MALT LIQUOR:

  • Gold: Lager – Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Boone, NC
  • Silver: American Lager – Castle Island Brewing Co., Norwood, MA
  • Bronze: Lumino – Unsung Brewing Co., Tustin, CA

AMERICAN-STYLE PALE ALE:

  • Gold: B.Right On Pale Ale – Ocean Beach Brewery, San Diego, CA
  • Silver: Neighborhood – Ventura Coast Brewing Co., Ventura, CA
  • Bronze: Charlatan – Maplewood Brewing Co., Chicago, IL

AMERICAN-STYLE PILSENER:

  • Gold: Rocket 100 – The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., Austin, TX
  • Silver: NZ Pils – Wolverine State Brewing Co., Ann Arbor, MI
  • Bronze: Howdy Beer – The Post Brewing Co., Lafayette, CO

AMERICAN-STYLE SOUR ALE:

  • Gold: Kveik 1 – Shades of Pale Brewery, Park City, UT
  • Silver: Brevity – Brewery Silvaticus, Amesbury, MA  (STOUT TANKS AND KETTLES SYSTEM)
  • Bronze: Wicked Shifty – Shoe Tree Brewing Co., Carson City, NV

AMERICAN-STYLE STOUT:

  • Gold: Hooligan Stout – Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop, WA
  • Silver: P2P – 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, OR
  • Bronze: Black Cliffs – Boise Brewing, Boise, ID

AMERICAN-STYLE STRONG PALE ALE:

  • Gold: Green Battles IPA – Pinthouse Pizza North, Austin, TX
  • Silver: Easy Runaway – Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop, WA
  • Bronze: Lucky Day – Central Coast Brewing Co., San Luis Obispo, CA

AMERICAN-STYLE WHEAT BEER:

  • Gold: Sweet As Pacific Ale – GoodLife Brewing Co., Bend, OR
  • Silver: Goofy Footed – Escape Brewing Co., Trinity, FL
  • Bronze: Easy, Breezy, Beautiful – Cloudburst Brewing, Seattle, WA

AMERICAN-STYLE WHEAT BEER WITH YEAST:

  • Gold: Miner’s Gold – Lewis & Clark Brewing Co., Helena, MT
  • Silver: Fuzztail – Sunriver Brewing, Sunriver, OR
  • Bronze: Hefeweizen – Widmer Brothers Brewing, Portland, OR

AUSTRALIAN-STYLE PALE ALE:

  • Gold: Sunshine Express – Butcherknife Brewing Co., Steamboat Springs, CO
  • Silver: Strata IPA – Worthy Brewing Co., Bend, OR
  • Bronze: Flavor Country – Austin Beerworks, Austin, TX

BALTIC-STYLE PORTER:

  • Gold: Odin’s Sword – Big Island Brewhaus, Kamuela, HI
  • Silver: Death and the Maiden – Cambridge Brewing Co., Cambridge, MA
  • Bronze: Bangor Slate Baltic Porter – Two Rivers Brewing Co., Easton, PA

BARLEY WINE-STYLE ALE:

  • Gold: Chicago Overcoat – Midnight Pig Beer, Plainfield, IL
  • Silver: Barnacled Manatee – Walking Tree Brewery, Vero Beach, FL
  • Bronze: Bear Temper – Trustworthy Brewing Co., Burbank, CA

BELGIAN- AND FRENCH-STYLE ALE:

  • Gold: 5 Branches Biere de Garde – Munkle Brewing Co., Charleston, SC
  • Silver: Biere de Garde – Blackberry Farm Brewery, Walland, TN
  • Bronze: Abby Blonde – Thirsty Monk Pub Brewery, Denver, CO

BELGIAN-STYLE BLONDE ALE OR PALE ALE:

  • Gold: Jean-Claude Van Blond – Wit’s End Brewing Co., Denver, CO
  • Silver: Singel – Hardywood West Creek, Richmond, VA
  • Bronze: Blonde Betty – Smuggler’s Brewpub, Telluride, CO

BELGIAN-STYLE DUBBEL OR QUADRUPEL:

  • Gold: BJ’s Quad – BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery, Boulder, CO
  • Silver: Kung Fu Smurf – Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, MI
  • Bronze: Deduction – Taxman Brewing Co., Bargersville, IN

 

BELGIAN-STYLE FRUIT BEER:

  • Gold: Foxy Lady – Silver City Brewery, Bremerton, WA
  • Silver: Blood-Orange Wit – Great Basin Brewing Co. – Sparks, Sparks, NV
  • Bronze: Kumquat Saison – Smog City Brewing, Torrance, CA

 

BELGIAN-STYLE LAMBIC OR SOUR ALE:

  • Gold: Funk Yeah – Beachwood Blendery, Long Beach, CA
  • Silver: Triad – IMBIB Custom Brews, Reno, NV
  • Bronze: I Am Only Memories – Orpheus Brewing, Atlanta, GA

 

BELGIAN-STYLE STRONG SPECIALTY ALE:

  • Gold: Midwatch – Figurehead Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
  • Silver: Qualified – Taxman Brewing Co., Bargersville, IN
  • Bronze: Sol Hominis (The Sun Of Man) – Save the World Brewing Co., Marble Falls, TX

BELGIAN-STYLE TRIPEL:

  • Gold: Tripel Carmel-ite – Flix Brewhouse – Carmel, Carmel, IN
  • Silver: Belgian Tripel – Village Idiot Brewing Co., Mount Holly, NJ
  • Bronze: Neighbor Girl – Paradigm Shift Brewing, Massillon, OH

BELGIAN-STYLE WITBIER:

  • Gold: Biére Blanche – Pedal Haus Brewery, Tempe, AZ
  • Silver: Optimal Wit – Port City Brewing Co., Alexandria, VA
  • Bronze: Allagash White – Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, ME

BERLINER-STYLE WEISSE:

  • Gold: Baywindow – 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, OR
  • Silver: Germophile – Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Santa Fe, NM
  • Bronze: Nevada Weisse – IMBIB Custom Brews, Reno, NV

BOCK:

