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ideal new equipment sizing?


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Hi all, great forum, so much good advice on everything!

One thing I've been looking for but have only found bits and pieces scattered throughout the forums is complete system (grain receptacles -> hot water tanks -> mash tun -> fermenter -> still -> spirit receiving -> barrel) sizing advice. I know there are an infinite number of ways to do the same thing so let me try to make this question as specific as possible.

Starting with a 1000L (aprox 250gal) pot still and working our way backward what size fermenters, mash tun, hot water tank, grain storage would you all recommend?

I've heard various things such as a bigger mash tun and fermenters i.e. 2000Lish then doing 2 runs from one fermenter... thoughts?

Or should things be sized 1:1 i.e. all 1000Lish... thoughts? are more smaller sized fermenters advantageous to fewer larger feremters, i know cost between 2000L and 1000L is usually much better than 2x 1000L...

Then, starting at the same 1000L pot still and working our way forward, what size and qty. spirits receivers for stripping run? cuts? do you barrel straight from these receivers? Assuming barreling to 30gal barrels.

Looking for advice from all your infinite years of wisdom, if you had to do it all over again, what is your IDEAL process flow?!

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  • 1 month later...

I don't have infinite years of wisdom, but we make enough beer for two stripping runs every time we mash (2x250 gal fermenters) which makes life a lot easier. Our still can take 350 but we rarely fill it up all the way cause its a very long day with 350 in. We will fill a 53 gallon ss drum on the stripping run off one 250gal fermenter. Sometimes more than 1. Then we fill a 300gal low wine tank and run it. We use the same portable 53s for collecting hearts and tails (heads go into a cambro and get used to clean the floor). We have a separate 100 gal tank for blending, proofing, and barreling.

One nice thing about having smaller fermenters is that you don't have to chill them. We use big open top plastic fermenters and they do the trick. Once you get over 250ish your mash will overheat and kill the yeast during fermentation unless you hook up a chiller. Which is pretty expensive.

The one thing I'd say is think about how long you want your days to be, especially if you are going to be doing most of the leg work yourself.

I would love to hear from more experienced people then myself on this.

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I am a big supporter of doubling up your mash size. it takes the same amount of time to mash 250 as it does 500 galons. and doubling the size of your mashing equipment is about a 25% cost increase.

however, you will need more cooling capacity and you will need more steam,

so if you have the space for it, and are planning on larger boiler and chiller any way, go larger. you can always do half size batches if you want.

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I would suggest a chilled water reservoir whenever you are chilling mash with a closed loop chiller.

Main reason is that you reduce overall KW by using a smaller chiller (mash load is your largest instantaneous single load).

If you live in a Northern climate, add an air glycooler which saves you on refrigeration KW- you won't need the chiller for winter.

I have pictures of such an installation on my website. Call me if you want to discuss them.

Mike Gronski, MG Thermal


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