4 Vessel Brewing Systems:Choosing the Best Suppliers

automatic beer machine

Table of Contents

What is a 4 Vessel Brewing System?

A 4 vessel brewing system is a professional and integrated setup used in breweries to produce beer. This system typically consists of a Mash Tun, Lauter Tun, Kettle, and Whirlpool, each having its unique function in the brewing process.

These systems offer brewers enhanced control, precision, and efficiency, which are essential for consistently producing high-quality beer. Many large-scale breweries and craft brewers prefer the 4 vessel system because of its ability to handle significant batches and produce multiple brews in a day.

Key Components:

  • Mash Tun: The mash tun is where grains are combined with hot water, initiating the mashing process. The aim here is to activate the enzymes to convert the starch in the grains into fermentable sugars.
  • Lauter Tun: This vessel is responsible for separating the liquid wort from the solid grain materials. It is designed to facilitate an efficient sparge and ensure clear wort extraction.
  • Kettle: The liquid wort from the Lauter Tun is transferred to the kettle where it is boiled with hops, giving beer its bitterness and aroma.
  • Whirlpool: After boiling, the wort is sent to the whirlpool where solids, primarily hops and proteins, are separated, ensuring a clear wort ready for fermentation.

Importance in Brewing:

A 4 vessel brewing system is vital for brewers aiming to optimize their brewing operations. This system allows for a step-by-step process, ensuring each stage of brewing is perfectly controlled and monitored. Moreover, with each vessel dedicated to a specific task, the system minimizes the risk of errors, ensuring consistency in each brew.

Additionally, this brewing system offers flexibility. Depending on the brewer’s requirements, each vessel’s design and features can be customized. For instance, advanced systems may include automated temperature controls, CIP (Clean-In-Place) systems, and more.

In Summary:

A 4 vessel brewing system is a sophisticated and efficient way to produce beer, particularly for large-scale or craft breweries that aim for consistency and high-quality output. The division of tasks among the four vessels ensures a smooth and error-free brewing process.

How much does a 4 Vessel Brewing System Cost?

Purchasing a 4 vessel brewing system is a significant investment for any brewery. The costs can vary widely based on various factors such as the system’s capacity, material, level of automation, additional features, and the manufacturer’s reputation.

Factors Influencing Cost:

  • Capacity: The size of the brewing system, typically measured in barrels (bbl), is a primary determinant. Larger systems are naturally more expensive.
  • Material: Stainless steel is the most common material due to its durability and resistance to corrosion. The grade and thickness of the steel can affect the price.
  • Automation: Advanced systems with automated processes like temperature control, stirring mechanisms, and CIP systems will cost more.
  • Manufacturer: Established and reputed manufacturers tend to price their systems higher due to the quality assurance and after-sales service they provide.

Price Ranges:

Capacity (bbl)Price Range (USD)
1-3$20,000 – $50,000
5-10$60,000 – $150,000
15-30$170,000 – $350,000
40+$400,000 and above

Notable Brands and Their Price Points:

  • Alpha Brewing Operations: Renowned for their durable systems, their 10 bbl system may fall in the range of $80,000 – $120,000.
  • Blichmann Engineering: Famed for their advanced features, a 5 bbl system from Blichmann can cost around $70,000.
  • Ss Brewtech: A popular choice among craft brewers, a 7 bbl system from Ss Brewtech could be priced around $90,000.

Additional Costs:

While the brewing system’s direct cost is paramount, one must also consider additional expenses such as installation, training, and potential upgrades. Depending on the system’s complexity, these could add another 10-20% to the overall budget.

Making the Right Choice:

When assessing the price, it’s essential to look at the long-term value the system will bring. An efficient, durable, and low-maintenance system might cost more upfront but save money in the long run. Also, consider the scalability: if you plan to expand your operations, it might be wise to invest in a larger system now rather than upgrading shortly.

4 vessel brewing system
3 vessel CIP station System

What are the types of 4 Vessel Brewing Systems?

The world of brewing is ever-evolving, and as technologies advance, the types of 4 vessel brewing systems available in the market are becoming more varied and sophisticated. While the core components – Mash Tun, Lauter Tun, Kettle, and Whirlpool – remain the same, various modifications can significantly affect the system’s performance and price.

