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Starting the steam education- install in October

HBC Member Posts: 1
I am starting the education process of putting in a steam boiler for my Brewing rig- I have seen several threads lately of other brewers. I should first say that I will be finding a local boiler specialist to consult, test, certify any work that we might do on the install (lifting, moving, pipe fitting, welding). I am not at the point where I can hire someone yet and therefore coming here for education so I know what the heck I am talking about. Historically, I have worked in the mechanical world/been a general contractor, and consider myself a very mechanical minded individual once educated. Time for education!

Issues up front: I am finding it difficult to find pipe sizing guidelines. My main reason of concern is so I can start to put the budget together for piping. The rig that I am putting together should be simple with these things in mind: 1.) want my boiler as close to the kettles as possible 2.) two units receiving steam- one has a drop in coil in-out steam.. the other is jacketed with 2 in-outs. 3.) This indicates 3-ins and 3-outs now from all steam sources...but I want to be sure that if I add a third kettle that we can modify the manifold accordingly without scrapping all together.

Any thoughts where I can start to find this info? I could probably copy/paste from someone else with a similar install...and find that most start with a 4" main trunk/manifold but do not know where that protocol comes from... Thanks!


  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Steam Beer:

    I have some knowledge of this.

    Low pressure steam (under 15# works, but high pressure steam works better (over 15#) and will cook and heat the kettles and their content faster. You need a lot of energy. You also need a license to operate a high pressure steam boiler. You'll need a steam to potable water HX for a lot of hot water purposes. LOTS of hot water. As much if not more than what is needed for cooking the mash.

    You'll need a lot of "Nuts" for your cooking purposes. Don't scrimp or you'll be sorry later.
  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 995
    edited May 2014
    Breweries & Kettles

    I have done several breweries and much work in the food industry. Beer brewing is done with low pressure steam. Cooking food in kettles is done mostly at 30 PSI. You need someone that has engineering experience in the brewery business. He can easily calculate the steam requirement per kettle. There are also tables and formula es in most steam trap manufacturers handbook. You can find pipe sizing also in those handbooks. You have to include also a pickup factor for the boiler sizing which in this industry is at least 50% over the requirement of the process. By building code, the boiler must be in an enclosed room away from any production.

    Here is one of my designs: