Functions of a 15 bbl brewing system

brewing machinery

Table of Contents

What is a 15 bbl brewing system?

A 15 bbl (barrels) brewing system is a particular type of brewing equipment used in the beer production industry. With a capacity of 15 barrels, it can produce approximately 465 gallons of beer in a single batch. This type of system is commonly used by microbreweries and craft breweries looking to scale up their production or establish a mid-scale brewing operation.

History and Evolution

The brewing industry has been around for centuries, with early civilizations brewing beer for consumption. Over time, as technology and processes improved, the scale of brewing expanded. The 15 bbl system became a standard for many microbreweries as it offers a balanced size – not too big for smaller operations, yet significant enough to cater to a broader market.


A typical 15 bbl brewing system will include:

  • Mash Tun: For converting starches into sugars.
  • Boil Kettle: Where the wort is boiled with hops.
  • Fermentation Tanks: For the yeast to convert sugars into alcohol.
  • Bright Tanks: For beer maturation and clarification.

Sizing Up

Choosing a 15 bbl system is often a strategic move for breweries. It allows them to produce a more considerable amount of beer than smaller systems, such as 5 bbl or 7 bbl systems. Additionally, the 15 bbl system is more manageable and cost-effective than larger systems, like the 30 bbl or 50 bbl systems.

Scaling Production

A 15 bbl system can effectively double or triple a brewery’s production capacity compared to smaller systems. It’s an excellent choice for breweries that have proven recipes and are looking to expand their reach and cater to a larger audience.

Common Manufacturers

Several renowned manufacturers produce 15 bbl brewing systems, each offering various features and customizations. Companies such as Blichmann Engineering, SS Brewtech, and GW Kent are popular choices in the industry.

How much does a 15 bbl brewing system cost?

The cost of a 15 bbl brewing system can vary widely based on various factors, including the manufacturer, the materials used, customization options, and additional features. On average, prices can range from $100,000 to over $500,000.

Cost Breakdown

To provide a clearer picture, here’s a rough breakdown of the costs associated with different components:

ComponentPrice Range
Mash Tun$10,000 – $25,000
Boil Kettle$12,000 – $30,000
Fermentation Tanks$20,000 – $60,000
Bright Tanks$18,000 – $50,000
Additional Equipment & Features$40,000 – $335,000

Factors Influencing Cost

  1. Material Quality: Systems made of high-quality stainless steel will generally cost more.
  2. Customization: Custom dimensions or features will add to the cost.
  3. Automation: Automated systems are more expensive than manual systems.
  4. Brand & Reputation: Well-established brands tend to charge more due to their proven track record.

Brand-specific Cost

Specific brands have made a name for themselves in the industry, leading to variations in pricing. For instance:

  • Blichmann Engineering systems typically start around $180,000 for a base 15 bbl system.
  • SS Brewtech offers a competitive range, with prices starting at $150,000.
  • GW Kent brewing systems can range from $200,000 to $350,000, depending on the features and customization.

Cost Vs. Value

It’s essential to balance cost with value. While some systems might seem expensive, they can offer better durability, efficiency, and features that can save time and money in the long run. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the system’s longevity and how it can influence beer quality.

Considering Additional Costs

When budgeting for a 15 bbl brewing system, it’s also essential to factor in additional costs like installation, training, and potential future upgrades or replacements. Maintenance costs, such as regular cleaning and occasional repairs, can also add up over time.

Financial Options

For those concerned about the upfront cost, many manufacturers offer financing options. Additionally, leasing a system is another avenue that some breweries consider, especially if they’re testing the waters before fully committing to a larger-scale operation.

15 bbl brewing system cost
Brewhosue setup

What are the types of 15 bbl brewing systems?

The 15 bbl brewing systems come in various configurations, each designed to cater to different brewing needs and preferences. While the primary function remains the same – to brew beer – specific characteristics and features can differ across types.

1. Manual Systems

Manual systems require the brewer to physically perform most of the tasks, such as transferring the wort, controlling the temperature, and monitoring the fermentation process. They are often the choice of traditionalists who prefer hands-on involvement in the brewing process.

Price Range: $80,000 – $150,000

2. Semi-Automated Systems

A step up from manual systems, these incorporate some level of automation, such as automated temperature control or automated transfer systems, reducing manual intervention while still offering a level of hands-on involvement.

Price Range: $150,000 – $300,000

3. Fully Automated Systems

Fully automated systems offer the highest level of technology integration. These systems can automate nearly every aspect of the brewing process, from grain milling to bottling, and are controlled via computer interfaces.

