Converting garage into brewery in China

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Jaurez

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Hi all, I'm going to convert a garage into a brewery and could use some advice.

The garage is ground-level with doors at either end. It was previously being rented out to some people for storing construction materials, so I need to add new flooring (tiled) do something to the walls (I've been advised to add more tiles), paint the ceiling and do something to get the electricity/gas/water how I need it.

The garage has two rooms with a toilet in the front room, so I plan to use the front room as an office/storage and then do my brewing in the back room.

So far I've been brewing 20L batches in my apartment's kitchen using a 40L electric water heater to BIAB, fermenting in 25L plastic buckets, then bottling in 1L bottles. But I'd like to be able to make 100L batches and try kegging.

Do you have any suggestions for the design of my brewery? And what equipment do you think I should be buying?

I'm in China, so please can you give me the generic names of equipment rather than brand names because I can't order from any NA/EU companies, but there are a lot of factories that supply stuff here I can look into.

Thanks in advance!

Here's the floor plan and some pictures:

Garage brewery plan.png

Garage front 1.jpg

Garage front 2.jpg

Garage back 1.jpg

Garage back 2.jpg
 

Dr_Jeff

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AliExpress has a lot of brewery equipment, pretty much everything one needs in all sizes.

Brewing Equipment on AliExpress

That or something similar, and some fermenters would be a good start.
You would want some kegs or some sort of packaging equipment as well.

Another one of a different style
I like this style better, but you didn't mention your budget.
 
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Jaurez

Jaurez

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AliExpress has a lot of brewery equipment, pretty much everything one needs in all sizes.

Brewing Equipment on AliExpress

That or something similar, and some fermenters would be a good start.
You would want some kegs or some sort of packaging equipment as well.

Another one of a different style
I like this style better, but you didn't mention your budget.

The second one looks great, but may be a bit above my level.

The first one seems ideal though. Thanks for that, much appreciated.
 

Kangarookid

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The second one looks great, but may be a bit above my level.

The first one seems ideal though. Thanks for that, much appreciated.
What did you decide on?
Probably too late but could be done alot cheaper, all you really need is ~100L boiler, ~100L fermentor/s and a pump to transfer ... Then kegging equipment , all should be super cheap for you to source
 

Erik the Anglophile

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As for the walls, I would go the simple and cheap route.
Just get some concrete putty and patch up any dents and then repaint floor, roof and walls with paint made for concrete.
I work in construction and that actually looks in pretty decent shape, just needs some shaping up on the surface.
 
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Jaurez

Jaurez

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I've nearly finished the renovation. I tiled the walls and floor of the brew room. I just need to install an extractor fan and some other minor stuff.

I got is a stand-alone 120L BIAB system - it has a big brewing kettle with a bucket for the grain that can be winched out. And then two 120L conical fermenters. All from the same supplier and made to order. They only arrived on Monday and I haven't had a chance to unpack them yet, but that's the job for this weekend.

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Dr_Jeff

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I've nearly finished the renovation. I tiled the walls and floor of the brew room. I just need to install an extractor fan and some other minor stuff.

I got is a stand-alone 120L BIAB system - it has a big brewing kettle with a bucket for the grain that can be winched out. And then two 120L conical fermenters. All from the same supplier and made to order. They only arrived on Monday and I haven't had a chance to unpack them yet, but that's the job for this weekend.

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Looking nice.
Congratulations on the good/hard work.

What will you brew first?
 

IslandLizard

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Looks great! ^
Don't forget to clean, then passivate your stainless before brewing anything!

Are you using dry or liquid yeasts?
Making big yeast starters or buy large (dry) packs or jugs of yeast?
Once you fermented a batch you can repitch to the next, cone to cone.
 

superiorsat

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I finally managed to unpack all the equipment so hopefully I can start brewing this weekend.
Don't forget to clean, then passivate your stainless before brewing anything!
I would also do a pickling run. AKA brew a batch for the drain to catch any unwanted flavors from hoses gaskets possible machine oils that made it past the cleaning. Nothing extravagant just a cheap small batch. But that is up to you.

