Germans know a thing or two about both beer and cutting-edge engineering. Germanic tribes claim the first commercial hop gardens and hopped beers around the 11th or 12th century, feeding the breweries of the Hansa trading towns, which were exporting hopped beer from probably the 13th century onward. Today, German brewing brands are still the benchmark for high-tech quality products in the industry with famous names like Ziemann (a staple in the global beer community, but also a growing craft customer that can tailor-make solutions from the malt intake to the brite beer tank cellar).
Let us turn to the latest example: Karbach Brewing Co. in Houston is producing its first beers on a new brewhouse supplied by Ziemann. Karbach is the first U.S. craft brewery with a Ziemann brewhouse, and the brewery just put the brewhouse into operation, on schedule. As part of Karbach’s capacity expansion, Ziemann also supplied new fermentation tanks and a state-of-the-art automation system.
“The Ziemann team showed a lot of flexibility in the project phase to adapt to our requirements,” explained Brewmaster and Founder Eric Warner from Karbach Brewing. “The equipment design is versatile, and we are seeing exceptionally good yields and improvement in wort quality. This shows that the Ziemann innovation process is driven by their profound process knowledge and by the requirements of craft brewers.”
Ziemann brewhouses for craft brewers are designed with a high degree of prefabrication, so they can be installed in less than a month. The brewhouse for Karbach Brewing was designed for 12 brews per day, with a cold cast-out volume of 120 barrels (bbls). The impressive yield improvements are based on the recent innovations at Ziemann. The “Colibri” mash mixer provides a thorough and homogeneous mixing of the dry grist with the strike water, even for very concentrated mashes. This is the ideal preparation of the mash for the “Lotus” lauter tun, which was designed with a focus on achieving exceptional extract recovery for high gravity beers.
The “Shark” wort boiling features a two-phase internal calandria that provides a gentle boiling with low energy input and excellent trub formation. Finally, the Ziemann Whirlpool with its inverse conical bottom does a superior job in separating the trub from the wort. As Eric Warner explained: “Our yields have improved dramatically. This Ziemann brewhouse technology and this unique whirlpool design help us to get the last drop of wort out of the trub, even with the Rodeo Clown, our Double IPA with an OG of 21.5°P and 85 Bitter Units.”
Initial laboratory results on test brews also show an improved chill haze stability and Eric expects a substantial improved shelf life of the product, which is welcome considering the ambitious expansion plans. The brewhouse overall is designed for a final capacity of approximately 350,000 bbls per year.
Ziemann also supplied six fermentation tanks with a net volume of 600 bbls, including a catwalk system and spiral stairs. The outdoor tanks are placed on support rings with the cones in a closed operator room. All the equipment was manufactured in the Ziemann workshop in Buergstadt, Germany. From this workshop, Ziemann has delivered over 300 large fermentation and brite beer tanks to U.S. craft brewers in the last few years. In addition to the brewhouse and the tank farm, the project also included the automation of the control system with integration of the new malt handling.
In the next weeks, Karbach Brewing will ramp up production and finalize the construction of the new brewery restaurant. The official inauguration of the whole expansion project is scheduled to take place in the second quarter of 2015.