  • Gold: Guten Bock – Gilded Goat Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO
  • Silver: New Kids on Maibock – Independent Brewing Co., Bel Air, MD
  • Bronze: Blind Tiger Bock – Blind Tiger Brewery & Restaurant, Topeka, KS

BOHEMIAN-STYLE PILSENER:

  • Gold: Bohemian Pilsner – Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant – Tysons Corner, McLean, VA
  • Silver: Pompey’s Pilsner – Lewis & Clark Brewing Co., Helena, MT
  • Bronze: Bird Park – North Park Beer Co., San Diego, CA

BRETT BEER:

  • Gold: C’mon Sunshine – Birds Fly South Ale Project, Greenville, SC
  • Silver: Terroir Pinot Gris – Alesong Brewing & Blending, Eugene, OR
  • Bronze: Touch of Brett Mandarina – Alesong Brewing & Blending, Eugene, OR

BROWN PORTER:

  • Gold: Maduro Brown Ale – Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL
  • Silver: Brown Claw – Kern River Brewing Co., Kernville, CA
  • Bronze: Knee-Knocker Porter – Crow Hop Brewing Co., Loveland, CO

CHILI BEER:

  • Gold: White Legs Jalapeno Wheat – Tribute Brewing Co., Eagle River, WI
  • Silver: Chamuco – Künstler Brewing – San Antonio, TX
  • Bronze: San Antonio Hatch Lager – Ranger Creek Brewery, San Antonio, TX

CHOCOLATE BEER:

  • Gold: Coco for Coxness – Copperpoint Brewing Co., Boynton Beach, FL
  • Silver: Genesee Brew House Pilot Batch Dark Chocolate Scotch Ale – Genesee Brew House, Rochester, NY
  • Bronze: Chocolate Macadamia Nut Stout – Kilowatt Brewing, San Diego, CA  (STOUT TANKS AND KETTLES SYSTEM)

CLASSIC ENGLISH-STYLE PALE ALE:

  • Gold: Pale Ale – Omission Brewing Co., Portland, OR
  • Silver: MacTarnahan’s Amber Ale – Portland Brewing, Portland, OR
  • Bronze: Prickly Pear – Lewis & Clark Brewing Co., Helena, MT

CLASSIC IRISH-STYLE DRY STOUT:

  • Gold: Shooter McMunn’s – Lost Rhino Brewing Co., Ashburn, VA
  • Silver: It’s My Island – Pocock Brewing Co., Santa Clarita, CA
  • Bronze: Know Ego – Groundswell Brewing Co., Santee, CA

CLASSIC SAISON:

  • Gold: Saison – Bent Paddle Brewing Co., Duluth, MN
  • Silver: One Arm Farmhouse Ale – Hobbs Tavern & Brewing Co., West Ossipee, NH
  • Bronze: Hayshaker – Gunwhale Ales, Costa Mesa, CA

COFFEE BEER:

  • Gold: Coffee Cream Ale – Kiitos Brewing, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Silver: Mystery Airship 4.0: Temple Cascara Golden Ale – New Helvetia Brewing Co., Sacramento, CA
  • Bronze: First Call – Modist Brewing Co., Minneapolis, MN

COFFEE STOUT OR PORTER:

  • Gold: Speargun – Snake River Brewing Co., Jackson, WY
  • Silver: Breakfast Stout – Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI
  • Bronze: Udder Chaos – RAM Restaurant & Brewery – Seattle, Seattle, WA

DARK LAGER:

  • Gold: Iron Horse Lager – Great American Restaurants – Sweetwater Tavern Centreville, Centreville, VA
  • Silver: The Bennie – Granite City Food & Brewery, Olathe, KS
  • Bronze: Nighthawk – Enegren Brewing Co., Moorpark, CA

DORTMUNDER OR GERMAN-STYLE OKTOBERFEST:

  • Gold: Grandpa Tractor – Barley Forge Brewing, Costa Mesa, CA
  • Silver: Freiheit Oktoberfest Wiesn – Wayfinder Beer, Portland, OR
  • Bronze: Figtoberfest – Figueroa Mountain Brewing, Westlake Village, CA

DOUBLE HOPPY RED ALE:

  • Gold: Midwest Red IPA – Masthead Brewing Co., Cleveland, OH
  • Silver: Roundhouse – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Bronze: Bad Polaroid – Werk Force Brewing Co., Plainfield, IL

ENGLISH-STYLE BROWN ALE:

  • Gold: Get Up Offa That Brown – Golden Road Brewing – Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
  • Silver: My Brown Eyed Girl – Thornapple Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI
  • Bronze: No. 3 Brown – The Freehouse, Minneapolis, MN

ENGLISH-STYLE INDIA PALE ALE:

  • Gold: Castillo IPA – Alaro Craft Brewery, Sacramento, CA
  • Silver: Silverspot IPA – Pelican Brewing Co., Pacific City, OR
  • Bronze: Hoppy Poppy IPA – Figueroa Mountain Brewing, Buellton, CA

ENGLISH-STYLE MILD ALE:

  • Gold: Drift – First Magnitude Brewing Co., Gainesville, FL
  • Silver: Hold The Reins – Brink Brewing Co., Cincinnati, OH
  • Bronze: Fools & Babies – Green Cheek Beer Co., Orange, CA

ENGLISH-STYLE SUMMER ALE:

  • Gold: Liquid AC – Karl Strauss Brewing Co. – La Jolla, La Jolla, CA
  • Silver: Provider – Steel Toe Brewing, St. Louis Park, MN
  • Bronze: Zest A Peel – Triple C Brewing, Charlotte, NC

EXPERIMENTAL BEER:

  • Gold: Feral Brute – Firestone Walker Barrelworks, Buellton, CA
  • Silver: Terroir Pinot Noir – Alesong Brewing & Blending, Eugene, OR
  • Bronze: Chips & Salsa Cream Ale – Cogstone Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, CO

EXPORT STOUT:

  • Gold: Dissent – Steel Toe Brewing, St. Louis Park, MN
  • Silver: Malpais Stout – La Cumbre Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM
  • Bronze: Shut Up & Adore Me – Morgan Territory Brewing, Tracy, CA

EXTRA SPECIAL BITTER:

