brewery equipment

more tanks!

Last week we received our new fermentation and brite tanks from PBST (Pacific Brewery System Technologies). We ordered them just a few weeks ago so we are happy with the quick turn around time. The tanks are 30-barrel tanks which are doubled the size of our initial (15 bbl) fermentation and brite tanks. This will close to tripling our production.

It took just a couple of hours for my uncle and I to unload the three tanks from the 45-foot long sea container. Then we stood them up outside... removed the frames... then with the help from a couple of friends the tanks were moved inside. They are now mounted and anchored in place, and they will be soon be installed and ready for use.

Here are some photos.


quick update: malt mill and auger

we are still moving along in getting the place ready for brewing beer and having people in the tasting room. we are optimistic that we will brew our first batch next month (Janurary 2012).

these past few days I have set up the malt mill in its place. (not the most ideal place, but it works.) The mill crushes the malt which allows the extraction of sugar from the barley.

I also installed the auger system which uses a screw auger in a PVC tube to move the crushed grains to the grist case -- which is a holding tank on top of the mash tun vessel.

until the next update ... happy new year!

the malt mill. looks like it is from World War II. At the bottom is the "boot" of the screw auger.

auger system.view over the grist case and motor for the auger.



the brewing area

having shown pics of the tasting room, it's time to move into the brewing area for an update. below are photos of how the room is coming along. there are some more things that need to be completed before everything is installed and ready to go. it has been a bit slower to get things going than ancipated. but it is what it is...

introducing the 15 barrel (465 gallon) system (from left to right): 15 bbl brite/bottling tank, three 15 bbl fermenters, 17 bbl mash tun with a grist case above, 15 bbl kettle/whirlpool, and 3 bbl glycol reservoir tank.

view from my new fave toy in the brewery -- the scissor lift

brewing platform with a control panel in between the tanks.

st francis of assisi in place to keep an eye on the gauges of the mash tun.

brewing equipment. china.

Yesterday we returned from a week-long trip to Shanghai, China to inspect our brewing equipment.

We purchased our 15bbl brewing system from Frank Ma of Pacific Brewery System Technologies (PBST). Frank's company is located here in Southern California but he manufactures equipment from his factory in China. As a result his prices are very competitive. And it is because of his prices that our business venture could be possible – otherwise I would only have been able to purchase an undersized brewing system. (The used brewing equipment market has dried up in this booming season of the craft brewing industry.)

Frank invited us over to inspect the equipment, and he hosted and treated us to worthwhile experience in China. Besides looking over the equipment we were able to do some sightseeing.

The equipment looks good and I was able to request some modifications.

Hopefully the equipment will be ready to be shipped in a couple of weeks from China.

ttb application

Having tackled the California ABC license application, my next application challenge will be the (federal) Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Fortunately the TTB has a helpful and informational website with the required forms. Here is a checklist and the list of forms online.

update: I received preliminary drawings of my brewing system. Pretty exciting...

update: plans submitted. equipment ordered

I am realizing that I am too busy from meeting my lofty goals of blogging often. Since my last update, I purchased my brewing equipment  (i've never made such a large transaction before). I ordered a 15bbl system (1 barrel = 31 gallons). Originally I was thinking that I could only afford a 5bbl system with double-sized fermenters (10bbl), but I found I possibly might be able to scrape together enough for a 10bbl system. Then as I was getting closer to purchasing it, I decided that I might be able to take the risk and purchase the 15bbl system (hoping that I could cut costs somewhere -- perhaps in the construction of the brewery). The 15bbl scenario is the wiser choice of the three options. I've heard and read so much about the challenges of making a profit with a system less than 15bbl (despite the success stories of small ventures in the nanobrewery model). The choice from 5 to 7 to 10 to 15 barrels is like buying an Apple product. You can keep do the "it's only $50 more" to buy the next size up until you just $50 more all the way to $300 more from where you wanted to begin. Take that and add a few zeros and higher degrees of anxiety, then you get the task of purchasing brewery equipment.

Today, I submitted my plans to the City of Torrance for a plan check. I think the bewery layout looks good. I also was told that we might have our hearing for the Conditional Use Permit next month. Hopefully our timing of pushing these two applications simultaneouly will work out. Neil Rubenstein of Rubenstein Architects derserves a big THANK YOU for his helpful services in all this. This is his second brewery project, so I'd recommend him to anyone interested in such an endeavor.

I also switched the web hosting from the free temporary to – which unfortunately is not free, but is a better system for what I want to do and one with which I am familiar.

Next up: introduce myself to the tenants, ABC paperwork, TTB paperwork...