The craft beer industry has taken off in the last few years. Beer drinkers seek out full, unique flavors and variety in their beverages. Craft beer drinkers also like to support local, small and independently owned breweries.
Fortune reported that the craft brewers increased volume by 13 percent in 2015, making this the eighth year in a row of growth rates of 10 percent or more. There are more breweries than any beer aficionado can keep track of: 4,269 of them, to be exact.
Another impressive statistic is that, even in a year when the total beer market for the country contracted by 0.2 percent, the craft beer industry managed to grow, now encompassing 12 percent of the market.
“The figures show there is still strong growing demand for fuller flavored products from small brewers,” Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s chief economist, explained to Fortune.
“It shows the premiumization trend that we’ve seen the last few years has room to run,” he continued, referring to consumers’ willingness to pay higher prices for beer that cost more to produce but have fuller flavor.
Recognizing obstacles in energy efficiency
As more craft breweries come on the market or expand, owners and operators are beginning to realize some of the obstacles that can come along with beer production. For instance, breweries are extremely energy-intensive operations. Between refrigeration, space heating, packaging and the actual brew house, there are many aspects to a brewery that require either a large amount of electricity, natural gas or both, the Brewer’s Association explained.
The Daily Energy Report said many breweries have put efforts into reducing their energy use. Anheuser-Busch InBev announced in 2013 it had reduced its energy consumption by 12 percent and carbon emissions by 16 percent in three years. That same year, $100,000 in grants were awarded to five Wisconsin breweries for their efforts to reduce energy use.
There are many ways to curb energy consumption in a brewery, as with any other entity. The owner can invest in energy-efficient lighting and Energy Star equipment as two surefire ways to begin conserving, Brewers Association explained.
Reducing energy in wort cooling
One piece of equipment many breweries have found various uses for is the shell and tube heat exchanger. These are versatile machines with a wide range of applications in the brewery setting.
A sanitary shell and tube heat exchanger can be used in the brewing process for wort cooling. This is a crucial step, and a shell and tube heat exchanger is a great way to achieve this efficiently. According to Craft Beer & Brewing, a shell and tube heat exchanger can cool the wort to the desired temperature in just 10 minutes, and sometimes even quicker. This not only speeds up the brewing process, but it also results in a clearer product in the end. Shell and tube heat exchangers also use less water than some of their counterparts, such as an immersion chiller.
Reducing energy in wort boiling
Prior to the process of cooling the wort, there is a significant amount of energy used to heat up the mixture of water and malt. Chris Riphenburg, head brewer at Madison, Wisconsin-based Ale Asylum, told Craft Brewing Business that it’s essential to have the correct heating source for the kettle or hot liquor tank. There are three options brewers can choose from, though there is one clear choice if the brewer is hoping to reduce energy use and operating expenses. Three options are to use:
According to Riphenburg, a shell and tube heat exchanger can be as much as 80 percent more efficient than a burner and 50 percent more efficient than a steam jacket.
In addition to its environmental and financial benefits, a shell and tube heat exchanger also has the advantage of not having any moving parts and is easier to clean than other heating devices. This means brewers can spend more time making beer and less time worrying about equipment issues.
Making beer is a complex art. Each process involved needs to be executed precisely for the final product to be of high quality.
One of these processes is the wort cooling. This stage comes after wort boiling and just before fermentation, which is when the yeast is added to produce alcohol. This sometimes overlooked step is important for several reasons, according to Brew Your Own, a magazine dedicated to home brewing.
Importance of wort cooling
Cooling the wort brings the liquid down to a temperature at which the yeast will function best. Ale yeasts flourish in temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees, while lager yeasts prefer temperatures between 45 and 57 degrees. This is a far cry from the high temperatures the wort boils at. According to Beer & Wine Journal, wort boils at above 212 degrees – the exact temperature depends on the liquid’s specific gravity.
Production of dimethyl sulfide is slowed when the wort is cooled. While DMS is intentionally left in some commercial beers, many beer makers want to eliminate its presence from their brew. It has a tendency to smell like cooked corn.
Sometimes wort contains contaminants that affect the taste of the final product. Brewers want to be sure they have bacteria in their wort under control and rapid cooling helps slow any growth. Bacteria can’t reproduce well in high or low temperatures, but once the wort cools below 160 degrees, it flourishes. This is why it’s important to cool it as quickly as possible, to reduce the amount of time the fluid spends in this zone.
Finally, rapidly cooling the wort will maximize the cold break. According to Brew Like a Pro, the cold break occurs when proteins, tannins and other materials solidify in the wort. The quicker the wort is cooled, the more cold break will form. By increasing the amount that solidify, fewer will be transferred to the the final product. Their presence can make the beer cloudy and affect the taste.
How to cool wort
There are several ways to cool wort after it’s been boiled, though some are only efficient for small quantities. For instance, an ice bath might work for a home brewer, but would never be used in a craft or commercial beer setting. A shell and tube heat exchanger, sometimes called a counterflow chiller in the craft beer industry, is widely considered an efficient method for wort cooling.
The benefit of using a shell and tube heat exchanger rather than other options is how quickly the wort will be cooled. The exchanger can have the wort down to the desired temperature in 10 minutes, according to Craft Beer & Brewing. This is ideal for several reasons. The quicker you can cool the wort, the quicker you can add the yeast and the sooner your brew will be ready. Also, by minimizing the time it takes to cool, DMS will have less time to produce and bacteria won’t be able to multiply as well.
Comsol pointed out that this method is also an efficient one because the heated water can then be used for the next batch of wort.
The cold break will still be in the wort when it goes through the shell and tube heat exchanger. Brewers will be able to clearly see this when the wort that leaves the exchanger is cloudy. The solution to this is to direct the exchanger’s exit to a sanitary vessel and let the cold break settle at the bottom. After this, transfer the liquid to the fermenter and add the yeast.
Keeping all equipment clean is crucial to craft, commercial and home brewers alike. Fouling can be detrimental to a batch of beer and to a company that sells tainted product. Because of this, brewers must do everything they can to prevent contamination. All equipment should be cleaned properly after use. The shell and tube heat exchanger should be examined periodically to detect any leaks or deformities. Stainless steel shell and tube heat exchangers are easy to clean and more resistant to fouling. To get a quote on an exchanger for your brewing practice, contact Enerquip.
In the last decade, the number of microbreweries filling Americans’ pint glasses has skyrocketed. According to the U.S. Brewers Association, 24% ($22.2 billion) of the beer market belongs to microbreweries.
With the market growing and competition expanding, breweries have to invest in processing equipment that will bring a return on investment. One of the most common pieces of equipment is a shell and tube heat exchanger.
When using a heat exchanger where two liquids are involved, the heat exchanger uses heat from one fluid in the shell of the exchanger to warm or cool the other liquid in the tubes of the exchanger.
The main purpose of this in brewing is to kill the bacteria in yeast, one of the main ingredients in beer. The bacteria in most yeasts in the beer need to be boiled first and cooled afterward. Also, the bacteria is known as thermophilic, meaning it can withstand higher temperatures.
Having a custom shell and tube heat exchanger allows breweries to reach proper temperatures to kill off the bacteria without damaging the state of the product. According to Serious Eats, there is such a thing as “friendly yeast,” which can be introduced to add numerous flavors while breaking down the sugar.
Heating these products can kill off the appropriate yeast needed to craft beer. According to Brew Like a Pro, cleaning and sanitation is essential for the “cool side” of the beer-making process because the thermophilic bacteria can multiply and double every 20 minutes.
The brewing process can be greatly affected by the rolling action of the boil. The heating process needs to be relatively precise, which calls for custom heat exchanger solutions.