Creating a Cleaner Brew: Identifying Pollution Sources and Effective Countermeasures

Pollution Sources and Countermeasures in Beer Brewing Process

Hygiene plays a crucial role in ensuring the production of high-quality beer during the brewing process. Controlling microbial contamination and the presence of microorganisms in brewery environments are essential to prevent spoilage of beer caused by microbial activity. Many unpleasant odors in beer stem from wild yeast or bacterial contamination that can grow in small crevices. Therefore, it is important to take beer hygiene seriously and sanitize equipment such as fermenters and hoses after the brewing process. In the following paragraphs, ACE’s engineers will guide you through the sources of pollution in beer brewing.

Hygiene issues and cleanliness are both important for yeast growth. During the cleaning process, it is crucial to ensure that every surface that comes into contact with the beer is free from microorganisms. Disinfectants alone cannot effectively eliminate contamination without proper cleaning. In fact, if the surfaces are not cleaned first, disinfectants can provide a suitable environment for microorganism growth, which can then come into contact with water during the fermentation process. It is necessary to remove dirt and other deposits from equipment to eliminate hiding places for germs so that disinfectants can work effectively.

Pollution Source

Contamination in breweries is typically categorized as primary pollution occurring during the brewing stage, or secondary pollution occurring during bottling. While 50% of microbial issues are attributed to secondary pollution, the consequences of primary pollution can be disastrous. Beer spoilage organisms can be introduced at any stage of the brewing process, with indirect spoilage organisms being the main culprits. The properties of a particular organism and its impact on the beer depend on its location within the brewing process.

Major Pollutants

The primary sources of contamination in beer brewing are yeast, wort, fermentation, and storage. Equipment used to ferment beer with cultured yeast is also a significant source of pollution. Fermenting yeast, improperly cleaned and recycled bottles, and leftover beer are the most notable sources of contamination. Weak links in breweries that can contribute to contamination include measuring instruments like thermometers and pressure gauges, valves, dead ends, gas lines, and worn floor surfaces. Contamination can also occur during the cooling of hot wort in the plate heat exchanger due to leaky plates, inadequate cleaning, or exposure to air.

Secondary Pollution

Secondary pollution mainly originates from processes such as unpasteurized brewery bottling, filling, and barreling. Any area that comes into direct or indirect contact with cleaned or filled unsealed bottles can become a source of contamination. Common causes of secondary pollution include the sealing machine, filling machine, sealing machine environment, bottle inspection machine, and dripping water from bottle washing machines. Air pollution containing sufficient beer spoilage bacteria can be associated with microbial spoilage issues during the transportation of bottled beer from the bottling line to the bottle washer.

Countermeasures and Control Strategies

To effectively control microbial spoilage in beer, it is important to eliminate potential sources of contamination:

– Enhance the beer’s resistance to microbial attack by adjusting pH, adding antimicrobial compounds, reducing water activity, increasing osmotic pressure, etc.

– Implement processes that reduce microbial load, such as filtration, using high temperatures (boiling, pasteurization) and low-temperature storage.

– Ensure hygienic design of brewing and bottling equipment, including the selection of suitable materials and elimination of dead spaces and rough surfaces.

– Physically isolate high-care areas where critical operations are performed and use barrier technology to prevent the entry of microorganisms from raw materials, personnel, and the air.

– Regularly clean and disinfect equipment and facilities effectively.

Cleaning and Disinfection

The CIP (Clean-In-Place) procedure is used for closed processing lines in the brewing process, but its effectiveness may be hindered by the accumulation of microorganisms on equipment surfaces. Mechanized cleaning is crucial for removing dirt and microorganisms. Low-pressure foam systems or film cleaning methods are commonly employed to clean exposed surfaces in breweries, such as bottle inspectors, filling machines, and conveyor chains in bottling plants.

ACE CIP System

For safety reasons, the use of hot solutions or strong chemicals is limited, and cold-effective disinfectants are preferred for sanitation purposes. We recommend implementing foam cleaning and disinfectant spraying after each production day, as well as regular cleaning and inspection of hard-to-clean components. It is important to take precautions to prevent the spread of spoilage microorganisms through aerosols generated during pressure cleaning.

The above strategies outline ways to address pollution sources in beer brewing. If you have any better control methods, we welcome your discussion!

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