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Overview of 7 BBL Brewhouse Systems

A 7 barrel (BBL) brewhouse is a medium-sized professional beer brewing system with a capacity to produce 7 barrels or 217 gallons per batch. This brewhouse size is well-suited for small to mid-size microbreweries and taprooms looking to sell beer on premises or distribute locally.

This guide covers key considerations in choosing, designing, installing and operating an efficient 7 BBL brewhouse optimized for your production goals and budget.

Types of 7 BBL Brewhouse Systems

There are two main types of 7 BBL brewhouse systems:

Table: 7 BBL Brewhouse System Types

System TypeDescription
TraditionalManually operated, custom fabricated stainless steel brewhouse vessels with steam heating. Requires an experienced brewer.
AutomatedPLC-controlled system with pumps, sensors, motors for automation. Program recipes & schedules. Easier to operate.
7 BBL Brewhouse

7 BBL Brewhouse Brewing Process

A typical brewing process flow through a 7 BBL brewhouse system is as follows:

Milling → Mash Conversion → Lautering → Wort Boil → Whirlpool → Cooling → Fermentation → Conditioning → Filtration → Packaging

During milling, the malted barley grains are cracked open to allow access during mashing. In mash conversion, the grains are steeped in hot water activating enzymes to convert starch into fermentable sugars. The sugary liquid wort is then separated from grains using a lauter tun. The wort then undergoes boiling, whirlpool and cooling before yeast is pitched to ferment the sugars into alcohol and CO2. After fermentation, the green beer is conditioned and filtered before being packaged.

7 BBL Brewhouse Capacity, Design and Customization

When selecting and designing a 7 BBL brewhouse, key considerations include:

Table: 7 BBL Brewhouse Capacity and Design Factors

ParameterDetailsCustomization Options
Batch Size7 barrel (BBL) = 217 gallonsper batchCustom sized brewhouses from 3–15 BBL
Mashing Capacity10–14 BBL to allow grains absorption swelling during mashingMash filter size, rakes, sensors etc.
Boiling Rate15-30 gallons per hour boil-off ratePowerful gas/electric boil kettle
Whirlpool DesignSwirl direction, slope, depth for trub separationSpin cycle customization
Temperature ControlPrecision sensors & valves for hitting mash, boil, pitch tempsAutomated variable speed pumps
Recipe ProgrammingStore recipes with timed temperature steps and valve actuationsTouchscreen HMI, data tracking
Brewing FlexibilityAccommodate lagers, ales, specialty beersInterchangeable vessels, modular design
Physical Size10-15 ft length x 8-12 ft width x 8-14 ft heightLayout optimization, compact/split design
Production Rate150-300 BBL per month, 24/7 operationSemi vs Fully automated, staffing

Consider the types of beers you wish to produce, ingredients, seasonal variations and packaging to determine the features and functionality needed in your brewhouse early on. An experienced brewhouse manufacturer can help customize the system to meet your specific production goals.

7 BBL Brewhouse Suppliers and Pricing

There is a wide range of brewhouse suppliers, prices and options when investing in 7 BBL systems:

Table: 7 BBL Brewhouse Manufacturers and Costs

SupplierBase Price RangeKey Offerings
Specific Mechanical$100,000 – $250,000Custom manual and automated brewhouses, modular Italian-made
Premier Stainless$150,000 – $300,000Traditional custom steam heated kettles & mash tun
JV Northwest$180,000 – $350,000Automated touchscreen electric brewhouses
Brewmation$200,000 – $400,000Complete automated precision brewing controls
AAA Metal Fabrication$120,000 – $180,000Manual systems focused on affordability
Evolution Stainless$250,000 – $450,000Integrated eco-friendly steam, electric & solar
Psycho Brew$300,000 – $600,000Ultra-modern automated using IoT sensors
Craftwerk$150,000 – $250,000German-engineered steam & gas fired kettles

Prices vary widely depending on level of automation, imported hardware costs, fabrication rates and value-added services offered. Get detailed quotes before deciding on the right brewhouse supplier for your needs.

