Brewing an excellent batch of beer takes plenty of work – especially when you’re brewing for your customers. Whether you’re starting a new craft brewery or looking to expand your current brewery setup, having the right brewery equipment helps you craft the perfect tasting beer.
With thousands of brewing equipment out there, choosing the right one can be difficult. Worry not, we help you simplify your search. In this guide, we list out the key brewery equipment that you need to have in your microbrewery.
So, before you get customers to search for “microbrewery near me,” to locate you, you need to have the equipment listed here to ensure a smooth workflow process at your brewery.
Microbrewery Equipment Starter Guide
1. Malt Mill
Brewing starts with milling your grains. The first step to successful brewing is to ensure that the barley grains are crushed into finer particles. Fine grains make the mashing process more efficient, ensuring that the maximum sugar is extracted from the wort during fermentation. The malt mill crushes the bigger grain particles into smaller bits.
Pro Tip for Beginner Microbrewers: Make sure that the malt mill doesn’t crush the grains too finely, as it can cause the mash to clump together. Clumped mash sticks to the mash tun, which decreases the efficiency in subsequent steps.
2. Mash Tun
This is the container used during the mashing process. It’s a temperature-controlled vessel where the starches from the grains are mixed with water. The mash is then heated to transform the starches present in the grain into sugar. Generally, most mash tuns have false bottoms that make it easy for sparging
*Sparging is the process of separating leftover solid malt husks from sugars.
*Mashing is the process of combining grains and water. The solution is heated till the starches in the grains are broken down into simpler sugars.
3. Filtration Technology
Live yeast in the final beer has to be filtered. Though live yeast is edible, generally microbrewers filter it out, so that the yeast doesn’t alter the final taste of the product. Filtration systems remove the yeast and other debris in beer to give a clear and long-lasting beer.
The filtration technology used in brewing include:
- Plate filters – It’s the cheapest filtration technology. A plate filter has vertical cloth-covered plates that are set up at a 90-degree angle. Beer flows through the plates and the solid yeast and debris are retained by the frames, while the clear beer flows through.
- Candle filters – Candle filters are more expensive and are generally used in large breweries. It contains hollow, circular tubes that are housed in a cylindrical container. The tubes use DE (Diatomaceous Earth) to cleanse the beer.
Heat exchanger helps in increasing or reducing the temperature of the wort, so as to prevent contamination. Here are the benefits of using a heat exchanger in your microbrewery:
- Save more wort
- Increase the beer output per batch
- Additionally, heat exchangers lower emissions and reduce energy and water usage.
A heat exchanger offers various benefits for the microbrewer – both financially and environmentally.
Fermentation is a crucial step in brewing. The yeast converts the sugar in the wort to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. A beer fermenter gives you more control over the fermentation process. There are different types of fermenters on the market. Choose the right conical fermenter based on your expected goals.
Here are a few factors to keep in mind, while choosing fermenters:
- Fermenter material
- Fermenter size
- Fermenter shape
6.Refractometer or Hydrometer
A refractometer is a tool that measures the amount of sugar present in a liquid. In brewing, it is used both during the beginning and end of the fermentation process to track sugar levels, alcohol content. It helps you evaluate if the yeast has performed well during fermentation.
The difference between a refractometer and a hydrometer is that the former can be used even with small amounts of liquids, whereas a hydrometer works well only with larger volumes of liquids. Though these tools may seem optional, investing in them helps you monitor each batch and make corrections in the future
7. Brite Tank
A brite tank is a temperature-controlled container where fermented beer is the store for further maturation. Here are the benefits of using a brite tank:
- Quicker carbonation
- Beer can be served directly from a brite tank without the need for cans, kegs, or bottles
Pumps are an overlooked component of microbrewing. Robust pumps are needed to move beer from one step to another.
Valves are the components that help in moving liquids – mash, wort, and beer – through various stages. By using valves, you can quickly regulate how much liquid you want to flow in/out of a particular stage. You can choose the right valves depending on the purpose:
- Butterfly valves – are easy to clean and create air-tight seals.
- Needle valves – are ideal for flowing gases. They offer extremely controlled flows.
10. Cellar Equipment
A cellar is a cold, dry place where beer is stored till it is made ready for consumption. Ideally, a cellar should be clean, safe, and temperature-controlled. Some of the equipment used in a beer cellar include:
- Cooling equipment
- Equipment for cleaning utensils
- Water supply, etc.
11. Dispensing Equipment
Even if you don’t plan to sell your beer at a pub house, you need the right dispensing equipment to package it efficiently in kegs, barrels, cans or bottles. Some common dispensing equipment includes keg couplers, draft beer towers, beer faucets, carbon dioxide regulators, etc.
If you plan to sell your brew at a microbrewery near you, then you will need kegs to transport the beer. Kegs are small metal barrels that are used to transport and serve beers from a tap. Here are a few reasons why stainless-steel kegs are the most preferred choice:
- They are sturdy and do not break/leak easily
- They block out sunlight, protecting beer from color/flavour changes
- It doesn’t oxidize easily, helping you retain the distinct flavor of your craft beer