  • Gold: Happy Amber – MadTree Brewing 2.0, Cincinnati, OH
  • Silver: ESB – Hillman Beer, Asheville, NC
  • Bronze: Bull Kelp ESB – San Juan Island Brewing Co., Friday Harbor, WA

FIELD BEER:

  • Gold: Cool for the Summer – Lakes & Legends Brewing Co., Minneapolis, MN
  • Silver: Coco Piña Gose – Coastal Empire Beer Co., Savannah, GA
  • Bronze: Hawaiian Lion Toasted Coconut & Coffee Porter – Big Top Brewing Co., Sarasota, FL

FRUIT WHEAT BEER:

  • Gold: Passionate Envy – 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, OR
  • Silver: Purple Line – Smylie Brothers Brewing Co., Evanston, IL
  • Bronze: Cherry Wheat – Sierra Blanca Brewing Co., Moriarty, NM

FRUITED AMERICAN-STYLE SOUR ALE:

  • Gold: Pink Passionfruit Sour – BearWaters Brewing Co., Canton, NC
  • Silver: Kirby Pucker No. 21 – Eastlake Craft Brewery, Minneapolis, MN  (STOUT TANKS AND KETTLES SYSTEM)
  • Bronze: Flaming Fury – Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., Elmsford, NY

FRUITED WOOD- AND BARREL-AGED SOUR BEER:

  • Gold: Réserve Dorée de Pêche – Wooden Robot, Charlotte, NC
  • Silver: Sour Cherry Sour – Hermitage Brewing Co., San Jose, CA
  • Bronze: Zoned AG Golden Raspberry – Corralitos Brewing Co., Watsonville, CA

GERMAN-STYLE ALTBIER:

  • Gold: Legendary Red – Golden City Brewery, Golden, CO
  • Silver: Little Red Cap – Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, Loveland, CO
  • Bronze: Alt 1848 – Utepils Brewing Co., Minneapolis, MN

GERMAN-STYLE DOPPELBOCK OR EISBOCK:

  • Gold: Smooth Like Jazz – Revelry Brewing Co., Charleston, SC
  • Silver: Delaminator Doppelbock – Rip Current Brewery, San Marcos, CA
  • Bronze: St. Nigels’ Doppelbock – Front Range Brewing Co., Lafayette, CO

GERMAN-STYLE KOELSCH:

  • Gold: Colorado Kölsch – Steamworks Brewing Co., Durango, CO
  • Silver: Kascadia – 54°40’ Brewing Co., Washougal, WA
  • Bronze: Veedels Bräu Kölsch – Crooked Lane Brewing Co., Auburn, CA

GERMAN-STYLE MAERZEN:

  • Gold: Oktoberfest – Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., Fort Worth, TX
  • Silver: Oktoberfest – RAM Restaurant and Brewery, Lakewood, WA
  • Bronze: Oktoberfest – Oak Highlands Brewery, Dallas, TX

GERMAN-STYLE PILSENER:

  • Gold: Netflix and Pils – Cannonball Creek Brewing Co., Golden, CO
  • Silver: Pilsner – pFriem Family Brewers, Hood River, OR
  • Bronze: Pilsner – Ardent Craft Ales, Richmond, VA

GERMAN-STYLE WHEAT ALE:

  • Gold: Bananenhängematte – FiftyFifty Brewing Co., Truckee, CA
  • Silver: Alviso Mills Hefeweizen – Santa Clara Valley Brewing, San Jose, CA
  • Bronze: Doppel Blur – Circle Brewing Co., Austin, TX

GLUTEN-FREE BEER:

  • Gold: Puckerberry – High Hops Brewery, Windsor, CO
  • Silver: Aurochs Blonde Ale – Aurochs Brewing Co., Emsworth, PA  (STOUT TANKS AND KETTLES SYSTEM)
  • Bronze: Dark Ale – Ground Breaker Brewing, Portland, OR

GOLDEN OR BLONDE ALE:

  • Gold: MadeWest Standard – MadeWest Brewing Co., Ventura, CA
  • Silver: 1956 Golden Ale – Bootstrap Brewing Co., Niwot, CO
  • Bronze: Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale – Bosque Brewing Co., Bernalillo, NM

GOSE:

  • Gold: Two of Tarts – Upland Brewing Co., Bloomington, IN
  • Silver: Salty by Nature – Root Down Brewing Co., Phoenixville, PA
  • Bronze: Brewer’s Day Off – D9 Brewing Co., Cornelius, NC

HERB AND SPICE BEER:

  • Gold: Pendragon – Royal Docks Brewhouse and Cannery, Massillon, OH
  • Silver: Hazelnut Crunch – North By Northwest Restaurant and Brewery, Austin, TX
  • Bronze: Wheatstone Bridge – Tin Whiskers Brewing, St. Paul, MN

HISTORICAL BEER:

  • Gold: Pushing Trees – Central Standard Brewing, Wichita, KS  (STOUT TANKS AND KETTLES SYSTEM)
  • Silver: The BIG Lubelski – Divine Barrel Brewing, Charlotte, NC
  • Bronze: Zungen Brecher – Home Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

HONEY BEER:

  • Gold: Belgian Honey Blonde – No Clue Craft Brewery, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Silver: Honey Comb Cream Ale – Rock Bottom Brewery, Denver, CO
  • Bronze: Basil Better Have My Honey – Low Tide Brewing, Johns Island, SC

 IMPERIAL INDIA PALE ALE:

  • Gold: Nobility – Noble Ale Works, Anaheim, CA
  • Silver: Northern Lights – Moonraker Brewing Co., Auburn, CA  (STOUT TANKS AND KETTLES SYSTEM)
  • Bronze: Unbridled Enthusiasm – Third Space Brewing, Milwaukee, WI

IMPERIAL RED ALE:

  • Gold: Happy Days – Claremont Craft Ales, Claremont, CA  (STOUT TANKS AND KETTLES SYSTEM)
  • Silver: Robot – Stereo Brewing Co., Placentia, CA
  • Bronze: Cinder Beast – Sunriver Brewing, Sunriver, OR

 IMPERIAL STOUT:

  • Gold: Kill the Lights – The Tap Brewery, Bloomington, IN
  • Silver: The Shroud – Bravery Brewing, Lancaster, CA
  • Bronze: Shimmergloom – Loowit Brewing Co., Vancouver, WA

