Cleaning Methods for Craft Beer Equipment
In the context of the saturated mass beer market, the craft beer industry is gaining popularity among consumers. Craft beer is experiencing steady growth and increased recognition, leading to more people entering the craft beer business. To become a qualified brewer, it is crucial to have a good understanding of craft beer brewing equipment. In addition to functionality, safety, and ease of operation, the cleanliness and hygiene of the equipment are of utmost importance. Inadequate cleaning and sterilization can result in residual scales and microorganisms on the inner walls of the equipment, which can negatively impact the flavor and taste of the beer. Microbes and dirt are a brewer’s worst enemies – even if every step of the brewing process is followed meticulously, using dirty equipment will result in beer with unpleasant odors. Therefore, cleaning craft beer brewing equipment is a crucial task. So, how should craft beer brewing equipment be properly cleaned? The suggestions provided by our engineers are listed below and may assist you in achieving effective cleaning.
What is Dirt?
‘Dirt’ refers to organic and inorganic buildup commonly found in beer and wine. Proteins and minerals, originating from ingredients such as grains, hops, fruit, and water, are the main sources of ‘dirt.’ When bacteria begin to grow, they adhere to plastics, forming scale, scum, and biofilm. The fermentation tank may appear clean but can harbor invisible microbes and bacteria on its inner walls. Ensuring a ‘clean’ environment is key to preserving the flavor of the beer.
Basic Elements of Cleaning
In the beer production process, maintaining the hygiene of the equipment is critical. Contamination of beer can lead to poor taste and, in severe cases, spoilage, resulting in financial losses. To ensure a favorable production environment, cleaning beer equipment is essential.
- Prior to cleaning, it is necessary to close the craft beer equipment to prevent unnecessary accidents.
The cleaning fluid must directly contact the dirt. The concentration, temperature, and duration of the cleaning solution must meet the process requirements. Mechanical operations should focus on cleaning the specific parts.
Dirt that is cleaned must be effectively removed from the equipment to prevent redeposition.
All cleaned dirt must be completely eliminated from the system.
The cleaning agent itself may be harmful to the product and must be thoroughly drained from the system. Adjustments and tests may be necessary due to dilution of the acid-base concentration during cleaning.
How to Clean Pipes
The pipeline areas of craft beer brewing equipment are prone to residual impurities. If these areas are not cleaned, even if the cans are cleaned, the resulting beer may deteriorate. To enhance the cleaning effect, attention should be paid to the mechanical function when cleaning the pipeline in beer equipment. When using a hot cleaning fluid, the flow rate in the pipe should be controlled between 1 and 1.5 meters per second. When using a cold cleaning fluid, the flow rate should be determined based on the pipe diameter. Rinse with hot or alkaline water multiple times.
How to Clean Fermentation Tanks
The hygienic condition of the fermentation tanks significantly impacts beer quality, and cleanliness and sterility are fundamental requirements. At room temperature, rinse with water; then prepare a 2% to 4% alkaline solution, heat it to 80 to 85°C for CIP (cleaning-in-place) cycle for 30 minutes. Follow with a water rinse for 5 to 10 minutes, then prepare a 1% to 2% nitric acid or sulfuric acid solution and perform a CIP cycle at room temperature for 30 minutes. Rinse again with clean water for 5 to 10 minutes, followed by a 0.35% to 0.5% bactericide solution at room temperature for 30 minutes. Finish with a rinse using sterile water to remove any residual sterilization agents. Small equipment, such as 500L tanks, can be sterilized by rinsing with open water for a short time. For larger fermenters, disinfectants such as hydrogen peroxide, peroxy acid, and no-rinse disinfectant should be used for sterilization.
How to Clean Brewhouse Equipment
The cleaning of the brewhouse equipment system should focus on removing dirt from the tank surface, pipelines, and equipment. However, specific areas, such as the pipeline after the boiling tank or spin sink, and the pipeline leading to the fermenter, must be thoroughly cleaned. Rinse with hot or alkaline water multiple times. At room temperature, pre-rinse with clean water for 10 minutes, then prepare a 1%-2% sodium hydroxide solution and heat it to 80-85°C for 30 minutes. Finally, perform a CIP circulation using hot water at 90°C-95°C for 30-40 minutes to achieve effective cleaning.
How to Clean a Plate Heat Exchanger
In a plate heat exchanger, wort and coolant flow in a turbulent manner, following the grooves on both sides of the plates to achieve rapid cooling. Although the plate heat exchanger is on the side of the wort, the cold break in the wort adheres to the plates, resulting in odor and potential bacterial infections. It is recommended to backflush the wine with caustic soda solution or other cleaning solutions after each brewing cycle (backflushing refers to the cleaning solution flowing in the opposite direction of the wort). Before each brewing, circulate hot water above 80°C for at least 30 minutes for sterilization. To facilitate recoil, additional pipes can be added to improve plate cleaning. When disassembling the plates for cleaning, it is crucial to remember the positive and negative orientations of each plate to avoid improper installation or insufficient fixation, which may disrupt normal operations.
The Purpose of Cleaning Beer Equipment
Different impurities accumulate on the metal surfaces that come into contact with materials during the beer production process. Yeast, protein coagulation, hop resin, oxalate, tartrate, carbonate, and other organic and inorganic substances must be removed from tank walls and pipelines to prevent non-biological contamination in beer production. The goal and function of sterilization are to use suitable fungicides that can eliminate bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms, preventing biological contamination in beer production.
Get Turnkey Solutions for Craft Brewery Equipment
If you are planning to open a brewery, feel free to contact us. Our engineers can provide you with a list of craft brewery equipment and associated prices. We also offer professional turnkey solutions, allowing you to focus more on brewing great beer. We look forward to working with you!
Get Turnkey Solutions for Brewery Equipment
If you are planning to open or expand a brewery, please contact us directly. Our engineers can design and manufacture brewery equipment tailored to your brewing process. We provide comprehensive turnkey solutions, including customized options for brewery expansion.