Maximizing Quality and Efficiency in your Craft Brewery Operation with On-Demand Steam

Maximizing Quality and Efficiency in your Craft Brewery Operation with On-Demand Steam

Crafting a great beer is a labor of love and relies on several processes that require steam. Most stages of the brewing process depend on heat exchange, especially the mashing and wort-boiling stages. However, you can’t make high-quality beer without a high-quality heating process.

With the heating process, energy costs are likely one of your biggest expenses. The good news is that a more efficient steam boiler system can lead to long-term cost and time savings, letting you concentrate on crafting the best brew.

Here, we’ll explore how Miura’s modular, on-demand steam boilers can save craft brewers time and money while delivering reliable and precise heat energy for every stage of your craft brewing process.

Popular Ways to Brew Craft Beer

Wort-boiling determines the aroma, bitterness, color, and pH level of a brew, helping to make each craft beer unique. So, it’s absolutely vital to get it right. Creating the familiar and flavorful beer that your loyal customers love depends on a consistent and reliable brewing approach.

Most craft or micro-breweries use electric, direct fire, or steam kettles in the boiling process. Let’s examine the pros and cons of each technique.

Electric Boil Kettles: Pros & Cons

Electric boil kettles are one of the easiest and cheapest boiling methods for smaller breweries, with up to five brewing kettles. Stainless steel electric boil kettles use three to five immersion heating elements to boil the mash and maintain heat.

Pros:

  • An extremely affordable option.
  • Uses electricity from the local grid.
  • Individual elements can be turned on or off to control the temperature.

Cons:

  • Electric boil kettles have a slow ramp-up speed. These delays can cause longer brew days, hampering your production.
  • The elements inside an electric boil kettle are challenging to clean without emptying the kettle.
  • The heating elements can also get stuck occasionally, interfering with any whirlpools you’re trying to create.

Direct Fire Kettles: Pros & Cons

Direct fire kettles use a jet burner to shoot a flame directly into a firebox underneath a stainless steel brewing kettle. This approach is ideal for medium-sized breweries with up to 20 brewing kettles. The only thing direct fire kettles need is a connection to a natural gas line.

Pros:

  • Have a faster ramp-up speed than electric boil kettles.
  • Are cost-effective and don’t require any extra equipment.
  • Are extremely low-maintenance.

Cons:

  • Because the direct flame from the firebox is concentrated on the stainless steel underneath the kettle, it can cause corrosion over time.
  • Direct fire kettles have two settings: on or off; this makes it difficult to control the temperature in the kettle compared to an electric boil or steam kettle.
  • The flame of a direct fire kettle must be dialed in by an expert to avoid carbon monoxide fumes.

Steam Kettles: Pros & Cons

Steam kettles are the best wort-boiling method for most breweries, especially larger setups with between ten and 250 brewing kettles.

These kettles are powered by a low-pressure steam boiler, which transfers heat into metal jackets around the kettle. This creates a large surface area that provides consistent, reliable heat during the mashing process.

Pros:

  • Fast ramp-up speed due to heat transfer all around the kettle.
  • Excellent heat recovery with steam. A heat exchanger can use excess heat from steam kettles to clean and sanitize kegs.
  • Easy to adjust the temperature inside the kettle whenever required.

Cons:

  • Traditional steam boilers:
    • Involve expensive upfront costs because pipes and boilers also need to be installed.
    • Require regular maintenance and trained staff to operate.
    • Have large footprints, limiting how much you can expand production.
    • Need to be examined regularly by state inspectors and are subject to more regulations regarding permits.

How Are Miura’s Modular, On-Demand Steam Boilers Different?

Although steam kettles are the best way to brew mash and wort, it’s clear that the traditional steam boilers used to heat wort have several big disadvantages.

They’re expensive to install, take up huge amounts of space, and require a dedicated team to operate and maintain them.

However, choosing a Miura steam boiler to power your steam kettle mitigates the disadvantages of a traditional system. Miura’s modular boilers can raise efficiency, are compact in design, and are cost-effective over the long term.

Let’s explore these benefits:

1. Compact, Modular Design

Miura’s LX Series watertube steam boilers have a modular design, meaning that you can install as many or as few boilers as you need. This is ideal for future-proofing your brewery – if you need to scale up production, you can simply add another boiler.

The compact design of Miura boilers means that you can potentially double the output of your critical steam infrastructure with half of the footprint of traditional firetube boilers. This allows you to reallocate space in your brewery towards other needs.

2. Quick Start-up Times

Miura’s low-pressure steam boilers can go from a cold start to producing steam in under five minutes. This creates shorter ramp-up times, meaning that your brewers don’t have to come in early to start the heating and wort-boiling process. This leads to shorter brew days, helping you to maximize production.

With quicker start-up times, Miura watertube boilers can also help you conserve fuel, save time, and reduce emissions.

If your steam needs fluctuate throughout the day, Miura LX Series boilers can automatically shift into standby mode (using only electrical to monitor steam demand) during low-demand periods. They are ready to fire up the minute you need them.

3. Easy Installation and Maintenance

Installing a Miura boiler system is more straightforward than incorporating a traditional steam boiler.

With a modular boiler network, it’s easy to perform inspections and maintenance on one boiler at a time without taking the entire system offline. Miura boilers also require fewer employees to operate.

All of Miura’s boilers come with monitoring systems on each unit. Additionally, you can employ our maintenance packages, such as Miura Online Maintenance, helping you stay connected to our boiler experts 24/7.

Visit Us at the Upcoming Brew Expo

The 2022 Craft Brewers Conference and Brew Expo is your chance to explore the benefits of Miura’s modular watertube boilers firsthand.

Pop over to the Miura Boiler Booth 3627 at the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo, May 3 to May 5, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m, to learn more about our modular, on-demand steam boilers.

We would love to meet you!

If not able to attend – contact Miura to discuss your on-demand steam generation needs for your craft or micro-brewery.

About Andrew Eklind

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