Things to Know About Steam Boiling for Breweries

Steam heating is a widely popular option for breweries throughout the Pacific Northwest. While the initial startup costs are less than expected, maintenance and running costs can add up if the proper steps aren’t taken and it’s not professionally installed.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we love our craft beer. One of the reasons why it’s beloved throughout the industry is because of the clean, pure water brewers use as the base.

However, did you also know that water plays other important roles in the brewing process? Many top breweries use steam-powered heating to warm their water and mixes for the fermentation process and to pasteurize bottles before they’re filled. (Of course, hot water is also crucial for sanitation of the facility as a whole.)

Steam boiling is an investment, but one that can ultimately take your small production to a well-respected, professional outfit.

How Many Boilers is the Right Amount?

Hot water needs vary based on the size of the brewery. Some smaller operations have one steam boiler that’s turned off and on as needed. Others have multiple, on-demand boilers to help save on energy costs. One boiler can be off and started in a short amount of time to meet hot water and steam needs more practically. A properly installed and maintained system will last a long time and ensure that the appropriate amount of steam is ready right when you need it.

Is it Better to Have One Big Brewery Boiler Or Multiple Small Ones?

While every brewery is different, the official word from the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) is, “If building loads are highly variable, as is common in commercial buildings, designers should consider installing multiple small (modular) boilers … Modular systems are more efficient because they allow each boiler to operate at or close to full rated load most of the time, with reduced standby losses.”

What surprises many brewery owners is that the initial start-up cost isn’t that high. Rather natural gas and running costs tend to exceed the former over time. As you might expect here in the Pacific Northwest, high-efficiency, low-emission boilers are increasingly popular as businesses of all sizes look to reduce their overall environmental impact.


If you’re considering upgrading your brewery or starting something brand new, it’s crucial to consult the experts in brewery steam heating. The Earth Heating has been a trusted source for Portland-area brewers for more than a decade. Call (503) 788-7777 to learn more and schedule a free consultation.

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