Two Ways to Pasteurize Craft Beer
Many of you may wonder how pasteurization is applied in the craft beer industry. Today, ACE will discuss this topic.
There are two methods of pasteurizing craft beer: one is instantaneous sterilization, and the other is sterilization after beer bottling – tunnel spray sterilization.
1. Instantaneous Sterilization
Instantaneous sterilization is a method of rapidly sterilizing beer before it is bottled, also known as high-temperature short-time sterilization. Typically, beer is heated and cooled using a set of plate heat exchangers. During instantaneous sterilization, the beer is rapidly heated to 68-72°C in a plate heat exchanger, with a holding time of about 30-50 seconds, and then rapidly cooled back to the initial temperature. Instantaneous sterilization has higher requirements for the hygienic condition and filling technology of beer bottles, specifically aseptic filling, which is difficult for many small beer companies to achieve.
2. Sterilization After Beer Bottling – Tunnel Spray Sterilization
Tunnel spray sterilization is one of the most widely used pasteurization methods both domestically and internationally. It involves a tunnel sterilizer consisting of several chambers. The chamber is divided into different temperature spray zones. Bottled beer continuously enters the sterilizer and passes through different temperature zones including preheating, heat preservation, sterilization, and cooling to achieve the desired level of sterilization. Once sterilized, the beer is continuously discharged from the sterilizer.
In contrast to instantaneous sterilization, the tunnel spray sterilizer sterilizes the beer along with the packaged container (glass bottle). This means that the glass bottle, together with the beer inside, is heated to the required sterilization temperature and kept at this temperature for a certain period of time before being cooled back to room temperature. Clearly, this method of sterilization is highly reliable. Therefore, tunnel spray sterilization is the preferred choice for beer production companies in our country.
The sterilization process in the tunnel spray sterilizer generally takes about 45-60 minutes. It is also the largest equipment in the entire bottling production line, with an average production capacity of 1000 bottles per hour and an area of approximately 3-3.5 square meters.
During operation, the heating and cooling stages of the bottled beer should not be too abrupt and can be divided into three stages: 4-30°C, 35-50°C, and 55-62°C.
The above are the relevant details of the pasteurization methods used in craft beer. Feel free to discuss any related knowledge of craft beer with me.