Enhancing Brewery Operations: Exploring Different CIP Systems

CIP systems are essential for the craft beverage industry to deliver high-quality products in a competitive market. The importance of producing top-notch products in this sector is only increasing. An important step towards ensuring product hygiene and preventing contamination is using food-grade stainless steel equipment. Every craft beverage producer must have a clean-in-place (CIP) system to ensure the quality of every drink.

Types of CIP Systems

The types of CIP systems can be distinguished based on the number of tanks and their mobility. Based on mobility, there are three types: Pump on a Cart, Mobile CIP Skid, and Centralized CIP System. Based on the number of tanks, there are single-tank, two-tank, three-tank, and four-tank systems. Let’s take a closer look at each option and its advantages.

Distinguished by Type of Movement

Pump on a Cart

This is a cost-effective option commonly used in beer production, especially by microbrewery startups. Pump trucks serve multiple purposes, including transfer processes and CIP cleaning activities. The advantage of a fully mobile pump truck is that it can be used anywhere on the equipment. However, it is a manual option and cannot heat or maintain the temperature of cleaning chemicals. Manufacturers must use temperatures higher than the recommended range to ensure chemical effectiveness. Without temperature monitoring, the efficiency of the CIP system cannot be guaranteed. When selecting a pump truck, it is important to ensure that the equipment has a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) to control pump speed, ensuring proper flow rate and surface contact for the chemicals being pumped.

Mobile CIP Skid

This design combines mobility with custom equipment functionality. Mobile CIP skids typically include one or more heating vessels. They offer several advantages:

  • Chemicals can be captured for multiple recycling, reducing costs and environmental impact.
  • Heating and maintaining desired temperatures ensure chemicals are within the operating range.
  • CIP skids with multiple reservoirs allow prefilling and preheating during the CIP process.
  • Multiple solution types can be used to create the best cleaning solution.
  • Removable design is suitable for remote equipment.
Centralized CIP System

This system is the best choice for large production facilities as it delivers cleaning agents throughout the facility. It is fully automated and features multiple hard pipe cleaning circuits. Additionally, it is equipped with various monitoring equipment, including temperature sensors, pressure sensors, flowmeters, and liquid level sensors. These systems often have automated logging capabilities, generating documentation for quality assurance programs.

Distinguished by the Number of Tanks

The size and number of CIP tanks in a brewery vary based on the CIP cycle and brewery size. Tanks can be used for fresh water, caustic, acid, reuse (washing and rinsing), and disinfectants. Typically, tanks are made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel (304 or 316).

Single-tank system

Single-tank systems are the most common and require a simple circuit for cleaning and/or rinsing. After each cycle, the solution is dumped down the drain.


  • Used to avoid allergen and cross-contamination issues as each cycle is dumped down the drain after a single pass.
  • Lower initial investment compared to multi-tank systems.
  • Requires less space and can be mounted on a cart for mobility.


  • The same tank must be used for each cycle.
  • Not recommended for multiple cycles or city use strategies.
  • Cleaning cycles require more time to refill and heat the tank for each cycle.
  • Water and chemical consumption is higher in a single-tank system as each wash and rinse needs to be drained.
Two-tank system

In a two-tank system, one tank is typically used for water (pre-rinse and final rinse), while the other is used for caustic wash solution.


  • Caustic wash can be returned to the tank and reused multiple times, reducing water, chemical, and energy costs compared to single-tank systems.
  • Each tank can be prefilled and preheated before starting the cleaning cycle, reducing cleaning time.
  • Can be mounted on a cart for mobility.


  • Requires more space.
  • Mobility is lower than single-tank systems.
Three-tank system

Three-tank systems offer more cleaning options compared to single- and dual-tank systems.


  • The water/caustic/acid cycle is common and efficient, reducing cleaning time through pre-filling and preheating of all solutions.
  • Caustic and acid washes can be recovered and reused, depending on the soil content in the treatment system.
  • Water/Alkaline/Reuse: This setup allows moderately contaminated caustic washes to be captured and used as pre-rinse for the next cleaning cycle, saving water and helping recover residual caustic solution.
  • Water/caustic/alternative caustic: Suitable for cleaning multiple circuits with different types of product fouling that require different types or concentrations of caustic cleaners.


  • Requires more space.
  • Not suitable for mobility.
Four-tank system

A four-tank system provides additional flexibility in recovering and reusing solutions without sacrificing the convenience of a single caustic and acid solution tank.


  • Fully automated systems with valves and gauges monitor key variables and provide data for validation.
  • The water/caustic/acid/reuse setup allows pre-filling and preheating for each wash, with options for reusing washes.
  • The water/caustic/alternative caustic/reuse cycle accommodates different product types and fouling levels, with multiple caustic scrubbing loops at varying concentrations.


  • Requires more space.
  • More complex systems.
  • Generally not suitable for mobility.
  • May require higher initial investment.

The design of a CIP system depends on its application. Designers analyze water, chemical, and energy usage, as well as potential time savings, to determine the number of tanks required. They also consider the brewing process and equipment, from mashing to boiling, filtration, and fermentation, to design the most efficient CIP system that meets hygiene requirements.

If you are planning to open or expand a brewery, you can contact us for a turnkey solution. Our engineers will design and manufacture brewery equipment tailored to your brewing process. We offer complete turnkey solutions and customizable options for brewery expansion.

Share This :

Recent Posts

Have Any Question?