Expansion Update 3: A Bigger, Better, More Efficient Brewhouse

We’re exicted about 2014 for lots of reasons. We’ve been making big strides in improving beer quality, we’re receiving a brand new Westfalia centrifuge separator soon, and we’re adding a Krones Kosme bottling line to our operation during this year. But what may be the most exciting news is we’ve made a big investment in a brand new brewhouse.

This semi-automated GEA Huppmann Craft-Star™ brewhouse is the first of its kind. While the manufacturers typically make brewing systems for much larger projects, this littler guy is just the right size for our place. It has the technology and efficiency that’s normally found at (and only affordable to) bigger breweries. We’ll be retiring our 15 bbl system and replacing it with this 30 bbl, flexible capacity little engine that can, letting us brew batches ranging between 20-35 bbls.

You can see our exact brewhouse being flaunted at the Drinktec 2013 in Munich in the following video:

This system comes to us from the legendary German manufacturers GEA, the makers of the some of the best brewhouses in the world. Its two vessel design has one vessel that functions as a mash and lauter tun and another vessel that functions as wort kettle and whirlpool.

As a refresher, here’s how the brewing process usually looks. You can see how the tanks are separate here, but they won’t be for us on our new system. As you can see in the second visualization of the Craft-Star™ system, there are just two tanks where there would be four.

You can imagine the strides that have been made in brewing technology since our the birth of our original brewhouse that was made in the 1980s. We currently have to do manual grain outs, meaning raking thousands of pounds of wet grain out of the mash tun and into bins which are then manually swapped in and out by forklift.

Our current brewhouse, in all its manual labor glory (as of  January 2014)

This change in brewhouses means much less manual labor for our brewers, better wort quality, and increased efficiency. With rakes that push grain out of the mash tun with a grain discharge pump, spent grain will be conveyed out of the building into bins without much effort.

We’re aiming to get our new system installed as soon as November. We’re moving some things around to accomodate our growth, but we’ll have more news on that next week!

More specs, details, and clips about this brewhouse:

Read more blogs about our ongoing expansion plans for 2014

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