Posts Tagged ‘3 BBL Brewery’


Previous 3 BBL Brewery Posts




Float Sensors

Monday, December 19th, 2011

With the brewery up and running all ahead full, we’re continually working to improve efficiency before expanding capacity.

One of the biggest time vampires (process that takes a lot of time) in the brewery was the sparging process. We had to monitor water level in the lauter tun, flow rate and water level in the lauter grant, and flow rate out of the lautering grant. We also to monitor fill volumes on the HLT and holding tank. This prevented us from focusing on more important brewing operations.

To fix this problem, we installed float sensors on four tanks – lauter tun, lauter grant, HLT and our holding tank.

Lauter Tun

lauter tun float sensor top

view from the top of the lauter tun

lauter tun float sensor

Float sensors in the lauter tun

There are two float sensors in the lauter tun – a high level and a low level. At the start of the sparging process, we set both to the desired height. When the sparge level in the lauter tun goes below the low point float sensor, the HLT pump is automatically activated to start filling the lauter tun. When the high point flow sensor is triggered, the pump is shut off. This ensures a consistent and accurate level in the tank.

Lauter Grant

lauter grant float sensor

High and low point sensors in the lauter grant

The lauter grant float sensors work the same way as the lauter tun, except they aren’t adjustable. When the lauter grant fills up to the top sensor, the wort pump is activated, pumping the wort to the collection tank. The pump automatically shuts off when the low sensor is triggered.

HLT & Holding Tank

hlt float sensor

Top of HLT float sensor

holding tank float sensor

Float sensor on top of holding tank

Both of these tanks have one float sensor. We set it to the desired fill volume and then start filling the tank. When the float sensor is triggered – the tanks stop filling. On the HLT this is important because we have to make sparge water adjustments based on water volume. On the holding tank, this is important because we don’t want to lauter off too much wort.

Floats in Action

float sensor in action

Lauter tun float sensor during sparge

While we still have to monitor the tank levels to double check the sensors, they have greatly freed up time during the brew day for us to focus on other brewing operations – and even allows us to take some short breaks.

Tank Mounting and Welding

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

In case of earthquake, and to prevent general tank falling and moving, we had to bolt our tanks to the ground.

After we made triple sure our tanks were in the right locations, we marked each mounting pad and removed the tanks.

forklift brewing tanks for mounting

The first tanks we mounted were the fermentors. We had Patrick, a friend of a friend, come in and drill the holes for the two tanks using a roto hammer. Never had we seen concrete drilled with such ease.

patrick using roto hammer

We then anchored the mounting plates to the ground and lowered the fermentors back onto the plates.

brewery mounting plate with anchor

That night Captain Chris had sweet dreams about the awesomeness of the roto hammer. He bought one the next day and went to work mounting the rest of the brewery.

chris using roto hammer

Turns out it wasn’t as easy as Patrick made it look. We managed to smoke two drill bits and drive to the hardware store 3 or 4 times while mounting the tanks, but in the end we were successful.

Next up was to weld the tanks to the now secured mounting plates. Local homebrewer and craft beer fan Brian Oliver, is an underwater welder for the Navy. We were going to flood the brewery so he could weld the tanks for us, but we were unable to do so thanks to a well placed floor drain.

Instead, he asked around the Point Mugu Naval Base, the task was passed through command, and Tait Sorlie Sw1 volunteered to help – he’s a Navy welding instructor and inspector for the Seabees, they’re trained to fight and build. They also have an awesome logo:

seabees insignia

He was able to easily weld all of our tanks securely to the mounting pads.

tait welding

SeaBees Sorlie beer growler

And now our brewery won’t fall over during earthquakes.

Operation U-Haul

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

The objective of Operation U-Haul was to bring the completed brewery tanks in San Diego up to the brewhouse in Moorpark. This involved strategic planning and a few complex maneuvers.

First, the brewery had to be safely loaded into the U-Haul truck for delivery. This required forklift skill and ability that none of the brewery personnel possess. Luckily, Dale had such skill. In fact, we’re pretty sure forklift operation ability is genetic, because Dale’s daughter was a way better forklift operator than any of us.

lauter tun on fork lift

hlt into uhall

dale and daughter operating fork lift

The next incredibly complex maneuver involved driving the U-Haul up to Moorpark. Kathy Enegren took point in her Buick while Chris ran blocker in the Ford Ranger. This was to make sure no pirates tried to steal the brewery en route. Matt (pilot) and Brad (copilot) took up the rear in the U-Haul. The three vehicles apparently were too much for the pirates and the brewery arrived safely.

