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Chiller Applications in Breweries

From 5 gallon homebrew batches to 500 bbl brewing systems, cooling is an integral part in the brewing process. Brewing chillers can be as simple as copper tubing in an ice bath for home brewers or a heat exchanger for small craft breweries. As your brewery grows up, your brewing system needs a professional upgrade – this upgrade should include a specialized industrial process cooling chiller, specifically tailored to meet the peak demands of your brewing cooling requirements. Industrial brewing chillers are an efficient way of quickly cooling wort as well as maintaining temperatures in brite tanks and fermentation tanks. When a complete cooling process is taking into account you can even size a chiller to include water for cold water storage tanks, and even hold temperatures in refrigerated spaces.

Sizing a Chiller for Brewery Applications

Our Industrial chillers typically make economic sense in breweries sized as microbreweries up to regional breweries. For Nanobreweries under 4bbl systems our chillers are typically overkill unless you are building in capacity for expansion or centralizing your cooling in your brewery. We encourage you to contact our knowledgeable support staff so we can help you select a properly sized brewery process chiller tailored to the unique needs of your brewery.

Read below to consider how our chillers and our process cooling experts’ advice can help you meet cooling needs of your brewing process over the many cooling requirements found in breweries and brew pubs.

Wort Cooling

The most demanding of cooling requirements for chillers in breweries and the beer industry are when chillers are working as wort chillers. Wort chilling requirements vary based on the size of your system (in barrels or BBLs), your knock-out time (in minutes), and your target wort temperature. Many times this will even vary based on the beer recipe you are brewing. Properly sizing chillers for the wort cooling aspect of brewing processes can be tricky.

Wort cooling is typically done with a plate heat exchanger, single stage or two stage. In many cases sanitary double-walled exchangers are necessary to prevent glycol/water mix coming in contact with beer or potable water. Sometimes this is done through a jacketed glycol tank chiller, though sanitary plated heat exchangers are much more efficient.

We refer to the use of a brewery chiller with a sanitary heat exchanger as a loop in loop system. General Air Products has designed many loop in loop systems for breweries allowing brewers, brew masters, and Chief Mad Scientists, to maximize efficiency and control over the wort cooling process.

Cold Water Storage Tanks

Cold water storage tanks and cold liquor tanks commonly found in medium to large craft breweries are another good candidate for industrial chillers. These tanks allow you to store pre-chilled water to be used to more quickly cool wort after boiling. Industrial chillers are able to quickly replenish chilled water to the cold water storage tanks.

Brite Tanks and Fermenter Temperature Maintenance

In many breweries there will be a cooling hook up to brite tanks and fermenters, this allows you to maintain temperatures throughout the fermenting and secondary fermenting processes. Whether you have an insulated tank with a cooling coil immersed in water or a jacketed glycol tank chiller, a chiller is a viable option for maintaining beer temperatures. If you are cooling brite tanks or fermenters with industrial chillers it is important that you use a variable frequency drive unit. This will prevent on/off short cycling and prolong the life of the unit. A variable frequency drive chiller adjusts based on heat load. For example, a chiller without variable frequency drive will cycle on and off while trying to maintain a fermenter tank temperature whereas a variable frequency drive unit will simply run continuously at a lower capacity, increasing capacity as needed. This allows you to cool your wort and maintain temperatures with the same brewery chiller.

Refrigeration

Refrigeration is a necessity in most breweries. Many times there are separate refrigeration systems operating in a brewery. It is, however, possible to consolidate your chilling requirements to a single industrial unit. The advantage of this is maximizing capacity utilization in your brewery.

Brewery chillers that are used for refrigeration or for more than one process in your brewery, should be variable frequency drive units. In refrigeration applications this allows brewery process chillers to maintain temperature without short cycling and eliminating temperature fluctuations.

For more information on General Air Products chillers for breweries and brew pubs please email or call 800-345-8207.

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