beer production equipment

Overview of Beer Production Equipment

Commercial beer production requires specialized equipment to brew and ferment beer on a large scale. The main pieces of equipment include:

Brewing Equipment: Mash tuns, lauter tuns, brew kettles, whirlpools

Fermentation Equipment: Fermenters, bright beer tanks

Filtration Equipment: Filters, centrifuges

Packaging Equipment: Bottlers, canners, keg fillers

Ancillary Equipment: Grain handling, cleaning and sanitation, quality control, etc.

The scale and automation of the equipment varies widely, from small manual systems to large computerized brewhouses. When selecting beer production equipment, brewers must consider factors like batch size, production volume, beer styles, quality needs, budget and more.

beer production equipment

Main Types of Beer Production Equipment

Mash TunMixes grist with hot water to convert starches to fermentable sugars. Often stainless steel or copper.
Lauter TunSeparates sweet wort from grains.
Brew KettleBoils wort with hops for flavor, bitterness. Usually copper or stainless steel.
WhirlpoolSettles out protein trub and hops.
FermenterFerments sweet wort into beer. Typically stainless steel or plastic.
Bright Beer TankConditions and clarifies beer after fermentation.
FilterRemoves particles and extends shelf life. Plate & frame or membrane filters.
BottlerFills beer into glass bottles, adds crowns. Inline or rotary fillers.
CannerFills beer into cans, lids cans. Often high-speed rotary fillers.
Keg FillerFills kegs with beer, may include counterpressure fill heads.

Beer Production Process

The standard commercial beer production process with main equipment is:

  1. Milling – Cereal grains are milled into grist to expose starch granules
  2. Mashing – Grist is mixed with hot water in mash tun to convert starches to fermentable sugars
  3. Lautering – Sugary wort is separated from grains using a lauter tun
  4. Boiling – Wort is boiled with hops in the brew kettle for sterilization and flavoring
  5. Whirlpool – Coagulated proteins and hops are settled out in a whirlpool
  6. Cooling – Hot wort is rapidly cooled to fermentation temperature
  7. Fermentation – Yeast ferments sugars into alcohol and CO2 in fermenters
  8. Maturation – Green beer is conditioned and clarified in bright beer tanks
  9. Filtration – Particles are removed to stabilize and extend shelf life
  10. Carbonation & Packaging – Beer is carbonated and packaged into bottles, cans, kegs

The equipment must be designed to maintain sanitation, avoid oxygen pickup, minimize losses, and ensure consistent product quality at all stages. Automation and computer control are often used to track batches, monitor process parameters, ensure quality control and optimize production.

Beer Brewing Equipment Details

Table 2: Equipment Capacity, Design and Customization

Batch SizeFrom 1 bbl microbrewery systems to 5,000 bbl mega breweries
Production VolumeFrom small craft breweries to global brewers brewing over 10 million bbl/year
Construction MaterialStainless steel, copper, plastic (HDPE, PET), plycarbonate, fiberglass
Automation LevelFrom manual to semi- to fully-automated
CustomizationEquipment can be customized for different batch sizes, beer types and quality needs
DesignUnits available range from standalone tanks, vessels with modular configurations, to turnkey systems
LayoutFrom small compact systems to palletized modular builds to custom engineered plants

Table 3: Beer Production Equipment Suppliers and Price Ranges

SupplierPrice Range
Major OEMs$500K to $5 Million+ for full turnkey brewhouses
Tank fabricators$5,000 – $500,000 per vessel
Import equipmentVaries, often lower prices from China
Used equipment20-50% less than new

Table 4: Equipment Installation, Operation and Maintenance

InstallationDelivered equipment is positioned, assembled, utilities connected, wiring, piping, programming done
OperationTrained brewers handle batches, monitor processes, ensure SOPs followed per beer recipes
MaintenanceDaily/weekly cleaning and sanitizing procedures done; preventative maintenance as per schedules

How to Select a Reliable Beer Equipment Supplier

Table 5: Supplier Selection Criteria

Reputation and ExperienceYears in business; client references and testimonials
Quality and ComplianceConstruction to food/beverage grade standards; safety certification
Offerings SuitabilityEquipment meets needs for production scale, batch size, automation level
Service CapabilityInstallation, operator training, maintenance and repair services offered
Lead Time and ShippingEquipment ordering to delivery timelines
Pricing and Payment TermsCompetitive pricing with reasonable payment schedules
WarrantiesWorkmanship, parts defects, production output warranties

Pros and Cons of Types of Beer Brewing Equipment

Table 6: Comparison Between Brewing Equipment

Vertical tanksCompact footprintEasier cleaningHeight constraints in some facilitiesTemperature stratification issues
Horizontal tanksEven temperature distributionEasier dry hopping/fruit additionsLarger footprintAccess hatches limit internal space
Stainless steelDurable materialEasy to clean/sanitizeHigh equipment costDifficult fabrication
Plastic tanksLower equipment costLightweight for shippingScratches over timeReduced durability
Manual operationLower capital costMore hands-on controlLabor intensiveInconsistent process control
Automatic controlConsistent beer qualityReduced laborAdditional costComplex programming
beer production equipment


What are the most critical equipment in beer making?

The mash tun, brew kettle, and fermenters have the biggest impact on overall beer quality and consistency. The heat transfer systems, filtration, and packaging equipment are also critical.

What is better: Buying new or used equipment?

Used equipment can save substantially on costs, but may carry higher maintenance and have shorter remaining lifespans. Newer gear often incorporates improved hygienic design standards and automation.

How easy is it to expand an existing brewhouse system?

It depends on the original design – modular systems with integrated controls using a master panel make incremental expansions much simpler than hard-piped custom builds.

Is plastic or stainless preferred for fermenters and aging tanks?

Both have advantages – stainless is more durable long-term but requires gentler cleaning regimes. Many brewers use stainless for fermentation and less expensive plastic for dry hopping/fruit aging tanks.

Should I work with a brewery engineering firm or source equipment myself?

Brewery engineering firms provide end-to-end project management, vendor consolidation and often the best pricing on full brewhouse packages. But sourcing tanks yourself allows more customization flexibility.

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