What other equipment is needed for my brewery / tap room?
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.
Municipal/tap water is generally 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 (typically 30C/90F for Small-Large or 20C/70F for the larger systems; you can recover the first runnings as it will be heated for free!) and then switch to cold water from a BREWHA Brewery Chiller (3000-6500BTU/hr). In the event that the temperature drop required is too great for the Chiller (ie. it will take too long) or tap water is too warm to bring the wort all the way down, a ‘cold liquor tank’ (cold water storage tank) like this one can be used to finish the job. If your tap water is above 10C/50F you might want to consider this. In addition to the fermenter jacket, for post-boil knock down in our larger commercial systems, some brewers will use a plate chiller in a closed-loop manner (out of the fermenter, through the plate chiller, and back into the fermenter) to reduce chill times. Here too, if your tap water is above 10C/50F you might want to consider this, especially with 5BBL brewery equipment and 7BBL brewery equipment to reduce chill down time. (Cycle boiling wort through the plate chiller for the last few minutes of boil to sanitize the lines, and clean it out immediately after use; remember to aerate or stir wort before pitching yeast to ensure that the temperature stratification is broken so that the temperature reading from the sensor is the temperature throughout the tank.)
Technical note: To calculate the BTU load you need to remove, multiple the lbs of wort, by the temperature change needed in °F. (So for 5BBL there is 1300lb that needs to be chilled 142°F (from 212F to 70F) 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 (very expensive!) so this is why tap water is a very cost effective means of cooling the boiled wort.
Where to purchase:
- BREWHA's 3000BTU or 6500BTU Brewery Wort and Beer Chillers can be purchased with optional hoses (for connecting to fermenter jackets) and/or a utility cart for placement and positioning where needed. The cart is perfectly sized for our chillers and also works great for holding miscellaneous parts around your brewery; purchase it with the chiller or by itself on this page. The 6500BTU chiller has two circulation pumps (for two separate fermentation tanks) and the 3000BTU has just one circulation pump. The 6500BTU chillers are recommended for all tanks 1.5BBL and larger to ensure adequate chilling capacity.
- Plate chillers can be purchased from many suppliers, such as the 21 plate stainless T4 model from Thermaline (about $1900).
SAFETY NOTE: If using a glycol system, pressure control before and pressure relief after the jacket must be installed to ensure pressure doesn't rise above 7psi. Due to most glycol systems being sealed, thermal expansion in the jacket and pipes can cause significant pressure increase, damaging the vessel.
2. Gantry and hoist
If you do not have an overhead load-bearing structure to attach a hoist to (floor joists or trusses can generally work for the Large and smaller systems if the load is distributed by a cross beam; for structural certainty consult an engineer), 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. (If you have a low ceiling height, see the last bullet in this section)
Where to purchase:
- BREWHA can supply a Kito SER 115/230V 1Ton electric chain hoist with chain operated geared trolley, or a Kito SHB Ultra-low headroom manual chain hoist with chain operated geared trolley. They are the best hoists we have found, are CSA/UL electrically certified and are built according to ASME and ANSI safety standards (surprisingly, not all hoists on the market are!). They are well engineered, safe to operate, have a slow lift for best lauter control, are easy to use and will last a very long time. The hoists and trolleys can be purchased here. See product specifications here.
- The source with widest selection for gantries we know of is Global Industrial. Choose the width you want (minimum 8' ID for 1.5BBL 1HL brewing system and 3BBL 3HL brewing system, minimum 10' ID for 5BBL 6HL brewing system and the 7BBL 8HL brewing system for a brew space to allow plenty of room around) and the height you need for the size of BIAC you choose (height recommendations are on the specifications page; 14' for 7BBL, 13' for 5BBL, 12' for 3BBL and 11' for 1.5BBL). They have many other gantry options shown at this link and will ship to you direct. Here is a link to a 4000lb gantry (for 7BBL) and 2000lb (5BBL and smaller) that is 15' wide and 14' tall (adjustable height). Dimensions listed for gantries are often the outside dimensions so be sure to clarify before purchasing.
- Harbor Freight, Northern Tool, Princess Auto and Global Industrial also have lower quality/cost gantries, electric and manual trollies and hoists (in many situations, low cost hoists are not CSA/UL certified nor do they meet ANSI and ASME specifications—confirm before you purchase).
- With a lower than recommended ceiling height, to achieve the necessary clearance to remove the Colander, a hand pulled, low profile trolley and hoist by Kito can be used. The hoist is expensive, and it is fully manual, but reduces the additional height requirement by about 14" compared to our standard Kito hoist (headroom of 4.5" vs 18"). This link details the height of the lift beam.
(Safety note: When choosing a gantry or beam to secure the hoist to, be certain that the one you choose can handle more than the maximum amount you will ever be lifting and it is a good idea to consult an engineer. Recommended minimum weight allowances are 7BBL=1100kg/2425lb; 5BBL=900kg/2000lb; 3BBL=550kg/1200lb; 1.5BBL=320kg/700lb; Large=100kg/220lb; Medium=70kg/150lb; Small=40kg/90lb)
3. Grain mill
When buying malt in bulk (homebrewers can have their local homebrew shop crush it for them, but ensure that the shop provides a good crush; see this link for details) a crusher will very likely be needed to open the grain up for mashing.
