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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Nano Brewery: Build or Buy?
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:33 PM   #11
Skubic448
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We just built our brew system. It is capable of about 1.66 bbl or 50 gallons post boil. Lots of folks tell us to build bigger, but it was the right size for us.

I think building it (if you know the right people) is considerably more cost effective (about 1/4 the cost of a used system for us) than buying one.

Just my two cents.

Michael Skubic
Hess Brewing Co.

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Old 04-08-2010, 11:39 PM   #12
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I have no experience and don't have anything to back it up, because I don't know where I read it at. Wherever I read it at, it read that they recommend at least a 7bbl system to keep up with demand. Which is probably much bigger than you want. But it would allow you to grow with ease, having the equipment already. Again, I have no experience at all.

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Old 04-08-2010, 11:51 PM   #13
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I have read that too. I believe what they are mostly referring to is a traditional brewpub. A place that would have the ability to hold the amount of people that would require a system that large.

Our plan is a small tap/tasting room. We are writing into our business plan a strategy for growth. We are unsure if we will want that growth to be in the direction of a pub or just manufacturing. I believe we will let the market decide that. I think I have decided to build it. I am looking at three 85 gallon vessels that will be the heart of the system. I am thinking of doubling the fermenter space for growth and just blend two brew sessions together to fill them. Then I can start out doing 2bbl batches and if the need arises move up to about 3.5bbl in the fermenter.

Just kicking around ideas now. Here is my initial brainstorming sketch.

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Old 04-09-2010, 12:58 AM   #14
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How will you heat these vessels? With heating that much fluid I would think steam would be the obvious choice. Are your vessels steam jacketed?

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Old 04-09-2010, 01:29 AM   #15
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I have read that too. I believe what they are mostly referring to is a traditional brewpub. A place that would have the ability to hold the amount of people that would require a system that large.

Our plan is a small tap/tasting room. We are writing into our business plan a strategy for growth. We are unsure if we will want that growth to be in the direction of a pub or just manufacturing. I believe we will let the market decide that. I think I have decided to build it. I am looking at three 85 gallon vessels that will be the heart of the system. I am thinking of doubling the fermenter space for growth and just blend two brew sessions together to fill them. Then I can start out doing 2bbl batches and if the need arises move up to about 3.5bbl in the fermenter.

Just kicking around ideas now. Here is my initial brainstorming sketch.
Hey brewmoor you might give the people at Amicas in Salida a call heres the link to the website http://amicassalida.typepad.com/
Its your concept and works really well the place always a line out the door great food good beer with guest taps their fermenters are smaller 1-3 bbls I think.
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:48 AM   #16
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Premier Stainless started offering a complete 3bbl system brand new for $37,500.

http://www.probrewer.com/vbulletin/s...ad.php?t=16003

Probrewer.com is the site you'll probably want to familiarize yourself with. Lot's of superb information from very experienced people.

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Old 04-09-2010, 03:01 PM   #17
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How will you heat these vessels? With heating that much fluid I would think steam would be the obvious choice. Are your vessels steam jacketed?
The kettles I am looking at are not jacketed. I will probably heat with Electric. The HLT will definitely be electric. I am looking into things for the BK. I would like to go electric for that as well. I may end up doing an assist with direct fire gas.

I am going to look into elements like this.

http://www.amazon.com/Islander-Manat.../dp/B003CI3B3K
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:04 PM   #18
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Hey brewmoor you might give the people at Amicas in Salida a call heres the link to the website http://amicassalida.typepad.com/
Its your concept and works really well the place always a line out the door great food good beer with guest taps their fermenters are smaller 1-3 bbls I think.
Thanks I will have to check them out. I will be going down that way a bunch this summer kayaking. It would be great to talk with them.
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:55 PM   #19
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I have thought about this for a while now. I would love to have a 1-3 bbl brewery (really, who wouldn't), but I think you can optimize something smaller to be very efficient and well utilized and save a lot of money.

If you even built out a 1/2bbl brewery that was electric and well controlled and automated, I think you could turn out a lot of beer.

For my system (10 gallon electric brutus 20) I could do a lot of beer in a day. Say, for easy numbers, that I have a 4 hour brew day. I break that into about 2 hours to heat and mash and another 2 hours to boil and cool.

To start a brew day I use the electric (more expensive) system as normal to heat and mash. I then pump it over to a propane powered BK. I am at the 2 hour mark and can start boiling batch 1 and heating and mashing batch 2. If you take this out a few steps it equates to a first batch in 4 hours and each additional batch taking 2 hours (as long as I have enough extra burners and BKs to keep up, 3 perhaps). In an 8 hour day I can do 30 gallons on a 10 gallon system.

In a 10 hour day on a 1/2bbl system I could theoretically do 1.5bbl. Make it a 10 hour day and I can do 2bbl on a 1/2bbl system. I can build out a very fast and controlled 1/2 bbl system for a whole lot less money than any non automated used 2bbl system that might still take 6-8 hours because of volumes and heating times. A little more time and coordination is required, but the initial outlay of cash is way less. That money could then be used on fermenters and the yeast side where it makes a huge difference. As long as your fermenters can keep up, I think it would work well to start out.

Just some thoughts. I would appreciate any feedback.

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Old 04-09-2010, 04:03 PM   #20
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In theory it seems like your plan could work. However. In my case and in some others out there. We are going to be starting this whole thing in our spare time. Weekends and after work. So spending 10hrs per day making beer can not really be done. If you have a system that can do 1.5bbl in one shot you have shrunk your day down to about 5 hrs. Leaving time for all the other odds and ends of getting your business going.

I have a price list going for our business plan. Going fairly basic with two pumps. I can build a rig with used 85 gallon kettles for about $2500. That does not include my time for labor. That is a pretty small price for extra capacity.

Edit: Though for feedback to you. I say go with what you can manage. Dogfish Head is famous for starting their operations with a Sabco. Sam was doing exactly what you suggest. Sure it was a lot of hard work but he managed. Though he had financial backing that allowed him to do it full time. That helps.

I am really lucky that I have people that want to see this happen. We have the funds to build the system and purchase fermenters. We might also already have rent and utilities covered for a year from another "investor". We will not need to seek much more to get started. We just need to dedicate ourselves to doing it. The time investment can not be overlooked.

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