The last step was to unload the brewery and put it in the brewhouse. Without the help of Dale and his daughter, this was the most challenging step. But Captain Chris channeled his inner forklift driver and deftly unloaded the tanks into position. It might not have been pretty, and it might have taken 8 times longer than it should have, but the brewery was safely unloaded.

chris unloading brewery

moving mash kettle

forklift in action

And with that, the brewery was in the brewhouse. There was much rejoicing.

brewery hug

Build-A-Brewery Day

Friday, May 27th, 2011

No brewery personnel has ever been to a Build-A-Bear workshop. However, we imagine it would be very similar to our build a brewery day, except the Build-A-Bear workshop has stuffing and sewing instead of 2.5 inch stainless steel pipes, welding and buffing.

The brewery crew, minus Chief Joe Nascenzi who was back East attending his brother’s graduation from Boston College, finished building the brewery over this past weekend (minus a few last piping welds).

We arrived at Premier Stainless in the morning where we met with Rob, President of Premier Stainless. He gave us the keys to the shop, showed us the welder and said something along the lines of “Well, I’m outta here. You know what to do.”

And so we got to work, only somewhat knowing what to do. The main goal of the day was to connect our 2.5 inch mash pipe from the mash/kettle to the lauter tun. Chris got to work setting this up and tack welding the pipe together.

Meanwhile, Matthew worked on buffing out the pipe welds completed during the week. These were mostly the ones Chris tack welded together back on Brewery Welding Day.

Together they assembled the brewery.

Rob checked in periodically to make sure everything was going smoothly and that no one had burned down the warehouse. Eventually he took off for the day. Luckily Dale, the brewery welder, came in the late afternoon to help finish things off. He then helped load the finished brewery parts onto the U-Haul for transport to Moorpark.

Stay tuned for Operation U-Haul, coming to a brewery blog near you.

Brewery Welding Day

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Captain Chris headed down to San Diego over the weekend to begin welding our brewery. If all goes according to plan, the brewery will be ready for pick up this coming weekend.

Chris had little to no welding experience. Upon arriving at Premier Stainless, Dale, one of their welders, gave him a quick tutorial and a few practice pipes. He assured Chris that anything Chris messed up could be fixed.

Rob, President of Premier Stainless, came in soon after Chris completed his welding training (I believe he earned his white belt). They broke out the SolidWorks brewery models, leveled the brewery, mounted the pumps and took to welding.

3D Brewery Models

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Can never have too many 3D brewery models. Here are a couple more where you can check out our updated brewery layout and see how it all fits together.

Sent in Brewery Specs

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Sent our brewery specs in today to Premier Stainless. We’ll be working back and forth for a few weeks making sure everything in our order is built exactly as designed. Here are the specs we sent over: custom 3bbl brewery order

Brewery Layout and Floor Plans – Initial Setup Design

Friday, July 16th, 2010

The Brew Captain created a 3D model of our brewery in Solid Works. We use this brewery layout and floor plan to:

a) Develop the most efficient brewery layout.
b) Show our brewery to government officials to help pass regulation before starting construction.
c) Helps get accurate cost estimates for plumbing and other installations.
d) Help spec out accurate costs for all equipment needed.
e) Looks cool.

The Captain also created a labeled 2D floor plan areal view to put everything in perspective. (In PDF format here: Brewery Equipment Layout/Floor Plan )

3D Brewery Layout and Floor Plans:

Brewery Design #2

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Just a few upgraded brewery designs for our 3bbl commercial system. Most notably different from the first design is moving the mash pump closer to the mash tun to improve pumping. This also allowed to move our heat exchanger to the left of the Lauter Tun, making the piping less convoluted. One step closer to buying this puppy.

Brewery Drawings & Parts

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Some more drawings of our brewery that Chris slaved over.  Below is the brewery overview, parts list, overview with numbers that correspond to the parts list & and some awesome drawings of our mixers (though the latur tun rake will not be included in our final brewery purchase – at such small scale they add little to efficiency.)