Instead of buying a cheap (and potentially low quality) 200l system from a Chinese producer, I decided I would design and make my own customized brewhouse, which will end up cheaper and better suited to my brewing needs. Here's the design:

The design... excuse my poor illustrations.

The design... excuse my poor illustrations.


If you cant decipher my handwriting, or are interested in a bit more info, here are some details about the key components of which the system comprises:

1. A 200L hot liquor tank with an 3000kw electric element*, digital temperature control and sight glass. Clad in thermowrap to keep it insulated.  This is what I will use to store my strike and sparge liquor. 

2. A 200L mash/lauter tun, also thermowrap clad, with a false bottom, sparge arm and temperature dial. This is where I will extract all those nice sugars from the top quality English Maris Otter base malt, combined with speciality malts from around world. It's pretty big, so i can brew all those ideas for high ABV beers i've got floating around my mind. 

3. A small 50L vessel with a HERMS (Heat Exchange Recirculation Mash System) coil, 3000kw electric element  and temperature control. This is cool because it will allow me to do accurate step infusion mashes by changing the temperature of the wort, which is constantly being recirculated. It basically gives me full control over mash temperature, meaning the enzymes can effectively break down starch molecules into fermentable and non-fermentable sugars. I should, here, dip my hat to Tobi, the brewmaster who taught me the ways of the Bavarian step-infusion mash programs.

4. A 200L brew kettle with whirlpooling accessory, sight glass and temperature dial. This is where I will boil the lautered wort and add hops or any other flavour addition I feel like. I would have liked to go bigger with this, but I just can't seem to find any bigger pots. If anyone happens to know a supplier of large stainless steel pots in the uk, let me know!

5. The hop-back and Plate Heat Exchanger (PHE). These two bad boys from Blichmann engineering are really great. The hop back will allow me to pass the boiled wort through a vessel containing whole flower hops, which will make the final beer extra flavoursome and delicious. The badass therminator PHE will cool my wort to 20 degrees celsius in less than 20 mins, whilst the hot water from the exchange will be fed right back into the HLT for the next brew. BANG.

6. Finally are the fermenters. I'll be using a combination of 200L and 300L so that occasionally i can brew back to back to make slightly bigger batches of those beers that are really popular. They're made from polyethylene, which is not as good as stainless, but i've brewed for years using plastic and had few problems. Plus the price point is just so much better.

If all goes to plan, I will start putting this all together next week, and have it finished by the end of January, which will mean the first batches will be ready by late February. 


*Decided to go for 2 2000KW heating elements instead of one 3000kw. This gives me the option of either turning on one element the night before brewing in preparation for the next day, or, if I want to do an impromptu brew, smash both elements on in the morning, which will heat the water to strike temperature in about 3.30 mins.


Andrew CatherallComment