stainless steel commercial 4 vessel brewhouse

What is a Brewhouse

What is a Brewhouse and How to Choose One for Your Brewery

Although the terms “brewhouse” and “brewery” are often used interchangeably, they actually have distinct meanings. The term “brewhouse” specifically refers to the equipment necessary for brewing beer, and it is sometimes referred to as Brewing System. These components and vessels are essential in the initial stages of the brewing process and include hot liquor tanks, lauter runs, holding and boiling kettles, mash mixers, and whirlpools.

In this article, we will explain what a brewhouse is, how it works, and what are the different types and configurations of brewhouses.

What is a Brewhouse?

A brewhouse is a term that refers to the equipment and vessels that are used for the first stage of the brewing process. The main components of a brewhouse are:

  • A mash tun, where crushed malt (and sometimes other grains) are mixed with hot water to create a mash. The mash is held at different temperatures for a period of time to activate enzymes that convert starches into sugars. The resulting liquid is called wort.
  • A lauter tun, where the wort is separated from the spent grains (also called grist). The wort is drained through a false bottom or a filter bed, while hot water (also called sparge water) is sprinkled on top to rinse out more sugars. The spent grains are then removed and disposed of or reused for other purposes.
  • A kettle, where the wort is boiled for a period of time (usually 60 to 90 minutes) to sterilize it, evaporate excess water, concentrate the sugars, and extract bitterness and aroma from hops. Hops are added at different stages of the boil depending on the desired flavor profile. The boiling also creates hot break, which are proteins that coagulate and precipitate out of the wort.
  • A whirlpool, where the boiled wort is transferred and agitated to create a vortex. This helps to separate the hop particles and hot break from the clear wort. The clear wort is then drawn from the center of the whirlpool and cooled down before being transferred to a fermentation tank. The hop particles and hot break are then removed and disposed of or reused for other purposes.

Some brewhouses may combine two or more vessels into one to save space or cost. For example, some brewhouses may use a mash/lauter tun , which performs both mashing and lautering in the same vessel, or a kettle/whirlpool , which performs both boiling and whirlpooling in the same vessel.

stainless steel commercial 4 vessel brewhouse
nano brewing system brewhouse

How Does a Brewhouse Work?

A brewhouse works by following a series of steps that are essential for creating quality wort. The steps are:

  • Milling: The malt (and sometimes other grains) are crushed in a mill to expose the starches and enzymes inside. The degree of crushing affects the efficiency and quality of the mash.
  • Mashing: The crushed malt is transferred to a mash tun and mixed with hot water to create a mash. The mash is held at different temperatures for a period of time to activate enzymes that convert starches into sugars. The temperature and time of the mash affect the fermentability and body of the wort.
  • Lautering: The mash is transferred to a lauter tun and separated from the spent grains. The wort is drained through a false bottom or a filter bed, while hot water is sprinkled on top to rinse out more sugars. The efficiency and clarity of the lautering affect the yield and quality of the wort.
  • Boiling: The wort is transferred to a kettle and boiled for a period of time. Hops are added at different stages of the boil depending on the desired flavor profile. The boiling sterilizes, concentrates, and stabilizes the wort.
  • Whirlpooling: The boiled wort is transferred to a whirlpool and agitated to create a vortex. This helps to separate the hop particles and hot break from the clear wort. The clear wort is then drawn from the center of the whirlpool and cooled down before being transferred to a fermentation tank.

What are the Different Types and Configurations of Brewhouses?

Brewhouses can vary in size, design, configuration, automation, and functionality depending on the needs and preferences of each brewery. Some of the common types and configurations of brewhouses are:

  • Direct fire brewhouses: These brewhouses use gas burners to heat the mash tun and the kettle. They are simple, inexpensive, and easy to operate, but they may have uneven heat distribution, high energy consumption, and high emissions.
  • Steam brewhouses: These brewhouses use steam jackets or coils to heat the mash tun and the kettle. They are more efficient, consistent, and precise than direct fire brewhouses, but they require a steam boiler, which adds cost and complexity.
  • Electric brewhouses: These brewhouses use electric elements to heat the mash tun and the kettle. They are more energy-efficient, clean, and safe than direct fire brewhouses, but they may have lower power and slower heating than steam brewhouses.
  • 2-vessel brewhouses: These brewhouses have two vessels: a mash/lauter tun and a kettle/whirlpool. They are compact, affordable, and suitable for small to medium-sized breweries, but they may have lower flexibility and efficiency than larger brewhouses.
  • 3-vessel brewhouses: These brewhouses have three vessels: a mash tun, a lauter tun, and a kettle/whirlpool. They are more flexible, efficient, and productive than 2-vessel brewhouses, but they require more space and cost than 2-vessel brewhouses.
  • 4-vessel brewhouses: These brewhouses have four vessels: a mash tun, a lauter tun, a kettle, and a whirlpool. They are the most flexible, efficient, and productive of all brewhouses, but they also require the most space and cost of all brewhouses.
  • Manual brewhouses: These brewhouses require manual operation and control of all the steps and parameters of the brewing process. They are simple, inexpensive, and allow for more creativity and experimentation, but they also require more labor, skill, and attention than automated brewhouses.
  • Semi-automatic brewhouses: These brewhouses have some degree of automation and control of some of the steps and parameters of the brewing process. They are more convenient, consistent, and reliable than manual brewhouses, but they also require some manual intervention and supervision.
  • Fully-automatic brewhouses: These brewhouses have full automation and control of all the steps and parameters of the brewing process. They are the most convenient, consistent, and reliable of all brewhouses, but they also require the most investment, maintenance, and programming.

Conclusion

A brewhouse is a set of equipment that performs the main steps of the brewing process: mashing, lautering, boiling, and whirlpooling. These steps transform the raw ingredients into wort , the sweet liquid that will be fermented into beer .

Brewhouses can vary in size , design , configuration , automation , and functionality depending on the needs and preferences of each brewery. Some of the common types and configurations of brewhouses are direct fire , steam , electric , 2-vessel , 3-vessel , 4-vessel , manual , semi-automatic , and fully-automatic .

If you are looking for a high-quality brewhouse for your brewery , you can check out our products at Plygen Industries. We offer a wide range of custom-made equipment and parts made from stainless steel or other metals or alloys for various industries. Whether you need a nano or micro brewing system , a commercial brewing system , or any other brewing or fermentation equipment , we can help you with our expertise and experience.

Contact us today to get a quote or to learn more about our products and services .