microbrewery machine

Commercial Beer Equipment

commercial beer equipment requires specialized equipment to brew and ferment beer on a large scale. Key equipment includes:

Brew House – Mixes hot water with malted grains to extract sugars and produce wort. Includes mash tuns, lauter tuns, brew kettles.

Fermentation Tanks – Stainless steel vessels where yeast ferments wort into beer over days or weeks. Control temperature and environment.

Brite Tanks – Beer storage tanks that allow sediment to settle and finalize carbonation before packaging.

Filtration Systems – Remove haze and particles from beer after fermentation. Plate filters or centrifuge systems.

Cleaning/Sanitation – CIP systems use heat, pressure, chemicals to clean interior surfaces. Reduce contamination between batches.

Packaging – Fill beer into bottles, cans, kegs for distribution. Requires fillers, crowners, palletizers matched to package type.

Cooling – Precise temp control needed in brewing. Glycol chillers and heat exchangers used to regulate system temperature.

Process Control – Instruments like flow meters, density gauges used to monitor variables, automate valves/pumps.

Quality Control – Lab equipment to test beer – alcohol, color, bitterness, microbes, sugars. Ensure consistency and safety.

Commercial Beer Equipment Types

EquipmentTypical SizesKey Parameters
Brewhouse3-100 barrel batchesAutomation level, material (stainless, copper)
Fermenters30-300 barrel capacityCooling method, conical or cylindroconical
Brite TanksEquivalent to ferment sizeASME rated, mixing options
Bottle Fillers100-2000 bph12/16/22 oz bottle capabilities
Can Fillers100-2000 cphAluminum vs steel cans
Keg Fillers1/6 barrel, 1/2 barrelSingle or multi-fill head
CIP SystemsMatched to vessel sizesTank mixproof valves, self-cleaning
Chillers50-500 ton capacityGlycol/ammonia, degree of redundancy
AutomationTouchscreen HMI, PLCData collection, advanced algorithms
commercial beer equipment

Brewing Process Equipment

Commercial beer production begins with quality ingredients – water, malt, hops and yeast. The basic process uses hot water and malted grains to produce a sugar-rich wort, which gets boiled with hops for bitterness and flavor. The hopped wort ferments for days to weeks, allowing the yeast to convert sugars into alcohol and CO2. The green beer is clarified, filtered, and carbonated before packaging into kegs, bottles or cans.

Milling – Crack malt kernel to access starches needed for mash. Require roller or hammer mills.

Mashing – Mix milled malt with hot water, activate malt enzymes to convert starch into fermentable sugars. Performed in mash tun vessel with mixer.

Lautering – Separate sweet wort from grains. Filter bed in lauter tun retains solids as liquid gets pumped out.

Boiling – Adds hops for bitterness, flavor, aroma. Evaporates DMS precursor. Sanitization benefit. Brew kettle is main vessel.

Whirlpool – Spinning action at end of boil separates trub solids from wort. Settles in cone at center of the kettle.

Cooling – Rapidly chill boiled wort to fermentation temp. Plate heat exchangers or glycol jackets.

Aeration – Dissolve oxygen into cooled wort for healthy fermentation. Use air injection or oxygenation stone.

Fermentation – Yeast converts wort sugars into CO2, ethanol over days/weeks. Temperature controlled stainless steel vessels.

Maturation – Additional aging time to smooth flavor. Lagering done at cold temps for extended period.

Carbonation – Inject CO2 or add priming sugar to naturally carbonate. Brite tank mixing ensures uniformity.

Filtration – Remove haze particles with depth filters or centrifuge. Produce bright, stable beer.

Packaging – Fill bright beer into packages without oxygen pickup. Maintain sterile lines.

Commercial Beer Equipment Sizing

Proper equipment sizing is critical when designing a commercial brewery. Balance production goals with space constraints and budget. Consider peaks in production schedule when sizing.

EquipmentCapacity RangeTypical Space NeedsKey Considerations
Brewhouse3-20 barrel systems common for craft breweries aiming for 5000-40000 BBL/year production. 
Up to 100 bbl systems for large regional brewers doing 100000+ BBL annually
Height clearance needed for grain handling into mash tun. 
10-20 ft ceiling, 800-2000 sqft footprint
Match brewhouse batch size to fermentation tank volume. Scale up incrementally.
FermentersCraft breweries may start with (4-6) 30 or 60 barrel tanks. 
Regional breweries use 100-500 barrel scale.
Ceiling height 18 ft+. Up to 2000 sqft for tank farm. glycol chiller needs mezzanine space.Maximize fermentation capacity for production goals. Size Bright tanks equivalent to fermenters.
Brite TanksEquivalent to ferment sizes aboveGrouped together with fermenters, may be taller tanks.Determine packaging line speeds to size appropriately. Include headspace.
Packaging LinesCraft bottle/can lines run at 100-300 packages/min. 
Large packaging lines approach 2000 packages/min throughput.
Requires long straight conveyor runs. Height for palletizing. 5000+ sqft.Choose inline vs rotary fillers. Scale up number of filling heads.
CIP SystemsMatched to sized of vessels above. Reuse cleaning solution.Room for storage tanks, pumps near the brewhouse.Automated multi-tank CIP offers time savings.
ChillersCraft 50 ton glycol chiller common. Larger breweries 200-500 ton capacityPlace glycol chiller externally or on mezzanine if height allowsDesign redundancy with multiple chillers for uptime.

