Overview of Commercial Electric Craft Beer Brewing Equipment

Craft beer brewing has exploded in popularity in recent years, with more and more small breweries opening up across the country. For these new breweries, having the right commercial brewing equipment is absolutely essential for producing quality beer efficiently. Electric brewing systems have become increasingly popular for craft brewers because of their precision, consistency, and ease of use.

This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of the different types of commercial electric craft beer brewing equipment available and considerations for choosing the system that is right for your brewery. We’ll cover capacity options, design and layout, customization possibilities, top suppliers, installation needs, operation, maintenance requirements, and pros and cons of different systems. Whether you’re just getting started with planning your brewery or looking to upgrade equipment, use this resource to make an informed decision when investing in an electric brew system.

Commercial Electric Craft Brewing Equipment Types

There are a few main types of electric brewing systems on the market designed specifically for craft brewery needs. Here is an overview of the most common ones:

Equipment Type Description
Electric Brew-in-a-Box Systems All-in-one systems with tanks, heating elements, pumps etc integrated. Pre-wired and plumed.
Electric Brew Stands Modular stands to mount tanks and equipment like pumps and heat exchangers.
Custom Electric Brewery Buildouts Fully customized systems designed for a brewery’s space and needs.

The type of system that will work best depends on your production goals, budget, and layout constraints. Brew-in-a-box systems provide an easy plug-and-play option, while custom buildouts allow complete flexibility.

Commercial Electric Brewing Equipment Capacity

Determining the needed capacity for tanks and other equipment is one of the first steps in selecting an electric brew system. Common batch sizes for small to mid-size craft breweries are:

Batch Size Beer Production
1 barrel (BBL) = 31 gallons 155 gallons per batch
3 BBL = 93 gallons 465 gallons per batch
7 BBL = 217 gallons 1,085 gallons per batch
15 BBL = 465 gallons 2,325 gallons per batch
30 BBL = 930 gallons 4,650 gallons per batch

The number and sizes of fermenters and brite tanks should align with batch sizes as well. Expansion capabilities may be important too.

commercial electric craft beer brewing equipment

Electric Brewery Design and Layout

Optimizing the floor plan and layout is crucial when installing a brew system. Considerations include:

Design Factor Details
Brew house equipment placement Logical equipment flow from mash tun to boil kettle.
Tank farm layout Minimize pipe runs and pumping distances.
Grain handling Allow for grain deliveries and storage.
Ingredient access Easy access to yeast, hops, etc.
Workflow Streamlined process from brewing to fermentation to packaging.
Cleaning and maintenance Provide access for cleaning and maintenance of all equipment.
Expansion capabilities Allow for potential additional tanks and equipment.
Utility requirements Electricity, water, drains, compressed air, CO2, etc.

Having an efficient and logical layout makes day-to-day brewery operations much smoother.

Customization Possibilities

One of the advantages of going with an electric brewery buildout versus an off-the-shelf system is the ability to customize. Some ways electric brew systems can be tailored include:

Customization Options Details
Tank sizes and material Select specific tank dimensions and material like stainless steel.
Mash filtration Choose plate-and-frame or centrifugal mash filters.
Brew kettle decides copper brew kettle or stainless steel options.
Grist handling equipment Specify grain mill, grist case, handling system.
Heating options Electrity or steam heating for mash or hot liquor tank.
Piping Determine piping layout and diameters.
Pumps Select pumps for transfers, wort, knockout.
Instrumentation Include specific meters, sensors, automation systems.
Grain handling system Design grain room, silo, auger system.
Chilling system Glycol, heat exchanger, or inline chilling system.

Factor in room for future production increases too. A custom system can truly be tailored to a brewery’s operation.

Top Electric Brewery Equipment Manufacturers and Suppliers

There are many first-class manufacturers specializing in electric craft brewing equipment across the United States. Here are some top names to consider:

Company Location
Portland Kettle Works Portland, OR
Specific Mechanical Victoria, MN
Psycho Brew Costa Mesa, CA
JV Northwest Canby, OR
Pro Engineering Minnetonka, MN
American Beer Equipment Lincoln, CA
Premier Stainless Systems Escondido, CA
AAA Metal Fabrication Oregon City, OR
Ss Brewtech Chico, CA
Pro Refrigeration Bothell, WA

Reputable manufacturers can provide recommendations on equipment specifications and design for your needs. Be sure to get quotes from multiple vendors.