7 BBL Brewhouse Installation, Operation and Maintenance

Proper installation, operation and preventative maintenance are key to maximizing uptime and keeping your 7 BBL brewhouse running efficiently for years:

Table: 7 BBL Brewhouse Installation and Operation Factors

InstallationFoundation, layout, electrical, plumbing, ventilation, safety, permitting
Staff TrainingEquipment training on operating procedures
Brewing ProcessStandard operating procedures for recipes consistency
Cleaning & SanitationCIP spray balls, chemicals, cleaning schedule
Calibration & AlertsVolume, temperature sensor calibration, tank level alerts
Preventative MaintenanceRegular inspection schedule, replace wear items
Service & SupportMaintenance contracts, on-call support response time

Develop detailed standard operating procedures, cleaning regimens, maintenance logs and staff training plans. This ensures smooth operations, consistent quality and minimized unplanned downtime. Partner with your brewhouse manufacturer for continued service and support.

How to Select the Right 7 BBL Brewhouse Supplier

Choosing the optimal 7 BBL brewhouse system for your brewery involves:

Table: How to Evaluate and Select 7 BBL Brewhouse Suppliers

ConsiderationAssessment Criteria
Reputation & ExperienceYears in business, number of systems installed, client reviews
Customization CapabilitiesFlexibility to meet specialized requirements
Brewing Efficiency & QualityPrecision in hitting temps and timings for yield and taste
Ease of UseIntuitive design and controls for simplicity
Service & SupportResponse time, availability of parts/service, maintenance plans
Value for InvestmentPerformance, reliability and payback period given costs
Local RepresentationInstallation, commissioning and service partnerships

Evaluate each brewhouse supplier against these criteria relative to your organization’s priorities using detailed RFPs, reference checks, facility tours and pilot batches. This drives an informed decision balancing custom features, budget and long-term service support.

Comparing Pros and Cons of 7 BBL Automated Brewhouses

Automated brewhouses provide advantages in efficiency, consistency and labor savings – but also carry higher costs and complexity:

Table: Pros and Cons of Automated 7 BBL Brewhouses

Precise temperature and timing controlTwice the capital expense of manual
Automated cleaning and record keepingComplex programming and controls
Store recipes for perfect repeatabilityRequire specialized technical support
Reduce labor requirementsPotential for costly electronic failures
Hands-off remote monitoringLengthy troubleshooting procedures
Easy scale up with modular expansionsGenerally imported hardware markups

Weigh the benefits against drawbacks smartly based on available capital, staff competencies and brewing goals. Starting semi-automated also provides a middle ground.

Limitations and Considerations of 7 BBL Brewhouse Systems

While 7 BBL brewhouses are efficient small batch setups, be aware of inherent scale and flexibility limitations:

Table: Scaling Challenges with Expanding 7 BBL Brewhouses

LimitationImplicationMitigation Strategy
Max Batch SizeLimited to peak volumes around 15 BBL per batchStart with larger 10-15 BBL system
Ingredient HandlingManual grain handlingwon’t keep up with growthAutomate milling, moving and cleaning
Packaging BottleneckManual labeling, boxing, palletizingpace constraintsIntegrate inline bottling, canning, kegging
Refrigeration Capacity7 BBL fermentation andbrite tanks max outPlan modular cold room expansions
Steam Boiler CapacityEventually hits max steaming rate per hourUpgrade to 20-30 BBL electric steam generator

Starting too small risks major investments in upgrades soon. But overbuilding capacity too early carries high costs. Consult experts to define scaling roadmap.

7 BBL Brewhouse


Table: Frequently Asked Questions About 7 BBL Brewhouse Systems

How much can a 7 BBL brewhouse produce annually?2,600 to 5,200 barrels per year is typical operating single or 2 shifts daily, assuming good uptime.
What size building is needed to house a 7 BBL system?Allow 15 ft x 15 ft of space for the brewhouse itself. Total building size including fermentation and storage would need to be 2000 to 4000 sq. ft.
Can I buy a used 7 BBL brewhouse system?Yes, buying used can save substantially on costs – but may carry risk of mechanical issues or condition concerns. Inspect carefully before purchase.
Should I buy domestic or imported 7 BBL hardware?Domestic provides ease of service but costs more. Imported cuts expense by 30% but sacrifices convenience and customization.
What are the most critical factors in selecting supplier?Evaluate reputation, quality, serviceability, support capabilities and staff competency above just price alone.

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