Price Range: $300,000 – $500,000

System Material Variations

Another distinction among brewing systems is the type of material used. Stainless steel is the most common due to its durability and ease of cleaning, but some systems might incorporate copper elements for aesthetic or traditional reasons.

Stainless SteelDurable, resistant to corrosion, easy to clean
CopperAesthetically pleasing, traditional, slightly more expensive

In selecting a brewing system type, brewers should consider their brewing philosophy, the degree of control they wish to have over the process, and their budget. Each system offers its unique advantages, and the best choice often depends on individual preferences and brewery goals.

Functions of a 15 bbl brewing system

The 15 bbl brewing system, a staple in many mid-sized breweries, has been designed with precision to execute the brewing process seamlessly. The functions it performs are integral to producing consistent, high-quality beer.


At the heart of the brewing process is mashing. Here, the crushed grains are soaked in hot water, allowing enzymes to break down the starches into fermentable sugars. The temperature and duration of this process can significantly influence the beer’s flavor profile, body, and color.


Post mashing, the liquid, now called wort, is transferred to the boil kettle. Here it is boiled, usually for an hour, with hops added at various stages. Boiling serves multiple purposes: it sterilizes the wort, extracts flavors and bitterness from the hops, and evaporates unwanted volatile compounds.


After boiling, it’s crucial to cool the wort quickly to a temperature suitable for yeast fermentation. Rapid cooling prevents unwanted bacterial growth and helps in the formation of cold break, which improves beer clarity.


The cooled wort is transferred to fermentation tanks where yeast is added. Over the next several days to weeks, the yeast consumes the sugars, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. This is where the magic happens, as different yeast strains impart various flavors and aromas to the beer.


Once primary fermentation is complete, the beer is allowed to mature. This process lets flavors meld and any unwanted compounds to settle or be metabolized by the yeast. Depending on the beer type, maturation can last anywhere from a few days to several months.


The final function of the system is to prepare the beer for distribution. This might involve transferring the beer to bright tanks for final clarification and carbonation, followed by packaging in kegs, bottles, or cans.

Through each of these steps, the 15 bbl brewing system ensures consistency, precision, and efficiency, all vital for producing top-tier beers.

Applications of a 15 bbl brewing system

The 15 bbl brewing system is not merely a tool for converting grains, water, hops, and yeast into beer. Its applications span a diverse range of scenarios, making it a versatile piece of equipment in the brewing world.

Brewpubs and Taprooms

For brewpubs and taprooms looking to produce a steady flow of fresh beer for on-site consumption, the 15 bbl system provides an optimal scale. Such establishments often pride themselves on offering unique and frequently rotating beer varieties. A system of this size allows for manageable batch sizes, ensuring that beer remains fresh while providing enough volume to meet demand.

Production Breweries

Smaller production breweries aiming to distribute their beer regionally can greatly benefit from a 15 bbl system. It strikes a balance between large-scale production and maintaining the flexibility to experiment with new recipes. Breweries can produce flagship beers in larger quantities while still having the freedom to brew seasonal or experimental batches.

Pilot Brewing

Even larger breweries with massive brewing capacities can find value in a 15 bbl system for pilot brewing. Before scaling up a new recipe to a much larger system, breweries can use the 15 bbl setup to produce pilot batches. This allows for recipe tweaking and testing without the risk and cost associated with larger-scale production.

Contract Brewing

Contract brewing, where one brewery produces beer for another entity (such as a startup brewery without its equipment), often employs 15 bbl systems. This provides a cost-effective solution for smaller brands looking to get their beer to market without the initial investment in brewing infrastructure.

Educational Institutions

Brewing science and brewery management programs in universities and specialized schools use 15 bbl systems as teaching tools. These systems offer students hands-on experience with commercial-grade equipment, preparing them for careers in the brewing industry.

Event Brews

For special occasions or events, such as beer festivals, anniversaries, or collaborations, a 15 bbl system is perfect. Breweries can produce limited-edition beers specifically for these occasions, ensuring exclusivity and drawing interest from enthusiasts.

Research and Development

Breweries committed to innovation use the 15 bbl system for research and development. Exploring new ingredients, brewing methods, or fermentation techniques becomes feasible and cost-effective on this scale. Once a successful formula is achieved, it can be scaled up for broader distribution.