Edit- I am curious about this venture. I am guessing you must be renting this space so I'm thinking your not homebrewing any more. Looks like no room for a taproom so are you doing distribution?
 

IslandLizard

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AKA brew a batch for the drain to catch any unwanted flavors from hoses gaskets possible machine oils that made it past the cleaning.
The OP would be better off running a batch of alkaline cleaner through the whole system as if he were brewing.

I hear you about parts, gaskets, etc. that may have fabrication oils and other contaminants on them. Those should be cleaned, and if they can withstand it, even boiled in brewery cleaner, such as Sodium PerCarbonate ("Oxyclean") or Sodium Carbonate (common washing soda), with some Lye (NaOH) added. Then rinsed well and sanitized.

There are common procedures for brewery cleaning and sanitation.
 

superiorsat

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Brewery Life is an excellent set of Youtube videos. This one references passivation and pickling. 13:25 mark is where he goes through pickling. The whole video is worth a watch when you have some expensive equipment that your lively hood depends on as far as longevity of the equipment. There is no doubt that I'm not an expert so I'm always looking into ways of doing things. I'll have to look into the alkaline scenario.
 
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Jaurez

Jaurez

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Thanks, I wasn't aware of passivating or pickling, so I'll definitely do that. I was just going to wash everything with PBW and then sanitise.

This garage is owned by my in-laws. It was just being used for storing construction supplies before I got it and converted it. So rent's very low.

I'm using dry yeast, so I'll just make a big starter and then try to harvest it and reuse it as much as I can. I haven't found anyone who sells liquid yeast yet. There's a big annual brewing convention in Shanghai that I was hoping to go to and meet some suppliers, but the covid lockdown ruined my plans this year.

I'm planning to supply to some local bars. Craft beer has become big in China in the last few years, and very recently some bars in my city have finally started installing draught taps.
 
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Very cool setup. Feel free to use this thread to continually post updates from time to time! Watch listed for sure.
 

SanPancho

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Thanks, I wasn't aware of passivating or pickling, so I'll definitely do that. I was just going to wash everything with PBW and then sanitise.

This garage is owned by my in-laws. It was just being used for storing construction supplies before I got it and converted it. So rent's very low.

I'm using dry yeast, so I'll just make a big starter and then try to harvest it and reuse it as much as I can. I haven't found anyone who sells liquid yeast yet. There's a big annual brewing convention in Shanghai that I was hoping to go to and meet some suppliers, but the covid lockdown ruined my plans this year.

I'm planning to supply to some local bars. Craft beer has become big in China in the last few years, and very recently some bars in my city have finally started installing draught taps.
100 bucks (or the equivalent in RMB) says they're already passivated. look at your spec sheet and i bet it says "pickling" or whatnot. you just need to clean them real well. ask the manufacturer if you're not sure.

get yourself-
something to hold spent grain and roll it out. (even if its just wheels for your trash cans)
some big 50# co2 tanks- make sure its food grade co2. (not sure what the metric size for 50# is there....) and good quality barrier/ EVA type tubing for co2 lines to prevent oxygen ingress. (its made in china)
food grade buckets- alot of them- for blow offs, for dirty fittings ,for clean fittings, for sanitizer to dunk fittings into, etc. etc.
a keg washing setup- (this is very important, will take up space/time) i assume you're going to provide sanke type kegs, which basically require a rig to wash, clean,sanitize as pulling spears is crazy amounts of work to do every time.....

as for yeast- morebeer has developed their own "branded" line of dry yeasts and it'll supply most of your popular choices at a VERY good price if you can get a commercial account set up. not sure what shipping does to that tho.... maybe post a monthly "whos coming to china?" query on here, reddit, etc and see if anyone can bring you some goodies..

and get yourself a big ass freezer. because you're gonna need to buy some hops, and they're gonna be expensive to ship. bulk purchase to lower expense- and you're gonna need to store them. a vacuum sealer is a good idea also since you'll get best pricing on 5-10-20kilo bags. which is way more than you'll be putting into a batch.

and depending on how soon you get "busy" you'll need to start turning those fermenters, which means more kegs to hold fresh beer, and some decent cold storage to keep them fresh until they get delivered. roughly 3x as many kegs as you have fermenter space, i.e. a 2bbl brewery needs at least 6bbls of kegs, or a dozen 1/2bbl kegs. (or the equivalent in 50L kegs). and dont forget to get deposits on those kegs! if your name isnt permanently attached they might go missing. and it takes a few kegs of profit to buy another keg shell....

have fun!
 
