Bell’s Brewery, based in Comstock, Mich., is a regional craft brewery known for its unfiltered, quality craft beers. Since its establishment in 1985, the company has grown exponentially. In 2013, it produced over 248,000 barrels of beer for distribution across 20 states.
For many years, the company’s 78,000-square-foot brewery was operated by a Cleaver-Brooks 150 HP boiler. To keep up with growing demand, Bell’s Brewery recently expanded its brew house by 35,000 square feet, which required the addition of a second firetube boiler.
“We are very happy with firetube boilers in general because of the way we use steam and the way our load is,” said Jeff Carter, director of maintenance at Bell’s Brewery. “They work very well for us.”
Knowing that Bell’s Brewery was in the market for a new boiler, John Wallish at Dean Boiler in Grand Rapids, Mich., recommended the Cleaver-Brooks CBEX Elite boiler to meet the efficiency goals the facility set. The CBEX Elite achieves 10:1 turndown while maintaining 3% O2 across the firing range, which makes it more efficient than other firetube boilers.
The CBEX also emits fewer pollutants than other firetube models, which matched up with Bell’s Brewery’s sustainability initiatives.
Bell’s Brewery looked at a few other firetube options, which were all much larger units, but Carter said none compared to the CBEX.
Dean Boiler handled the installation of the 400 HP CBEX Elite, and according to Carter, it went smoothly. “They dropped it into place, and it fired up,” he said. “It seemed to run really well right away. There were no issues whatsoever.”
Two years following the installation, Carter is pleased with the decision to install the CBEX.
He added, “I like the CBEX because of its rated efficiency. It is very easy to work with, and like all Cleaver-Brooks products, it is well-made and well-designed.”
The boiler operators at Bell’s Brewery appreciate that the controls are very straightforward. During the daily blowdown, the touch screens make it easy to ensure everything is operating correctly.
“The EX gives you its computed efficiency, and it’s quite a bit higher than what our 150 was,” said Carter. “The controller on the CBEX Elite says it runs at 86% efficiency. Although we didn’t really track it on a daily basis, our 150 was probably only running at about 78 to 79% efficiency.”