When it comes to design this is one tall order! Number 1 and number 5 is the reason we decided on two different Brew Houses (1) 4 vessel 100bbl and (1) 15bbl Scratch system (more on the Scratch one later). Our current system is pretty kick ass right now, but with the upgrade comes some neat new gadgets.

1. Mash: grain is mixed with water into what looks like your morning oatmeal with too much water. The Mash is heated to 5 different temperatures helping the natural enzymes convert the grain’s starch to sugar. Believe it or not getting the grain and water to mix completely is a challenge. We are using the AlloySius hydration system to pull this off.

Temperature is critical in determining which enzyme awakens first starting starch conversion. After the grain is hydrated the paddle design increases convection with slower agitator rotational speeds, allowing much less use of steam.

2. Lauter Tun: This was a tough one because of the range of beers we make. DreamWeaver Wheat uses half the grain of Troegenator (our second best seller). A grain bed can only be so big before in collapses not allowing collection of the wort. With Troegenator, Flying Mouflan and Mad Elf (8%-11% a.b.v.) in mind our Lauter tun had to be twice a typical diameter allowing better wort sparging. To ensure we get the wort grain is sprayed with water and ‘rinsed’. Water use is controlled by automation that monitors H20 in and wort out, cutting the grains as needed with rakes.  A much more efficient use of water estimated to lower our use by 30%! Spent grain is pumped to a holding tank outside for pickup for use in numerous places: cattle feed, pig feed, worm farms…etc…

3. Brew Kettle: Wort is boiled and hops are added for bitterness and flavor. Three big changes here. One: BrauKon’s Smartboil internal colandria will serve as our boiling system. Its high efficiency design coupled with a pump assist and automation should translate to a 50% reduction in steam use…huge…Two: timing on the hop dosing in critical to the flavor and aroma of the hops. Our new kettle will have a 4 vessel hop dosing unit capable of hopping at least 60 pounds of pellet hops per dose  Three: If you have boiled on your stove before you know that heat is given off while doing this. The Wort kettle has an energy recovery system on the stack that will use the hot vapor to heat cold water to 190 f ! This is the biggest one, I’ve always wanted to use the heat escaping from the top of the wort kettle. This type of energy recovery system is being used on our (2) boilers as well, cutting natural gas usage considerably.

4. Hop Back: whole flower hops are always difficult to deal with. If you have the right system they are great, if not good luck….the new hop back can hold up to 150 pounds of whole flower hops! The internal piping willmake sure wort comes in contact with all of the hop cones, helping maximize the aroma we can get from them. We do this now with a stainless steel paddle, which works, but it’s one hell of a work out. You can see that starting from scratch has allowed us to put each part of the Brew House under a microscope for re-examination for flexibility and energy efficiency. ….next up – DreamWeaver open fermentation.