Hospitality and Entertainment Projects


Increasing beer output from a two-barrel system to a 20-barrel system required that Cypress Brewing move from an electric-heating-elements system to a more robust and precise steam-heating system from Weil-McLain.


BREWERY COMPONENTS ENGINEER: Diversified Metal Engineering Brewing Solutions, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
BOILER INSTALLER: DL Mechanical, Port Reading, N.J., (732) 266-5386


As a result of its success, brewery owners decided to increase beer output 10 times—from a two-barrel system to a 20-barrel system. “This was a major expansion and adding the much larger vessels required us to move from an electric-heating-elements system to a more robust and precise steam-heating system,” explains Charlie Backmann, co-owner of Cypress Brewing.

The Cypress Brewing team tapped Diversified Metal Engineering (DME) Brewing Solutions, a recognized leader in the craft beer industry, to specify the requirements for the new system. DME recommended the steam heating system’s necessary Btu ratings and provided blueprints for the design.

David LaBar, owner of DL Mechanical, specified a Weil-McLain 88-Series cast-iron low-pressure steam boiler, a unit that offers ease of maintenance, thermal efficiencies up to 85.7 percent, and is suited for single- or multiple-unit systems. “The boil kettle required about 550,000 Btus, but we wanted to exceed the heating-load requirements to give us some room for future growth,” LaBar says. “The 88 Series boiler is rated at 1,050,000 Btus.”

LaBar also specified a power plant with gas burner as part of the system.

In a low-pressure steam brewery operation, the boiler converts the water into steam. This steam enters the steam main and travels to the boil kettle and the hot liquor tank, which just holds water and heats the water. The steam then enters jackets inside the boil kettles where it unleashes its latent heat.

According to Backmann, there are three different jackets inside the boil kettle, depending on the amount of beer being brewed. “The steam starts in the very bottom jacket, which makes up about five barrels,” Backmann explains. “The next level jacket is five barrels to 10 barrels and the last one on top is 15 to 20.”

Weil-McLain’s 88 Series boiler is rated at 1,050,000 Btus.

A low-pressure steam system operates between 10 and 12 PSI. Most breweries require a minimum of 10 pounds steam pressure, which is equivalent to about 240 F for the boil.

To add efficiencies to the system, LaBar designed it to feature two 5-inch steam risers from the boiler into a 6-inch drop header to provide the dry steam. This design ensures the steam used in the process is extremely dry.

Once the kettle condenses the steam, it releases the condensate via float and thermostatic (F&T) steam drip traps to a condensate receiver and pump that moves the condensate to a boiler feed pump. The boiler feed pump returns the condensate to the boiler when the water level falls low enough. A total of seven F&T traps were used.

The Cypress Brewing operation now is in full swing with the production process from start to ready-to-drink brews taking an average of 28 days. The entire process is automated through a computer that manages the temperatures and the solenoid valves, which control the steam entering the coils.

Backmann reports one major benefit of the new process is there is less charring of the beer. “Before, with the lighter beers, we sometimes tasted a slight burnt flavor in the background because the electric element came in direct contact with the beer,” he recalls. “Now that the vessel itself is jacketed, there is a much better dispersion of the heat. Everything is very balanced and heats from the bottom all of the way to the top.”



Cypress Brewing, a three-year-old brewery, produces several different varieties of beer includ- ing IPAs, stouts and porters. Best sellers include Insane in the Grain, 17 Mile and Runway Model.

PHOTOS: Weil-McLain

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