It took longer than expected, but yesterday we finally received some more deliveries of our new equipment! Our bottling line, labeling machine, flowmeters, glycol chiller, and a big drum of glycol all arrived throughout the day on three different trucks. It’s pretty exciting to see the shiny new equipment, and it somehow makes everything feel more real. I can’t wait to actually get some beer moving through this stuff!!!
Hooray for flowmeters! These will help us measure the volume of liquids as we’re moving large amounts of water, wort and beer around the brewery. Obviously very important for consistency in brewing, but also pretty important for Uncle Sam. The tax man always wants to know exactly how much finished beer is being sold, and even being moved around the brewery from tank to tank. These two look like a sturdy, trusty pair though – I’m sure they’ll do a great job.
Our manual labeling machine. Looks pretty basic, but also pretty cool. A bottle lays horizontally across the rollers in the front and the roll of label-stickers sits on the rollers in the back. Crank the handle and the label rolls smoothly onto the bottle. Grab a new bottle and repeat (about 100,000 times). Yep, we know…it’s a LOT of manual labor…but isn’t that the beauty of making a hand-crafted, artisanal product? The fact that you get to participate in and enjoy every part of the process? And doesn’t that ultimately result in a better finished product? Yeah, we think so too!
Our beautifully shiny, new glycol chiller unit. This one is 5HP and should easily cool all of our tanks while still having enough cooling capacity for us to expand and add more tanks in the future. This thing works by cooling down a tank full of glycol to a very low temperature, and then pumping that glycol to stainless steel pipes that run along the outer jacket of the fermenters and conditioning tanks. Any heat in the beer inside those tanks is transferred to the cold glycol running through those pipes. That warm glycol is then pumped back to this unit to be cooled down, and eventually sent on the same journey again.
Here’s the control panel for the chiller unit. To the right of the unit (in the background) is the 55-gallon drum of glycol, which is basically like a food-grade “antifreeze” (or a liquid with a lower freezing point than both beer & water). The two pipes sticking out on the front left of the unit are where the glycol will ultimately flow into and out of the internal tank.
This guy will definitely keep our fermentations cool and our yeast happy!
We now have almost everything we need for a fully operational brewery. In a few more weeks we’ll probably be receiving our heat exchanger, bottling tank, hop-back, grist case, mill, auger, and a handful of other odd & ends. Now, if we can just get the city to move a little faster with our permits……