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Colloidal stabilisation of beer

Colloidal instability in beer is
caused through the interaction of
proteins and polyphenols.
To understand the mechanisms
that underlie beer stabilisation it
is necessary to examine the main
changes which inevitably
accompany the natural ageing of
beer, and affect both its taste and

Technical Summary 1
The first of a new series of
technical summaries for
the Institute & Guilds
AME candidates.
By Tim ORourke.
Controlling the physical conditions in the
brewing process

rofessor J. De Clerck 1 attributes three

principal changes which occur in beer and
which are brought about by the presence of
polyphenols and tannins.
Increase in haze caused by the precipitation
of protein substance.
Increases in harsh or unpleasant after taste in
Increases in colour, particularly following
The first manifestation of the loss of colloidal
stability is observed as chill haze, which is a
reversible association between small low
polymerised polyphenols and proteinaceous
material. The tendency to form chill haze
progressively increases over time.
Oxidation of some polyphenols flavanoids
in particular, lead to the formation of condensed (polymerised) products. These are
active precursors in haze formation, leading to
permanent (irreversible) haze formation (see
illustrations below).
To avoid colloidal haze production the
brewer has to control the brewing by the
selection of brewing materials and production
and storage of packaged beer. These steps
can be divided into:

Controlling protein content

Proteins in beer come from malt and some
adjuncts such as wheat and barley. It is broken
down during malting and mashing to produce
haze precursors but is also the source of the
amino acids necessary for yeast growth,
hydrophobic proteins which produce beer
foam and protein which give beer texture and
The brewer has to strike a balance between
reducing protein content to improve colloidal
stability and affecting fermentation and beer
Typical ways of reducing the protein content
of a beer are:
Selecting malts low in nitrogen (typically 1.6
to 1.8% nitrogen)
Using adjuncts which are low or free from
nitrogen e.g. maize flakes or brewing syrups.
Using under-modified malts thereby reducing
the amount of protein extracted, this will be

counter balanced by proteolysis in the

mashing programme.
Proteins are also removed from the brewing
process with the spent grains and as hot or
cold break after wort boiling, during cooling
and cold conditioning. The efficiency of
separation will depend on the quality of
boiling, performance of the whirlpool, and
temperature of cold storage.
The performance of break separation can be
improved through using kettle finings
It is principally the acidic hydrophilic proteins
containing prolein which bond with
polyphenols to produce haze.

Controlling polyphenol content

Polyphenols come from hops and husk of the
malt. The polyphenols from hops are generally
highly polymerised and are precipitated with
hot and cold break before filtration and hence
have little adverse effect on beer stability.
The malt polyphenols are extracted during
mashing and wort separation. During the
brewing process may give beer some antioxidant protection, however there is little
evidence that malt polyphenols protect bright
beer from oxidation in package.
Typical ways of reducing the polyphenol
content in beer are by:
The use of adjuncts to dilute the amount of
polyphenols coming from the malt.
Most malt polyphenol is extracted towards
the end of the runoff. Extraction can be
reducing by avoiding running to a low gravity

Controlling the protein content of the beer


Controlling the polyphenol content in the beer




Haze free

Chill haze

Permanent haze

In freshly packaged beer there is no chill haze

(<0.6 EBC) and the polyphenol haze
precursors exist as simple flavanoid molecule
which bond with proteins by hydrogen bonding.

Oxygen catalyses the polymerisation of simple

flavanoids which become three to four units
long, and which are able to bond with a
number of proteins via hydrogen bonds to form
chill haze.

As the polyphenols continue to oxidise larger

complexes are formed, and some of the
polyphenol/protein hydrogen bonds are
replaced by more permanent ionic bonds.
These bonds no longer break when the beer is
heated and leads to the formation of permanent

The BREWER International January 2002



TABLE 1: Summary of techniques used in colloidal stabilisation of beer

Composition of Chill Haze

Tannic Acid

Proteins and polyphenols form complexes at

low temperatures, and hence are removed
during cold maturation and cold filtration.


A new variety of malt (proanthocyanidin free)

has been developed by Carlsberg and is now
commercially available. This may
permanently solve the polyphenol problem
for the brewers.

Enzymes such
as Papain

Controlling the brewing process.




Carbohydrates 3- 13%
Ash 0.7-5%
Cu, Fe traces

Polyclar PVPP
High molecular
weight insoluble
protein (Casein)

Removal of

About 17%


Summary of stabilisation control during processing

Area of




Barley / Malt

free barley
High adjunct ratio

Low protein
High adjunct ratio

Low malt
High temperature

Bright worts run off


High cut off gravity

Low sparge pH
Avoid wort &
trub recycling
Time of hop addition
Hot break removal
Cold break removal
Lack of agitation


Stabiliser addition



Mash separation
Wort boiling
Wort clarification

Kettle finings
Hot break removal
Cold break removal
Auxiliary finings

Silica gel
Tannic acid

Time and vigour

of boil
Time and temp.
of cold storage
Cold filtration
Oxygen pick up
Metal ions
Contact time

Summary of stabilisation control during packaging

Area of



Packaging and distribution

Metal ions
High storage temperatures
High in package oxygen

Soften water
Cool storage
Low process oxygen
Anti oxidants

Stock rotation
Extended shelf life
High temperatures
Direct sunlight

BBD/Package date
Beer fresh in time
Direct deliveries
storage & distribution



January 2002 The BREWER International

(greater than 1004 or 1 Plato) and keeping

the sparge pH low (below 7). Operations such
as weak wort recycling may increase the
concentration of extracted polyphenols.

Attention to the brewing process can reduce

the level of the protein and polyphenols
finishing up in the final beer, thus reducing the
tendency to produce colloidal instability. The
principal changes which improve beer stability
Cold storage and cold filtration of the beer
encourages the formation of chill haze. It is
essential once cooled, the beer remains cold
particularly in line to the filter as the chill haze
can rapidly re-dissolve. Lower temperatures
(-2C) are better for final beer stability.
Haze is produced as a result of oxidation of
polyphenols, and hence eliminating oxygen,
particularly in package will reduce the rate of
haze formation and increase beer shelf life.
Oxidative reactions are catylised by metal
ions (particularly Fe2+ and Cu2+) reduction of
metal ion improve beer stability. Similar
oxidative processes also accelerate staling in
beer and colloidal instability is often
associated with aged beer flavours.

particles in the bear either as a result of a

breakthrough from the filter or filter aid.
Poor beer handling or over carbonation,
particularly when using reduced hop
compounds, can result in particulates due to
collapsed foam floating in the beer.
Poorly hydrolysed foam stabiliser
(Polyglycol alginate)
Lack of calcium in the mash can result in the
formation of oxalic acid crystal, which can
also lead to gushing.
The brewer has to control the whole process to
produce small pack beer with the required
shelf life. It is not possible just to rely on
chemical treatment at the end of the process to
consistently achieve the colloidal stability. It is
also found that a balanced chemical treatment
removing both proteins and polyphenols
provides a more efficient and more cost
effective stabilization regime.
Further Reading
Tim O Rourke et al from poster presented at
Perth Convention Ferment June 1998 p189
Tim O Rourke Back to Basics, Brewers
Guardian February 2000 p29
Mike ONeill Advances in Beer Stabilisation
The Brewer July 1998 p293 and August
p 353
De Clerck J. Brewers Digest August 1970
p 62 64
McMurrough I et al Effect of PVPP dosage
on the flavanoid content of beer and
consequences for beer quality Brew Digest
59 (10) 1984.

Summary of the properties of different beer stabilisers

Silica Gel

Made by acidic polymerisation of silicate solutions. Two forms: hydrogels70% & xerogels 5% moisture.
Adsorbs proteins based on selective control of pore diameter removes
<40,000 MW
Add to CT at run down up to 50g/hl
Add to filter powder slurry up to 100g/hl
Insoluble easy to use
DISADVANTAGE: Moderately expensive.
Generally suitable if a shelf life < 9 months is required.
Proteolytic enzyme
Usually Papain produced from the latex of Carica papaya.
Hydrolyses proteins. (Beer foam is protein)
2 to 6 mls/hl to rough or bright beer
DISADVANTAGE: Survives normal pasteurisation <20 PUs
Continues in bright beer may effect foam
Tannic acid

Natural gallotannins extracted from Chinese gall nuts or Shumac leaves.

Has many hydroxyl groups, attracts proteins bonds with nucleophylic
(SH-& NH-) protein groups in a similar manner to natural beer polyphenols to
produce insoluble precipitate.
5 to 8 g/hl to cold rough beer
Very efficient stabiliser
DISADVANTAGE: Added in line cold 0 to -10C
Requires 5 to 10 minutes contact
Produces voluminous bottoms
Cross linked PVP made synthetically.
Preferentially bonds with polymerized polyphenols (tannins) through hydrogen
and multi-site bonding.
Single use 10 to 30 g/hl.
Regeneration 25 to 50 g/hl
Very effective stabiliser
Selective for problematical polyphenols
Insoluble easy to use
DISADVANTAGE: High cost for single use.
Capital investment for regeneration system.

The protein/ polyphenol interactions are

dependent on electrostatic attractions
between the two compounds. It is found that
beers with higher pH, above 4.2, show better
colloidal stability.

Process aids to reduce

proteins or polyphenols.
By optimising the brewing process it is
possible to produce good which are stable for
up to three months without additional
However, if a longer shelf life is required
chemical stabilisers are recommended. See
Table 1, above left.

