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20 bbl brewing system

The world of craft beer is brimming with passionate brewers, each with a distinct vision for their unique flavors. As your brewery scales beyond the initial pilot stage, a 20 BBL brewing system might be the perfect springboard to propel your operation to the next level. But before you dive headfirst into the exciting world of 20 BBL systems, let’s explore the intricacies of this brewing workhorse.

Understanding the 20 BBL Brewing System

A 20 BBL brewing system is the heart of your brewery. It’s a symphony of interconnected equipment designed to transform raw ingredients into the frothy libations you envision. Here’s a breakdown of the key players:

  • Mash Tun: Imagine a giant stainless steel pot where crushed grains are steeped in hot water, triggering the magical process of converting starches into fermentable sugars.
  • Brew Kettle: This behemoth pot boils the wort (sugar-rich liquid) after the mashing process, sterilizes it, and concentrates its flavors through hop additions.
  • Lauter Tun (Optional): Acting as a filter, this vessel separates the sweet wort from the spent grain husks, ensuring a clear and efficient wort transfer.
  • Whirlpool Tank: Imagine a washing machine for your wort! This tank creates a whirlpool motion, pulling spent hops and trub (hot break protein) out of the wort for a cleaner final product.
  • Heat Exchanger: Think of it as a temperature magician. This apparatus rapidly cools the wort down to a temperature ideal for yeast pitching, initiating fermentation.
  • Fermentation Tanks: These are the cozy homes for your wort after it’s been transformed with yeast. Here, the magic of fermentation occurs, converting sugars into alcohol and CO2, birthing your beer.
  • Brite Tanks (Optional): These polished tanks serve as a resting and maturation space for your finished beer, allowing it to settle and carbonate naturally before kegging or bottling.
20 bbl brewing system

Brewing Process with a 20 BBL System

Now that you’ve met the essential equipment, let’s walk through the brewing process:

  1. Mashing: Crushed malt is steeped in precisely controlled hot water, activating enzymes that break down starches into fermentable sugars.
  2. Lautering (Optional): The wort is separated from the spent grains, ensuring a clear and efficient transfer to the brew kettle.
  3. Boiling: The wort is brought to a rolling boil in the kettle, sterilizing it, concentrating its sugars, and extracting hop bitterness and aroma.
  4. Whirlpooling: The hot wort is spun rapidly, forcing spent hops and trub out of suspension for a cleaner final product.
  5. Cooling: The wort is rapidly cooled down using a heat exchanger to a temperature ideal for yeast pitching.
  6. Fermentation: The cooled wort is transferred to fermentation tanks where yeast is introduced, transforming the sugars into alcohol and CO2, creating your beer.
  7. Conditioning (Optional): The finished beer may spend time in a Brite Tank for further settling, maturation, and carbonation before packaging.

Capacity, Space, Design & Layout Considerations

Scaling up to a 20 BBL system requires careful planning. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Capacity: A 20 BBL system typically produces around 620-840 gallons of beer per batch, allowing for increased production compared to smaller systems.
  • Space Requirements: These systems have a significant footprint, so ensure your brewing facility can comfortably accommodate the equipment and allow for ample space for brewers to navigate during operation.
  • Design & Layout: Plan your brewery layout strategically. Consider the flow of brewing processes, ensuring efficient movement of ingredients and wort throughout the system.
  • Customization: Many manufacturers offer customization options. Explore features like integrated hot liquor tanks, automated controls, and specialized fermentation vessels to tailor the system to your specific brewing needs.
20 bbl brewing system

20 BBL Brewing System Suppliers & Price Range

SupplierPrice Range (Estimated)
Stout Tanks$250,000 – $500,000+
Blichmann Engineering$200,000 – $450,000+
YoLong BrewtechContact for Quote
Criveller GroupContact for Quote
JVNWContact for Quote

Price Considerations: Keep in mind that these are ballpark figures. The final price can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Customization: The more bells and whistles you add, like automated controls or specialized tanks, the higher the price tag.
  • Material Quality: Higher-grade stainless steel construction typically comes at a premium.
  • Included Accessories: Does the base price include essentials like pumps, hoses, and glycol chillers, or are these add-ons?
  • Local Taxes & Shipping: Factor in any local taxes and shipping costs that may apply.

Choosing a Supplier: Given the significant investment involved, selecting the right supplier is crucial. Here’s a roadmap to guide you:

  • Experience & Reputation: Research the supplier’s track record. Look for established companies with a proven reputation for quality and customer service.
  • System Features: Compare the features offered by different suppliers. Ensure the system aligns with your brewing needs and future production goals.
  • Customization Options: Does the supplier offer customization options that let you tailor the system to your specific brewing philosophy?
  • After-Sales Support: Reliable after-sales support is vital. Ensure the supplier offers comprehensive support, including troubleshooting, spare parts availability, and potential future upgrades.
20 bbl brewing system

Installation, Operation & Maintenance

A 20 BBL system is a complex piece of machinery. Here’s a breakdown of key considerations:

  • Installation: Professional installation is highly recommended. Experienced technicians will ensure the system is set up correctly and functioning optimally.
  • Operation: Operators should be adequately trained on the system’s operation and safety protocols. Breweries often invest in training programs for their staff.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance is vital for optimal performance and longevity. Develop a routine cleaning and maintenance schedule to keep your brewing system running smoothly.

Pros & Cons of 20 BBL Brewing Systems


  • Increased Production: Scale up your brewing output significantly compared to smaller systems.
  • Greater Efficiency: 20 BBL systems often incorporate automation features that streamline brewing processes.
  • Commercial Viability: This size system allows you to cater to a wider audience and potentially enter distribution channels.


  • Significant Investment: 20 BBL systems require a substantial upfront investment in equipment and potentially facility upgrades.
  • Increased Complexity: Operating a larger system demands a higher level of brewing expertise and potentially additional staff.
  • Space Requirements: Ensure your brewing space can comfortably accommodate the system’s footprint.
20 bbl brewing system


How much does a 20 BBL brewing system cost?

Prices can vary depending on features, customization, and supplier, but generally range from $200,000 to $500,000 or more.

What is the production capacity of a 20 BBL system?

A 20 BBL system typically produces around 620-840 gallons of beer per batch.

Do I need a lauter tun with a 20 BBL system?

While not essential, a lauter tun can improve efficiency by separating the wort from the spent grains more effectively.

How much space do I need for a 20 BBL system?

Space requirements vary depending on the system layout, but expect a significant footprint. Consult with your chosen supplier for specific space recommendations.

What factors should I consider when choosing a 20 BBL brewing system supplier?

Experience, reputation, system features, customization options, and after-sales support are all crucial factors to evaluate.

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