The Economic Impact

The 15 bbl brewing system also plays a significant role in the economic landscape of the craft beer industry. Its versatility means that it can be employed in various scenarios, from startup breweries to established entities. The system’s application can directly impact job creation, tourism, and the growth of auxiliary industries like hop farming or malt production.

Application AreaBenefits
Brewpubs & TaproomsFreshness, variety, and rotation of beers.
Production BreweriesBalance of scale and flexibility.
Pilot BrewingRecipe testing before scaling.
Contract BrewingCost-effective solution for startups.
Educational InstitutionsHands-on training on commercial-grade equipment.
Event BrewsExclusivity and draw for enthusiasts.
Research & DevelopmentFacilitates innovation in brewing.

While its primary function remains to produce beer, the applications of the 15 bbl brewing system go far beyond that. It is a workhorse in the industry, driving innovation, education, and the continued growth of the craft beer movement.

How does a 15 bbl brewing system Benefit You?

A 15 bbl brewing system is a popular choice among many brewers for numerous reasons. Delving deeper into the core advantages this system offers will reveal its true potential and why it remains a favorite in the brewing community.


One of the primary benefits of a 15 bbl brewing system is its scalability. For businesses looking to transition from a smaller setup or home brewing, it provides a perfect entry point into commercial brewing. This system is large enough to meet the demands of a growing customer base yet remains manageable for those just stepping into the professional brewing arena.


Flexibility is key in the craft beer world, where brewers often experiment with new flavors, ingredients, and techniques. A 15 bbl system allows brewers to produce different batches with ease, catering to a wider audience and offering diverse brews without the need for multiple setups.


The 15 bbl brewing system, designed with modern technology, offers high efficiency in both energy consumption and ingredient utilization. This not only ensures a lower environmental footprint but also leads to cost savings in the long run.

Quality Consistency

With the right setup and monitoring tools, these systems ensure consistency batch after batch. For brewers, consistency is paramount, as it ensures that the beer’s taste, aroma, and mouthfeel remain the same, solidifying brand reputation.

Space Optimization

Given its size, a 15 bbl brewing system is optimal for establishments with limited space. While it offers substantial brewing capacity, its footprint is not overwhelmingly large, making it suitable for urban breweries or those with spatial constraints.

Economic Advantage

In the realm of commercial brewing systems, the 15 bbl setup strikes a balance between investment and output. It’s an economically viable option for those looking for a return on investment in a relatively short timeframe.

Community Engagement

A brewing system of this size is often indicative of local or regional breweries, which play a significant role in community engagement. These establishments often become community hubs, fostering local engagement, collaboration, and a sense of belonging.

How to Choose a 15 bbl Brewing System?

Choosing the right brewing system can be the difference between a successful brewery and one that struggles to produce consistent, high-quality beer. When considering a 15 bbl brewing system, several factors should be taken into account to ensure the investment proves fruitful.

Understand Your Brewing Goals

Before diving into the specifics of the brewing system, it’s essential to understand your brewing goals. Are you focusing on a specific type of beer, or are you planning on experimenting with various styles? The answer will influence the kind of system features and capabilities you should prioritize.

Capacity Consideration

While the capacity of 15 bbl is given, there’s more to consider. Think about your expected production levels, potential for growth, and how often you intend to brew. Some systems are designed for continuous, back-to-back brewing, while others may require longer downtimes between batches.

Automation Levels

15 bbl brewing systems come with various degrees of automation, from manual to semi-automated to fully automated. While automated systems can simplify the brewing process and ensure consistency, they also come with a higher price tag. On the other hand, manual systems might be more labor-intensive but can offer a hands-on brewing experience.

Material and Build Quality

The brewing system’s build quality and material can significantly influence its longevity and the quality of beer produced. Systems made of high-quality stainless steel are generally preferred due to their durability, resistance to corrosion, and ease of cleaning.

Supplier Reputation

It’s crucial to buy from a reputable supplier or manufacturer. Research customer reviews, ask for references, and perhaps visit other breweries using the same system. A reputable supplier will not only provide a quality system but also offer post-purchase support and maintenance services.

Cost and Financing

Lastly, consider the overall cost and financing options available. While a cheaper system might seem attractive, it’s essential to consider its long-term reliability and efficiency. Some suppliers might also offer financing options, lease-to-own plans, or other payment structures that could benefit your financial situation.

Best 10 15 bbl Brewing System Manufacturers

In the brewing industry, the equipment used can heavily influence the beer’s quality and consistency. As such, choosing a renowned and reliable brewing system manufacturer is crucial. Here are ten of the best 15 bbl brewing system manufacturers known for their quality and innovation.