Other possible causes

of haze in bright beer
As well as colloidal instability there are other
hazes found in bright beer:
Polysaccharides such as starch and beta
glucans not broken down during mashing,
can produce a fine haze or cast in finished
beer. As well as haze the presence of the
complex carbohydrates often cause filtration

Please visit our website for full
information on all the IGBs
activities and services

Poor filtration and hygiene can lead to

The BREWER International January 2002



The function of wort boiling


he purpose of wort boiling is to stabilise

the wort by:

Killing spoilage micro-organisms.

Reducing the amount of coagulable
nitrogen thus promoting colloidal stability.
Extracting the desirable principles of hops
to give beer its characteristic aroma and
Reducing undesirable volatile compounds
through evaporation.
Clarified wort is usually collected directly in
the wort kettle or run to a wort receiving vessel
(often called a pre-run or underback) before
being transferred to the wort kettle.
The wort kettle is fitted with heating, either
using direct fuel combustion or indirectly,
using steam. The wort in the kettle is first
heated from wort separation run off
temperature, which is between 65C and 78C,
to boiling (usually just above 100C, at
atmospheric pressure because of the
dissolved solids).
The kettle contents are then boiled for
between 30 and 120 minutes. Wort boiling has
a high energy demand and accounts for as
much as 40% of the energy consumption of a
Most of the energy required to heat worts to
boiling point is recovered during wort cooling
through the use of heat exchangers, heating
up the incoming brewing water (liquor) in
preparation for the next brew. This gives a heat
recovery efficiency of up to 99%.
The additional energy required to evaporate
the water vapour during the boil is generally
lost up the chimney. It is by reducing this
energy loss that real savings can be achieved.
A variety of schemes are available to recover
part of the energy from evaporation.
The most effective ways to reduce energy
consumption are by reducing % evaporation
rates. The average % evaporation rates have
fallen over the last 30 years from around 12
20% to between 4 8%.
In order to appreciate the consequence of
reducing evaporation rates it is necessary to

Figure 1

Concentration of Wort

Technical Summary 2
The second in this new series
of technical summaries for
the Institute & Guilds
AME candidates.
By Tim ORourke.
understand the principle changes which
occurring in the wort during boiling.

Sterilisation of the Wort

Brewing raw materials such as malt, hops and
occasionally brewing water itself are infected
by micro-organisms, and these have to be
killed during the brewing process to prevent
wort and beer spoilage.
After boiling the wort is largely free from
microbial contamination. Some microorganisms, primarily Bacillus sp. and other
thermophilic bacteria are able to form spores
which can withstand heat treatment,
including boiling, and if present in the raw
materials or the brewing water may persist
into the finished beer.
However beer does not support the
subsequent growth of these organisms.

Halting Enzyme Action

Enzymes rely on their three dimensional
structure for their activity. Above certain
temperatures, (usually in the range of 5075C) the tertiary structure of the enzyme
becomes denatured, and they lose their
activity. By the time the wort has reached
boiling point there is usually no residual
enzyme activity.
The continued action of enzymes after the
normal mashing programme will alter the
fermentability of the wort, and hence in a
programmed mash there is a final mash
temperature rise to between 76 and 79C,
which is sufficient to halt the malt enzyme

During wort boiling water is driven off as

steam, thus concentrating the wort. The
amount of water removed during the boil is
directly proportional to the rate of
evaporation (and hence the amount of energy
supplied) once boiling has been achieved.
The efficiency will be affected by the design
of the kettle, particularly the surface area.
Traditionally, high gravity beers, such as
strong lagers and barley wines had a long
boil time, the major purpose being the
evaporation of water to concentrate the wort.
There are however other ways of achieving
high gravity worts without excessive wort
Parti-gyles- collecting different copper
Sugar adjuncts direct addition of extract
to the copper.
Weak wort recycling recovering the weak
worts from the lauter tun to be re-used for
Dewatering grains where the extract left in
the grains is recovered and reprocessed for
mashing, sparging or to be added to the
High extract wort separation techniques
such as the Mash Filter achieve high
gravity worts and high extract efficiencies.
These techniques enable the production of
high gravity worts, while still maintaining
brewhouse yield without the use of
unnecessary heat for wort concentration.

Isomerisation of Bitter Substances

During boiling the insoluble alpha acid
extracted from hops are converted to a more
soluble iso-alpha acid. This reaction is
accelerated by temperature.
Isomerisation is a relatively rapid reaction
with production of over 90% of the wort
bitterness occurring within the first 30
minutes of boil. Maximum isomerisation
usually occurs within 60 to 70 minutes of
boiling and
accounts for
around 60% of the
total alpha acid
present. Iso alpha
acid continues to
be lost during the
fermentation and
process and is lost
in any foam
produced so that
the final
conversion value
of alpha acid into
iso- alpha acid in
the beer is around
40% (see Figure 1).

Figure 2

The BREWER International February 2002



Removal of Volatiles
During the evaporation stage of wort boiling
undesirable volatile compounds are driven off
with the steam (see Figure 2).
The principal malt derived volatile lost
during wort boiling is DMS or dimethyl
sulphide which comes from lager malts and
gives lagers a taste described as
sweetcorn. It is produced by thermal
decomposition of S-methyl-methionine in a
first order reaction, with a half life of around 35
minutes (see Figure 3).

Figure 3
The DMS released during boiling is rapidly
lost through evaporation. However, the
breakdown of S-methyl methionine continues
during the period between the end of boiling
and wort cooling.
The DMS released is not lost and persists
into the finished beer. It is, therefore, possible
to control the level of DMS by varying the
duration of boil and whirlpool stage.

Methods of control
DMS levels in beer:
use malt with low S- methyl methionine
long wort boiling time to decompose
precursor and vaporise DMS.
short whirlpool stand time to reduce
decomposition of the precursor.
rapid wort cooling reducing the time the
wort is held hot.
use wort stripping after the whirlpool stand
to remove DMS.
(Note: not all DMS comes from the malt and
small amounts are produced during
fermentation and by beer spoilage organisms).
It was found that by reducing the boiling time
from 60 minutes to 45 minutes, with the same
level of absolute evaporation, the survival of
DMS precursor increased by 16% for a
standard wort corrected to 1039 original
Hop volatiles (hop oils) are also lost during
wort boiling, and if present in too high a
concentration will contribute a bitter,

vegetable grassy flavour to the beer. Most of

the hop oil volatiles are lost during a standard
60 to 90 minute boil. Where late hop character
is required in beer, a small amount (up to 20%
of the total hop charge) of selected aroma
hops can be added to the kettle 5 to 15
minutes before the end of the boil.
The principal factors which effect the
evaporation of volatiles include:
Temperature of wort
Vigour of boil
Surface tension
Condensation of volatiles in the
vapour stack
Thickness of diffusion path
Duration of boil
The kettle design will have a major
influence on the factors listed above
and it is found that more late hop
character persists in gently agitated systems
such as isometric kettle, than in more vigorous
boiling systems with turbulent flow such as
kettles fitted with an external wort boilers.

Increase in Colour
The colour of wort increases during the boil.
The reactions responsible for colour
development fall into three broad categories:
Maillard reaction between carbonyl and
amino compounds (see Figure 4).
Caramelisation of sugars, which is limited in
steam heated coppers.
Oxidation of polyphenols.
Oxidation during wort boiling increases the
colour particularly with oxidation of the
polyphenols, which also has the effect of
decreasing the reducing power of the wort and
beer (see later).
Mash and wort produced with low oxidation
produces lower wort and beer with lower
colours and improved flavour stability.

Reducing Wort pH
Control of pH throughout the brewing process,
from brewing water to final package, is
fundamental for product consistency. Wort pH
starts to decrease during mashing continues
to fall during wort boiling. The principal fall in
pH is due to the reaction of Ca2+ compounds
with phosphates and polypeptides to form an
insoluble compounds releasing H+ (hydrogen
ions) See Table 1.
At least half the calcium present in wort is
precipitated by the end of wort boiling. Hence
sweet wort with a starting concentration of

100 ppm will produce beer with around 40

ppm calcium.
To assist in the fall in pH extra calcium ions
in the form of calcium sulphate or calcium
chloride are added to the kettle. An alternative
method to decrease pH is through the direct
addition of acids such as phosphoric or
sulphuric acid which drop the wort pH.
In Germany, where the addition of mineral
acid is prohibited under the Reinheitsgebot
the product of an acidified mash fermentation
using lactic acid bacteria is sometimes added
to the kettle to assist in dropping the pH and
improving beer flavour.
It is important to achieve the required
decrease in pH (generally around pH 5.0) as it
effects wort and beer character, in particular
the fall:
Improves protein coagulation
Improves beer flavour in particular VDK
(diacetyl) reduction
Encourages yeast growth
Inhibits the growth of many other
contaminating organisms.
Lower pH results in poorer hop utilisation.
Lower pH results in less colour formation

Reducing Wort Nitrogen Levels

During the brewing process it is necessary to
decrease the level of high molecular weight
nitrogen, which comes from the malt, and if
allowed to persist can effect the pH, colloidal
stability (chill haze and permanent haze), fining
and clarifying properties, fermentation and
taste of the beer. Wort boiling is only one, if an
important stage, in the reduction of nitrogen,
and the effect in reducing the amount of wort
nitrogen (measured by the Kjeldahl method )
for a standard boil at 100C are shown below.
% Nitrogen removal after different boiling
times for a standard boil
Time of boil (hrs)

% nitrogen removal

Ref: Hough, Briggs and Stephen Malting and

Brewing Science

Because of the relatively small overall

reduction in total nitrogen during wort boiling it
is difficult to obtain consistent results even
from the same kettle with the same quality of
wort. (for example, over 9 samples from
individual brews, a result of 1.9 2.3 mg/100

Table 1: Changes in pH which can occur during wort

Before boil

pH of wort
After boil
After 3 hours

After 6 hours

Ref: Hough, Briggs and Stephen Malting and Brewing Science

Figure 4


February 2002 The BREWER International

ml. was obtained at 95% confidence level).