Layout and Flow

Good equipment layout and material flow are essential in brewery design. The major systems should be arranged linearly to follow the natural brewing process:

Raw Materials > Milling > Brewhouse > Fermentation > Filtration > Packaging > Warehousing

  • Optimizing travel distance from grain handling to milling saves on labor costs
  • Pump connections should link the mash tun, lauter tun, brew kettle, and whirlpool seamlessly
  • Easy transfer from fermenters down to filter and bright tanks reduces oxygen uptake
  • Adjacent packaging room to limit travel of finished beer

Gravity flow should be utilized wherever possible – pumping adds risk of DO pickup and contamination. Consider equipment height differentials and slope floors appropriately so liquid can drain through each system.

Leave room for expansion. Breweries often underestimate production growth which necessitates added fermentation tanks and packaging capacity down the road.


While turnkey systems are available, often a customized combination of equipment is preferred to perfectly match process objectives. Component choices include:

Mash Tun

  • Grant style mash tun with external rakes
  • Automated internal mixer for uniformity

Lauter Tun

  • Traditional rake and trough
  • Revolving system for spent grains

Brew Kettle

  • Tilted kettle with top-mount calandria
  • External wort boiler for precise control


  • Uncoated or stainless steel coated tanks
  • Jacketed cooling vs glycol or brine recirculation


  • Plate and frame design – easier maintenance
  • High-speed centrifuges – faster but consumables cost

Filler Types

  • Volumetric piston fillers – reliable for glass
  • Rotary style with crowner – speed for cans

Customization allows brewers to specify exotic materials like copper kettles or optimize tank geometry and valves. An open plan brewhouse offers flexibility for future enhancements.

Suppliers and Cost Considerations

EquipmentKey ManufacturersCost Range
BrewhouseAAA, JVNW, SS Tanks & Kettles, Brewmation$100,000 – $500,000
Fermentation TanksAAA, JVNW, SS Brewtech, Unitank$5000 – $15000 per tank
FiltrationMeura, Alfa Laval, GEA$50,000 to $250,000+
Packaging Lines

Choosing a Supplier

Selecting qualified vendors is key when purchasing commercial brewing equipment. Below are important criteria when evaluating suppliers:


  • Years of demonstrated success outfitting breweries of your scale
  • Deep expertise with available options and customization

Quality & Testing

  • High quality stainless steel materials and precision fabrication
  • Pressure rated vessels certified to ASME standards
  • Multi-point inspection and factory testing

Project Management

  • Handles full project scope including installation support
  • Engineering support for optimized floor plan and flow
  • Oversees subcontractors – electrical, contractors

Customer Service

  • Responsive to requests for quotes and questions
  • Can facilitate site visits to existing customer brewhouses
  • Resolves warranty issues professionally

Overall Value

  • Competitive pricing paired with quality equipment that lasts
  • Great after-sales service support

When vetting suppliers, request 3+ brewery references and call them directly to learn about their experience. This first-hand feedback is invaluable during decision making process.

Pros, Cons and Limitations

Each type of commercial brewing equipment has inherent advantages and disadvantages that influence selection:

Open FermentersLower cost, easier cleaningRisk of contamination, less temperature controlLimited to certain beer styles best suited to open fermentation
Conical FermentersEfficient single vessel design, better sanitationAdded cost, taller heightMaximum practical size around 600-800 barrels
CentrifugeFast filtration rate, dry wasteHigh consumables cost, frequent maintenanceSheer sensitivity limits lifespan for highly hopped styles
Bottle FillersWide range of bottle formats, gentle fillSlowest packaging rate, size changeover downtimeOlder lines may lack modern safety features
Can FillersHigh speed packaging, lower DO pickupLine changeovers require purges, expensive toolingLimited to standard can dimensions

When evaluating options, consider both tangible as well as “soft” pros and cons for fit with brewmaster preferences and company culture around flexibility, automation, innovation and more.


What is the lead time for commercial brewing equipment?

Lead times range from 10-16 weeks for fermenters and brite tanks to 20-30+ weeks for brewhouse vessels and packaging lines requiring customization. Electrical/installation work can also lengthen timelines.

What design options are best to simplify cleaning?

Equipment choices to reduce cleaning workload – sprayball CIP systems, cone bottom tanks, tri-clover connections, external jacket cooling to minimize contamination areas.

How much does a 10 barrel brewhouse cost?

A complete 10 barrel craft brewhouse costs $250,000 to $400,000+ depending on features. Kettle upgrades to steam, automated controls or exotic metals increase costs substantially.

What are ways to reduce capital equipment costs for new breweries?

Buy used equipment; Seek brewhouse manufacturer discounts for multiple fermenter purchases; Share packaging lines with other local breweries; Lease instead of purchase packaging equipment.

How many barrels can a 3-vessel 50 ton glycol chiller support annually?

A properly sized 50 ton chiller can support 1500-4000 barrels annual production depending on ratio of fermentation to brite tanks, packaging line speeds and production schedule. Redundancy improves capacity.

What are design best practices to make cleaning and maintenance easy?

Ensure sufficient space between tanks/vessels for access; Use open racking for accessible pipe runs; Specify tri-clamp connections; Include grated trench drains throughout brew areas; Design self-draining tank geometry.

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