1. BrewTech

Features: BrewTech offers fully automated 15 bbl systems with cutting-edge technology. Their systems are known for precision and efficiency, ensuring consistent brews every time.

2. Alpha Brewing Operations

Features: Alpha is renowned for its state-of-the-art brewing systems, offering both semi-automated and manual setups, catering to various brewers’ needs.

3. Premier Stainless Systems

Features: Premier Stainless Systems combine aesthetics with functionality. Their systems are not just efficient but are also visually appealing, making them perfect for brewpubs where the brewing process is on display.

4. Specific Mechanical Systems

Features: With decades of experience, Specific Mechanical Systems bring reliability and consistency to the table. Their systems are robust, designed for continuous brewing and longevity.

5. Ss Brewtech

Features: Ss Brewtech offers both pro-level systems for commercial breweries and smaller setups for ambitious home brewers. Their systems are modular, allowing for easy expansion as your brewing needs grow.

6. Blichmann Engineering

Features: Blichmann is synonymous with innovation. Their brewing systems often feature new techniques or technologies that set them apart from the competition.

7. Portland Kettle Works

Features: PKW systems are custom-built for each brewer’s unique needs. Their emphasis on customization ensures that each system is perfectly tailored to the brewer’s specifications.

8. JV Northwest

Features: JV Northwest has a reputation for producing durable and efficient brewing systems. Their stainless steel setups are designed for ease of use and maintenance.

9. Deutsche Beverage Technology

Features: Deutsche combines German engineering precision with American innovation. Their systems are efficient, reliable, and known for producing top-quality brews.

10. American Beer Equipment (ABE)

Features: ABE offers a wide range of brewing systems, with their 15 bbl setups being particularly popular among mid-sized breweries. Their emphasis on quality control ensures consistency across batches.

Selecting a manufacturer isn’t just about the system’s features but also the after-sales support, warranty, and reputation in the industry. Before investing, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research, visit breweries using the desired system, and make an informed decision.

Where to Buy a 15 bbl Brewing System?

Navigating the world of brewery equipment can be daunting, especially when considering substantial investments like a 15 bbl brewing system. With various manufacturers and suppliers in the market, knowing where to purchase can be instrumental in getting value for money and ensuring a smooth brewing experience.

Direct From Manufacturers

Buying a brewing system directly from a manufacturer can be beneficial. It ensures the equipment is brand new, offers warranty coverage, and often provides opportunities for customization. Manufacturers such as YoLong Brewtech and Premier Stainless Systems have direct sales channels that guide brewers through the purchasing process.

Specialty Retailers

There are specialty retailers dedicated to selling brewery equipment. These platforms often have a curated selection from various manufacturers, giving brewers a comprehensive view of what’s available. Retailers might also offer financing options or bundled deals that can be more economical.

Trade Shows

Industry-specific trade shows are an excellent place to see brewing systems firsthand. Events like the Craft Brewers Conference or the Brewers Association’s BrewExpo America showcase various manufacturers and their offerings. Here, brewers can interact directly with representatives, ask questions, and even secure deals.

Online Marketplaces

Platforms like Alibaba and ProBrewer have listings for brewery equipment, including 15 bbl systems. While buying online might offer competitive prices, it’s crucial to conduct thorough due diligence, check for certifications, and possibly visit the manufacturer before finalizing the purchase.

Local Dealers and Distributors

Many manufacturers have local dealers or distributors that handle sales in specific regions. For instance, a European brewer might find it more feasible to buy from a European distributor of an American brewing system brand, helping avoid import complications and potentially saving on shipping costs.

Used Equipment Platforms

For those open to purchasing second-hand equipment, platforms like Used Brewing Equipment or even industry forums might have listings for used 15 bbl brewing systems. While this can be more economical, it’s essential to inspect the equipment thoroughly and understand its usage history.

Product Advantages of Chinese 15 bbl Brewing System

China has rapidly emerged as a prominent player in the brewery equipment manufacturing sector. Chinese companies have embraced technological advancements and quality assurance practices, producing systems that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their international counterparts. Here’s why Chinese 15 bbl brewing systems have gained traction worldwide.

Cost-Effective Production

Chinese manufacturers often provide brewing systems that offer an excellent balance between cost and quality. Due to economies of scale and efficient manufacturing practices, brewers can often get more value for their money.