However, using a more specific test (gel
electrophoresis) it is possible to separate the
nitrogen compounds by their molecular
weight, to show that wort boiling is more
effective at removing the higher molecular
weight fraction, which is also the fraction
responsible for colloidal instability in
packaged beer (see Table 2)
The process of protein/polypeptide
coagulation involves the replacement of intra
by inter molecular bonds, thereby increasing
the effective molecular weight of each
Aggregates of different molecular weight
molecules are built up during wort boiling as a
result of inter-molecular bonding, provided
that they are not disrupted by mechanical
shear. During the whirlpool phase, with
sufficient time and momentum, these
aggregates continue to coalesce and
sediment out as hot break.
The degree of protein and polypeptide
removed depends on the probability of
individual molecules colliding and forming
stable bonds during the boil, and this is
directly proportional to the length and vigour
of the boil for a given temperature.
Traditional criteria used for evaluating efficient
wort boiling are:
Temperature of boil (usually just above l00C
when boiling under atmospheric pressure).
Length of boil
Evaporation % per hour
Traditionally conditions for wort boiling were a
90 minute boil with a minimum of 10%
evaporation per hour. However, because of the
need to reduce energy costs and to improve

Figure 5.

brewhouse efficiencies shorter boiling times

with lower evaporation rates are now
employed; typical modern kettles operate with
a 60 minute boil with between 5% and 9%
A criterion not usually measured, but which
has been shown to be of critical importance, is
the degree of agitation or vigour of the boil. In
traditional boiling systems the vigour or boiling
intensity has been related to evaporation rate.
If some other form of agitation through better
design of heat exchange, mechanical rousing
or use of pumped or thermosyphoned system
is used, then additional agitation independent
of the evaporation rate can be achieved.
This result is demonstrated in figure 5,
which shows a similar decrease in the high
molecular weight nitrogen fraction throughout
a boil under atmospheric pressure with
different evaporation rates, when the same
level of agitation is supplied by an external
wort boiler.
These results suggest that, given adequate
turbulence during the boil, the actual removal
of the high molecular weight nitrogen fraction
is a function of time and vigour, and can be
relatively independent of evaporation rate for
atmospheric boiling.
Vigour is only one feature of importance for
coagulation, since protein agglomeration is
improved by intense vapour bubble formation.
The actual wort surface temperature, and the
duration of the intimate contact of the wort
with the heating surface, may also be of
Although it is often stated that it is desirable
to remove as much protein/polypeptides as
possible, nitrogen compounds have an
important role in the quality and fermentation
performance of a beer and in providing foam
compounds and
mouthfeel. Excess
removal could lead to
poorer quality product.

Extraction and
precipitation of
tannins/ polyphenols
Simple hop tannins and
most malt polyphenols
are soluble in boiling
wort and moderately
soluble in cold water.
are readily oxidised and
polymerise to give an
increase in molecular
Table 2: Effect of boiling on the molecular weight distribution of wort proteins
Molecular distribution of proteins/polypeptides measured by gel electrophoresis

Before boil
After boil
% removal

< 5,000

5,000 to10,000

10,000 to 50,000

50,000 to 100,000





Ref: Hough, Briggs and Stephen Malting and Brewing Science

> 100,000

weight. Tannin/polyphenols also combine with

proteins to form protein/polyphenol
Proteins which combine with oxidised
polyphenols are insoluble in boiling wort and
are therefore precipitated during the boil to
form hot break.
Proteins which combine with unoxidised
polyphenols are soluble in boiling wort but
precipitate when chilled and can give rise to
chill haze and cold break. The polyphenols
may subsequently oxidise during beer
processing and may produce colloidal
instability in packaged beer.
Unprocessed hops contribute around 40% of
the total polyphenol content to boiled wort,
however most hop polyphenols are removed
as hot and cold break. The rest of the
polyphenols comes from the dry goods,
(particularly the husk), and less polymerized
and hence less likely to be removed. Worts
devoid of hop tannins give poorer wort clarity
and have a lower reducing potential.

Producing Reducing Compounds

Malt and wort contain a number of reducing
compounds which if not oxidised during the
wort production or processing stages can
provide the packaged beer with oxygen
scavenging protection which may delay the
onset of stale flavours and the rapid
production of oxidised chemical hazes.
Many of these compounds come from the
raw materials, such as tannins described
above, but others such as reductones and
melanoids are formed during wort boiling
through the condensation between sugar and
amino compounds. Darker beers with high
addition of unprocessed hops tend to produce
the greatest reducing power. Brewing systems
with low levels of oxidation tend to preserve
the natural reducing compounds in the wort,
which can persist into package beer and delay
the onset of ageing, improving colloidal and
flavour stability.

Wort boiling is a poorly understood but crucial
stage in the stabilization of wort and the beer
derived from it. Changes in the boiling process
can effect the stability and quality of beer.

Further Reading
1. Moll Beers and Coolers.
2. Hough, Briggs and Stephen Malting and Brewing
3. O`Rourke The Brewer 1994.
5. Wilkinson R. Ferment p 397 Vol 4 No6 Dec 1991.
4. Fitchett, C. S. et al. Pauls & Whites Brewing Room Book,
5. Hudson, J. R. and Rennie, H. M.B.A.A. Technical
Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 4.
6. Zanglando, T. Brewers Digest, April 1979. Buckee G.K. et
al J.I.B. Vol 99, 1992.
European Brewery Convention Manual of Good Practice
Wort Boiling and Clarification.

The BREWER International February 2002



The role of oxygen in brewing

We live in an oxygen-rich
environment for it comprises
21% of the air we breathe.
Oxygen is chemically very
reactive and combines readily
with nearly all other elements.
Elements reacting with oxygen
are said to be oxidized. Oxidation
reactions tend to be accelerated
by heat with the most vigorous
reactions leading to combustion
and burning.

early all plants and animals require oxygen

for respiration with the removal of waste
gas, carbon dioxide. Oxygen is a key
component of organic compounds.

Biological systems in brewing.

The malting process involves the germination
and partial growth of cereal seeds (usually
barley). To survive these seeds have to live in an
oxygen rich environment and the waste gas
produced during respiration has to be removed.
Air is blown through the grain at various stages
in the malting process:
In barley storage air is blown through the grain
to prevent carbon dioxide build up.
During steeping the wet steeps are aerated to
keep the steep water saturated and to agitate
the growing barley. During the air rests in
steeping air is usually sucked through the bed
to bring in fresh oxygen and to remove carbon
During germination humidified air is blown
through the bed to vent carbon dioxide and
keep the piece cool.
Once the green malt is kilned the living part or
embryo is killed and the malt has no further
need for oxygen.
The other living organism used in beer is yeast.
Although fermentation itself is an anaerobic
process (occurs in the absence of air see
below), yeast cells require oxygen for growth
Anaerobic respiration:
Sugar Alcohol + Carbon dioxide + Energy (ATP)
Molecular oxygen is taken up by yeast at the
start of the fermentation and is used by the cell
to synthesise sterols and unsaturated fatty
acids which are essential components of the
yeasts membrane. The need for oxygen can be
removed if sterols (e.g. ergosterol) and
unsaturated fatty acids (e.g. oleic acid) are
added directly to the wort.
In terms of releasing energy, aerobic
respiration is more efficient than anaerobic
respiration. However in yeast the temptation to
use the available oxygen for aerobic respiration
is suppressed through a mechanism described

of two stage wort cooler to benefit from the

turbulent flow conditions of a plate heat
Use of stainless steel and ceramic candles in
the cold wort line to produce micro bubbles.
The use of in line static mixers to promote
turbulent flow
The use of venturi systems which produce
pressure increase to forcing gas into solution.

Technical Summary 3
The third in this series of
technical summaries for
the Institute & Guilds
AME candidates.
By Tim ORourke.
as the Crabtree effect. In the presence of
glucose sugars (above 1% by weight) yeast
(Saccharomyces spp) uses glucose to produce
alcohol and uses the oxygen to produce the
necessary lipid compounds.
The presence of insufficient lipid compounds
will lead to a defective fermentation due to
inadequate yeast cell reproduction, which in
turn will lead to:
Slow and sticking fermentations
Off flavours e.g. poor removal of diacetyl and
Poor yeast crop in terms of quantity and
Low ester formation
Excess oxygen will lead to:
Rapid fermentations
Excessive yeast growth and hence beer
Higher ester production giving fruitier
flavoured beers

Oxygenating the wort

In any system only part of the gas supplied is

dissolved. A good aeration system should also
include a measuring device appropriately
located sufficiently far from the injection point
so that it accurately measures the dissolved
oxygen and can feed back to control system.
The amount of dissolved oxygen required
depends on the yeast strain and the original
gravity of the worts. Traditional ale and lager
worts were usually not collected higher than
1045 (12% Plato) and required 6 to 8 ppm
dissolved oxygen.
With high gravity brewing original gravities
have increased up to 1080 (20% Plato) and
require dissolved wort oxygen levels of 16 ppm
or higher.
From the table below it can be seen it is
impossible to provide this level of dissolved
oxygen from air alone and pure oxygen
injection is used.

Oxidation reactions
Oxidation and reduction reactions take place all
the time. Since we live in an oxygen rich
atmosphere products are continually being
slowly oxidised.
A molecule which loses electrons it is said to
have been oxidised. If one molecule loses an
electron then another molecule must accept
that electron. The molecule which accepts the
electrons it is said to be reduced.

Wort is usually aerated in line on transfer

between the wort clarification vessel (whirlpool
tank) through the wort cooler to the fermenting
vessel prior to yeast addition.
Most breweries
oxygenate the wort on the
Solubility of oxygen in water and in wort at different
cold side after the wort
temperatures and at atmospheric pressure.
cooler (see table below).
It is surprisingly difficult
Temperature (C)
to get oxygen to dissolve in
Oxygen concentration (mg/l) 0
water (or wort). There are
Saturated water
14.5 12.7 11.2
several systems available
Saturated 12% Plato wort
11.6 10.4
which include:
Ref Moll Beers & Coolers
Aeration in the mid section

Comparison of benefits between hot and cold wort aeration

Benefits from hot wort aeration
Sterilises air
Better mixing through wort cooler

Benefits from cold wort aeration

Better oxygen solubility in cold
Lower risk of wort oxidation
Little oxygen is consumed due to chemical reactions
with wort
Lower risk of off flavours and instability

Limitations from hot wort aerations

Lower solubility of oxygen
Risk of wort oxidation
Some of the oxygen will be consumed
through wort oxidation reactions.
Risk of oxidised off flavours (garlic and
staling) developing in the beer

Limitations from cold wort aerations

Air must be sterile before addition
Separate oxygen mixing system is required

The BREWER International March 2002



In this context oxygen is willing to accept

free electrons and hence acts as an oxidising
agent, but in that process oxygen itself will be
Oxygen usually exists in a triplet state (3O2)
and in this form is not very reactive. Oxygen
has to be activated by energy (light or heat) or
catalysed by metals (copper or iron etc) when it
forms highly reactive radicals such
superoxides and hydroperoxyl radicals.
The radicals rapidly react with wort and beer
components to produce oxidized compounds
some of which have an impact on the final
product e.g:
Flavour staling compounds particularly
carbonyls for example trans 2 nonenal
Accelerated chill and permanent haze
formation through oxidation of polyphenols.
Increase of beer astringency through
oxidation of polyphenols
Increase in beer colour through oxidation of
The proposed mechanisms for these changes
is shown below.

Fig 1. Proposed beer

staling mechanism

Taken from: Kaneda H. et al MBAA Technical

Quarterly 1999 No 1.
These oxidative changes are almost inevitable,
and have a marked influence on the flavour
and aroma of beer. The only control the brewer
has is to influence the rate at which these
changes occur and hence the length of time
the beer can exhibit its optimum flavour profile.
Flavour changes observed in a typical
beer due to oxidation over time.

Fig 2. Typical changes in flavour

character with ageing


Oxygen control and minimising

product oxidation.
The processing and storage of brewing
materials have been implicated in promoting
staling There is particular reference in the
literature to the production of lipoxigenase
enzyme during malting which is thought to
increase the lipid content of the wort.
Possibly more important, is the role of raw
materials is in providing compounds which
promote staling such as lipids or providing
compounds which give reducing power to
shield the wort and beer from oxidation.
(e.g. compounds such as melanoidins and

flavour stability. However some process

differences between the beers was noted:
A better lauter tun run off was obtained with
less oxidized mash with lower levels of
oxidised protein as a result of less disulphide
bridging between the polypeptides. Oxidised
proteins polymerise by forming disulphide
bridges (see Figure 3).
Poorer beer foam performance was
observed from the lower oxidised mash. The
mash with less mash oxidation produced a
beer with a higher reducing potential.
Higher levels of oxidation increased the
colour of the wort and beer produced. The
beer produced from mash with higher levels
of oxidation had lower beer polyphenol
content (not at a significant level)



Brewing materials

Mash and wort oxidation has been the subject

of considerable study and most of the
brewhouse manufacturers have designed
brewhouse operating and transfer systems to
minimize the uptake of oxygen:
Mashing and mash transfer systems to the
bottom of the vessels
Sparge and lauter re-circulation systems to
introduce the wort below the liquid level.
Avoidance of systems with forced aeration
during boiling.
All these designs reduce oxygen ingress.
However by far the largest uptake of oxygen
comes from the brewing water (in mashing
and sparging) which unless de-aerated will
contribute around 30 ppm oxygen per kilo of
malt mashed.
Brewhouse oxidation produces a
measurable increase in oxidised compounds
(lipids and polyphenols) but it is not certain
how much this may contribute to ageing in the
packaged beer. Oxidation will use up the
reducing potential in the mash and wort,
producing beers with lower reducing potential,
which would notionally be more prone to more
rapid oxidation.
There are a number of contradictory articles
in the literature dealing with wort and mash
oxidation. In many systems the wort or mash
was artificially aerated to produce an
unnatural result. Research on a pilot scale
looking at mash oxidation by comparing
normal brewing (less than 40 ppm oxygen per
kilo of malt mashed) with very reduced
oxidation (1 ppm oxygen per kilo of malt
mashed) did not produce beers with improved

Air or oxygen is added just prior to

fermentation to stimulate yeast growth. Live
active yeast has a huge capacity to adsorb
oxygen and it is rapidly assimilated before any
chemical oxidation can occur. At the end of
fermentation the green beer is totally
anaerobic and free from oxygen.

Fig 3. Oxidation of proteins through

the formation of disulphide bridges

Fig 4. How air can be trapped in a

bend with poor design

March 2002 The BREWER International

Beer Processing
After fermentation beer is venerable to
oxidation. While active yeast is still in
suspension much of the oxygen can be
scavenged. In the absence of active yeast,
oxidation will occur leading to the staling
reactions described earlier. Measures must be
taken to avoid oxygen ingress:
All tanks should be blanketed with inert gas
(carbon dioxide or nitrogen)
De-aerated water should be used to chase
through beer transfers.
All additions and dilutions should use deaerated water.
Flush all bends and fittings with de-aerated
Attention should be paid to prevent leaks at
pump surfaces, joints etc where air can gain
Pipework should be designed to be fully
Processing large volumes of beer into large
tanks helps minimise oxygen pick up.
Automation should be used to turn off
pumps when vessels and dosing pots run
Inert gas used to undercover flush of

Effective oxygen removal from de-aerated

Poor pipework design can lead to oxygen
pickup (see Figure 4).
Through careful operation and good process
designs oxygen pickup can virtually eliminated.
Beer should be presented to the packaging
lines with less than 50 ppb dissolved oxygen.

Packaging (small pack filling)

Inevitably during small pack filling (bottling and
canning) a small amount of oxygen pick up is
inevitable. Developments in packaging line
design have been made to minimise exposure
to oxygen:
Counter pressure filler bowl with inert gas
Flushing can or double pre evacuation of
bottles with inert gas
Fobbing control and gas flushing to reduce
air in head space
Packaging lines surrounded by inert gas
The use of oxygen scavenging barrier crown
corks can provide protection against
With the latest technology designed to reduce
oxygen pickup it is now possible to produce
beers with less than 100 ppb total in package
oxygen. All Brewers should be capable of
achieving less than 500 ppb. total in package
Keeping the oxygen content down in the
finished product makes a very significant
contribution to delaying the onset of staling.

The brewer can also increase the anti oxidant
capacity of the beer. Providing the beer with
compounds, which compete with flavour
active compounds to be oxidised by the
oxidising agents present:
As stated earlier raw materials have a
profound effect on the staling capacity of a
beer. The use of dark malts and high hop
grists give beer better keeping qualities.
Naturally conditioned beer has yeast present
in the final package and the yeast cells are
able to scavenge residual oxygen picked up
during filling.
Sulphur dioxide is an anti-oxidant produced
during fermentation. The levels of naturally
occurring SO2 can be boosted during
fermentation by deceasing yeast growth
Lower fermentation temperatures
Reduced wort aeration
Reduced pitching rate
Reduced original gravity
Increased sulphate additions to the mash
Producing bright worts
Anti oxidants such as sulphur dioxide and
ascorbic acid (or sodium ascorbate) can also
be added to the beer, usually prior to
packaging. It is found that the two antioxidants added together is the most effective
method of use.
Avoidance of metal ions, particularly iron and
copper will reduce the rate of oxidation. This

can be controlled through specifications on

materials such as syrups and kieselguhr, and
by diverting pre-coat liquors to drain to wash
the filter bed out.,

Beer in Trade
Most beer leaving the Brewery shows little
signs of ageing. It is during storage in the
supply chain that flavour deterioration occurs.
Most light beers (Lagers and Pale Ales) show
symptoms of ageing within three months of
packaging even though they are given a
nominal shelf life of 12 months, sometimes
more. The flavour stability of darker beers are
better for the reasons listed earlier.
Process improvements make a significant
contribution to improving the flavour stability of
beer in trade, but the major improvements
could result through better handling of beer in
the supply chain;
Does the beer have to have a 12-month shelf
life ? The supermarkets can turn perishable
products around in a few days.
The best before date gives limited
information about the product. One major
Brewer is now providing a packaging date
enabling consumers to judge the freshness of
the beer.
Cold / cool storage of beer in the supply
chain reduces the rate of oxidation.
If cold storage cannot be achieved then it is
certainly necessary to avoid warm storage.
Beer held at 30C will stale 25 times faster
than the same beer held at 0C.

