Guest Posting: Scaling up your Homebrew Kombucha Operation, by Stout Tanks and Kettles, LLC

Stout Tanks and Kettles are a Portland, Oregon supplier of quality brewing equipment and tanks used to make Craft Beer, Wine, Kombucha, Mead, and Cold Brew Coffee. We asked them what equipment a kombucha home brewer interested in scaling up to begin commercial production would need. Stout Tanks will be exhibiting at the April 18-19 KombuchaKon in Long Beach, California.

We have many kombucha homebrew customers who started with small batches using their stovetop, kitchen pots and mason jars. If people are looking to scale up their kombucha batch size, stainless becomes a necessity, due to its sanitation and ease of use.

Fermenters

The most common equipment purchase people make to scale up their kombucha homebrewing operation is a conical fermenter. A major reason that a conical is nice to use (as compared to a pot or jar) is it has a complete bottom drain. We also offer fermenters that have a large width to height ratio allowing the SCOBY to breathe and produce a quality product. Here are some examples of fermenters that can be used for fermenting kombucha.

7 Gallon Conical Fermenter ($507.15)

55 Gallon Kombucha Tank Fermenter ($1,206.45)

55 Gallon Conical Fermenter ($1,206.45)

200 Gallon Kombucha Tank Fermenter ($2,098.95)

Brew Kettles

The second upgrade we see is the addition of a brew kettle. We offer kettles for use with a burner or electrical heating elements. It is not uncommon for a brewer to make a concentration, send it to the fermenter then fill the rest of the fermenter with cold water to cool it down and dilute it to their usable concentration. Many of our brew kettles feature a tangential inlet. This enables the recirculation of the liquid to create a whirlpool. This is very helpful when adding and mixing sugar to save from the need to hand stir the sugar into the tea. As you start to scale up in size, being able to limit the number of manual tasks becomes increasingly important. Here are some examples of brew kettles.

10 Gallon Brew Kettle ($270.90)

10 Gallon Brew Kettle -with Tangential Inlet, Element Port ($391.65)

10 Gallon Brew Kettle – Direct Fire (with Thermowell and Tangential Inlet) ($381.15)

Brite Tanks

Once kombucha brewers get larger in their process, around 1 bbl (31 gallons) we start to see customers using brite beer tanks. The brite tanks are used to cold crash, reduce proteins in suspension and carbonate. If you are not bottle carbonating/conditioning your kombucha, a brite tank is very useful. The fermented kombucha is transferred from the fermenting vessel to the brite tank. Temperature is dropped to 34-40 degrees and CO2 is forced through a carb stone that is submerged in the brite tank. This forces carbonation into the kombucha. Once carbonated, this can be transferred into kegs, bottles, cans, etc. Here is an example of a brite tank for a walk-in cooler.

40 Gallon Brite Tank ($1,504.65)

Stout Tanks and Kettles are on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Their blog contains advice and suggestions for kombucha brewing. They provide a complete listing of equipment suitable for kombucha brewing. Their FAQ has useful answers to questions, including:

  • Why should I brew using stainless steel?
  • Why isn’t my kombucha fizzy?
  • I think my kombucha is molding. How can I tell?
  • How do I know how alcoholic my kombucha is?

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