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Hiker Brewing Co.

The Stainless Steel

The engine of any brewery is the equipment used to make the beer.  

Daniel and I achieved a milestone this week, officially signing off on the brewery design. That’s the brewhouse, fermenters, and all the ancillary equipment, like Hot and Cold liquor tanks, heat exchanger, glycol tank — the list goes on! Now that we’ve signed on the dotted line, it will all now go into production.

Although we knew the size of the brewhouse (1,000 Litre) and the high level specifications we wanted (much like buying a car really), we spent a lot of time reviewing the actual design. We did this to make sure we don’t end up with buyer’s remorse after our kit arrives and it is installed. We certainly don’t want to be thinking,  “if only we put this valve here…” Or, “this flow meter would be better there.”

The Full Layout of Hiker's Brewing Equipment

We’ve both worked at a number of breweries; seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly in equipment configuration. That’s why we spent time with Brewtique (our equipment vendor) and Wellbrewd (brewery consultants) to make sure our kit was fit for purpose.  Big Kudos needs to go to Clemmy and Jake from Wellbrewd who have commissioned a number of Brewtique kits similar to ours recently. They offered plenty of great insights and considerations to make the brewing process flow better. 

Plus, they weren’t afraid to go toe-to-toe as we debated with them on different alternatives to get the right outcome for us.  That being said, a lot of our design changes will now become standard features for future Brewtique clients – so we feel we have got it right, and have helped other new breweries in the works. 

As I mentioned in the last blog post about the brewery layout, a key objective for Hiker is to ensure we are a very lean (but not mean) operation. Given that the production side of the operation is quite time-intensive we wanted to ensure the production process would flow optimally.

This blog post probably isn’t the place to go into a lot of the nitty gritty changes we made, but I thought I would share some of the more significant changes that should make our lives easier, for those that are interested.

Brewdeck Configuration

The Brew Deck

The original design was not conducive to brewing effectively as a one-person operation. The control panel was placed at the end of the brewdeck, away from the Mash Tun, Lauter Tun and things  not even on the brewdeck like the mixing valves for sparging. That would mean constant running up and down the stairs to get the flow rate and the temperature right. 

Our design has the control panel placed between the mash tun and lauder tun, and within reach of the mixing valves used for mashing in and sparging (instead of near the Hot Liquor Tank). This means we can do all of the adjustments to flow rates and temperature in the one place. We have also included a sink next to the Kettle to help with things like gravity readings.  


We have ended up purchasing 5 x 1,000 Litre Unitanks, which was less than we would have liked. We had to compromise due to the impact of COVID on shipping costs from China which have more than tripled since 2019.  We did intend to have 3 x 40-foot shipping containers of equipment, but due to budget constraints (caused by the high shipping costs) we have cut it down to two containers.  The fun part was working out what we could do without and then playing container Tetris to see how much we could fit into the two containers.  

Uni Tanks

In short, we had to lose our 2,000 Litre Unitanks. However, it was the only equipment we had to cut after playing a lot of Tetris – not a bad effort!  Sure, this isn’t great as it will impact our production capacity, but at least we will have all the equipment to be operational. If we run out of beer it will be a nice problem to have.

We did however, make some upgrades to our Unitank fleet to try and maximise efficiency. This includes mirror finishing on the inside of the tanks, to help with removal of trub, increasing yields, and maximising effectiveness of sanitary processes.  The other change was to remove the blow off arm and to simply use the CIP arm as the blow off arm.  A major benefit of this is less parts to clean, which means less time investment in cleaning and less chance of having an unsanitary tank.    

How Long Until The Equipment Arrives?

Now that we have signed off on the brewery design, the manufacturing of the equipment can start – it is expected to take up to 14 weeks. Then we can expect shipping time of around 3 weeks, so the equipment should arrive around June.

We have lots of preparation work to do in the meantime, but at least now we have a timeline for when things need to get done, and we start locking in contractors to get the work done.