Here at Brues Alehouse, we operate on a 10 BBL (310 Gallons), 3-Vessel Brewhouse, which includes a Mash Tun, Lauter Tun, and Kettle. Built By Alpha Brewing Operations when we started in 2015, this system gives us the ability to brew 5, 10, and 20 BBL batches per brew day, depending on our needs. It is a semi-automated steam-heated system.
Once we brew our beer, it heads to our cellar. Right now, our Cellar houses Four 10 BBL Brites, Two 20 Barrel Brites, Two 10 Barrel Fermenters, Two 20 Barrel Fermenters, and our most recent addition of Three German-Style Horizontal Lagering Tanks. All Tanks are double glycol jacketed and support up to 30 psi working pressure, allowing us to to "spund" our beers and carbonate naturally. We serve eight of our styles straight from the Brites to the bar via glycol chilled trunk lines that are over 300 ft. long. We also rack into kegs, and serve from our beer cooler through the same trunk lines.
Our barrel-ageing room lives on the opposite side of the premise, about 250 ft. from the brewery. Around 35 wooden barrels are currently housed here, both of wine and whiskey varieties. They consist of mainly wild/sour beers (lambics, flanders reds), our imperial stouts, and some Belgian styles. When a beer is ready to be sent back to the brewery, we pressurize barrels and push the liquid back to the fermenters through beer lines which run through our ceiling. With the varying temperatures in the barrel room, we only age certain styles during certain times of the year.
Average strength beer is roughly 95% water, so you can understand how important water composition is when making beer. Breweries in Munich, Vienna, Belgium, Ireland, and more, historically created beer styles in relation to their local water composition. Soft water provided an ideal base for more subtle styles like light lagers while hard water was ideal for pale ales, IPAs, etc. We reference the local water compositions from the cities in which our beer styles originate. We then look to mimic the associated profiles. We are able to do this through the use of our Reverse Osmosis water purification system. Water travels through this machine at a hardness of over 200 PPM, and exits at a clean 1-3 ppm, leaving us a blank sheet to add whatever minerals we need to to create the perfect profile for the style.