All the equipment you need to start a brewery

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All the equipment you need to start a brewery

Craft beer and the brewing industries in general, are on the rise of the trending charts with festivals like Oktoberfest, Darling Summer Beer Festival, Cape Town Festival of Beer, Clarens Craft Beer Festival, SAB World of Beer and Beer Boot Camp, just to name a few. So, it’s safe to say that there’s a market in the world of beer-making that is waiting for you to hop to it.



Before we look at the process of making beer and the equipment needed in that process, we’re going to take a look at the ingredients that you’ll need to familiarise yourself with.

  • Barley: This is the most popular grain ingredient used in beer. Barley undergoes a malting process to reach the needed levels of sugar for fermentation. It affects the colour and flavour of the beer.
  • Hops: These are the acid containing elements that bring a needed bitterness to the beer. Its effect on the beer being brewed will depend on the time it is added during the boiling process of making beer.
  • Water: Water is the foundation and more important ingredient in beer. Not surprising, as it makes up between 90 and 95 percent of beer. And things such as the mineral content, ions and location of where the water is harvested from can all affect the brewing process. If you want to be smart about it, consult with PROXA Water experts who have helped other brewers in the brewery industry when it comes to the water cycle.
  • Yeast: This is the fun ingredient. Yeast is what gets fermentation going. And fermentation is what gets the alcohol content level rising.

When it comes to beer brewing recipes, there are different ways of making a craft beer. But you will find the right quantities and combinations that create a taste that you and your potential consumers will enjoy.


The process

It starts with a liquor licence and ends with your own beer, brewed and bottled. But let’s look at what happens in between and what you’re going to need.

  • Storage: Find yourself a location where brewing water is available or closely accessible and then make sure you have silos and storage areas for your grain, hops and yeast. Now it’s time to start the brewing process.
  • Malted barley: First step is to malt your barley and get the sugars out. Place the barley husks in water until they sprout, then place them in a kiln to dry.
  • Mill: You then place the dried and sprouted barley in a mill that opens the kernel to reach the starches inside and is referred to as grist.
  • Mash tun: In the mash tun, grist and hot water come together to transform the mixture to “wort” or, in basic terms, the starch to sugar. The higher the temperature of the water, the sweeter the beer will be in the end. This process ends with what’s known as “mashing out”.  
  • Lauter tun: The mash is then put through the lauter tun, which is basically a sieve mechanism that filters the kernels from the liquid which will be carried through to the next brewing step.  
  • Brew kettle: The wort from the lauter tun is taken to the brew kettle where sugar levels are measured, the wort is boiled and hops are then added. This boiling process sterilises, releases the bitterness from the hops, and coagulates malt proteins.
  • Whirlpool: This process still takes place in the brew kettle (once the boiling is done) and is just a means to separate the wort from solid substances through a whirlpool port.  
  • Heat exchanger: This is crucial in cooling the wort down to prepare for fermentation and allows for a fast cooling process to decrease the risk of any contamination.
  • Fermentation tank: Here in the fermentation tank, the process of fermentation (where oxygen aerates with the liquid and yeast). After the yeast is added, of course. Yeast does affect the temperature during this process and needs to be monitored, but get past this point and your wort can finally be called beer.   
  • Filtration: This is a simple step to remove the yeast and other unwanted matter developed throughout fermentation. But there is such a thing as too much filtration, where the colour and flavours are vulnerable to being lost.
  • Conditioning tank: This is where “secondary fermentation” takes place and flavors are perfected.
  • Sterile filtration systems: This step comes to play when carbonation is introduced before final packaging.
  • Packaging: Kegs, bottles or cans. Find your logo, bottle design and brand packaging and get ready to distribute your beautiful beer.


Home brewery

Now, if you’re not planning on sharing your beer with the world or maybe want to test and trial at home before you sell to the shelves, then you can run a home brewery.

All you’ll need is a brewing bucket, a bubbler and a siphon hose. If you want to take it a bit further, you can use a carboy, auto-siphon, a bottling tip and a hydrometer. But that, along with your ingredients of course, is all you need.


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