The platinum electrode which is capable of

detecting oxygen in solution and is available
for both laboratory and in line use.
The platinum electrode is the industry standard
for measuring dissolved oxygen in line and in
the laboratory (see Figure 5).
However It is not the oxygen that we should
measure rather the impact of the oxygen. It
is therefore necessary for Brewers to taste their
products through the shelf life to assess how
well the beer survives ageing.

Oxygen has an impact throughout the malting
and brewing process.
It would not be possible to malt barley or
ferment wort without the contribution from
oxygen, and without oxygen we would not be
around to enjoy the beer either !
However, oxygen reacts with many
compounds present in mash, wort and beer,
which have an impact on the final and keeping
quality of the product.
There is still some disagreement over the
importance of oxidation of the mash and wort
production, but there is no disagreement that
oxidation post fermentation is damaging to
both the taste and colloidal stability of the

However there is a note of caution. Not all

consumers dislike the oxidized/stale tastes
of beer. Many North American consumers
associate this taste with imported brands from
Europe and other areas and are less impressed
when presented with the fresh beer!

To be able to control something it is necessary
to be able to measure it.
There are a number of reference methods in
IGB list of recommend methods. Two methods
that are commonly use in the industry are:
Shake out air methods use caustic soda to
adsorb the CO2 and measures the head
space air. This method cannot be used with
nitrogen gas top pressure or mixed gas
The Indigo carmine method, where the indigo
carmine dye reacts with oxygen to produce a
blue colour.

Further Reading
1. Moll Beers and Coolers
Prof Dr Annemuller G. et al Brauwelt International
Volume 19 April 2001
O`Rourke T Australia and NZ Institute of Brewing
Convention March 1992
Prof Bamfort C. Brewers Guardian April 2000
Kaneda H. et al MBAA Technical Quarterly 1999 No 1.

Fig 5. The platinum electrode

The BREWER International March 2002



Predicting colloidal stability in beer

Beer stability can be judged by
the degree to which a beer
tastes and looks as good at the
end of its shelf life as it did
when it was first packaged.
Most customers drink with
their eyes. They are often more
willing to accept a glass of beer
which does not taste quite right,
over a glass of beer which is
hazy. Hence colloidal
stabilisation is often considered
a more important attribute than
flavour stability.

n the first article of this series (January

2002) stability was related to both the
flavour and colloidal instability which can
occur in beer as a result of oxidation
reactions principally during and after
packaging. Through the use of modern
colloidal stabilisers it is possible to produce
beer which shows improved colloidal
stability. This article will cover the
measurement and prediction of colloidal
When it comes to assessing colloidal
stability of a beer for the duration of its shelf
life there are three principal methods:

therefore the expected shelf life of the beer.

There are a number of factors which
influence colloidal stability (see Technical
Summary, January 2002), however given
similar beer brands and brewery equipment,
the principal variables will come from the
protein and polyphenol content of the beer.
These are usually measured when predicting
colloidal stability.

Technical Summary 4
The fourth in this series of
technical summaries for
the Institute & Guilds
AME candidates.
By Tim ORourke.
its preferred method. A few are listed below:
European Brewery Convention
(1963 method).
The beer is held at 60C for 7 days then
cooled to 0C for 24 hours and the haze
Harp method
The beer is stored for 4 weeks at 37C
followed by 8 hours at 0C and the haze
measured. In this method forced haze
development is equated to normal storage
time. One member of the consortium related
1 weeks forced aging to 1 month of storage
under normal conditions, while another
equated 4 weeks of forced storage to 6
months of storage under normal conditions.
The forcing tests have to be correlated to
normal storage conditions as shown in
Figure 1.

ABSOLUTE ACCURACY: - keeping the beer

at ambient and measuring haze at the end of
its stated shelf life (best before date e.g. 12
RELIABLE INDICATOR using some form
of accelerated ageing (forcing test) on the
packaged beer (e.g. 4 weeks at 37C is
equivalent to 1 months storage at ambient)
and relating the date to absolute results.
PREDICTIVE TEST using a measurement
usually related to the proteins or polyphenol
content of the beer to predict the probable
rate of production of haze and hence the
shelf life.
Typically bright beer is packaged with an
EBC haze of less than 0.8 units. The critical
haze for stored beer is usually less than 2 or
3 EBC units for beer at 0C.
Keeping beer to the end of its shelf life to
evaluate its colloidal stability is pointless
except as an assurance exercise but it is
essential to calibrate rapid prediction
Accelerated ageing tests
These tests are aimed at stressing the beer
usually by subjecting the beer to either hot or
cold conditions to produce accelerated
aging. Almost every brewing company has

Looking at the protein

(polypeptide) content
Chilling test
A sample of the beer is chilled below 0C to
as low as -8C without freezing (often alcohol
has to be added) and left for 8 hours and chill
haze measured. The lower the chill haze the
greater the stability. The chill haze is
principally the protein fraction.
Sensitive Protein
Titration with tannic acid
Tannic acid is a super polyphenol which
readily forms insoluble complexes with
protein. A given amount of tannic acid is
titrated against a given volume of beer to
give a haze measurement which relates to its
Ammonium Sulphate Precipitation (SASPL)
Saturated ammonium sulphate is titrated
against a sample of beer where it forms an
insoluble precipitate with larger molecular
weight polypeptides (m.w. 210,000). The
precipitate drops out and once all the
proteins have been removed, the haze starts
to increase giving an measurement of the
amount of high molecular polypeptides in
the beer.

Looking at the polyphenol content.

Fig 1: Correlation between forced haze and
absolute haze development.
Cycle tests European Brewery
Convention (1975 method)
The beer is kept overnight at 0C and the
haze read to establish the base line. The beer
is placed in a heated water bath at 60C and
then kept overnight at 0C and the haze
checked again. This shows the rate of haze
development and can be repeated over
number of cycles.
Although these methods are faster than
the absolute test, they still take a number of
days to several weeks to complete, by which
time the beer has been released and found
its way in trade. It is a reactive rather than a
proactive test.

Titrating with PVP

This is a nephelometric titration of soluble
PVP (polyvinyl pyrollidone) solution. PVP has
a similar structure to a protein molecule and
readily forms an insoluble precipitate with
polyphenols, particularly medium size
molecular weight polyphenols often called
tannoids, which are know to be haze active.
When the PVP is titrated in beer a haze is
formed. This increases to a maximum and
then decreases by a dilution effect as PVP
addition continues. The peak value gives a
measure of the tannoids which can be
correlated with chill-stability.

Predictive tests

High Performance Liquid Chromatography

Polyphenols can be adsorbed on Sephadex
LH 20 and can be identified using 4dimethylaminocinnamaldehyde as a
chromogen. The individual polyphenols can
then be measured directly.

What every brewer would like is a test, which

can predict the colloidal stability and

These predictive tests can be used to

The BREWER International April 2002



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produce rapid results for beer prior to

packaging, but the results have to be
correlated with actual storage data.
For best results the data should be set up
per brand (product quality) and per brewery to
reduce the amount of outside influences
distorting the stabilisation results.
As well as predicting the potential shelf life
of a beer, these methods are useful in
determining the optimum dosage rate of a
beer stabilisation treatment. See figure 2.

P40/ Polyphenol-Reagent
Protein-Reagent P40/ Polyphenol-Reagent T-125



Is this
copy of


























BEER A PTunstable
and polyphenols are very
Predominat: Unstable proteins
PT-INDEX 95unstable
: 80

Figure 2: Determining the optimum dose rate for

a beer stabilisation treatment.


Low polyphenol stability

To help the brewer, some of the methods

described above have been automated.

PT Standard
Uses a series of specially developed reagents
to the measure the protein and polyphenol
content of a beer through titration and the
results can be simply displayed on a computer
allowing the brewer to see immediately the
relative stability of his beer and decide what
further treatment protein or polyphenol,
could be used to achieve the required stability.
See figure 3.

Both,proteins and polyphenols are very

well balanced,extreme
high stability
95 : 80
Both,proteins and polyphenols are very
PT-INDEX 90 : 25
Extreme high protein-stability
well balanced,extreme
high stability

Automated measurements

This instrument measures the turbidity of a
liquid sample in the range of 0 to 300 EBC in
units of 0.01 EBC. It works on transmitted light
at 510nm and the instrument can control the
sample temperature including cooling it down
to -8C. The Tannometer can produce
automated results for:
Tannoid content
Chill haze
Sensitive Protein

PT- INDEX 8 : 16
8 : 16and polyphenols are very

: 95
9030: 25
Extreme high polyphenol stability
high protein-stability
Fair protein
Low polyphenol stability

PT-INDEX 35 : 45
Good stability for proteins and polyphenols


PT-INDEX 30 : 95
Extreme high polyphenol stability
Fair protein stability


PT-INDEX 35 : 45
Good stability for proteins and polyphenols

re 3

Figure 3: Predicting beer stability using

PT standard.
must not only look at the predicted stability of
the beer in the brewery, but consider the
hazards the beer may be subjected to during
storage and in the supply chain and take
appropriate remedial action.

