More than 5,300 breweries in the United States couldn’t exist without the quality systems to match. The market is ripe with brewhouse solutions large and small to meet whatever needs you may have. Here are just a few that we happened across while walking around the Craft Brewers Conference in April.
Alpha Brewing Operations
Unsurprisingly, as the craft beer industry has grown, so too have the manufacturers supplying the industry. Lincoln, Neb.-based Alpha Brewing Operations, for example, has increased business about 50 percent each year since its opening three years ago. More than 150 breweries now sport Alpha brewing systems. The growth has been so great that Alpha is building its own 20,000-square-foot facility, expected to be completed by early next year.
Alpah outfits two, three and four vessel and combination “combi” systems from 5- to 40-bbl capacity. The company says it aids in project planning optimized for space, process flow, budget and expansion with tank design, platform design, automation features and process piping. Alpha is most excited about its automation packages that make life easier while still keeping the “craft” in craft brewing. Typical efficiencies range from 86 to 94 percent and typical boil off rates range from 8 to 10 percent. Some automation features:
- Step-mash sequencing and recipe storage
- Add hops timer with recipe storage and alarm
- One-touch commands for vorlauf, sparge, decoction and other transfer processes
- Remote monitoring and control of the brewhouse and cellar tanks from phone, laptop or tablet
- LED stack lighting shows status indication at a glance
Standard features include:
- Motorized mash mixers, lauter rakes and spent-grain plow
- SEW Eurodrive motors on mash and lauter tanks
- Stainless steel process piping, work cabinet and control cabinet
- Oversized single stage heat exchangers
- Tempered all-glass manways
- Grirst hydrator bowl with hot/cold liquor blending
- 8- to 10-in. steam condensation pipe with cool water jets and drain
- Sight level indicators on kettle and whirlpool
Optional items include:
- Wort grants
- Dual-stage heat exchangers
- Wort oxygenation assembly with wight glass
- Hop backs
- Flow meters/totalizers
- Full skid mounting.
Criveller has been manufacturing breweries since the 1970s. During this time, Criveller has built a large number of microbreweries and brewpubs throughout America, Europe and around the world, with more than 300 brewing systems installed worldwide.
Here’s what the company highlights as its product differentiators
- Heat and cool more effectively with Criveller’s jacket deisgn. With an internal spacing of 7 mm, this jacket has 130 percent more heating and cooling potential than tanks with 3-mm gap.
- All rakes include an automatic outplow paddle design. This allows the brewer to plow out spent grain just by reversing the direction of the rake — no manual placement of paddles is necessary.
- V-wire screens are used as the standard for all false bottom screens to improve drainage, increase efficiency and promote consistently clear wort.
- Every corner, tee, manifold and more is fitted with TRC connections and clamped and not welded. The company says this ensures a fully sanitary system than can be inspected from all angles.
- Criveller jackets have a high percentage of dimples, which decreases thermos-stratification of steam and glycol. Preformed dimpled jackets ensure consistent fluid turbulence throughout.
- Valves, pump motors, steps and heat exchangers — basically, everything — are 100 percent stainless steel. No plastic handles or painted motors.
- Electric lifting rakes come with the automatic outplow system.
Deutsche Beverage Technology
Deutsche Beverage Technology tanks are made using numerically controlled plasma, laser cutting and pure argon gas welding. All of its jacketed tanks are dimpled, plated and welded using computer guided lasers, and all of its equipment is produced in clean room facilities to remove problems with dirty welds. The point here is to avoid deficiencies. All tanks are made from 304 stainless steel, which is known as food grade. Deutsche Equipment is built to be interchangeable, to hopefully grow as you grow.
All of that will eventually be controlled by a Siemens BRAUMAT Compact, which is a user-configurable process control system that handles automation, monitoring and control for each element on the brew line. This is something large-scale breweries have used for awhile that is now being offered for breweries of all sizes. And plenty of technology options can be added to enhance automation capabilities, such as boil over protection, automated CIP, additional flow control and a ton more.
But at the booth, when asked what they do best, the reps quickly said service. From the start, the Deutsche Equipment team wants to be involved in planning based on your goals and needs and then becomes a big part of the installation, quality testing and training.
Some options available to add to the standard DBT Brewhouse:
- Lifting rakes
- Wort grants
- Level sensors
- Internal calandra
- Intelligent vessel technology (specific gravity and forced carbonation monitoring and automation)
- SPX automated process valves and digital mixing valves
- Automated CIP
- Automated grain/raw materials management
- Additional flow control
- Powered steam condensers
- Hop backs
- Boil over protection
DME Brewing Solutions
DME Brewing Solutions has successfully completed over 700 projects in over 67 countries ranging in sizes from 5 bbl to 100 bbl. The company’s systems are robust, high performing and built with detailed craftsmanship to last.
DME offers ancillary solutions for hop dosing, yeast storage, CIP, product transfers, keg washing, filtration and grains handling. System heating that uses low pressure steam (10 psi) comes as standard for complete product range. Incorporating an external wort boiler in systems of 40 to 100 bbl will ensure vigorous evaporation rates without the need for a high pressure system.
DME has a ton to offer, but here’s a look at the True North 30-bbl high output four vessel brewhouse that was on display at the Craft Brewers Conference.
- Capable of continuous production up to six brews per 24 hour cycle.
- Compact platform configuration reduces steps between vessels.
- Kettle sour option included providing a means to cool CO2 purge, control temperature and reboil within the brewhouse.
- An external wort boiler option (EWB) provides a large surface area and high turn-over for aggressive boils from 50 to 100 percent brew volume.
- Low-speed wort pumps use four-pole motors and oversized pump heads for low shear product transfers and prevention of cavitation.
- DME’s Grist Hydrator provides thorough mixing of water and grain for homogenous masges without dough balls.
- Automated liquor blending accurately controls water temperature, flow rate and total volume.
The founders launched Ss Brewtech with a very clear goal to advance brewing equipment design, performance and quality to the very highest standards in the industry. With a team that draws upon very strong functional backgrounds in brewing science, mechanical engineering, industrial design, supply chain, logistics and manufacturing, Ss Brewtech has the people and skill sets you would want and expect from your supplier of pro brewing equipment.
The signature and patent-pending design element of its brewhouses is the consolidated valve tree mounted atop the working platform within easy reach of the main control panel. Laser etched stainless steel squeeze trigger butterfly valves allow for precise flow modulation and control without having to constantly move up and down the work platform during the course of the brew day. This enhances both ease of use and safety.
Notable features include:
- A rotatable racking arm on the brew kettle for when you are brewing big beers and don’t want to clog up your heat exchanger.
- A reversible rake and grain out paddles on the mash tun for easier post-brew clean up.
- Optional features such as a sparge acidification system for optimizing pH levels and an in-line flow meter for brewing precision are just a few of the things that set these systems apart.
Ss Brewtech is also now offering in-stock fermenters and brite tanks to existing breweries that need additional cellaring capacity. All of its vessels are pressure tested, 100 percent sanitary welded, jacketed and insulated. Five and 10-bbl unitank fermenters are ready to ship from its Temecula, Calif., warehouse.