Steam can be an important part of the brewing process as well as useful for running other brewhouse functions.
When high quality steam is used in a well managed way, it can play a huge part in producing a quality product – efficiently.
Steam can be used in the heating, cleaning and pasteurisation processes. Anyone who has used steam in their brewhouse knows – a crucial property of saturated steam is that its temperature is directly related to its pressure.
Which of course means you need quality brewery equipment, to ensure everything goes to plan.
Here are some things to take into account, if you are considering using a steam heated brewing system.
Value for money
It must be said – a steam heated brewing system is not your cheapest option.
On the flip side, it is an incredibly efficient and flexible heating method. It can be used in the brewhouse for heating vessels, the keg washers for keg sterilization and flash pasteurization systems.
You will generally need a certified installer to set it up. They will then commission and approve the system before it can legally be used.
There will also be a yearly inspection to complete. In the picture of the 3D drawing below, you will see we have started fabricating steam piping and installing components on the steam lines.
We always encourage our clients to review this with their steam system installer – as ultimately they will have to give final approval. We will also work with the local technicians to fabricate to their requirements.
It’s important to consider all these factors during your budgeting process.
Building a steam heated brewing system
Each piece of equipment is different. This means steam pressure and other requirements will vary.
We encourage you to factor the max load of everything running – or at least take the time to consider what will be running simultaneously.
When it comes to boilers, you generally have two key heating methods – gas and electric.
While gas is cheaper, sometimes the location does not have gas available – so electric is your only option.
Electric boilers are power hungry! Which is ok – just make sure you have enough power coming in. Go through the process and determine how much it will cost to run based on your kW per hr costs.
As a side note – some of our Australian clients are installing solar panels – which makes an electric boiler a great option. We recommend this for systems up to 1200L/10BBL – unless you just have the power to run a bigger unit.
Bespoke Pro Tip: To date, we are yet to sell a steam boiler to a more developed country, as the regulation on steam boilers can be strict, since they are pressure vessels. So if you’re procuring your system in China – and a steam boiler is included in the quote – make sure it meets your local regulations.
Design, materials & ongoing maintenance
We prefer to use steel (preferably stainless steel) for your steam piping.
The pipe is generally around 1” – but it also needs insulation and cladding. This will mean it will have a much larger diameter.
In terms of connection types – the cheaper option is threaded connections. However – in our (humble) opinion, flanges are better if you have the budget. This applies to the commentary on the steam pipework e.g. steam traps, solenoid valves and flow control valves.
Another hot tip – be sure to check the pressure needed for the equipment. Our steam jackets are rated to 2 bar – but boilers usually run at a higher pressure.
You will need something called a reducing station – and for bigger systems, you may need more than one! It can reduce flow as well.
Let’s get to design.
When building your steam heated brewing system – you want to keep all of your equipment which uses steam as close together as possible.
There’s a good reason for this! Piping can get to be expensive. This is because not only are you running pipe, but also insulation and potentially cladding.
Another thing to be mindful of is which water treatment you need for the internals of the boiler. Steam boilers require proper maintenance and monitoring to stay at peak performance. When you work with us, we’ll go through what you need to be doing to help keep your boiler in tip top shape.
The bespoke difference
Having installed steam heated brewing systems in several countries, we’d like to think that we have the experience to make sure all the boxes are ticked.
We work to make it a smooth installation – which means you get you brewing faster!
And most importantly, your brewhouse is as efficient as possible – which we all know saves time and money.
If you’d like Bespoke Brewing Solutions to consult on installing your system – get in touch. We would love to work with you!