There are a number of methods which can be
used to predict colloidal stability and hence
the shelf life of a beer. The principle reactions
occur between the protein and polyphenol
fractions and hence the most consistent
results come by looking at the levels of both
The test and storage data are usually
collected under ideal (laboratory) conditions.
Packaged beer faces a much greater
extreme of conditions in the real world,
particularly those in the export trade, and it is
export beers which are usually those
consumed near or at the end of their shelf life.
For those brewers anxious to deliver their
beer to the consumer in prime quality they

April 2002 The BREWER International

Further Reading
Tim ORourke: Beer Stabilisation Brewer
International January 2002.
Tim O Rourke et al: from poster presented at Perth
Convention - Ferment June 1998 - p189.
Tim O Rourke: Back to Basics, Brewers Guardian
February 2000 - p29.
Jurgen Schneider: Opto-electronic regulations of
stabilisation inputs Brewers Guardian July 2000.
M Moll: Colloidal Stability of Beer Brewing Science
Vol 3 ed Pollock.
I. McMurrough I et al: Effect of PVPP dosage on the
flavanoid content of beer and consequences for beer
quality Brew Digest 59 (10) 1984.


The process of wort boiling

The reasons for wort boiling
were covered in Technical
Summary No 2 published in the
February edition of The Brewer
International. This feature
covers the methods used to
achieve wort boiling.

ort boiling has the highest energy

requirement of any of the brewing
processes. It can account for as much as 60%
of the total steam demand of the brewery
(depending on the type of packaging
operations). It is therefore hardly surprising
that a great deal of effort has gone in to
reducing energy consumption and recovering
energy from boiling.

Wort Boiling Plant Fig. 1

Traditional direct fired kettles Fig 1
Traditionally, wort was boiled in direct-fired
kettles, often made of copper, since this metal
has particularly good heat transfer properties.
Because the heat source was localised at
the bottom of the kettle, it restricts the volume
of wort which could be boiled at any one time
to a maximum of 200 barrels (330 hectolitres)
which probably explains why traditional
breweries with larger brew-lengths used
number of separate smaller size kettles.
The principal disadvantage of traditional
direct peat or coal fired kettles are that they
are relatively inefficient in heat transfer and
tend to be labour-intensive. The heating
surface of the copper becomes very hot and
tends to promote caramelisation and burning
of the wort, requiring frequent cleaning usually
every 2 to 5 brews to ensure effective heat
transfer is maintained. High evaporation rates
were required to produce sufficient vigour or
turbulence in the boil and typical boils would
take over 90 minutes with an evaporation rate
over 10% per hour.
Kettles with Internal Heating Systems Fig. 2
The advent of steam coils and internal heating
systems allowed the production of larger
kettles, as it enabled the designers to provide
Figure 1:
Direct fired

Technical Summary 6
By Tim ORourke
The sixth in this series of
technical summaries for
the Institute & Guilds
AME candidates.

a larger heating area and, because it was

surrounded by the wort, the heat transfer was
more efficient.
In many designs the heaters were upright
and located in the centre of the kettle to give a
turbulent boil. Some of the kettles also include
base steam coils for preheating the incoming
wort, and to avoid the creation of dead spots
within the kettles.
The disadvantage of internally heated
kettles is that the heaters tend to be difficult to
clean with conventional CIP, and were often
manufactured from copper, which is dissolved
by caustic cleaning.
The internal coils in particular are prone to
corrosion, which can result in steam leaks in to
the boiling wort which are difficult to detect
and repair. Because wort circulation relies on
thermal currents within the kettle the
turbulence over the heating surfaces is
sometimes limited, resulting in wort
caramelisation, which requires more frequent
cleaning to ensure effective heat transfer is
Kettles with external heating jackets Fig. 3
To overcome the difficulties with cleaning
internal heaters, kettles with external heating
jackets were designed. One of the most
prolific designs was the Steinecker
Asymmetric Kettle. They are generally made of
stainless steel and achieve a rolling boil
through the location of the heating jackets on
one surface.
They suffer from similar problems to the
direct fired kettles in achieving effective heat
transfer, with the higher volume kettles being
rather long and thin. They require mechanical
paddles to achieve the necessary agitation for
Figure 2: Steam heated kettle

a satisfactory boil. This design overcomes the

cleaning problems of the kettles with internal
heaters, and has a lower tendency to foul, but
it still requires cleaning every 6 to 12 brews to
ensure effective heat transfer is maintained.
These kettles are also prone to fob
formation during boiling and often use a cold
air draught over the wort surface and an
extractor fan to keep fob under control.
Kettles with External Wort Boilers Fig. 4
A more modern design uses an external heater
(external wort boiler) which takes the wort out
of the kettle and passes it through a shell and
tube or plate heat exchanger for heating.
These wort boilers achieve high heat
transfer through two phase flow and nucleate
boiling, and operate at low steam pressure (at
3.0 to 3.5 bar) to heat the boiler.
In these kettles vigour can be introduced
mechanically, by wort circulation, and the
classical 10% evaporation/hour with a 90minute boil, can be reduced to 5% to 6%
evaporation/hour with a 60-minute boil without
loss of wort/beer quality. This represents a
considerable saving in energy.
These kettles have other advantages over
internal heaters since pre-heating can start
once 15% of the total kettle contents have
been collected, allowing the kettle to boil
immediately it is full, thus improving vessel
Since low pressure steam is used, the rate
of fouling is decreased, allowing more brews
to be processed between cleans. Typical
installations can process 16 brews between
cleans and this number can increase up to 32
brews. This decreases brew house downtime
thus improving throughput.
There are some hybrid kettles which use an
internal heater but also recirculate the wort
through an external pumped loop to improve
mixing and increase the vigour of the boil.
One of the negative aspects of external wort
boiling involves having to pump the wort,
where shear forces may damage the floc
formation (trub or hot break particles). In
appropriately designed installations this
problem can be resolved by using the natural
circulation of the thermosyphon effect. The
boiler has to be primed during the pre-boil
stage using a small circulation pump.
Once boiling is achieved the circulation
pump can be by-passed and the wort will
circulate due to the energy and change of
state resulting from the density change
between incoming wort to the boiler at 98C
and the outlet wort and vapour from the boiler
at around 105C.

Overpressure Wort Boiling

Both the internal and external boilers can be
operated with an increased over pressure
during the boil usually up to 1 bar.
This elevates the boiling temperature to


June 2002 The BREWER International

streams, and a number of brewers still

reservations over quality.


Wort boiling
Heating up
Whirlpool rest

Time (mins)

Flow rate (hl/h)

Steam Pressure (bar)

Evaporation rate (%)





around 106 to 110C, which has the effect of

accelerating the various wort reactions, and
allows the boiling time to be reduced. At the
end of boil the excess pressure is released
allowing the escape of the volatile
Over pressure kettles are often operated
with some form of vapour recovery energy
systems. The advantage claimed from this
system is that it allows a shorter boiling time
and lower evaporation rates than might be
considered necessary in a conventional
boiling system.
Combined wort boiling and stripping
(Merlin) Fig.5
Merlin is a more recent development which
uses a form of external wort boiling to boil the
wort and then to strip out the volatiles after the
whirlpool stand.
Wort is pumped from the collection vessel
across a conical heating surface, which is fed
with live steam at 0.6 to 1.5 bar, thus giving a
steam temperatures of the order of 110C. The
boiler is supplied with a large heating surface
area about 7.5 sq.m per 100 hl of wort.
The heater operates by providing a large
heating surface covered by a thin film of wort
allowing gentle boiling and rapid elimination of
aroma compounds. The system is able to
produce good quality worts with 4%
evaporation in 40 minutes.
To strip any addition unwanted aroma
compounds formed during the whirlpool stand
the clarified wort from the whirlpool is passed
over the heating cone on the way to wort
cooling. This provides approximately an
additional 1% evaporation. See Table 1.
Continuous high temperature boiling Fig. 6
An efficient way of reducing energy demands is
to use continuous wort boiling, where the
energy used for boiling is used for heating up
the incoming wort in a multistage process. The
process operates as follows:
The wort from the lauter tun, feeds into a
holding vessel where hop additions can be
Figure 3: Jacketed Asymmetric Kettle

The wort runs through a specially developed
three stage, reverse flow heat exchanger and
is heated to approximately 135C
The temperature is held for approximately 1.5
to 2.0 minutes in holding tubes.
The wort is held constant at 135C by
regulating the flow rate at the inlet to the first
of two adjoining separators.
As the wort flows into the separator, the
pressure is lowered to a set level. This
enables the wort to boil and evaporate.
The latent heat (enthalpy) in the vapour is
given up in the separators and is reused in
heat exchangers I and II. Only heat exchanger
III is heated with fresh steam (or hot water).
The wort from separator II runs through a
booster pump to one of three whirlpoolcasting vessels. The effective volume of the
whirlpools should be approximately
equivalent to the capacity of one hour
throughput from the boiler.
Each pair of whirlpool vessels are filled
alternately. As one is emptied and cleaned
the other is available to receive the wort.
The higher boiling temperature of 135C
accelerates the chemical processes of:
Isomerisation of the hop alpha acids
Coagulation of the high molecular weight
nitrogen compounds which are temperature
dependent and are completed in 1.5 to 2

