As the drinks market is in a position like never before, microbrewers across the country are creating their own beer flavours for customers to try. Whether tart ‘sours’, ‘coffee porters’ or anything in between is your tipple of choice, the craft beer movement has experienced great growth in terms of sales recently – it is now estimated to make up 6.5% of all beer sales in the UK
Research has suggested that there are around 2,000 microbreweries operating nationwide. But when it comes to creating quality over quantity, there’s no mistaking that running a microbrewery can be an incredibly energy-intensive process.
As the number of microbreweries continues to increase, plenty of entrepreneurs are looking to get involved, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Here, LPG gas cylinder providers, Flogas, offer some initial wisdom:
What equipment you should be using
Microbreweries must be making a profit to survive in 2019, otherwise they won’t be open long. One way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to choose an energy strategy that will reduce your usage and keep costs down. Microbreweries can be notoriously difficult to get off the ground financially, so by doing this, you can help boost your company’s profit margins.
It’s important to have an understanding of what type of equipment you will need. One of the main components in the brewing process is the mash system, which is commonly made up of the following:
- Mash tank – Steeps barley into hot water and converts grain starches into fermentable sugars
- Lauter tun – Separates the wort (or liquid) from the solids of the mash (much like a sieve)
- Steam generator – Heats the kettle, which is then brought to a controlled temperature before the hops are added
- Malt mill – Crushes the grain in preparation for brewing
- Wort Pump – Re-circulates the mash for a higher efficiency, enhancing the clarity and quality of the brew
- Plate Heat Exchanger/Wort Chiller – Quickly cools the hot wort ready for fermentation
This should only be followed for the mashing stage. Further to this, you’ll need a fermentation system (where yeast is added and sugar turns into alcohol), a cooling system (to prevent bacteria growth and where beer can be stored ready for sale), a filtering system (to get rid of sediment for a higher-quality product) and, of course, not forgetting the sterilisation equipment (to ensure that bacteria doesn’t spoil your next batch of beer).
Have you considered which ingredients you’ll be using? This can dramatically impact the flavour and consistency of your beer. With so many variations available, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating something truly unique. But not matter how distinctive the taste, you’ll find all craft beer is made up the following key components:
Barley – This will influence the alcohol percentage. It can dramatically affect the body, taste and aroma of your finished product.
Yeast – Yeast has been used in beer brewing for centuries. Essentially a fungus, yeast eats the sugars created in the malting process. By allowing it to ferment and feed off the sugars, alcohol is created as a byproduct.
Water – Did you know that water is around 90% of any beer? The pH and mineral content of your chosen water, as well as if it’s hard or soft, can also affect the end result.
Hops – Flavour is down to the hops. There are around 170 variations, meaning there’s plenty of choice when it comes to playing with flavour.
Powering your Microbrewery
It can be difficult setting up your own microbrewery here in the UK, as competition is rife. Along with all the complications of the brewing process, don’t be held back by extortionate energy prices, or an unreliable supply.
LPG is a cleaner, cheaper and a more efficient fuel that can help with savings on energy costs. With the lowest CO2 emissions of any fossil fuel, it’ll also mean a lower carbon footprint for your microbrewery.