INTERNATIONAL-STYLE PALE ALE:

  • Gold: Mai Tai P.A. – Alvarado Street Brewery & Grill, Monterey, CA
  • Silver: Guayabera – Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL
  • Bronze: The Penske File – Faction Brewing Co., Alameda, CA

INTERNATIONAL-STYLE PILSENER:

  • Gold: Wooden Teeth – Turtle Mountain Brewing Co., Rio Rancho, NM
  • Silver: Nano – OG Lager – Market Garden Brewery, Cleveland, OH
  • Bronze: Cerveza Delray – Brew Detroit, Detroit, MI

IRISH-STYLE RED ALE:

  • Gold: Scarlet Fire – Tighthead Brewing Co., Mundelein, IL
  • Silver: TAPS Irish Red – TAPS Fish House and Brewery, Corona, CA
  • Bronze: DEFCON Red – Comrade Brewing Co., Denver, CO

JUICY OR HAZY IMPERIAL OR DOUBLE INDIA PALE ALE:

  • Gold: New England Style Double IPA – Black Market Brewing Co., Temecula, CA
  • Silver: DDH Double IPA – Corridor Brewery & Provisions, Chicago, IL
  • Bronze: Contains No Juice – Alvarado Street Brewery, Salinas, CA

JUICY OR HAZY INDIA PALE ALE

  • Gold: Voodoo – Tin Roof Brewing Co., Baton Rouge, LA
  • Silver: Sippin on Dank 2.0 – Kings Brewing Co., Rancho Cucamonga, CA  (STOUT TANKS AND KETTLES SYSTEM)
  • Bronze: Madame Psychosis – Fiction Beer Co., Denver, CO

KELLERBIER OR ZWICKELBIER

  • Gold: Keller Pils – Summit Brewing Co., St. Paul, MN
  • Silver: STS Pils – Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA
  • Bronze: NashZwickel – Nashville Brewing Co., Nashville, TN

LIGHT LAGER

  • Gold: Altitude Banquet – Altitude Chophouse and Brewery, Laramie, WY
  • Silver: Awesome Beer Rice Lager – State Room Brewery, San Rafael, CA
  • Bronze: Super Awesome Lager – Austin Beerworks, Austin, TX

MIXED-CULTURE BRETT BEER

  • Gold: Druif – pFriem Family Brewers – Hood River, OR
  • Silver: Citra Dry Hopped Funk Yo Couch – Wiley Roots Brewing Co., Greeley, CO
  • Bronze: Coming to Fruition: Cherry – Oregon City Brewing Co., Oregon City, OR

MUNICH-STYLE DUNKEL OR EUROPEAN-STYLE DARK LAGER

  • Gold: Chuckanut Dunkel – Chuckanut, Burlington, WA
  • Silver: Duck River Dunkel – Goat Island Brewing, Cullman, AL
  • Bronze: Babee Bock – Brew Kettle, Strongsville, OH

MUNICH-STYLE HELLES

  • Gold: Hell Yes – The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., Austin, TX
  • Silver: Chuckanut Helles – Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, WA
  • Bronze: House Lager – Jack’s Abby Brewing, Framingham, MA

OATMEAL STOUT

  • Gold: Shoshone Stout – Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co., Glenwood Springs, CO
  • Silver: Oats – Pizza Port Solana Beach, Solana Beach, CA
  • Bronze: Wall of Sound – Stereo Brewing Co., Placentia, CA

OLD ALE OR STRONG ALE

  • Gold: Drunkard’s Cloak – Banded Oak Brewing Co., Denver, CO
  • Silver: Old Scrooge – Silver City Brewery, Bremerton, WA
  • Bronze: Rail Gun Wee Heavy – BNS Brewing & Distilling Co., Santee, CA

 ORDINARY OR SPECIAL BITTER

  • Gold: Sawtooth Ale – Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, CO
  • Silver: Copperline Amber Ale – Carolina Brewery, Pittsboro, NC
  • Bronze: Saint Arnold Amber Ale – Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Houston, TX

 OTHER STRONG BEER

  • Gold: Golden Prairie Doppel Alt – Argus Brewery, Chicago, IL
  • Silver: False Hope – Spilled Grain Brewhouse, Annandale, MN
  • Bronze: Lampshade Porter – Starr Brothers Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM

PUMPKIN/SQUASH BEER OR PUMPKIN SPICE BEER

  • Gold: Gordgeous – NoDa Brewing Co., Charlotte, NC
  • Silver: Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale – Stevens Point Brewery, Stevens Point, WI
  • Bronze: Phantoms Pumpkin Spice Barleywine – Philipsburg Brewing Co.- The Vault, Philipsburg, MT

ROBUST PORTER

  • Gold: Lomporter – Lompoc Brewing, Portland, OR
  • Silver: Porter – Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI
  • Bronze: Ghost Rider Porter – Big Ugly Brewing Co., Chesapeake, VA

RYE BEER

  • Gold: Rye Dawn – Breakwater Brewing Co., Oceanside, CA
  • Silver: Unite the Clans – Third Space Brewing, Milwaukee, WI
  • Bronze: Rise Up Rye – Gun Hill Brewing Co., Bronx, NY

SCOTCH ALE

  • Gold: Real Heavy – Real Ale Brewing Co., Blanco, TX
  • Silver: Skag – 6th and La Brea, Los Angeles, CA
  • Bronze: Kilt Switch – 903 Brewers, Sherman, TX  (STOUT TANKS AND KETTLES SYSTEM)

SCOTTISH-STYLE ALE

  • Gold: Taildragger Clan-Destine – Saddle Mountain Brewing Co., Goodyear, AZ
  • Silver: Saint Arnold Oktoberfest – Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Houston, TX
  • Bronze: It Takes a Tribe Red Ale – Goat Patch Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, CO

SESSION BEER

  • Gold: Natural Bridge: Vienna Lager – Eppig Brewing, San Diego, CA
  • Silver: Noble Miner – Burgeon Beer Co., Carlsbad, CA
  • Bronze: Stonefly Session Ale – Three Creeks Production, Sisters, OR