An effective evaporation of around 7% is

required to remove the undesired aroma
components. Continuous wort boiling allows
the steam demand of the brewhouse to be
maintained at a constant level, thus avoiding
the peaks resulting from batch heating or
boiling of the wort.
Heat recovery is very efficient, requiring only
prime energy input to compensate for the
difference between the wort inlet and outlet
temperatures and minor heat losses from the
heat exchangers.
However, continuous wort boiling is difficult
to manage with a number of different wort
Figure 4: External
wort boiling with

Wort stripping
One of the principle functions of wort boiling is
to remove unwanted volatiles such as hop oils
and DMS (dimethyl sulphide) which come from
the raw materials. Stripping of volatiles can
often be the rate determining step for wort
boiling and any reduction in boiling time or
evaporation rate will have an adverse effect on
the level of volatiles remaining in the beer.
Similarly some volatiles, DMS in particular,
continue to be formed in the hot wort after
boiling is completed and the levels build up in
the wort prior to cooling.
The removal of unwanted volatiles after
boiling can be split into two stages:
The first stage takes place in a conventional
wort kettle, where the wort is boiled or heated
to boiling point and the volatiles are removed
with the water vapour evaporated,
The second stage occurs after wort
clarification and before wort cooling, when
the volatiles are stripped from the wort in a
stripping column. The wort leaving the
stripping column has the same or even a
lower level of undesired wort aroma
compounds compared to a conventionally
boiled wort.
Wort stripping should take place after (hot)
wort clarification (e.g. whirlpool) and wort
cooling. In the normal process wort volatiles
continue to be formed after the end of wort
boiling during the hot wort stand (clarification
and cooling). However, in the absence of
evaporation, they are no longer eliminated.
Wort stripping is an effective method of
removing some of these volatile substances.
The Merlin wort boiling system offers a way
of stripping the volatiles after the whirlpool

Factors affecting boiling efficiency

Wort boiling relies on the efficient transfer of
energy from the heating source in to the wort.
The efficiency is influenced by a variety of
design characteristics such as:
heating area
material of construction
steam pressure (which directly relates to
Traditional kettles were made from copper
(hence their name) and copper has a much
better heat conductivity than stainless steel
(the current preferred material of construction)
see Table 2.
However as each brew is boiled small
deposits of caramelised wort along with
precipitated mineral from the hardness in the
water are deposited on the heating surface
building up a fouling layer, which acts as a
barrier to heat transfer. This fouling layer has a
much greater effect on heat transfer than any
material of construction and is the principal
resistance to heat flow. The formation of
fouling on the wort side of the heater results in
a steady fall off in heat transfer with each brew
which can be followed by a decrease in
evaporation. See Figure 7.

The BREWER International June 2002




Copper (pure)
Ferritic Stainless Steel
Austenitic Stainless Steel









The key factor in reducing fouling include:

Soft water (ie; low hardness/ carbonates)
Whole hops (rather than pellets or extract)
Lower wort original gravity
Low differential heating temperature (hence
moderate heat flux)
Avoiding excessive energy input, especially
short term peaks
Thorough mixing of liquid adjuncts prior to
entering the heater
Turbulent nucleate boiling (rather than film
It follows for any kettle processing more than
one brew between cleaning, and boiling to a
constant time, there will be a difference in
evaporation rate between the first and the final
To ensure a constant evaporation is
achieved, some systems control wort boiling
by the mass of steam delivered. This can be
integrated so that it is evenly supplied through
the allotted boiling span by means of
proportional steam control value, thus
ensuring that the evaporation rate is constant
regardless of copper volume.
Other systems control evaporation rate by
the increase in original gravity or decrease in
wort volume, or a combination of both

Reducing the energy consumption

during wort boiling
All the sensible heat supplied to heat the
incoming wort from lauter transfer (around
78C) to boiling (at just over 100C) will be
Figure 5: Wort boiling combined
with wort stripping ( Merlin system)



recovered from
wort cooling
through the heat
exchanger or
It is generally the
energy supplied to
evaporate the
% evaporation from a standard boil for each brew as measured from the
water (plus
weight of steam supplied. Source: ORourke The Brewer 1984.
volatiles) from the
wort which is not
process using either mechanical vapour
so easily recovered. The best way to reduce
recompression (MVR) or thermal vapour
this energy demand is not to use it in the first
recompression (TVR).
place, and there has been a gradual reduction
in evaporation rates from 10 to 12% per hour
for a 90 minute boil (amounting to a total of 15
Wort boiling has the highest energy demand of
to 16% evaporation per hour) to 5 to 6%
all brewing operations, and hence has been
evaporation for 60 minutes. This has been
subject to considerable research into ways of
brought about by designs and process control
reducing its energy consumption. The prime
changes detailed above.
energy used to heat the wort to boiling point is
There are a number of ways in which the
recovered through the wort coolers for re-use
brewer can recover or re-use the energy used
in brewing.
during evaporation.
It is the energy used to evaporate the water
A number of heat recovery systems produce
which is more difficult to conserve. Over the
hot water and the effectiveness of the system
last three decades evaporation rates have
depends on the brewery being able efficiently
fallen by a factor of three, through better
to utilise the low grade hot water recovered.
process operations and improved kettle
The typical schemes used recover the latent
design. The opportunity for further decreases
heat of evaporation from the wort boiling
no longer exists and brewers are looking at
process may be grouped into three types:
ways of recovering the energy used in
1. Recovery of energy for use outside the
evaporation and either recycling it in the
brewhouse, e.g., either by a simple condenser
boiling process or using it as a source of
system exporting hot water or using
energy for other processes in the brewery.
absorption refrigeration;
2. Recovery of
energy for use in the
brewhouse, e.g.,
Further Reading
using hot water from
1. Moll Beers and Coolers
a vapour
2. Hough, Briggs and Stephen Malting and
Brewing Science
store system for wort
3. O`Rourke The Brewer 1994
preheating prior to
4. Wilkinson R. Ferment p 397 Vol 4 No6 Dec 1991
wort kettle;
5. European Brewery Convention Manual of Good
3. Recycling energy
Practice Wort Boiling and Clarification.
within the wort boiling

Figure 6: Continuous wort boiling system.


June 2002 The BREWER International


Getting a head
First impressions count. Most
consumers drink with their
eyes and appearance is often
more important than taste.
When ordering a pint the consumer will
judge the beer by:

Beer is a supersaturated solution of gas. In
the case of lager this is carbon dioxide, but
in the case of ales may be a mixture of
carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas. When the
beer is poured out (either from a bottle or
draught) the gas bubbles break out from
solution and rise to the top of the glass. This
effect is called tracing and many beer
glasses have roughened bases inside the
glass, which act as nucleation sites, to
encourage tracing.
The foam in beer is generally considered
to be the head on the top of the glass. There
are also other important visual effects from
the foam adhering to the side of the glass
called Cling or Lacing. This effect is
particularly noticeable in beers, which form
larger heads and have better foam
In mainland Europe most draught beers
can be served with large heads without
attracting the wrath of Weights and
Measures. Unfortunately in the UK the pint
glass is a legal unit of dispense and unless
over-measure glasses are used, this limits
the amount of head permitted on a glass of
draught beer.

Photo 1: Normal Beer Foam in a lager beer

from CO2 the bubbles are larger and more



Technical Summary 7
By Tim ORourke
The seventh in this series of
technical summaries for
the Institute & Guilds
AME candidates.


bubble formation

When considering beer foam it is

necessary to look at two complementary
conditions in order to ensure a satisfactory
foam performance:
The head formation, which is the ability of
beer to form a head when poured.
The head retention, which is the ability of
beer to retain a head once it has formed,
after dispense.

Bubble formation occurs where bubbles are

formed from a supersaturated beer at
nucleation sites in the glass. Gentle pouring
and low beer surface tension encourage the
formation of smaller bubbles, which
produce more stable creamy type foam.
After bubble formation drainage of beer
from the foam by gravity starts to occur and
the bubbles start to shrink and collapse.
The rate of drainage can be reduced by
factors such as small bubble size, the
amount of hydrophobic interactions,
reduced surface tension, and increased
liquid viscosity.
Other components, such as lipids from
food or brewing materials, dirty glasses and
some cleaning fluids disrupt the bubble film
causing the foam to collapse.
The final stage in foam collapse is due to
disproportionation when the gas from
smaller bubbles, which is under higher
pressure, diffuses into the larger bubbles,
which is under lower pressure, creating

It is necessary to have adequate head

formation in order to
ensure sufficient foam
remains during the
consumption of the
In some markets
bottle beer is drunk
directly from the bottle
and head has no impact
on the quality
perceptions of these

The structure of
beer foam
The formation and
breakdown of beer foam
occurs in four stages:

Photo 2: A tight crisp foam on an ale which has

both nitrogen gas and CO2 producing a much
creamier head.

Volume 2 Issue 7 2002 The BREWER International

Photo 3: Foam sticking to the glass after the

beer has been drink is called Cling or Lacing.

Dalkia ad
CD at Holbrooks



larger bladdery bubbles, which collapse

more quickly.
Nitrogen is less soluble in beer than
carbon dioxide and hence the bubble size is
smaller. This means that disproportionation
is slower for beers with mixed gas giving
the creamier appearance and better foam

Factors which improve

foam performance
Anything which encouragers the formation
of gas bubbles and gas breakout improves
the stability of the gas bubbles and will
consequently improve the presentation and
foam stability of the beer.

