Southbound and Hopping
Principals of Knoxville’s (Tenn.) newly established Elst Brewing Co. — founded in 2017 to “create fine beers that speak to people with an obsession for beer” ― believe the brewhouse is the heart of a brewery. So when they considered which company to enlist to get the exciting enterprise off the ground they quite fittingly selected the equivalent of the heart surgeons of the brewery world ― Ridgeway, Va.-based Smart Machine Technologies’ (SMT) Brewery Solutions.
“We chose SMT because of their ability to work with us on custom specs for the brewhouse and they are located close by,” Elst, which means sanctuary, recently shared on its website (elst.beer). “The brewhouse is being manufactured to fit the best layout for our space. Our mash tun will give us the flexibility to mash at different temperatures throughout the mashing process. This is a technique that is used in traditional Belgian brewing and we feel that it is an important feature for the brewhouse.”
Tanks for the Memories
SMT Brewery Solutions’ business works with brewers large and small to design and fabricate custom brewhouses, cellar tanks and various other sophisticated brewery-specific support vessels and systems. The SMT Brewery team combines decades of experience engineering brewhouse equipment, brewing, process engineering, fabricating sanitary stainless-steel systems and integrating automation & control systems. This is a supplier that has proven itself expert enough to serve the needs of some of the world’s largest beer-makers yet is just as committed to helping small, craft brewers that tend to have very custom beer equipment needs maximize their success.
SMT, which builds 3.5BBL to 100BBL brewhouses that use steam power (gas or electric) or enclosed indirect fire, helps clients every step of the way, from the initial designs to the final installation. Its wide array of stainless-steel tanks are constructed of the highest grade materials available on the market today, and its premium steel tanks are also easier to clean and maintain, which means saving hours of backbreaking labor down the road.
SMT prides itself on helping customers achieve and maintain a competitive advantage and to that end offers emergency repair services and possesses an in-depth understanding of the functionality, efficiency, economic and safety challenges faced by today’s brewers. Those virtues and capabilities have helped SMT win over many a brewer, just as it did in the case of Elst Brewing.
Beginnings of Brewhouse Powerhouse
Set to open during 2018, this past summer Elst Brewing stakeholders carefully selected and purchased a building in the 2400 block of North Central Street that will become the site of Elst Brewery located in historic Old North Knoxville (ONK). Some aspects of the existing structure were salvaged during the mostly demolition process, which was followed by approval of the architectural drawings and the commencement of construction. It was during the phase that SMT was brought in to begin the fabrication process for the brewing equipment.
Brewery Design Free of Hiccups
Elst chose a 10BBL indirect fire and electric system that is comprised of a combination of mash/lauter and kettle/whirlpool products. The kettle will be heated with an indirect fire burner and skirt. There will be an additional electric band heater on the mash tun for controlled step mashing.
The brewhouse also includes a redesigned hopback mounted on the front of the platform. The hopback is filled with hops and gives the brewer an opportunity to run several passes from the kettle/whirlpool to the fermenter. The brewer’s sink sits in front of the platform and will give Elst brewer Chris Sexton access to gravity and clarity information.
Mind Over Grind
The low ceilings in this historic ONK building created a grain transfer challenge that was easily met with the production of a ground grist case. The plan is to run a screw auger to the top of the case from the mill and then a second screw auger from the bottom of the grist case to the mash hydrator on the top of the mash tun.
Future Foamy Fortunes
The two 10BBL unitank fermentation tanks and the 20BBL fermentation and brite tanks will be the first of many additional such units added over time as Elst Beer builds up its brand and meets its Knoxville, and eventually regional, market goals. With already well in excess of a dozen varieties set to quench discriminating thirsts upon its imminent opening, the Elst Brewery will in short order delight beer lovers in the adjacent Elstwhere tasting room.
About Elst Beer
Founded in 2017, Elst Beer literally means a sanctuary for beer. To that end, with its first brewery and tasting room set to open during 2018, the business’ stated objective is “to create fine beers that speak to people with an obsession for beer.” Based in Knoxville, Tenn., company owners say the Elst Brewery is “a place for us to focus and create great beers for your enjoyment! Our favorite part of creating beer is sharing it with others.”
About Smart Machine Technologies Inc.
SMT manufactures large tanks and vessels for a wide range of industries. SMT’s designs and fabrications help companies improve their throughput and competitiveness. Founded in 1975, Smart Machine operates its approximately 100,000-square-foot shop out of Ridgeway, Va.
For more information, call 877-703-3280 or visit smartmachine.com.