Types by Material:

  • Stainless Steel: The most common and durable, suitable for any scale of brewing. It offers resistance to corrosion and is easier to clean.
  • Copper: A more traditional material which is less common now due to its cost and higher maintenance requirements.
Material TypePrice Range (USD)
Stainless Steel$50,000 – $400,000
Copper$80,000 – $500,000

Types by Automation Level:

  • Fully Automated: These systems come with computerized controls for temperature, timing, and even stirring, reducing the need for manual oversight.
  • Semi-Automated: These have some automated features but still require manual intervention for certain tasks.
  • Manual: Here, most processes must be controlled manually, making it more labor-intensive but also less expensive.

Types by Heating Method:

  • Steam-Heated: Utilizes steam to heat the Mash Tun and Kettle, providing an even and controllable heat source.
  • Electric-Heated: Uses electric elements to heat the vessels. These are generally less expensive but may be less efficient for larger setups.

Types by Customization:

  • Standard Systems: Pre-designed with fixed features, ideal for beginners or smaller operations.
  • Custom Systems: Tailored to fit specific needs, including size, material, and automation levels.

Functions of a 4 Vessel Brewing System

Understanding the functions of a 4 vessel brewing system can offer profound insights into the brewing process, whether you are a beginner or an experienced brewmaster. Each vessel plays a pivotal role in different stages of brewing, making it essential for producing beer of consistent quality and taste.

Mash Tun: Starch to Sugar Conversion

The Mash Tun is where the first critical step of brewing takes place. The grinded malted barley is mixed with hot water to create a mash. The primary function is to convert the starches in the grain into fermentable sugars. This is crucial for the final alcohol content and the sweetness of the beer.

Lauter Tun: Wort Separation

The Lauter Tun functions as a filtration system, where the liquid wort is separated from the grain husks. The vessel is designed to allow the wort to pass through, leaving behind the solid materials. This ensures that only clear, sugar-rich wort proceeds to the next stage of brewing.

Kettle: Boiling and Hop Addition

In the kettle, the wort is boiled and hops are added. The boiling process serves multiple functions: it sterilizes the wort, extracts flavors and bitterness from the hops, and evaporates unwanted volatile compounds. Some brewers also add other ingredients like spices or fruit during this stage to introduce additional flavors.

Whirlpool: Clarification and Cooling

After boiling, the wort needs to be clarified before it can be fermented. In the whirlpool, the wort is rotated at high speeds to separate out solid residues like hop particles and proteins. This leaves behind clear wort that is ready for fermentation.

Complexity and Integration

While each vessel serves a particular function, the sophistication of a 4 vessel brewing system allows these processes to be integrated seamlessly. Advanced systems may include features like automated temperature control, sparging systems, and even automated cleaning systems.

Applications of a 4 Vessel Brewing System

A 4 vessel brewing system isn’t just a scaled-up version of a home brewing setup; it’s a comprehensive, industrial solution designed for versatility and efficiency in beer production. This system’s applications are as diverse as the types of beer it can produce, making it indispensable in various brewing scenarios.

Large-Scale Breweries:

Large-scale breweries often produce multiple types of beer simultaneously, requiring systems that can handle a diverse range of ingredients and brewing techniques. Here, a 4 vessel brewing system is particularly advantageous due to its separate vessels for different stages of brewing, enabling rapid and large-scale production.

Craft Breweries:

Craft breweries often experiment with new recipes, which require a flexible and versatile system. The 4 vessel system offers this flexibility because each vessel can be adjusted independently for different brewing stages. This allows craft brewers to experiment freely while ensuring a high-quality product.

Experimental Brews:

Even universities and research institutions use 4 vessel brewing systems for experimentation and academic study. They offer an excellent platform for studying the impact of different brewing techniques, ingredients, and conditions on the final product.

Seasonal and Special Edition Beers:

Many breweries produce seasonal or special edition beers that require unique brewing processes or ingredients. In a 4 vessel system, it is easier to control these variables, allowing for the production of unique beers without interrupting the regular production cycle.

Brewpubs and Microbreweries:

Even smaller operations like brewpubs and microbreweries can benefit from a 4 vessel system. These establishments often need to produce a consistent product but may not have the space for multiple systems. A 4 vessel system can be customized to fit smaller spaces while still offering the benefits of larger systems.