Where to purchase:
- Monster Mill (several 2x6" product options approx 500lb/hr; a 3-roller mill is recommended over a 2 roller mill); Needs assembly
- Crankandstein The 328G is a 2.5x8" 3-roller mill 1000lb/hr, it is fully-geared (which means all rollers turn at the same time under power from the drill resulting in near zero negative shearing action); Needs assembly and additional parts; watch a video here on how we assembled this grain mill for under $1000
- RMS Roller Grinder 6x6 Single Pair 1200lb/hr about $5000
- Apollo Mills Roller Grinder 4x11 Single Pair 3000lb/hr about $7000 (We use the Sven Mill model for our brewing and find it to be a great mill, it's fast and consistent and provides a great crush; we had leg extenders added and built a small cart so we can push the BREWHA Grain Bag underneath and mill directly into it)
4. Kegs, canner or bottle filler, keg washer and gas
With BREWHA's line of Chiller Dispensers it is possible to serve beer directly from the fermenter it was brewed in. However, customers may want to free up the fermenter for the next batch, so will choose to move the beer over to kegs. Since Cornelius/soda kegs can be cleaned by hand and are small and portable, they are sometimes preferred for nano/microbreweries as they are easier to clean as they can be accessed inside. The downside of corny kegs is that they require more handling as they are only 20L/5gal whereas commercial kegs can be up to 1/2BBL (15.5gal/58L). Also, if ever distributing kegs, most commercial tap/draft systems use the Sanke style connector/coupler (but adapters can be purchased; and a few keg producers are starting to make soda style kegs with a Sanke connector). Cornelius kegs can be purchased through homebrew supply shops or beveragefactory.com. For Sanke kegs, Canada Kegs (listed below) ships from the US and Canada and supply high quality Franke kegs and Micromatic spears/valves that can be customized with your own logo.
Where to purchase:
- Canenpak (ships from Canada or US)
- Micromatic provides kegs parts, service and support for commercial customers (they are a touch more expensive but provide excellent service)
Commercial automated bottling/canning machines 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 up to several hundred bottles or cans/hr.
Where to purchase:
- BREWHA's Fermenter to Keg Racking Transfer Hose connects directly from the BREWHA fermenter racking port to a keg; purchase for Cornelius ball lock kegs, or Sanke D commercial kegs.
- Cask supplies a small canning system as does Twin Monkeys; the machines that fill at a rate of about 10cans/minute start at around USD30k (Axe and Arrow uses the Mancos by Twin Monkeys)
- Oktober has a customer recommended crowler filler; another reputable single canner is the Dixie 25D
Keg washers can be very expensive, running into the tens of thousands, however, BREWHA offers an economical Manual Keg Washer Cleaner for manually cleaning kegs. Kegs are opened (or spears removed from Sanke kegs) and the keg inserted over the spray ball. While the Keg Cleaner can sit in a sink or on any flat surface, it is sized to be used with the Large fermenter and use the heating functionality of the element to heat sanitize the kegs. See the product page for more details.
CO2 tanks and regulators can be purchased from local gas suppliers (or fire extinguisher or welding suppliers sometimes carry food grade CO2 tanks and regulators; search online for 'beverage CO2' or something similar). Homebrew shops will also often stock these, and they carry Cornelius style ball lock gas connectors that will connect to the BREWHA Gas in Post for force carbonating beer in your 4-in-1 conical fermenter.
O2 is added to the cooled wort prior to fermentation as the yeast use it to build healthy cell walls. An O2 tank and regulator can be purchased from a local gas supplier.
5. Hot Water Source
While it is perfectly feasible to heat all brew water completely with the BIAC (4-in-1 fermenter) and use the fermenter jacket for heating sparge water, some customers might want an external hot water heater for heating sparge water. BREWHA sells several sizes of a Hot Liquor Kettle (with internal heating coil). Hubbell Water Heaters supplies on-demand (no storage tank needed) water heaters that can also work with our commercial BIACs. Their TX020-3R (208V) and TX021-3RS (240V) models can be purchased in single or three phase for about US$3000. (If using a hot water heater, ensure it can reach sparge temperature of 170F/75C as many water heaters are limited to about 140F/60C.)
Finally, common items that any local brewing supply or hardware store should carry (or can be easily found online; total price for all of these items is $1000-3000 depending on what quality you purchase):
- a variable speed mixer drill (Makita DS4012) as is shown in this video (at 2:00) for our Mash Mixer
- hydrometer (or refractometer) to measure sugar levels in the wort; we use a Hannah HI96841 but hydrometers are less expensive and can be used for original and final gravity (refractometers only measure initial gravity); for accurate results ensure the wort is at room temperature before reading
- 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
- small scale for weighing mineral and hop additions and larger scale for measuring malt
- a set of measuring spoons and measuring cups
- pen thermometer
- spray bottle to have on hand with a dilution of Star San sanitizer (a second one with water for rinsing prior to sanitizing is handy)
- pH meter for measuring the pH of your mash (cheaper ones are available but they often have a temperature range below mash temperatures; this one from Hanna Instruments is waterproof and has a high temperature range and their HI98128 is a more economical model that still works well). We have two meters here in case one breaks down on brew day we have a back up.
- Euroscrubby cleaning pads and with the larger tanks, a Carlisle nylon flared tank and kettle scrub brush and pole for scrubbing areas below arm's reach
- stainless pot for boiling water and heating source (I prefer small 120V induction stovetop but gas can be used); if heating in borosilicate glass (e.g. Erlenmeyer flask) for yeast starters then butane camp stove works well as induction won't work, and electric burners will crack the glass as the heat is too intense.
- as mentioned in the kegging video, if you will be removing spears, you will need a tool to depressurize (we recommend the Micromatic tool) and tools to remove the circlip/retaining ring (we recommend a pick and hook set)
BIAC package contents
BIAC specifications (including utility requirements)
Suggestions and tips for microbrewery/tap room success