Rasmussen Mechanical.

Worth Its Weight in Barley and Hops

July 1, 2021
Nebraska brewery relies on process heating and piping distribution.

NORFOLK, NE—Since 2014, visitors could take load off and enjoy a libation or two at Divots Brewery—a local brewhouse that carries Norfolk’s largest selection of regional microbrews—located within the DeVent Center, a full-service hotel and conference facility comprised of the Divots Conference Center.

Now Divots is on the move, settling in a mere 300 yards or so from its original location. Renovation is nearly complete on a new 60’ x 80’ building, a former auto repair shop with some additional space—that will accommodate a larger footprint, which includes two new brewhouses, a fermentation space, a canning line and taproom—targeting a summer 2021 opening for the brewery’s new home.

With any brewhouse setup, the main driver for success is the brewing process, and that means the piping and boiler install needs to be on point with the production and distribution of steam heat. Rasmussen Mechanical Services, Gibbon, Neb.—a full-service, one-stop shop for a wide-range of expertise in commercial, industrial and institutional mechanical equipment—was contracted for what was to be a five-week boiler install, as well as all of the carbon steel steam piping and the copper glycol piping for the new brewhouse.

A natural gas Fulton Classic Steam (ICS-20) vertical tubeless steam boiler is located on the mezzanine above the entrance of the building and is piped across the facility for processing. In addition to the Fulton boiler, the project also included a blowdown separator, boiler feedwater tank, two Hoffman condensate return tanks and a Cold Shot chiller. All gas train vents for the boiler, feedwater tank and blowdown separator were also installed. The glycol system was a combination of copper sweat and press fitting, and all of the steam and condensate piping is carbon steel, insulated with PVC-wrapped fiberglass insulation.

“Honestly, one of the biggest challenges for us was the meticulous attention to detail since we knew the brewery would be an open-air design and in plain view for the customers. We had to make sure everything installed was aesthetically pleasing,” says Steve Kautz, a 15-year veteran—the last five as project manager and sales representative—at Rasmussen Mechanical Services.

As with any installation, getting the job done right and on time is essential, yet Kautz noted that the boiler and piping install wasn’t necessarily critical time-wise. “We had plenty of time to perform the install because the owner already had an operating brewery nearby; the Divots team is going to grow this new facility exactly to their specifications. In fact, we installed and tested in five weeks and there were still other trades working on the facility when we were done,” says Kautz.

Another challenge, says Kautz, was knowing that they were providing glycol, steam and condensate service for previously-owned equipment—i.e. vats—so everything needed to be simpatico, in sync, or able to work together. “This was used equipment from another brewery and relocated to the current location, and all of the equipment was purchased by the owner,” says Kautz.

Rasmussen performed a CSD-1 safety check and burner tuning and combustion analysis following the boiler installation. To date, the brewmaster and owner are very satisfied with the overall performance and aesthetics of the process heating installation.

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