Exploring the Distinctions: The Unique Features of Glycol Tanks versus Cold Liquid Tanks

We all know that cooling systems are essential in breweries. Wort cooling, fermentation tanks, brite tanks, etc., all require cooling. You might ask, are glycol tanks and cold liquid tanks a must in a brewery? Could I choose just one of them? Let’s discuss it together.

Cold liquor tanks.

Cold water does not contain alcohol. This means that the temperature of the liquid in the tank is maintained above freezing. Set the temperature according to the brewing process requirements. The main sources of this water are tap water, RO water, etc., which can be used for brewing.

Glycol tanks.

The biggest difference between the glycol tank (GT) and the cold liquor tank (CLT) is the liquid inside. The main component of the glycol tank is a mixture of tap water and ethylene glycol, which is expensive. The function of glycol is to lower the freezing point, so the working temperature of the glycol is generally maintained at about minus three degrees to minus five degrees. It cannot be in direct contact with wort and cannot be used for brewing; it can only be circulated in the glycol tank and pipeline.

Both can be used as cooling tanks. When designing the brewery, you can decide whether to use them or not after fully considering the project budget, room space, and brewing process design.

The chiller unit cools the liquid in the glycol tank.

The glycol tank is used to cool the fermentation tank and the cold water tank.

The liquid in the cold water tank is mainly used to cool down the beer wort. After going through the plate heat exchanger located at the brewhouse, the cold water is heated to more than 80 degrees by the hot wort. The heated water will be recycled into the hot water tank for the next batch of brewing work or other cleaning work.

If only using cold water to cool the wort is not enough, the glycol tank can also be used for secondary cooling.

In order to avoid burdening the cooling system due to excessive heat exchange power during the process of cooling the wort at the plate heat exchanger, which would affect the fermentation temperature control, CLT can be used as a buffer tank to receive the heat and keep the glycol tank running at a lower temperature.

How to choose?

The rational use of CLT can save water and energy consumption, reduce hot water preparation time, increase brewing batches, and ensure that the cooling of the fermentation process is not affected. It is commonly found in brewing systems above 10HL brewing several batches per day.

For smaller breweries or brewpubs, we can eliminate the cold liquor tank and only use the glycol tank to cool both the plate heat exchanger in the brewhouse and the fermentation tank. When cooling the hot boiled wort, it will cause the glycol water to heat up rapidly. But if you have a budget and space limit, or you only need to brew one batch of beer in one day, you can just use the glycol tank to do all the cooling work. Therefore, it is usually found in brewpubs or restaurants.

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