Flow Monitoring: Beer and Brewing
At the last count in 2017, there were over 2,000 breweries in the UK. The revolution of craft beer has seen Britain become a ‘brewing powerhouse’ as there are 64% more breweries now than there was five years ago.
Brew pubs (brewed and sold on site) are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and the USA so customers can enjoy the homemade taste of ale on-site. Pubs, craft breweries and microbreweries together are no-doubt making millions of bottles filled with traditional and innovative brews.
Production of Beer
The flavouring and boiling processes are just as important as the brewing. The flavouring, hops, goes into a wort made from grain and is boiled into a liquid. After it has rested, this liquid gets put into the chiller, fermented and put into storage. This process takes place in a maze of pumps and piping attached to large stainless steal tanks.
Cleanliness is always vital when brewing beer. Steam and other methods are used by brewers on their equipment to ensure no batches go to waste from contamination. It’s always good to be an obsessive cleaner at a brewery!
Bottles are washed and sterilised before receiving their 330ml of beer that is delivered from a foam free rotary device. This device is connected to the steel pipes of the holding tanks.
Very similarly to the brewing process, cleaning of the equipment needs to happen regularly; no one wants to be drinking a lousy bottle of beer!
Why are monitoring flows important?
Careful regulation of time and temperature are governed by the rate at which the liquid flows through the system – this plays a big part in creating that perfect bottle of beer. Stalls and blockages will expose the product to temperatures that are too high or too low and will give unwanted effects to the ale. From the reduced flow, pumps may be damaged and overflows may arise elsewhere; it can also cause under-filled bottles.
Flow monitors are registered to perform target flow rates. If the flow is obstructed, the monitor responds to this with an alarm signal. A warning light, lamp or a shut down pump could be used to avoid any damage to equipment or the product.
One of our key partners, ChemTec, manufacture flow monitors. These devices are simple but effective, like those in the FS and LPH ranges. A small magnetic piston is suspended in the flowing liquid. A sensor outside the stream detects the change in position resulting from a drop or increase in flow.
There are also devices called excess flow valves that are designed for more extreme cases. For example, if an uncontrolled release occurs or if a pipe is broken, the valve will shut off the flow completely. Excess flow valves can help protect breweries against mistakes and accidents.
Every fluid concerned has a solution that is tailored to it’s needs, making flow monitoring a very unique and specialised area.
Or to learn more on this topic, contact us today.