If you’re a craft brewer, choosing the right size of brewhouse is essential to your success. A brewhouse is a set of equipment used to brew beer on a commercial scale, and it consists of several key components, including a mash tun, lauter tun, brew kettle, and whirlpool. When it comes to choosing the right size of brewhouse, many brewers face a tough decision: should they go for a 10 bbl brewhouse or a 7 bbl brewhouse? In this article, we’ll compare the two and help you decide which is the better choice for your brewery.
What is a Brewhouse?
Before we dive into the comparison, let’s take a moment to define what a brewhouse is and why it’s so important. A brewhouse is a collection of equipment used to brew beer on a commercial scale. It typically includes a mash tun, lauter tun, brew kettle, and whirlpool, as well as various pumps, valves, and pipes. The brewhouse is where the magic happens – it’s where the grains are mashed, the wort is boiled, and the hops are added.
What is a 10 bbl Brewhouse?
A 10 bbl brewhouse is a set of equipment used for brewing beer on a commercial scale. This type of brewhouse consists of several components, including a mash tun, lauter tun, brew kettle, and whirlpool, as well as pumps, valves, and pipes.
The mash tun is where the mashing process takes place, in which the malted grains are mixed with hot water to extract sugars. The lauter tun is where the mash is separated from the liquid wort, which is then transferred to the brew kettle.
In the brew kettle, the wort is boiled and hops are added for flavor and aroma. After boiling, the wort is transferred to the whirlpool, where the hops and other solid materials are removed.
The brewhouse also includes various pumps, valves, and pipes to transfer the liquid between the different components and control the flow and temperature. The brewhouse requires a heating source, typically a steam boiler, to heat the mash and boil the wort.
A 10 bbl brewhouse can produce 10 barrels or 310 gallons of beer in a single batch. This size of brewhouse is suitable for mid-sized craft breweries that need to meet a significant demand for their beer.
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Advantages of a 10 bbl Brewhouse
- Greater production capacity: A 10 bbl brewhouse can produce more beer in a single batch than a smaller brewhouse, which can help you keep up with demand.
- Efficient use of space: While a 10 bbl brewhouse is larger than a 7 bbl brewhouse, it can still be relatively compact, making it a good choice for breweries with limited space.
- Lower cost per gallon: A larger brewhouse can help you reduce your cost per gallon of beer, as you’ll be able to produce more beer with the same amount of labor and resources.
Disadvantages of a 10 bbl Brewhouse
- Higher startup costs: A 10 bbl brewhouse requires a significant investment in equipment, which can be a barrier to entry for some breweries.
- Increased energy usage: Brewing larger batches of beer requires more energy to heat and cool the wort, which can increase your utility bills.
- Longer brew times: Larger batches of beer can take longer to brew, which can limit your production capacity.
What is a 7 bbl Brewhouse?
A 7 bbl brewhouse is a set of equipment that can brew 7 barrels (or 217 gallons) of beer at a time. This size of brewhouse is popular among small craft breweries and brewpubs.
Advantages of a 7 bbl Brewhouse
- Lower startup costs: A 7 bbl brewhouse requires less equipment than a larger brewhouse, which can make it a more affordable option for small breweries.
- Faster brew times: Smaller batches of beer can be brewed more quickly, which can increase your production capacity and help you keep up with demand.
- Lower energy usage: Brewing smaller batches of beer requires less energy to heat and cool the wort, which can help you save on your utility bills.
Disadvantages of a 7 bbl Brewhouse
- Limited production capacity: Brewing smaller batches of beer means you’ll need to brew more often to meet demand, which can be a challenge if you have limited time or resources.
- Higher cost per gallon: Brewing smaller batches of beer can be more expensive on a per-gallon basis, as you’ll need to use more labor and resources for each batch.
Which is the Better Choice: 10 bbl or 7 bbl Brewhouse?
So, which size of brewhouse is the better choice for your brewery? The answer depends on several factors, including your production goals, available space, and budget.
If you’re a mid-sized craft brewery with a significant demand for your beer, a 10 bbl brewhouse may be the better choice. With a larger production capacity, you’ll be able to keep up with demand and reduce your cost per gallon of beer. However, you’ll also need to consider the higher startup costs and increased energy usage associated with a larger brewhouse.
On the other hand, if you’re a small craft brewery or brewpub with limited space and a smaller production goal, a 7 bbl brewhouse may be the better choice. While you’ll have a lower production capacity and higher cost per gallon, you’ll also benefit from lower startup costs, faster brew times, and lower energy usage.
Ultimately, the best choice for your brewery will depend on your specific needs and goals. It’s important to carefully consider your options and choose a brewhouse size that will help you achieve your production goals while staying within your budget.
Choosing the right size of brewhouse is a critical decision for any craft brewer. While a 10 bbl brewhouse offers greater production capacity and efficiency, a 7 bbl brewhouse can be a more affordable and practical option for small breweries. By carefully considering your production goals, available space, and budget, you can choose the right size of brewhouse for your brewery and set yourself up for success.
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