SESSION INDIA PALE ALE

  • Gold: The Coachman – Societe Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
  • Silver: Little Downtown Tom – Three Mile Brewing Co., Davis, CA
  • Bronze: Mosaic Reprise – Little City Brewing Co., Raleigh, NC

SMOKE BEER

  • Gold: St. Chuck’s Smoke – Rogue Ales Issaquah Brewhouse, Issaquah, WA
  • Silver: Pro-Pro Porter – Wormtown Brewery, Worcester, MA
  • Bronze: Raucher – Wolverine State Brewing Co., Ann Arbor, MI

SOUTH GERMAN-STYLE HEFEWEIZEN

  • Gold: Civil Rest – Little Brother Brewing, Greensboro, NC  (STOUT TANKS AND KETTLES SYSTEM)
  • Silver: Hoofer’s Hef – Bankhead Brewing Co., Rowlett, TX
  • Bronze: Hefeweizen – Standard Deviant Brewing, San Francisco, CA

SPECIALTY BEER

  • Gold: Graham Cracker Porter – Denver Beer Co., Denver, CO
  • Silver: Double Stack – Great Notion Brewing, Portland, OR
  • Bronze: I Did It All For The Cookie – FiftyFifty Brewing, Truckee, CA

SPECIALTY SAISON

  • Gold: Apricot Saison – 105 West Brewing Co., Castle Rock, CO
  • Silver: Sunken City – Insight Brewing Co., Minneapolis, MN
  • Bronze: Rustic Sunday – Birds Fly South Ale Project, Greenville, SC

SWEET STOUT OR CREAM STOUT

  • Gold: Moozie – Brink Brewing Co., Cincinnati, OH
  • Silver: Udder Love – Beachwood Brewing, Huntington Beach, CA
  • Bronze: Melk Stout – Columbus Brewing Co., Columbus, OH

VIENNA-STYLE LAGER

  • Gold: Oktoberfest – SKA Brewing, Durango, CO
  • Silver: 13.Five Ofest – Blue Mountain Barrel House and Organic Brewery, Arrington, VA
  • Bronze: Vienna Lager – Grains of Wrath Brewing, Camas, WA

WOOD- AND BARREL-AGED BEER

  • Gold: Barrel Aged Japance Off – Denver Beer Co., Arvada, CO
  • Silver: Redrum – Duck Foot Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
  • Bronze: beWILDering C – Ten Pin Brewing Co., Moses Lake, WA  (STOUT TANKS AND KETTLES SYSTEM)

WOOD- AND BARREL-AGED SOUR BEER

  • Gold: 3 Barrel Circus – River Dog Brewing Co., Bluffton, SC
  • Silver: Duck Duck Gooze – Port Brewing Co. / The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA
  • Bronze: Oak-Aged Sour – Propolis Brewing, Port Townsend, WA

SMALL BREWPUB OF THE YEAR

  • Ocean Beach Brewery, San Diego, CA

MID-SIZE BREWPUB OF THE YEAR

  • Root Down Brewing Co., Phoenixville, PA

LARGE BREWPUB OF THE YEAR

  • The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., Austin, TX

VERY SMALL BREWING COMPANY OF THE YEAR

  • Brink Brewing Co., Cincinnati, OH

SMALL BREWING COMPANY OF THE YEAR

  • Lewis & Clark Brewing Co., Helena, MT

MID-SIZE BREWING COMPANY OF THE YEAR

  • pFriem Family Brewers, Hood River, OR

BREWERY GROUP OF THE YEAR

  • FiftyFifty Brewing -Truckee, CA

 

2018 PRO-AM WINNERS

Gold Medal: Deer Crossing

Brewing Company: Little Harpeth Brewing Co.

Brewmaster: Jesse Brown

AHA Member: Chris Allen

 

Silver Medal: Gone for a Burton

Brewing Company: Rock Bottom Brewery

Brewmaster: Erik Pizer

AHA Member: Jim Todd

 

Bronze Medal: La Bomba

Brewing Company: Cheluna Brewing Co.

Brewmaster: Jennifer Perez

AHA Member: Chris Cardillo

 

2018 COLLABORATION WINNERS

Gold Medal: TransAtlantique Kriek

Brewery Name: New Belgium Brewing Co.

Collaborating Brewery Name: Oud Beersel

Beer Style: Golden Sour Ale with Cherries

 

Silver Medal: Pixie Dusted

Brewery Name: Firestone Walker Barrelworks

Collaborating Brewery Name: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Beer Style: Wheat Blonde Ale Fermented in Neutral Oak Barrels with Pixie Tangerines

 

Bronze Medal: Mocha Hipster Bomb

Brewery Name: Quarter Celtic Brewpub

Collaborating Brewery Name: Palmer Brewery and Cider House

Beer Style: Export Stout with Cold-Pressed Coffee, Chocolate and Lactose

FEELING INSPIRED?   READ UP ON OUR PRO BREWING SYSTEMS, AND GET A BREWING SYSTEM QUOTE FROM ONE OF OUR EXPERIENCED BREWERY DESIGN CONSULTANTS.

 

CHEERS!

 

What is the best heat source for your brewing equipment?

This long debated question has no simple answer.  There IS no “best” heat source.   Our brewing equipment is designed to work with all kinds of heat sources and our  recommendations are based on your brewing needs and setups.   Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, which we have outlined below for your convenience.

ELECTRIC HEAT BREWING SYSTEMS:

The popular choice  for 2 bbl brewing systems to 10 bbl commercial brewing systems.

Electric Brew Houses

Advantages:

  • Highest efficiency:  100% of heat generated is transferred to the water or wort
  • Excellent control of the brewing process.  (Note:  our control systems provide pinpoint accuracy in temperature control).
  • Predictable cost
  • No concerns about carbon monoxide, open flames or explosive gases
  • Can be highly automated if desired

Disadvantages:

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

DIRECT FIRE BREWING SYSTEMS:

The popular choice for home brewers and small commercial operations.

Direct Fire brewing system

Advantages:

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

Disadvantages:

  • Probably the highest long term cost; gas is typically only 25% to 50% efficient
  • 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)
  • Some buildings will need fire suppression systems
  • 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 BREWING SYSTEMS:

The popular choice for pro brewers and large commercial operations.

