Taking craft beer from good to exceptional
Adam DeBower, owner and founder of Austin Beerworks, talks about how a fully hermetic Alfa Laval centrifuge improved his brewery’s operations – and their beer. Thanks to the unique design and advanced features, along with first-class support from Alfa Laval’s leading brewery separation experts, his team has been able to take their craft beer from good to exceptional. Take a look at the interview conducted in 2019.DATE 2023-11-28
What is the history of Austin Beerworks?
We are a local craft brewery in Austin, Texas, USA. We started with three other partners and me, and we’ve since grown to 54 people. We make beer for the Austin market; we don’t sell beer outside the Greater Austin area. We are super excited that we got to do what we love in the town that we are from. We have a company promise: quality of beer and quality of life. It’s a promise to our company, it’s a promise to our staff, and it’s a promise to our customers. So, every decision that we make must make better beer, and it must make a better place for our people to work.
What are your thoughts about Alfa Laval's craft brew centrifuges?
Over the course of the year, we make five year-round brands, and every month we put out a seasonal beer. We make beers with coffee, with fruit juices - we make all kinds of beers. So, we’re not just trying to get hops and yeast out of the beer. Coffee grounds are incredibly coarse, and they have a very different weight and very different texture. It’s difficult to push that through a filter. We ran a lenticular filtration system through the first four years of business here. They required a lot of upkeep and maintenance, specialized training for our staff, and sometimes there were noxious chemicals that people had to breathe.
So, we started looking for something different, something new. We thought about having a centrifuge for a very long time. When we finally made the decision, it was a tough decision to make. We looked at all the different centrifuges that were available on the market at the time. When we started looking at the Alfa Laval system, what we saw was unique technology that could provide exactly what we were looking for. We went in with one set of expectations and got a lot more than we expected.
When we started looking at the Alfa Laval system, what we saw was unique technology that could provide exactly what we were looking for. We went in with one set of expectations and got a lot more than we expected.”
What impressed you most about Alfa Laval technology?
File Eagle IPA is one of our best-selling beers. It’s an American IPA, more of a west-coast style. We had filtered the beer through our former lenticular system the day before we commissioned the Alfa Laval Brew 250. The next day, we ran an additional batch of Fire Eagle though the centrifuge, and it was night and day. They both were crystal clear, but head retention was better, and the aromatics were better, and the flavor was better. Just overnight, that beer went from being a good beer to an exceptional one. That year we won the silver medal in the Great American Beer Festival.
What is unique about the Alfa Laval Brew 250 is the fully hermetic design. The beer comes through the bottom of the centrifuge and out the top, so we can fully purge that system before we must run it through it. Our dissolved oxygen pickup is nothing, zero. We get no pickup of dissolved oxygen through that centrifuge. The technology is simply better. It was created in the CAD era. Most other machines we looked at from other manufactures were from the 1970s.
Our dissolved oxygen pickup is nothing, zero. We get no pickup of dissolved oxygen through that centrifuge.”
What do you think about Alfa Laval services?
The technicians have been great to work with. They’re incredibly knowledgeable and have been able to teach us more about the machines than we thought we knew, which is exciting. Having a partner like Alfa Laval creating incredible equipment that they stand behind is incredibly valuable. There are other providers that I’ve worked with that I won’t work with again. No qualms working with Alfa Laval in the future.
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Polisher for small breweries and сraft brewers
- Up to 180 hl/h
- Hermetic design means practically zero risk of oxygen pick-up
- Low power consumption
- Basic and easy to operate
- Skid-mounted separator and system
- Turbidity triggering of solids discharge
- Capacity control by inlet turbidity (included in upgraded Plus version)
- Siemens or Allen Bradley Automation (included in upgraded Plus version)