What Gets Missed Buying a Brewery?

A quick article today on what gets missed buying a brewery. As a brewing consultant, I help people around the world put equipment lists together, and source brewing equipment.

I’ve been brewing for 25-years; done my fair share of installs, worked on numerous brewhouses and troubleshot brewery processes.

It’s given me the skillset, to help people with their brewing projects.

Please click the link, to get the 13-questions, I ask prospective clients. So, to get a better understanding of the scope of a brewery project.

People find these questions helpful to put an equipment list together easier. When the list has been locked in, we then reach out to brewing equipment manufacturers.

How to Brew Like a Pro - Fermentation and Cellar Room
The Cellar Room of the Brewhouse I’m Currently Running

Where my main takeaway is…

Communication is key with any brewhouse equipment manufacturer, to get the brewery you need.

What I mean is; the more precise you are, about the brewing equipment you require. The better suited the final brewhouse will be, to meet your demands. You can never assume anything.

Therefore, I want to discuss some common examples of what gets missed buying a brewery to make my point. So, let’s start.

Hop Strainer – What Gets Missed Buying A Brewery

Getting into the brewing industry can be an expensive business. There are some good equipment manufacturers at competitive prices.

However, they’ll provide a “bare-bones” brewhouse, unless you stipulate exactly what you need. The big one I see all the time is, no hop strainer before the heat exchanger.

A hop strainer is an extra piece of equipment which goes after the kettle/whirlpool, but before the heat exchanger.

Hop Strainer 1
Two Hop Strainer Setup Used In Larger Breweries

In the diagram above, you can see a double hop strainer setup, which some larger breweries have. So, if one strainer becomes blocked, there’s another one, to use.

Hop Strainers are Provide Great Safety Nets

The strainers can be isolated to be cleaned safely, whilst the other strainer is being used. It’s overkill on a smaller system. However, having at least one hop strainer, is recommended for a commercial brewery.

Here’s the set up I have for the 2,500-liter brewery I’m currently running. This hop strainer can also be isolated, as there’s valves before and after the strainer.

It does mean, I have to stop the collection if the strainer becomes blocked. I’ll need to isolate it, take it out, clean it and then put it back, before I can begin to collect wort to the FV again.

I like having a hop strainer; it ensures no hop matter makes it to the heat exchanger. Heat exchangers work better when clear plus, are an easy source of infection, if not cared for properly.

Therefore, ensuring no hop matter makes its way into the heat exchanger, is always the best solution. Granted, a decent whirlpool should guarantee most hop material never reaches the heat exchanger.

Please note: The standard for a strainer seems to be around 200 microns, according to the brewing equipment manufacturers I’ve spoken too.

However, in brewing, not everything goes to plan. Having a hop strainer, has saved me many times during my long brewing career.

What Gets Missed Buying a Brewery? Buy At Least One Brite Beer Tank

I always recommend buying at least one brite beer tank (BBT). It adds flexibility to your brewhouse and can get you out of a tight spot.

Please read my guide to different tanks including BBT’s, by clicking the link. However, I’ll still list reasons for having a BBT here:

  1. If using adjuncts, steeping items like juniper berries or adding purees to beer in your unitank. Being able to move the beer from unitank to BBT once ready, helps homogenize the beer. Allowing you to package a consistent product.
  2. When filtering or using and clarification technology; moving the beer from unitank to a clean BBT is the best process. It’s the same when using finings too.
  3. Moving beer from a unitank; frees up the vessel to brew another beer.
  4. People are now doing more small-scale canning than before. Canning beer from a BBT, is better than from a unitank. As there’s less chance of solids being pulled from the sides of the tank into packaging.

Listed above, are just some of the reasons why having a BBT makes sense. Yes, you can do everything from a unitanks. Like, even turn a unitank into an emergency BBT.

However, having at least one dedicated brite tank, really help breweries, by making them more flexible.

What Gets Missed Buying a Brewery? Mobile Flow Meter

Now this suggestion is not for everybody, but it’s a great option to have. It’s not a piece of equipment many people think of when buying a brewery.

Why do I suggest a majority of my clients get one?

Well, it’ll allow you to:

  • Overtime, understand where your beer losses come from – so you can improve brewhouse processes. It’ll pay for itself.
  • Have a better understanding/accuracy of your beer inventory
  • Allow for more accurate mixing – for example, if you need to blend beer.

Furthermore, it makes sense to have permanent inline flowmeters for certain brewing process. For example, measuring “mashing in” water volumes and tracking how much sparge water you’ve added. It’ll lead you to brew more consistent beer.

Flow meters can be used:

  • After heat exchanger going into unitank
  • Between unitank and filter
  • Out of the filter to the BBT
  • To accurately add the right amount of water and chemicals for CIP
  • Out of the unitank/BBT when packaging beer

And other places too.

I feel a good mobile flow meter helps with brewhouse processing. Allowing for a better understanding of your brewhouse and procedures. The data is recorded, will allow the equipment, to pay for itself.

What Gets Missed Buying a Brewery Conclusions

I’ve listed three pieces of equipment; people often overlook when ordering a brewhouse. I’ve more examples I could list, but for now I think it makes the point.

Doing your research, properly planning of your requirements, listing your ideas and having proper communication with equipment manufacturers.

Allows you to have a brewery which works for the now, AND grows with you too. As a brewing consultant, I can help if…

  • You’ve a project already started, but needing someone, to take a second look
  • Need help putting an equipment list together
  • Require assistance communicating with equipment suppliers
  • Or simply would like to have a quick chat about a brewing project, to help solidify ideas

Please, feel free to reach out, by emailing me at:


Or you can add me to your preferred network, by scanning the relevant QR code below and messing me directly. Oh, and thanks for reading.



Svan the QR code of your preferred network to add me

Neil Playfoot

Neil is a brewer with 25 years international brewing experience. Based out of China (first came in 2010) he works as a brewing consultant helping brewers with their projects and brewing processes. To find out what services Neil can provide your brewery please click here. If you'd like to contact Neil you can email at neil@asianbeernetwork.com.
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