Steam brewing system

Advantages:

  • When combined with direct fire boiler, you get good (but not best) efficiency and low energy cost

Disadvantages:

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

 

If you are still unsure as to what system will work best for you and your brewery setup, please call us directly at (503) 372-9580 to discuss options, or take a look at some brewing equipment options for brewing by the barrel or brewing by the gallon.

Benefits of the Vorlauf Pipe

  • Prevents channeling of your mash bed (a common problem with using a hose for your vorlauf).
  • Avoids hot side aeration during vorlauf by eliminating splashing when recirculting your mash wort; the outlet is submerged just an inch or two below the liquid level.
  • You don’t have to keep worrying about your grain bed and moving grains back to level the bed.
  • Adjustable length works for many recipes.

  How to use:

  1.  Loosen the nut, then adjust the length of the pipe so that the outlet is about an inch below the liquid level of your mash.
  2. When running your vorlauf, check that you are not splashing your wort – adjust the length as needed to prevent splashing and hot side aeration.
  3. After mash in, attach the vorlauf pipe to your mash tun’s upper re circulation fitting.

 

Vorlauf Pipes for homebrewing

Choosing the Correct Size.

What size will work best for your brewery setup?  Check out the following available sizes and call us directly with any questions.  We are committed to helping you make delicious craft brews and are here to help in any way that we can.

 

 

Cheers!

As a coffee roaster or café owner, it is up to you to manage the variables in your coffee to create the perfect cold brew recipe.  The variables include:

  1. Origin of coffee
  2. Roasting style
  3. Grind size
  4. Water temperature
  5. Brew time
  6. Water chemistry

The origin of the coffee and the roasting style are at the heart of the magic of coffee.  Sourcing and roasting the right coffee for your cold brew flavors will have the biggest impact on the quality of your cold brew.

cold brew coffee system

Most roasters start out with the largest grind size they can to maximize the flavor that makes it to the coffee.  Set your grinder to the largest size you can, and work backward from there.  Most coffee brewers have found that the larger the grind size, the more control they have over the flavor of the cold brew.   The volatile chemicals that make up the flavor and aroma of coffee are very evanescent.  They combine quickly with oxygen.  Oxidation can quickly change the flavor of the coffee.

 

How do you prevent this?

By choosing a larger grind size, you are limiting the surface area of the coffee bean, and thereby reducing oxidation of the coffee.  Because water is such a good solvent, it can soak deep into the bean and bring those flavors out into the cold brew.  The magic is in the time that it takes for water to bring those flavors out of the bean.

Size Matters.

The grind size will have an impact on the type of filtration system you want for your cold brew system.  The size of particle you put into your cold brew will affect the clarity of the brew.  Our cold coffee systems are designed to manage particle size so that you can control how clear your cold brew looks in the glass.  We use a number of filtration systems that can filter your coffee down to a parcel size of 1 micron, if necessary.

Other Factors to Consider.

Time and temperature are also big factors to balance.  The greater the temperature of your brew, the less time it takes to brew.  The colder the brew, the longer the brew time.  Of course heat also affects the rate of evaporation of the volatile coffee flavors, and the rate of oxidation.

What is “Warm Bloom?”

Some brewers like to use a “warm bloom” to their cold brew, where they start with water slightly above room temperature to pull flavors out of the bean more quickly.  After the warm bloom, the brew is allowed to cool to room temperature.  Room temperature varies from room to room, and from day to day, and from during the time of day.

Control water temperature with your cold brew coffee system

Temperature Options

If you can’t control the air temperature in your brewery you might consider controlling the temperature of the brew.  We sell glycol chilling systems as well as electric or direct fire heat that can help you control the temperature of your cold brew.  Depending on the size of your cold brewery, it might make sense to consider adding temperature control to your cold brew system. 

Water Chemistry

The chemistry of the water will also have an impact on the flavor of cold brew.  The Ph of your water and the mineral content of the water will vary the flavor of your coffee.  We can help you develop a reverse osmosis filter system or other water treatment system to manage the flavor of your cold brew.

We are here to help.

Talk to us about how we can help you control the temperature in your system.   Check out our Cold Brew Coffee Systems and call us directly with your specific questions.

Cheers!

Decisions.. Decisions..  One of the more enjoyable dilemmas that brewers face is choosing a brewhouse setup.   One of the first decisions brewers get to ponder is whether to go with a skid mounted brewhouse, or choose a traditional brewhouse with stand-alone components.  There are so many factors to consider in this decision, and there are so many Pro’s and Con’s to balance.  The good news is that there are NO wrong answers.  The choice is yours. 

As a proven leader in the craft brewers industry, our Brewery Design Consultants will work with you to determine the best setup for your current, and future, brewing needs.  Having worked alongside professional brewers for more than a decade, we offer the following insight that may help you decide which setup is right for you and your brewery:

 

Why choose a Skid Mount for your Brewery?  

The Pro’s:

  1. The obvious:  It looks cool!  The first thing people notice about a skid mounted brewhouse is just how cool it looks.  With a mash tun and a brew kettle each mounted on one side of the central platform, the brewhouse has an eye-catching symmetry.  The hard piping gleams, with its perfect 90° elbows lined up perfectly, and rows and rows of shiny valves placed precisely in order.  With every detail thought out, and every component in its most perfect location, it is no wonder why so many brewers want to have a skid mounted brew house.
  2. Convenience:  The biggest factor many brewers consider is the convenience.  With 2 vessels mounted on the same skid, the brewhouse is one item to buy, ship and install.  A skid mounted brewhouse can simplify your space planning requirements in your brewery because you just need to find a place to park the skid.  No matter where you choose, the Mash Tun and Brew Kettle are always going to be next to each other in the perfect alignment.  With everything already installed on the brewhouse, and put into the perfect location, it is easy to set up a skid mount system.  Except for utility and steam connections, most skid mount systems do not required skilled trades in order to get up and running.
  3. More Fun:   Another reason brewers may choose to use a skid mount for their brewhouse is an obvious one: it is fun!  With every detail planned out for you, the valves are always in the right spot, and it is easy to see what you are doing.  With the pumps already mounted directly to the skid, it can be easier to move wort around.  There is no need to find and move the pump cart and connect up the hoses to proper connection.  Everything is already connected.  You just have to open the right valves.
  4. It is Easier to Relocate:   A skid system can be convenient to relocate.  If you brewery grows, and we hope that it does, you will need to reconfigure your space.  It is easy to move the skid around on its own wheels.  It is also easy to move to another location or another brewery if you find another site.  Either way, our team of Brewery Design Consultants are happy to advise you on your best options.   Brewing Equipment

