Exploring The Advantages And Limitations of Combined 2Vessels Brewhouse In Craft Beer Brewery

June 26, 2023

A combined 2-vessel brewhouse is a popular setup in many craft beer breweries. It typically consists of a mash/lauter tun and a combined kettle/whirlpool vessel. This configuration offers several advantages and limitations that are worth considering for craft beer production. Let's explore them in detail:

Advantages of a Combined 2-Vessel Brewhouse:

1.Space Efficiency: A 2-vessel brewhouse takes up less space compared to a traditional 3-vessel brewhouse, which typically includes separate vessels for mashing, lautering, boiling, and whirlpooling. This compact design allows craft breweries with limited space to maximize their production capabilities.


2.Cost Savings: With fewer vessels, a combined 2-vessel brewhouse generally requires less capital investment compared to a 3-vessel system. The reduced equipment costs can be advantageous for small and medium-sized craft breweries with budget constraints.


3.Simplified Workflow: Combining the kettle and whirlpool functions into a single vessel simplifies the brewing process. After boiling, the wort can be immediately transferred to the whirlpool section for trub separation. This streamlined workflow saves time and minimizes the chances of contamination during transfer.


4.Increased Efficiency: The design of a combined vessel brewhouse allows for heat exchange between the mash and kettle sections. This heat recovery capability improves overall energy efficiency, as heat from the wort can be reclaimed and used to preheat incoming water or other process streams.

Limitations of a Combined 2-Vessel Brewhouse:

1.Brewing Capacity: The combined 2-vessel brewhouse may have limitations in terms of brewing capacity. Since the mash tun and kettle share the same vessel, the maximum volume of wort that can be produced in a single batch may be smaller compared to a 3-vessel system. This limitation can be a concern for breweries with high production demands.


2.Flexibility: A 2-vessel brewhouse setup may offer less flexibility compared to a 3-vessel system. In a 3-vessel brewhouse, separate vessels allow for simultaneous mashing and lautering, which enables the brewer to perform multiple batches or different types of mashes simultaneously. With a combined vessel, sequential mashing and lautering are necessary, which can restrict the brewing schedule and variety.


3.Trub Separation: In a combined vessel brewhouse, trub separation (the removal of unwanted solids) occurs in the whirlpool section after boiling. This method may not be as effective in achieving optimal trub separation compared to a dedicated whirlpool vessel. If precise trub separation is crucial for the beer style or process, a dedicated whirlpool vessel in a 3-vessel brewhouse may be preferred.


4.Cleaning and Maintenance: Cleaning a combined vessel brewhouse can be more challenging due to the shared functions and piping connections. Separating the mash and kettle sections can require more effort and time during cleaning and maintenance procedures, as compared to a 3-vessel system where the vessels are independent.

 When deciding on the brewhouse configuration, it's important for craft brewers to carefully consider their production requirements, available space, budget, and desired flexibility. While a combined 2-vessel brewhouse offers certain advantages, it also has limitations that need to be evaluated in light of the specific needs and goals of the brewery.

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