Commercial Electric Brew System Costs

The investment for an electric craft brewery setup can vary substantially based on the system size and features. Here are some approximate price ranges:

System Size Price Range*
1 BBL System $50,000 – $150,000
5 BBL System $150,000 – $500,000
10 BBL System $350,000 – $1,000,000
20 BBL System $700,000 – $2,000,000

Rough estimates – prices vary based on specific configurations and features

Financing options like equipment leasing and loans can help manage costs as well.

Installation and Site Preparation

Proper installation of the electric brewing system by the manufacturer is critical. Installation services typically include:

Installation Steps Details
Equipment inspection Ensure all received equipment is intact and operational.
Equipment positioning Place equipment according to floor plan.
Connections Electrical, plumbing, glycol, compressed air.
Calibration Calibrate sensors, meters, valves.
Pressurization Pressure test system piping and vessels.
Cleaning and passivation Flush system, passivate stainless steel surfaces.
Commissioning Initial brewing trials to test the system.
Documentation As-built drawings, equipment manuals.
Training Instruction for brewers on operating equipment.

Site preparation such as floor drains, electric, and plumbing may be needed. Get bids from multiple installers.

Operating and Maintaining an Electric Brewery

Running an electric craft brew system requires proper operating procedures and maintenance:

Activity Details
Routine operation Following SOPs for mashing, boiling, fermentation, transfers etc.
Cleaning CIP procedures after brewing, prevent microbial growth.
Sanitization Chemical sanitation prior to brewing, kill bacteria.
Calibration Ensure accurate readings from meters and sensors.
Preventative maintenance Regular upkeep tasks per manufacturer recommendations.
Breakdown maintenance Corrective repairs as needed.
Record keeping Track brewing processes, sanitation, maintenance.
Optimization Improve processes over time, reduce downtime.

Having detailed procedures and checklists for each activity is important for consistency. Maintenance helps prevent unexpected downtime.

Choosing an Electric Brewery Supplier

Selecting the right electric brewery equipment supplier for your needs is an important decision. Here are key factors to consider:

Factor Guidance
Reputation and experience Established suppliers with proven track records.
Client portfolio Success with systems for breweries similar to yours.
Qualifications Licensed, bonded, insured.
Offerings Range of equipment and service options available.
Customization capabilities Flexibility to meet your specific needs.
Project management End-to-end oversight from design to installation.
Training Ability to train your team on using the system.
Warranty and support Post-installation assistance and warranty terms.
Local presence Proximity for support and shorter supply lines.
Relationship and trust Selected supplier will be a long-term partner.

Evaluate multiple proposals from suppliers before making a selection.

commercial electric craft beer brewing equipment

Pros and Cons of Electric vs Gas Brewing Systems

Both electric and gas-fired brewing systems have advantages and disadvantages to weigh:

System Pros Cons
  • Precise temperature control
  • Less burner tuning needed
  • Lower risk of scorching
  • Easier automation
  • Higher equipment cost
  • More complex wiring and controls
  • Boil kettle limitations for very large batches
  • Lower upfront equipment costs
  • Simple controls
  • High power for fast boil
  • Portability possible
  • Temperature fluctuations
  • More tuning and boil-overs
  • Fire and emissions considerations

Electric brewing provides great efficiency and control for craft brewing needs. Gas systems can suit tight budgets despite drawbacks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about commercial electric craft brewing equipment:

Question Answer
Can I reuse any of my existing brewery equipment? Possibly, depending on condition and compatibility. Tanks and fermenters may be reused if properly cleaned. Consult your supplier.
What training is needed to operate an electric brew system? Suppliers should provide equipment operation training. Having a brewer with commercial brewing experience is highly recommended.
How much space do I need for the system? Space needs vary greatly by system size and layout. Allow ample room around tanks and equipment for access and workflow.
How long does installation and setup take? Typically 4-12 weeks after equipment delivery depending on customization and contractor scheduling.
What are the yearly maintenance costs? Budget approximately 5-10% of the equipment cost annually for preventative maintenance and repairs.
Are there options for buying used equipment? Yes, but very careful inspection is required. Reputable dealers provide refurbished equipment.
Can I expand the system later? Leave space for expansion or choose modular designs if future growth is planned. This provides flexibility.

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