Cider and Other Alcoholic Beverages:

Although designed primarily for brewing beer, a 4 vessel system is versatile enough to be adapted for producing other alcoholic beverages like cider or even spirits. This flexibility allows businesses to diversify their product range using the same system, thus maximizing their investment.

Upgrade from Smaller Systems:

Breweries that started with a simpler, 2 or 3 vessel system may choose to upgrade to a 4 vessel system as they expand. The transition is generally smoother because most brewers are already familiar with the basic brewing stages, and a 4 vessel system simply offers a more efficient way to perform these stages.

Customization and Advanced Features:

One of the major advantages of a 4 vessel brewing system is the option for customization. Whether it’s implementing advanced automation features, specialized filtration systems, or even built-in cleaning mechanisms, a 4 vessel system can often be tailored to meet specific needs.

The applications of a 4 vessel brewing system are diverse, extending beyond traditional beer brewing. Its robust features, customizable options, and scalability make it suitable for a range of scenarios, from large-scale production to specialized, craft beer creation.

How a 4 Vessel Brewing System Benefits You?

For anyone deeply involved in the brewing industry or even considering entering it, understanding the advantages of a 4 vessel brewing system is paramount. A shift from traditional brewing methods to this advanced system can revolutionize your brewing operations. Here’s how:

Efficiency and Speed:

Having four dedicated vessels – Mash Tun, Lauter Tun, Kettle, and Whirlpool – allows for the simultaneous processing of different brewing stages. As one batch is being mashed, another can be boiled, and yet another can be in the whirlpool. This overlapping of processes translates to faster production cycles and increased output.

Precision and Consistency:

The distinct separation of each stage into its own vessel ensures that each part of the process is optimized for its specific task. This segregation allows for more precise control over factors like temperature and time, ensuring every batch meets the desired quality and taste standards.

Flexibility in Brewing:

With each brewing stage having its dedicated vessel, it becomes easier to adjust individual processes without disturbing others. This flexibility is a boon for those looking to experiment with new recipes or create limited edition brews.

Economical in the Long Run:

While the initial investment in a 4 vessel system might be higher, the increased efficiency and output mean that the return on investment is faster. Additionally, the consistency in product quality reduces wastage, further making it cost-effective in the long run.

Space Optimization:

Instead of having multiple, scattered equipment for different stages, a 4 vessel brewing system is a more compact, integrated solution. This not only reduces the footprint in your brewery but also makes operations more streamlined and manageable.

Enhanced Scalability:

For growing breweries, scalability is vital. A 4 vessel system is inherently designed to handle larger volumes, making it easier to scale up production without significant changes to the existing infrastructure.

Automation Opportunities:

Modern 4 vessel systems come with options for partial or full automation. Automated controls for factors like temperature, flow rates, and timings can significantly reduce manual intervention, ensuring consistency while also reducing labor costs.


How to Choose a 4 Vessel Brewing System?

Selecting a brewing system is a decision that will impact your brewery’s efficiency, product quality, and overall success. A 4 vessel brewing system, with its many advantages, might be the right choice for many. But how do you select the right one?

Understand Your Needs:

Before diving into the myriad of options, understand your brewery’s specific needs. How much beer do you intend to produce? Are you focusing on a few standard brews or a wide variety? The answers will guide your system’s size and customization requirements.

Assess Space and Infrastructure:

While a 4 vessel system is designed for space optimization, it’s still essential to consider your available space. Additionally, consider infrastructure factors like drainage, electrical capacity, and ventilation, which will influence the type and size of the system you can accommodate.

Material Matters:

Material TypeBenefits
Stainless SteelDurable, corrosion-resistant, easy to clean
CopperTraditional aesthetic, excellent heat distribution

Depending on your budget and aesthetic preference, choose a material that aligns with your brewery’s identity and operational requirements.

Level of Automation:

For larger operations or those seeking consistency with minimal manual intervention, opting for a fully automated system is advisable. However, if budget constraints exist, a semi-automated system can be a good compromise.

Heating Mechanisms:

There are mainly two options – steam-heated and electric-heated. Steam systems offer efficient and even heating, especially suitable for large volumes. Electric systems might be more economical and easier to install but may be less efficient for larger setups.

