What else is needed for my brewery?

The BREWHA BIAC packages contain everything that is necessary to make beer. There are a few supporting pieces of equipment that you might need. For most items we have shown below where you can purchase them directly. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask us.  

1. Chiller 

Complete microbrewery brewing system

Municipal/tap water is the least costly chillant by a long shot. However, if your municipal/tap water is not cold enough to completely chill your wort, or if you want to conserve tap water, it is recommended to initially chill with tap water as far as makes sense (you can recover the first runnings as it will be heated for free!) and then switch to cold water from your Chiller. In the event that the temperature drop required, is too great for your Chiller (ie. it takes too long), a ‘cold liquor tank’ (any insulated vessel will do) can be used to store water that the Chiller has chilled down over night (a tank that is 3-4 times your fermenter volume is generally recommended). Some brewers want to use a glycol chiller to cold crash beer down to just below freezing. Domestic glycol chillers start at around $4k for 0.75hp/5k BTU/hr chillers (with total chilling capacity comparable to our Chillers) and run up to around $50k for a 40hp chiller for about 250k BTU/hr. To calculate the BTU load you need to remove, multiple the lbs of wort, by the °F. (So for 5BBL there is 1300lb that needs to be chilled 142°F (212-70) so 185k BTU plus 10-20% of losses for about 200k BTU. If you want to chill this in one hour, you need a ~220k BTU/hr chiller. If you want to use a cold liquor tank and chill it overnight, you need a ~10k BTU/hr chiller.)

Where to purchase:

  • ProChiller's Chill&Flow glycol chiller removes 6k BTU/hr $3900
  • ProChiller's ChillStar glycol chiller removes 50k BTU/hr $13k
  • ProChiller's CA series glycol chiller removes 300k BTU/hr $70k

2. Gantry and hoist

If you do not have an overhead load-bearing structure to attach a hoist to, you will need a gantry, customized trolley and hoist to lift the Mash Colander out of the fermenter and dump the grain out. (This saves a lot of manual labor raking and shoveling!). A hoist that has a slow lift is desirable as it allows one to raise the Colander more gradually; 4s/foot is recommended maximum speed, slower is better. (Approx for gantry, trolley apparatus and hoist $2500 at Harbor Freight. The Harbor Freight gantry is only 12'4" high so the 14' Global Industrial gantry is recommended for the 5BBL system. If you have a low ceiling height, see the last bullet in this section)

Hoist for BIAC colanderWhere to purchase:

  • Harbor Freight 1T telescoping gantry (max height of gantry top is 12'4") and 1T trolley ~$900;  Princess Auto has a similar one
  • Northern Tool 120V 2000lb hoist ~$299 — these items need assembly and installation of the hoist on the trolley (we recommend purchasing two trolleys and connecting steel tubing between that the hoist can hang from); this gantry is not recommended for 5BBL as it is too short (minimum 14' height recommended for 5BBL; 12' height for 1.5 and 3BBL)
  • Another option with a 14' gantry (needed for 5BBL systems) on trolley is from Global Industrial; 4000lb telescoping gantry ~$2215 (Verify the details as the website may change.)
  • Global Industrial also has a chain hoist on a trolley 1T 120V Push Trolley Chain Hoist ~$3332
  • 3 Dogs Brewing in White Rock, BC is opening their 30BBL BIAC brewery in commercial space in a strip mall that has 132" ceiling height. To achieve the necessary clearance to remove the Colander, they went with a hand pulled, low profile trolley and hoist by Kito, and altered the lifting beam. The hoist is expensive, but reduces the additional height requirement by about 24" compared to more conventional hoists. 

(Safety note: When choosing a gantry and/or hoist be certain that the one you choose can handle more than the maximum amount you will ever be lifting. Recommended minimum weight allowances are 5BBL=907kg/2000lb; 3BBL=545kg/1200lb; Large=320kg/700lb; Medium=100kg/220lb; Small=40kg/90lb)

3. Grain mill

When buying malt in bulk a crusher will very likely be needed to open the grain up for mashing. While commercial crushers can be very expensive, crushers for microbreweries such as the microbrewery model by Barley Mill are a lot more economical.

Where to purchase:

4. Kegs, canner or bottle filler

Since corny kegs can be cleaned by hand and are small and portable, they are sometimes preferred for nano/microbreweries; full size keg washers can be very expensive. However, if you plan on distributing your beer in kegs (e.g. to bars and restaurants) Sanke kegs will likely be needed as that is what most draft systems are designed for.

Commercial automated bottling machines or canners can be very expensive, running $200k+. But there are many mobile canning companies around the country that can come to your site to can/bottle your beer. Base fees are generally around $400 plus expenses, and they can provide cans and labels for you. Manual fillers are much cheaper than the automatic ones and can fill several hundred bottles/hr.

A manual filler for bottle conditioned beers with four spouts can fill 4-8 bottles/minute costs about $2000 and a manual counter pressure filler starts at around $8k. 

Where to purchase:

  • Cask supplies a small canning system
  • GW Kent supplies a small bottling system

5. Filter

While the BIAC system clarifies beer really nicely with proper brewing technique, a filter might want to be used inline from the fermenter to kegs or the bottling line. For 5BBL batches, a 10-20 plate filter is recommended. The assembly is about $900 and replacement filter 20cm*20cm plates are about $1 each. The plates can be sanitized by running >80°C water through the filter assembly for several minutes before starting to filter.

Where to purchase:

6. Miscellaneous

Finally, common items that any local homebrew shop should carry: Mash paddle for stirring grain (needs to be four feet long for the 5BBL system) or a variable speed mixer drill and mixer as is shown in this video (at 2:00), refractometer (or hydrometer) to measure sugar levels, an alkaline cleaner such as PBW and an acid cleaner such as Acid 5 (both by Five Star Chemicals) should be used on the equipment every 10-20 batches or so to dissolve organic soils and beer stone. A small scale for weighing mineral and hop additions is useful, as is a set of measuring spoons and measuring cups. A spray bottle to have on hand with a dilution of Star San sanitizer is also essential. A pH meter for measuring the pH of your mash.

BIAC package contents

BIAC specifications


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