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Old 09-10-2011, 09:59 PM   #1
Jul 2011
San Salvador, CA
Posts: 19

in our quest to bring great Craft Beer to our new home country of El Salvador we built a pretty nice pilot brew system. Read more here.

Using our experience in brewing on both single kettle setups and 3 kettle brew sculptures and pro brewery systems, we built a pretty good 60 Liter single kettle brewhouse system to do some pilot brews to test recipes, figure out water make-up, control native yeast and basically figure out how to brew great beer successfully in Central America. Craft Beer in El Salvador.

We decided to build a single kettle system rather than a 3 kettle system to keep things simple and compact. And since we are doing mini-mash brews using extracts for the first 15 batches it makes more sense. However we also installed a March beer pump to move the wort around the system. We did a couple of run-throughs using hot water and cleaners to test the layout and setup of all the parts and lines. After everything tested out and we made the needed changes we hard plumbed everything together using food grade silicon hose so we do not have to setup and break down everything each brew and we can CIP (clean in place). This is seriously the ONLY way to do it. I am never going back to assembling everything each time.

Here are the system parts we used for our pilot brewhouse:

15 gallon stainless steel kettle – added a stainless ball valve and a custom made siphon tube set
craft beer in central america

the pump, hop rocket, filters and plate chiller setup

It sits on a large dual burner professional kitchen soup cooker stand (about 200k BTUS but two burners provides very even heat and crazy hard boils)
Propane tank
Custom built 5 gallon mash tub – non heat for now
March 809HS magnetic pump – stainless ball valve on outlet to control flow
Blichmann Hop Rocket (damn sexy)
Blichmann inline beer filter
Blichmann Thermonator plate chiller
Blichmann Thrumometer to test temp into fermenter
Custom made 5 gallon fermenters with ball valves and blow off tubes
Food grade FDA silicon hose connects each piece and is attached using simple hose clamps

Here is the flow of a typical brew on this system:

Heat the strike water in the kettle to the desired temp
Pump it to the mash tub with the mini-mash grain
After the desired protein rest, starch rest etc we drain the wort out of the mini mash
Add more water to the boil kettle to desired level
Continue heating the water
craft beer brewery in el salvador

The custom made kettle pickup system and plumbing
Add the wort from the mini mash
At boil we turn off heat and add extract and stir
After hot break of wort we add first hop additions
Add hops on the recipe schedule we want
After desired boil time we turn off heat and start the whirlpool to remove trub and isolate into the center
Start the pump and run the hot wort through the whole setup
A stainless steel ball valve allows dialing in the exact flow rate based on the temperature of the exiting wort into the fermenter
IF its a hoppy beer then fill the hop rocket with hop flowers, if NOT then it is just a first stage rough filter before the fine filter
After the hop rocket the fine filter removes the last bits of trub before the plate chiller
Then the plate chiller chills the wort down to around 32-22 C or 85-70 F (water here is not cold enough to go anylower)
Pump straight into the 5 gallon fermenters.
Seal the fermenter and shake the hell out of it to oxygenate it
Let them rest a bit and cool down a bit more in the AC fermenting room
Then add the yeast and wait
Then add water and PBW to the boil kettle and heat to 140 F and run a CIP loop to clean the whole system
Then run it out and add water and SaniStar and run a sanitizing CIP loop

The things we are changing/improving:

craft beer brewing in el salvador

The simple but effective beer fermenters we built

We are Finishing the oxygenating setup and use the carbonation stone instead of shaking
We are setting up a plate chiller and ice to pre-chill the water for the wort chiller to get the temps down to proper ferment temps
We need a wort recirculating system with a sparge arm to improve extraction rate and clarity on the mini-mashes and do it all in the boil kettle
I am going to build a grain screen to enable the mini-mashing in the kettle with recirculation

Home brewing as a fun and delicious hobby I hope more and more people take up in El Salvador. Homebrew systems range from small and simple and pre-made, to systems vastly bigger and more complicated than this first one we set up here, so don’t be intimidated by the process, just give it a try. It gives you a true appreciation for all of the beers you drink!

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