Advanced Technology Integration

China’s manufacturing sector has heavily invested in R&D and technology. This reflects in their brewing systems, which often boast cutting-edge features, automation, and intuitive controls that simplify the brewing process.

Customization Flexibility

Many Chinese manufacturers offer extensive customization options. They can tailor brewing systems to specific needs, whether it’s the configuration, material grade, or even design aesthetics. This flexibility ensures that brewers get equipment precisely tailored to their requirements.

Comprehensive After-sales Support

Companies like YoLong Brewtech, founded in 2004 with over 15 years of experience in the brewery equipment manufacturing business, have set high standards in customer support. With their dedicated team based in a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in the Ningbo City Economic Development Zone, China, they ensure projects meet exact specifications and provide robust after-sales service.

International Quality Standards

Leading Chinese brewing system manufacturers adhere to international quality standards, ensuring their products are globally compliant. Their systems often carry certifications like ISO, CE, or UL, signifying their commitment to quality and safety.

Export-friendly Services

Recognizing the global demand for their products, many Chinese manufacturers have streamlined their export processes. This includes efficient logistics, handling international certifications, and even offering installation services in the buyer’s location.

Variety and Innovation

China’s vast manufacturing sector means brewers have an extensive range of choices when selecting a brewing system. Furthermore, companies like YoLong Brewtech are at the forefront of innovation, expanding their product lines to cater to beverages like cold-brewed coffee, kombucha, infused teas, and wine.

Best Chinese 15 bbl Brewing System Supplier: YoLong Brewtech

When searching for the best Chinese 15 bbl brewing system supplier, one name consistently stands out: YoLong Brewtech.

Established Legacy

YoLong Brewtech was founded in 2004 and, in its journey spanning over 15 years, has become a beacon of quality and reliability in the brewery equipment manufacturing business. Their legacy is built on consistent excellence and a deep understanding of the brewing sector’s nuances.

State-of-the-Art Manufacturing

YoLong Brewtech’s manufacturing facility sprawls across an impressive 36,000 m2 in the Ningbo City Economic Development Zone, China. The facility is equipped with advanced machinery and technology, ensuring that every piece of equipment is fabricated to the highest standards of precision and quality.

Versatility in Product Range

Apart from brewing systems, YoLong Brewtech has diversified its offerings to cater to a broader range of beverages, including cold-brewed coffee, kombucha, infused teas, and even wine. This versatility reflects their forward-thinking approach and commitment to staying at the industry’s forefront.

Customer-Centric Approach

One of YoLong Brewtech’s standout features is its commitment to customer satisfaction. Their dedicated team ensures every custom-designed project aligns with the customer’s exact specifications. This tailored approach ensures that brewers receive equipment that perfectly fits their brewing philosophy and requirements.

Global Presence and Recognition

YoLong Brewtech has carved a niche not just in China but globally. With a significant number of installations worldwide, their reputation as a top-tier brewing system supplier is well-earned and recognized across the brewing community.


Q1: What is the production capacity of a 15 bbl brewing system?

A 15 bbl (barrel) brewing system can produce 15 barrels of beer in a single batch, equivalent to 465 gallons or roughly 1,770 liters.

Q2: How does YoLong Brewtech differentiate itself from other brewing system manufacturers?

YoLong Brewtech emphasizes a customer-centric approach, offering tailored solutions based on the brewer’s requirements. With over 15 years of experience and a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, they ensure high-quality equipment built to precise specifications.

Q3: Does YoLong Brewtech provide installation and after-sales support?

Yes, YoLong Brewtech offers comprehensive installation guidance and robust after-sales service, ensuring that brewers can seamlessly integrate the equipment and receive support whenever needed.

Q4: Can the brewing systems be customized for beverages other than beer?

Absolutely. YoLong Brewtech has expanded its product range to cater to various beverages, including cold-brewed coffee, kombucha, infused teas, and wine.

Q5: Are there financing options available for purchasing a brewing system?

While YoLong Brewtech might offer specific financing options or payment terms, it’s also common for third-party financial institutions or local distributors to provide financing solutions for brewery equipment.

Q6: How does YoLong Brewtech ensure the quality of its brewing systems?

YoLong Brewtech adheres to international quality standards and has its equipment certified by recognized entities. Their commitment to quality is further emphasized by their advanced manufacturing practices and stringent quality control measures.

Q7: How long does it typically take for a custom order to be manufactured and delivered?

The timeline varies based on the complexity of the customizations and current order volumes. However, YoLong Brewtech’s team usually provides an estimated production and delivery timeline during the order placement process.

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