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Not sure about shipping to China for the major suppliers in Eu/NA, but if you get your hands on a couple packs of dry yeast (S-05, etc.), you can also step up starters until you have enough for a batch, plus leftovers for the starter for the next batch.

From what I see with your space, you need some form of cooling system? I may have missed that in the pictures. Do you have a place to manage fermentation temperatures and/or store/lager finished beer?

Excited for your venture, please post updates!
 

GoeHaarden

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When I mill grain... the only place for it, is outside!
Even storing and weighing grain is not done anywhere near the brew or fermentation area.

What's the reasoning behind this? Lacto?

EDIT: I mill/brew in the same area and I've never had an issue. My understanding that any hops in the brew will knock out lacto. The time between milling and getting beer into the fermentor would allow any dust to settle. Santizing the fermentor before filling would take care of any dust that could have possibly made its way in.
 
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IslandLizard

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What's the reasoning behind this? Lacto?
Yes, from early brewing days on.
EDIT: I mill/brew in the same area and I've never had an issue. My understanding that any hops in the brew will knock out lacto. The time between milling and getting beer into the fermentor would allow any dust to settle. Santizing the fermentor before filling would take care of any dust that could have possibly made its way in.
As long as you're aware of the dust and prevent it from getting into your post boil processes, you won't have any issues. I just find easier and better to keep grain dust from accumulating indoors. For the same reason I fill the (converted cooler) mash tun outdoors, then bring it indoors where the grist is underlet, which also helps keeping dust levels down. I mostly brew 5 gallon batches, 10 gallons only occasionally, so that helps with portability.

I brew in the kitchen, and also do my yeast handling there, another reason to keep most grain dust outside.
 
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Jaurez

Jaurez

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I used my electric grain mill for the first time yesterday and wasn't prepared for the amount of dust it produced. I just wrapped it in a big bin bag to contain it. I've been using a hand-crank grain mill up until now, which produces some dust, but no way near as much.

It's definitely worth trading the effort in doing it by hand for some dust, but I'll be milling outside from now on.
 

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I used my electric grain mill for the first time yesterday and wasn't prepared for the amount of dust it produced. I just wrapped it in a big bin bag to contain it. I've been using a hand-crank grain mill up until now, which produces some dust, but no way near as much.

It's definitely worth trading the effort in doing it by hand for some dust, but I'll be milling outside from now on.
You can probably also wet the grain a little bit? Don't know...
 
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I used my electric grain mill for the first time yesterday and wasn't prepared for the amount of dust it produced. I just wrapped it in a big bin bag to contain it. I've been using a hand-crank grain mill up until now, which produces some dust, but no way near as much.

It's definitely worth trading the effort in doing it by hand for some dust, but I'll be milling outside from now on.
It's another machine and something to set up, but a wet/dry shop vac on at the same time would minimize that significantly.
 
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Jaurez

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I finished brewing my second batch of beer yesterday. The first batch was a simple pale ale for pickling and I had to pour it all away 😥But for the 2nd batch, I've made a brown ale.

The pump that moves liquid around the kettle was a lot stronger than I realised. When it came time to empty the kettle out for cleaning, I thought it'd be a good idea to pump the trub into a bucket and I managed to cover myself. Not something I'm going to do again...

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From what I see with your space, you need some form of cooling system? I may have missed that in the pictures. Do you have a place to manage fermentation temperatures and/or store/lager finished beer?

I wasn't entirely sure about how I was meant to cool the wort at first, but I assumed it had something to do with the very thick walls of the kettle. There's a coil that winds around within the wall, so you can pump cold water around it.

The fermenters have cooling systems that look like the racks at the back of a refrigerator.

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