Greetings to all craft beer lovers! Since one of the biggest challenges have been finding the right gear for our brewery, we have gathered loads of information on brewhouses. Today we had some time to share you our thoughts on stainless steel, so here goes.
Doing your homework
It’s obvious that stainless steel is close to brewers heart, but it’s not all the same. We did a year worth of research on brewhouses and tanks through other brewers experiences, a forum called ProBrewer.com and of course, asking loads of questions from the manufacturers and other brewers. Many brewers makes the same mistakes: buys the cheapest one or the one they promise the fastest delivery. The deal is, that you have to wait for a good one – unless you find a right one used, which is rarely the case. If you get cheap and fast, there’s probably some things you have to take into account.
Buying from China vs. other countries
Increasingly, brewhouses and tanks are made in China for obvious reasons. One of the problems is that you have to have a reliable middle-man or real knowledge what you are buying. And most probably you should visit at the factory before they ship your new stainless steel buddies. There have been brewers that waited a month long shipping just to find out that their new tanks have rusted in containers. So, the quality of steel and welding can be anything. That’s why, we have been looking for US and European brewhouse manufacturers with good reputation. The problem was that since craft beer is a big boom all over the world, delivery times can be long.
The qualities brewers are looking for varies quite a bit. The usual things brewers seek are how long it takes to brew a batch, the level of automation and the easiness of cleaning. Main thing though, is that you can brew the beers you are planning to. With many brewhouses it can be tricky with ingredients like wheat and making stronger ABV beers like Imperial Stout. We had our specifications figured out and it was time to find a brewery.
Sori Brewing got it’s first brewhouse – and it’s not from China!
We got many promising offers, but there would have been rather long delivery times (5-9 months) with the best ones. Also it’s a constant calculation to what you can invest as a start up, so if you get extra fancy brewhouse, you probably may be short on cash for a while.
For a starting kit, we have bought a 15 hl Velo brewhouse with an underback (which allows for a second brew to be mashed in while lautering). This is a good starting size, since it’s possible to brew 600-1650 L brewlenghts with this. Our plan is to do some extraordinary beers, that takes a lot of test brews and scaling to make them perfect. We also have a 50 L Braumeister for test brews, but we have come to that conclusion, that recipes made for it are a real hassle to scale up for a bigger equipment.
We start our first brews with this brewery soon and by Autumn the brewhouse will be transferred to our brewery in Tallinn, Estonia. We start by brewing our IPA’s and later on we also bring out our other brews.
First brews with our Velo
As we kind of revealed in the last blog post, we start by brewing our IPA’s with this beauty. There will also be a brand new Session IPA, which is a lightweight beast is hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo and Columbus hops giving it some tropical fruit, grapefruit and hints of piney notes. But, there’s more to come. Stay tuned and we let you know when and where.