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The quest for the holy ale

While the traditional beer market is stagnating across the world, craft beer is flourishing. But scaling up production while keeping quality high can be a challenge. Here is one solution.

DATE 2016-01-19 AUTHOR ULF WIMAN PHOTO HARPOON

Craft beer pioneer Harpoon Brewery in the US, is one of the many small independent breweries around the world that are taking on the established brewery giants. But like many producers of its kind, it faced challenges when increasing capacity to meet the demand of its discerning customers.

Installing new and bigger tanks required a new approach to adjusting alcohol and CO2, and so the Boston-based brewery, which is the 12th largest craft brewery in the US, turned to Alfa Laval and its versatile and effective Iso-Mix system. Besides being a fast and consistent way of adjusting CO2 content and gravity, the solution has led to a safer cleaning-in-place procedure at the brewery. And reduced the fermentation time by up to 30 percent.

   

  • A skid-mounted pump module draws beer from the bottom of the tank and returns it back into the tank through the nozzles of the Alfa Laval Rotary Jet Mixer, which rotates on two axes to churn the entire volume in the tank with maximum effectiveness. Operators can add water to the circulation loop on the suction side of the pump in order to adjust gravity, and natural flavours can also be added to adjust the flavour profile. Meanwhile, CO2 can be added to adjust the carbon dioxide content of the beer.
  • Alfa Laval’s Rotary Jet Mixer helps reduce capital expenditure and operating expenses while achieving fast and efficient mixing. A single Rotary Jet Mixer can handle liquid mixing, gas dispersion and powder dispersion applications – plus tank cleaning – without requiring separate equipment for each process, and thereby delivering significant savings.
  • Alfa Laval’s Rotary Jet Mixer is used for mixing in beer fermenters. Applying forced mixing in beer fermenters reduces processing times by up to 30 percent.

Benefits

  • Fastest and most efficient mixing results
  • Based on rotary jet head technology
  • Reduce capital expenditures and operating expenses

Alfa Laval Rotary Jet Mixer

  • The number of brewpubs surged in the late 1990s and the number of microbreweries has increased strongly in the 2010s.
  • According to US trade group Brewers Association, the craft beer segment more than doubled between 2008 and 2014, adding up to 3,418 out of a total of 3,464 breweries. You have to go back to the 1870s to equal that.
  • In 2014, craft beer had an 11 percent market share in the USA, while sales reached USD 19.6 billion, a 22 percent rise compared to 2013.
The Iso-Mix system provides us with a fast, consistent way of adjusting CO2 content and gravity, as well as making other additions that ensure less manual labour and reduced risk of delays in our packaging operations.”
AL MARZI, VICE-PRESIENT AND CHIEF BREWING OFFICER AT HARPOON BREWERY
Since the Alfa Laval Rotary Jet Mixer is also a very efficient tank-cleaning machine, it has allowed us to redesign our cleaning-in-place procedure such that it has become much safer to operate.”
AARON MOBERGER, CELLAR MANAGER