Vendor Reputation and Support:

Research potential vendors. A reputable manufacturer will not only provide a quality product but also post-sale support, which can be invaluable during system breakdowns or when needing replacement parts.

Budget Considerations:

A quality 4 vessel brewing system is an investment. Determine your budget, keeping in mind both the initial cost and potential long-term savings in terms of efficiency and reduced wastage.

Best 10 4 Vessel Brewing System Manufacturers

The brewing industry has witnessed significant growth, and with it, there has been a surge in manufacturers providing brewing equipment. For those considering a 4 vessel brewing system, here’s a list of ten manufacturers that have garnered respect and trust in the industry.

1. Ss Brewtech:

Based in the USA, Ss Brewtech is known for its innovation and quality. They offer a range of systems suitable for both craft breweries and larger operations.

2. Blichmann Engineering:

With a reputation for precision, Blichmann’s systems are designed for efficiency and reliability, making them favorites among many professional brewers.

3. BrauKon:

Hailing from Germany, a country with a rich brewing history, BrauKon offers technologically advanced systems that are both durable and efficient.

4. Premier Stainless Systems:

This US-based manufacturer is known for its high-quality stainless steel systems that cater to both small-scale and industrial brewing needs.

5. Criveller:

With operations in both North America and Europe, Criveller offers systems that combine traditional craftsmanship with modern technology.

6. GEA:

A global powerhouse in brewery equipment, GEA offers fully integrated solutions, making them suitable for large-scale operations aiming for high efficiency.

7. JV Northwest:

Boasting over three decades in the industry, JV Northwest’s systems are known for their quality, durability, and customization options.

8. DME Process Systems:

With installations in over 70 countries, DME’s reputation is built on quality, reliability, and exceptional post-sale support.

9. BrewBilt:

Based in California, BrewBilt offers handcrafted systems that cater especially to craft breweries, ensuring precision and quality in every batch.

10. Alpha Brewing Operations:

Known for their innovative designs and focus on sustainability, Alpha Brewing Operations offers systems that are both efficient and eco-friendly.

Choosing a manufacturer is more than just comparing prices. Consider factors like warranty, post-sale support, customization options, and overall reputation in the industry to make an informed decision.

Where to Buy a 4 Vessel Brewing System?

The decision to invest in a 4 vessel brewing system represents a commitment to quality and efficiency. But once that choice is made, where should you purchase such a system? The following are some strategies and avenues to consider when making this significant purchase.

Local Manufacturers and Dealers:

Your local brewing community is a great place to start. Local manufacturers or dealers might have systems tailored to the unique requirements of your region. Moreover, buying locally can simplify logistics and after-sales service.

International Brewing Expositions:

Events like the Craft Brewers Conference or the Drinktec in Germany often have manufacturers showcasing their latest brewing equipment. Attending such expos can give you a hands-on look at various systems and allow direct interaction with the manufacturers.

Industry Recommendations:

Your peers in the brewing industry can be an invaluable resource. Their experiences with various manufacturers and dealers can guide you to reputable sources and help you avoid potential pitfalls.

Directly from Manufacturers:

Some of the world’s leading brewing system manufacturers, such as YoLong Brewtech, offer direct sales. Buying directly can sometimes offer more customization options and eliminate any middleman costs.

Online Platforms:

Websites such as ProBrewer or Alibaba feature listings from various manufacturers and dealers. While buying a complex system like a 4 vessel brewing system online might seem daunting, these platforms can be a good starting point for research.

Used Equipment Dealers:

For those on a tighter budget, considering a used 4 vessel brewing system might be a viable option. Several specialized dealers offer refurbished or well-maintained used systems at a fraction of the cost of a new one.

Product Advantages of Chinese 4 Vessel Brewing System

China has become a powerhouse in the manufacturing of various industrial equipment, and brewery systems are no exception. Here’s a closer look at the advantages of choosing a Chinese-made 4 vessel brewing system:

Competitive Pricing:

Due to economies of scale and efficient production techniques, Chinese manufacturers often offer competitive pricing compared to their Western counterparts, without compromising on quality.

Technological Advancements:

Chinese brewing equipment manufacturers, such as YoLong Brewtech, employ cutting-edge technology. Their state-of-the-art manufacturing plants ensure that the brewing systems meet international quality standards.