The Con’s:

  1. Expense:  All the above mentions convenience may come with additional cost.  The cost of the stainless steel skid and all that hard piping (and valves) can add considerable expense to the brewhouse.  Costs include the materials cost for the skid, and all the labor to cut and weld the skid together and to attach the brew kettle and mash tun to the skid.  All of the hard piping also has to be cut, bent and mounted onto the skid.  Each contact point requires a weld and some time to polish.  There is also the cost of shipping the extra weight of the skid and the piping.
  2. Harder to Move in a Tighter Space:  Moving a skid system in a tight space can be a little more difficult.  Skid systems require a bigger door to get them into a building and a bigger forklift to get them off the truck.  Before you buy a skid system make sure you can get it into the building and move it easily into space.
  3. Sanitaion:  One thing that many people fail to consider early is sanitation.  Hard piping can be harder to clean inside the pipes.  It can require a lot of water and chemicals to Clean In Place.  It can take extra time as well.

Why choose a Traditional Brewhouse?

The Pro’s:

  1. Cost:  Cost is often a deciding factor behind choosing a traditional brewhouse.  The individual components are easier to manufacture than a skid mounted system, and without the additional materials in skid and piping, there is just less to buy and ship.  A traditional brewhouse offers all the functionality of a skid mount system with less stainless steel, less labor to manufacture, and less weight to truck to your brewery.
  2. Hoses are Cheaper:  Brewer’s hose costs much less by the foot than stainless steel piping.  With a traditional brewhouse, you can use one length of hose for several steps in the process, getting by with one hose, where a skid system requires a length of pipe for each function.  Many skid systems have 2 or 3 sets of parallel pipes.
  3. Better for Non-Traditional Space:  Traditional brewhouses can be easier to fit into non-traditional spaces.  If your building has odd shapes and spaces, it can be easier to fit a traditional brewhouse than a skid mount.  Many historic buildings have space constrictions like smaller doors, posts and columns in inconvenient locations, and lower ceilings. The size of your brewhouse may be limited to the smallest opening in your building.  You can place the individual components in the most space efficient way possible.   Sometime just a slight movement or realignment can make all the difference in how you use the space.
  4. Control over Configuration:  You can configure your brewing system exactly the way you want it.  If you have strong opinions about the proper angle of your brew kettle versus the mash tun, then a traditional system is for you.  Some brewers like to maximize the ergonomic placement of their equipment, which is much easier when the pieces can all move independently.
  5. More Room to Grow:  Traditional systems also offer more flexibility as you grow or change your process.  It is easier to add components or new steps to your brew process if you have unlimited creativity in the placement of the brewhouse.  Adding a new whirlpool or hop back to your process, or upgrading the plate chiller might be a little simpler if you can reconfigure the placement of all the other components.

Con’s:

  • Hoses:  When it comes to brewer’s hose, some brewers love the flexibility that a few lengths of hose can provide.  They love the ease of cleaning, and the ability to hang hoses to dry.  Others dislike the clutter of hoses on the ground, and prefer to have as many pipes as possible fixed in place.

 

Conclusion:

If money and space are not limits for you, and you want the luxury of a well-designed brewhouse, there is a skid system with your name on it.  If you are on a budget, have limited space, or need the flexibility to change your brewhouse as your brewery grows, you might find yourself in a traditional brewhouse.  The good news is, you can make great beer with both.  If you would like to get a quote for your brewery setup, follow this link to start the conversation. 

Cheers!

 

Yeast requires an initial burst of oxygen to metabolize the sugars with a form of respiration, but the bulk of the work that yeast does is in fermentation, which does not require oxygen.  In fact, when brewing beer with yeast, many brewers take steps to actively limit the amount of oxygen in the beer to reduce oxidation of volatile flavor compounds.

Yeast are quite happy to survive in an environment with all Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and no oxygen (O2).  During the most active phase of fermentation, yeast produces enough carbon dioxide to displace all of the oxygen in their fermentation vessel.  Beer brewers use conical fermenters to blow off all the excess oxygen out of airlocks in the top of closed fermenter.  Cones at the bottom allow brewers to harvest the yeast and used it again, brew after brew.

WHAT IS LARGELY UNNECESSARY IN BEER AND UNDESIRABLE IN WINE, IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL IN KOMBUCHA.

Wine makers need to control oxygen very tightly to avoid the three ways that oxygen can ruin wine:

  1. Chemical Oxidation
  2. Enzymatic Oxidation
  3. Microbial Oxidation

When oxygen is present, it will chemically bond with certain polyphenols in the wine.  Enzymes also use oxidation to break down complicated flavor compounds in wine.  Certain strains of bacteria found in wine will also turn wine into vinegar.  Similar strains of bacteria are present in kombucha.  These bacteria need oxygen to convert the ethanol (alcohol) in kombucha to acetic acid, which is responsible for that wonderful tart flavor in kombucha.

FERMENTATION VESSELS FOR KOMBUCHA SYMBIOSIS

Some of our kombucha fermentation tanks have aeration stones built in.  These stones were originally invented to carbonate beer by infusing carbon dioxide into the tank under pressure.  We’ve found the aeration stones to be a good way to dissolve oxygen directly into your kombucha, right where the bacteria need it.

At Stout Tanks and Kettles, we are working on developing the best fermentation vessels for the symbiosis of the yeast and bacteria, including providing the oxygen that bacteria need.  Many kombucha brewers prefer open top fermenters so that the oxygen can directly dissolve into the surface of the kombucha.  Surface O2 can really enhance bacterial activity.  One of the downsides of open top fermenters is flying insects.  Nobody wants flies or gnats in their kombucha, so we are developing ways to provide surface oxygen without giving flying bugs free access to your kombucha.  Many brewers will use cheesecloth to keep insects out, but cheesecloth is not usually fine enough to keep all of the bugs out.

