What's the best size chiller for a growing brewery and/or a brewery with plans for expansion?

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3 answers


Chiller sizing depends on a number of factors including, but not limited to the size and efficiency of your brewery including the size of each fermenter and number of fermenters that will be in active fermentation at any given time, number of fermenters that will need to be crash cooled at any given time and the time period for doing so, number of brite tanks maintaining temp and whether or not you will use the chiller to cool your wort and if you are going to use a cold liquor tank. 

Of course, this is different for each individually brewery, but I typically recommend planning for the next 12 - 24 months for growth. Any farther out than that may unnecessarily take up some of your start up cash that may be better spent on other equipment needed early on. Once cash flow starts coming in and you have enough sales to forecast future growth, you can start planning the next phase of your brewery.

One thing I would consider, however, is your glycol piping. Depending on your set up, you may want to oversize the header size to accommodate your growth as this may be difficult and costly to change as you start growing.

You can plan you system with modularity in mind and that will also save you in the long run. Pumps are easy to change out. You can add chiller modules as you grow.

Finally, sometimes over sizing a chiller can cause premature chiller failure. If you are sizing for growth, make sure you communicate your situation with your chiller provider so that they can plan controls and features into your system to extend the life of the chiller like dual refrigeration circuits or capacity control.

Feel free to reach out to me directly with your specific brewery specifications and plans and I will be happy to work through scenarios with you.

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Question: What size chiller you need for your Brewery?

Answer:  You need a chiller that will be a little larger than your total Btu/ 
              per hour requirements for your unique Brewery requirements. If 
              youâ??re going to do it right you will also need to provide the hottest 
              ambient temperature for your area, the per cent of glycol required for 
              your system, your elevation. We will also need your desired process
             water temperature and your max GPM flow rate. The number of tanks                    
             and the total barrels per each processes plus your crash time. We 
             can now design the right chiller system that can produce your 
             required water temperature and with the right refrigerant and 
             refrigerant temperature required to produce the right gallons per 
             minute of chilled water for your unique required water temperature for 
             your area. 
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While a larger, more efficient chiller generally requires a sizable investment, a modular glycol chiller is more affordable and can be added as-needed. That gives you the option to do larger brew runs if/when the time comes for brewery expansion. While not always as efficient as a single, properly-sized unit, modular chillers help growing breweries save money in the long-run.
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