Chinese manufacturers are often more flexible in terms of customization. Whether it’s specific dimensions, materials, or unique features, companies like YoLong Brewtech pride themselves on tailoring their products to the customer’s exact specifications.

Rapid Production Times:

With vast manufacturing facilities like YoLong Brewtech’s 36,000 m2 plant in Ningbo City, Chinese manufacturers can handle large orders and ensure rapid production times, meeting the demands of fast-growing breweries.

Comprehensive After-sales Service:

Chinese manufacturers understand the global nature of their clientele. This understanding translates to comprehensive after-sales service, ensuring that customers around the world receive the necessary support for installation, maintenance, and any potential issues.

Diverse Product Range:

From craft breweries to large-scale operations, Chinese manufacturers cater to a wide range of needs. They produce equipment not only for beer but also for beverages like cold brewed coffee, kombucha, infused teas, and wine.

Sustainable and Eco-friendly Options:

The brewing industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability. Recognizing this trend, many Chinese manufacturers are now offering eco-friendly options and systems designed for minimal environmental impact.

Best Chinese 4 Vessel Brewing System Supplier

In the thriving world of brewing, the need for reliable equipment is paramount. When considering Chinese suppliers for a 4 vessel brewing system, YoLong Brewtech undoubtedly stands out. Here’s a deeper dive into what makes them an industry leader:

A Legacy of Excellence:

Founded in 2004, YoLong Brewtech has garnered over 15 years of experience. This rich legacy translates into systems that are a blend of tried-and-tested methods and innovative techniques.

Unmatched Manufacturing Capabilities:

With a sprawling 36,000 m2 manufacturing plant in Ningbo City Economic Development Zone, China, YoLong Brewtech is equipped to handle projects of virtually any specification.

Diverse Product Offerings:

While beer remains a primary focus, YoLong Brewtech has expanded its expertise to other beverages like cold brewed coffee, kombucha, infused teas, and wine, making them a one-stop solution for varied brewing needs.

Customization at its Best:

YoLong Brewtech’s commitment to meeting customer specifications ensures that every project, be it custom-designed or pre-made, aligns perfectly with the client’s vision and requirements.

Global Presence, Local Expertise:

With a global clientele, YoLong Brewtech understands the nuances of diverse markets. This global perspective, combined with their localized manufacturing expertise, results in products that are universally reliable yet tailored to specific regional needs.

4 vessel brewing system


Q1: What distinguishes a 4 vessel brewing system from other systems?

A 4 vessel brewing system typically comprises a Mash tun, Lauter tun, Kettle, and Whirlpool. This setup allows for more streamlined brewing operations, especially beneficial for larger-scale production or breweries looking to maximize efficiency.

Q2: Can I customize my 4 vessel brewing system from YoLong Brewtech?

Absolutely! YoLong Brewtech is renowned for its customizable brewing solutions. You can tailor the system according to specific dimensions, materials, or features you desire, ensuring a perfect fit for your brewing operations.

Q3: What is the average lead time for a brewing system from YoLong Brewtech?

The lead time can vary based on the system’s specifications and customizations. However, with their expansive manufacturing facility, YoLong Brewtech can manage rapid production times for most orders. It’s best to contact them directly for precise lead time details.

Q4: Are there financing options available for purchasing a brewing system?

While YoLong Brewtech offers competitive pricing, financing or leasing options might be available through third-party financial institutions. Breweries can also explore local grants or incentives that support local manufacturing and business growth.

Q5: What kind of post-purchase support can I expect from YoLong Brewtech?

YoLong Brewtech offers comprehensive after-sales service, which includes support for installation, maintenance, and addressing any potential issues. Their global presence ensures customers worldwide receive timely and effective support.

Q6: Apart from brewing systems, does YoLong Brewtech offer other related equipment?

Yes, YoLong Brewtech manufactures a range of equipment for various beverages, including cold brewed coffee, kombucha, infused teas, and wine. They provide a holistic solution for breweries and beverage companies, encompassing various equipment needs.

Q7: How does YoLong Brewtech ensure the quality of its brewing systems?

With over 15 years in the brewery equipment manufacturing business, YoLong Brewtech has set stringent quality control measures. Their state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Ningbo City employs cutting-edge technology, and every system undergoes rigorous testing before shipping to ensure it meets the highest quality standards.

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