How to Improve Quality and Consistency in Breweries
January 17, 2020
Quality, consistency and innovation are the ruling factors for any brewery. They will inevitably drive the success of any brewing environment- but how can this be easily achieved?
Breweries are an environment where craftsmanship, science and exploration blend together to create innovative products that continue to push the industry to new heights. Flavour is at the heart of this world- especially in the modern age of educated consumers selecting from a saturated market.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A BREWERY?
Breweries are generally wet and humid environments. Huge variances from hot to cold conditions will inevitably cause a build-up in steam while other areas will be hosed down to maintain cleanliness. There are multiple processes that will encourage the build-up of condensate within this environment.
The day to day variation of temperatures used in the brewery range from -1 to 103 degrees. This comes from a hot liquor tank and a kettle which will be almost constantly heated and in use. These may even be heated via an exchanger. The exchanger uses plates that are passing water or wort (unfermented beer) one way and steam in the other. With the kettle boiling water volumes of between 1,000-10,000 litres for around 60-70 minutes, you can imagine the sheer volume of steam produced.
The wort will usually be cooled via exchange plates with cold water one way and hot wort in the other. When in the fermentors, they will be reduced to a temperature of 18 degrees for ales and around 12 for lagers. A side effect of their time in the fermentors is the development of condensate. Maturation comes next, at this point, the liquid will be reduced to a temperature of between -1 to 4 degrees. Generally, things are sterilised chemically in a brewery but will some use heat. This means passing 80℃ and higher water through hoses for ten or so minutes, often into drains, producing a vast amount of steam.
WHAT PROBLEMS CAN THIS CAUSE?
It’s very clear that the sheer amount of liquid at play in the brewing process has the potential to cause issues. With this huge amount of moisture in the atmosphere, a microclimate is essentially being created within the brewery. This atmosphere is extremely moisture-laden and will deposit itself onto every surface within the vicinity.
This atmospheric moisture can prove problematic very easily. Its gaseous nature means that it can deposit moisture all over the brewery- especially in inaccessible places. Once this has gone on for long enough, there can be only one result: the build-up of mould. Mould development is one of the last things that you would want in a brewing facility. Not only does it become a health and safety risk for employees but it can also become one for consumers. Once mould is present, it will only begin to spread and eventually this will have an effect on the raw ingredients that will eventually become the drink that goes out to the public.
The huge variations of temperatures can also cause issues on pipework. Exposed metal will get extremely cold- producing lots of condensate. Along with the pipework, this can ice up and potentially cause damage to the equipment.
Atmospheric conditions can clearly have a huge effect within a brewery- from causing health and safety issues to exacerbating downtime. This downtime can be caused by any of these issues from mould, ice to impacting any electric usage within the environment. The environment is already one damp enough to ensure that employees wear wellies, so any moisture caused purely from condensate will have a huge operational impact.
HOW DO WE FIX IT?
There are a multitude of ways to help combat the effects of excess humidity, but with the levels created in a brewery- finding something that actually works is a huge task. Issues of mould have to be tackled as they resurface, meaning that the downtime required to fix the issue is much more frequent than it would be if the humidity was treated at its source.
By using desiccant dehumidification in a bespoke system, you can ensure that the environment is being effectively treated. While ventilation will replace one body of uncontrolled air with another, dehumidification will eradicate these issues at the source. Controlling the dew point provides you with the peace of mind that the atmosphere within your brewery will not be causing any issues in quality, health or safety.
Breweries are an atmosphere that balance creativity and efficiency with a real passion for making a consistently high-quality product. It’s an industry that isn’t going anywhere, and the way to stand out from the crowd is to continually raise the game. By controlling the conditions within a brewery, the focus can be entirely on making these strides, rather than cleaning up and paying for the mess of ambient conditions.
For more information on how Dehum can help with humidity in your brewery, please visit https://www.dehum.com/applications/breweries/ or call us on 01926 882624.
For over twenty-one years, Dehum (Sorption Wheel Services Limited) has been a major supplier of humidity control systems. We are a true Engineering Company, designing, supplying and coordinating installations of equipment alongside complimentary services. Our global client list spans across all industries, including food & drink, pharmaceutical, nuclear, automotive, aviation, chemical processing, ice prevention/cold storage, car storage and archives.