One important consideration for many kombucha Brewers is the ratio of surface area to volume in the tank.  Without aeration, all the oxygen in the kombucha has to enter from the surface of the kombucha.  We can custom design a fermenter for you in whatever shape you want to optimize the surface area to the volume of your fermenter.

To get started, take a look at some of our stainless steel kombucha fermenters and feel free to contact us directly with any questions about our kombucha brewing systems.

Cheers!

Temperature is Critical

As you may already know, temperature is critical to the mashing process.  Here are a few suggestions to help better explain your options for controlling the mash temperature more precisely and easily.   If you get confused and don’t know what option is best for your brewery setup, don’t worry..  you can always contact us directly with any additional questions you may have.

  • HOT WATER INFUSION:  the easiest and most common method, you will use hot water infusion to heat the mash (compatible with any type of system).

  • With HERMS (Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash System):  when you recirculate the mash wort out of the mash tun, through the coil which is in the heated hot liquor tank. The wort will come out of the coil at a temperature that is near the temperature of the hot liquor tank and it is directed back into the mash tun on top of the grains.  >>ADVANTAGE:  An advantage of HERMS is that you cannot heat the wort above the setting of the hot liquor tank, which will reduce the risk of overheating your wort and unnecessarily neutralizing enzymes.

  • With RIMS (Recirculating Infusion Mash System):   when you recirculate the mash wort out of the mash tun, through a RIMS tube which is in the heated by an electric element. The wort will come out of the RIMS tube and flow back into the mash tun on top of the grains. >>ADVANTAGE:  An advantage of RIMS is that you do not have to make adjustments to your hot liquor tank in order to add heat to the mash tun.  In general, you cannot get as much heat added to the mash tun with this method, compared to HERMS.

 

 

If you have a steam heated system, it is common to also have a steam heated mash tun.  If you have a mash tun with rakes and plow, we will typically provide side jacketing so you can stir the mash while you add heat.  If you do not have rakes, then we typically provide a steam jacket on the bottom of the mash tun so you can actively recirculate your wort while you add heat.

Have a question and want to speak directly with a Brewery Design Consultant about your brewery configuration?

–> Call (503) 372-9580

Ready for a pro brewing system quote?  Click HERE

Fermention is Essential to Managing your Scoby

Did you know that the term “Scoby” is actually an acronym?  It stands for, “Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast.”   True to its’ meaning, many consider the SCOBY to be the living home for bacteria and yeast, both essential components of the kombucha making process.   This being said, the quality of the Kombucha fermenter you purchase matters, and can be a determining factor in how well you are able to manage your SCOBY.

 

Manage your kombucha scoby

The bacteria form a mat of cellulose fiber as a by-product of bacterial fermentation.  The cellulose itself is not necessary for the Kombucha, rather it provides a home for bacteria and yeast to cling to.  But the bacteria and yeast are the important part, not necessarily the cellulose.  Most Kombucha brewers allow the cellulose mat to cover the entire container of Kombucha in their kitchen batches.  This help keep out foreign strains of bacteria and yeast that might be in the air, but it will also keep the oxygen away from the surface of the Kombucha.

Kombucha Fermenter Recommendations:

  1. Make sure you choose a Kombucha equipment design with closed tops to keep out most wild bacteria, yeast and insects, BUT one that has open manways to allow oxygen to enter.
  2. Make sure your Kombucha tanks are designed with top manways or side manways that will allow you to either lift out the SCOBY from the top of the tank, or from the bottom of the tank.  This is especially important in large batches, as the SCOBY can get very heavy.

At the commercial scale, managing the cellulose in the SCOBY can be difficult.  Some research indicates the bacteria colonies do better with a cellulose mat over the entire container, but some brewers experience a slow down in fermentation because of lack of oxygen.

Make kombucha in a quality fermenter

As a starting point, take a look at our Kombucha Brewing equipment options and feel free to contact us directly with any additional questions you may have.

 

How Big should your Cold Brew System Be?

Cold Brew equipment

Cold brew coffee is a lot like beer:  it is served 12 to 16 ounces at time, and cold.  We size our cold brew coffee systems similar to how we size our beer brewing systems:  by the barrel.   Our brewing systems range from 1 barrel  to 10 barrels.  On average, you can estimate about 31 US gallons of beer per barrel.  If you plan on brewing 31 gallons of coffee at a time, a 1 barrel brewing system would be a good place start.  If you want to aim a bit higher and brew 310 gallons of coffee at a time, a 10 barrel system would be a better option for you.

Many cold brewers create a concentrate form, which effectively doubles the volume they produce.  So 31 gallons of concentrate will produce about 62 gallons of cold brew.  By using this concentrate at the point of service, you can cut the container size and storage space required by cold brew in half!

What about Weight?

Coffee weighs about a quarter of an ounce per cubic inch, depending on the grind size and the density of the bean.  Many cold brewers start by using a pound of coffee to a gallon of water for their systems.  Because the coffee beans will retain water after brewing, a gallon of water into the brew may produce anywhere from a half to three quarters of a gallon of cold brew coffee.  5 gallons of water may yield 3 1/2 to 4 gallons of coffee.

Taking the above into consideration, we size your cold brewing vessel to allow for the amount of coffee you plan to use, and the production you want to achieve.  We also design the cold brewing vessel to make managing the coffee easier.  Smaller systems might have a top-out cold brewing system for removing coffee beans.  Larger brewing systems might have side mounted manway to allow you to remove coffee grounds from the bottom of the vessel, using gravity instead of using your back.

 

The size of your cold brew batch and the concentrate of your cold brew will dictate the amount and weight of dry and wet coffee you will be managing.  We design our brew vessels to make it easy to get your coffee grinds into and out of the brew vessel, and to maximize the amount of cold brew you can make per day.

To learn more about cold brew and determine the best cold brewing system for your needs, we recommend that you review some additional information, and contact us directly with any additional questions that you may have.  We are always here to help in any way that we can.