The presence of dissolved gas

Bubbles have to be created in order to form
a head. This requires a minimum level of
dissolved carbon dioxide or mixed gas
(mixed carbon dioxide and nitrogen).
Typical values are:
Lager beers between 5 and 6 g/l carbon
Ales (usually but not always lower) at
between 2.5 and 5 g/l. The carbon dioxide
content is often supplemented by 15 to 20
ppm nitrogen gas for mixed gas dispense.
Bubble formation will also be influenced by
external factors such as temperature. The
solubility of carbon dioxide in particular
increases with a decrease in temperature,
and hence beers dispensed at low
temperatures (for example very cold lager
dispense ) will produce less foam unless the
carbonation level is increased

Foam stabilization by
reducing surface tension
The main factor which reduces the surface
tension in the foam and stabilizes the
bubbles is hydrophobic (water hating)
protein or polypeptides. These hydrophobic
proteins come from the raw materials
principally the malt (see figure 1).
Only a small proportion of the malt
derived protein is responsible for foam
stabilization. The balance of the protein is
used as yeast nutrients (amino nitrogen) or
can cause colloidal instability (chill and
permanent haze). Considerable research
has been carried out to identify the exact
fraction of protein responsible for improving
foam stability.
Foam-positive proteins can be divided
into two fractions based on molecular
high molecular weight (HMW, 3550 kDa)
fraction containing mainly protein Z 23
low molecular weight (LMW) fraction
containing LTP1 (lipid transfer protein 1)
and a mixture of hordein and glutelin


These proteins form a

ring around each
bubble reducing the
relative surface tension
and stabilising the
Factors which
increase the amount of
these proteins in the
packaged beer and will
subsequently improve
the head retention :



Grist with malt made

from high nitrogen
barley and all malt
grist will contribute
increased nitrogen to
the wort.
Poorly modified malts have less protein
breakdown resulting in worts with higher
protein content.
It is necessary to avoid excessive wort
boiling or excess use of kettle finings
which increase the amount of protein
removed as hot and cold break.
Every time the beer foams it uses up
some of the precious foam stabilising
proteins, which are left behind as a crust
on the vessel walls. Avoiding beer
fobbing during boiling and all subsequent
transfers reduces the loss of foam
proteins and ensures more continue into
the packaged beer.
Protein compounds can also be lost
during processing through maturation
and tight filtration. Care in these areas will
improve foam potential.
Foam proteins are susceptible to
breakdown by proteolytic enzymes,
which can come from the yeast
particularly if the yeast has been stressed
(old yeast or poor yeast handling) and
these along with any other proteases
added can seriously reduce the foam
potential of the beer.
It is reported that there is a greater loss of
foam potential in a beer brewed at high
gravity when compared to the similar
product brewed at sales gravity. It has
been shown that foam potential proteins
are lost more readily from higher gravity
worts. Currently there is no simple
explanation for this observation.
In addition to the hydrophobic proteins,
iso-alpha acids from the hops also exhibit
hydrophobicity and hence make an
important contribution to foam stability.
The hops are thought to help bridge
between the bubbles adding additional
Some brewers use reduced hop
compounds to improve foam stability.

Volume 2 Issue 7 2002 The BREWER International

Reduced hop compounds such as tetraiso-alpha acids are made from

hydrogenating the double bonds in isoalpha-acid.
As well as giving the hop compound
protecting against break down under ultra
violet light it also makes the molecule more
hydrophobic, thus increasing its foam
stability when compared to standard isoalpha acid.

Factors which produce

poorer foam performance
It follows that anything (including grist
composition), which has an effect on
reducing the level of proteins and isoalpha acid, will tend to produce beers with
poorer foam performance.
However, the foam potential can also be
reduced by the process conditions, for
example excess foaming during transfers,
which will reduce both protein and hop
compounds and through the effects of
protease enzymes, which will breakdown
the foam proteins.
Lipids, grease and detergent are
detrimental to foam performance. Lipids
can form a wall around the bubbles
preventing the stabilising action of
hydrophobic proteins and iso-alpha acids,
thus increasing the surface tension
causing the foam bubbles to collapse.
The fatty compounds can be picked up
during the brewing and dispense process,
with one of the most common areas being
poor quality glass washing.
Beer contains a lipid binding protein,
which comes from the raw materials and
has the ability to reduce lipid induced foam
However, many brewers chose to add
propylene alginate glycol (PGA) as a
process aid, which binds to bubble walls
and protects them from penetration by

The measurement
of foam stability
There are two principle methods used for
evaluating head performance:



Determination of
Head Retention by Rudin

that it just rests on the

surface of the beer
foam. As the foam
collapses the signal
received by the
electrodes reduces.
The plate moves down
to maintain contact
with the foam. The
more rapidly the
needles move down to
maintain contact, the
less stable the foam.

Standard: A
satisfactory head is
one that lasts more
than 260 280
seconds by Nibem.
Since no additional
gas is added this
method will give an indication of the
performance of the beer foam in trade.

Principle: it measures the length of time it

takes for the foam from gassed up beer to
collapse between two set points in a narrow

measurement gives a better indication of
probable foam performance under real
dispense conditions.

Method: Degassed beer is placed in a

narrow tube and CO2 is introduced into the
bottom of the tube. The beer is gassed up
to form a foam head until a pre-set line is
reached. The speed with which the foam
collapses between two marked points is

can be difficult to get reproducible results.

Standard: A satisfactory head is one that

lasts for longer than 90 seconds by Rudin
method. This method is better at measuring
the foam potential of the beer rather than
the actual performance of the beer in trade
since it introduces its own level of
It measures beer intrinsic ability to foam
i.e. foam potential.
It eliminates the variations due to
carbonation and as a dispense gas
because CO2 used to produce foam.
The narrow glass tube has large surface
area to volume ratio and is not
representative of the performance of the
foam in a beer glass.Since additional CO2
is added it does not truly reflect the actual
performance of the beer in trade.

Determination of
Head Retention by Nibem

susceptible to drafts and temperature.

Although these are the most common
analytical methods used for measuring
foam performance there are a myriad of
other methods proposed and used to
measure both foam collapse and assess
lacing on the glass.
Many of the methods rely on visual
assessments of the foam for both head
retention and cling.
More sophisticated systems use
computer and video camera technology or
infrared analysis to automate the visual
observations and to reduce the subjectivity
of the methods.

Nitrogen of between 0.5 0.75% ensures

sufficient amounts of hydrophobic
proteins are present in final beer. An all
malt grist with low malt modification with
the addition of wheat or barley will
increase the level of hydrophobic
Higher bitterness will increase the isoalpha acid concentration, which helps
foam stability. Better results are achieved
if part of the iso-alpha acid is replaced
with a reduced version such as tetra-isoalpha acid to between 3.5 - 5 ppm).
Care is required in the brewhouse to avid
excessive breakdown of proteins during
mashing or loss as hot and cold break.
This requires the use of appropriate
temperature and pH conditions for mash
to allow survival of sufficient amounts of
hydrophobic proteins.
Care must be taken to avoid fobbing as
this will result in the loss of both
hydrophobic proteins and iso-alpha acids.
Yeast handling and removal of tank
bottoms is a priority to prevent yeast
stress and the leaking of protease
enzymes, which can damage foam.
Better foam stability is obtained with
beers brewed at sales gravity over those
brewed at high gravity. Higher alcohol
products (those with more than 7 or 8%
alcohol by volume) tend to have poorer
foam performance.
Addition of propylene glycol alginate to
combat the negative effects of fatty
Good foaming beers can easily be ruined
in trade. Good line cleaning and well
rinsed glasses with approved glass rinse
chemicals are required to avoid the risk of
grease or detergent getting into beer.

Summary of the key factors

affecting foam stability
Anything which encouragers the formation
of gas bubbles and gas breakout and
improves the stability of the gas bubbles
will improve the presentation and foam
stability of the beer.
The following factors are important when
producing the best foam on a beer:
The beer should have sufficient levels of
dissolved carbon dioxide or gaseous
nitrogen to produce a good foam head

Principle: it measures the time taken for the

surface of foam to collapse by 10mm,
20mm and 30mm using conductivity.

The dispense temperature should be

sufficiently warm to allow normal gas

Method: A standard pour is used to pour

the beer into a glass. A movable plate
containing three electrodes is lowered so

Small bubbles are required for the best

head retention.
Good quality malt with total soluble

Further Reading
1. Moll Beers and Coolers.
2. Hough, Briggs and Stephen Malting and
Brewing Science.
3. Evan Evans et al Institute of Brewing Asia
Pacific 26th Convention, Beer Foam: Not Just
Froth and Bubble.

The BREWER International Volume 2 Issue 7 2002



The role of pH in brewing

pH is the measure of acidity
which is the concentration of
hydrogen ions H+ in solution.
Water naturally dissociates into
its ionic components at a very
low level to produce hydrogen
ions H+ and hydroxyl ions OH-.

Technical Summary 8
By Tim ORourke
Continuing this series of
technical summaries for
the Institute & Guilds
AME candidates.

In 1909 the Danish Scientist Sorensen devised

a simple numerical scale, the pH unit, which is
the negative log10 of [H+]. In a neutral solution
where the H+ = 10-7 then the - log1010-7 = 7,
so the pH is 7.0 units.

Understanding the factors

The ratio of the concentration of the products
([H+] and [OH-]) to the concentration of the
starting material (H2O) is given by the
equilibrium constant Kc which is expressed
Kc = [H+(aq)]aqm x [OH-(aq)]aqm
[H2O (l)]aqm
Since the concentration of water is constant,
[H20 (l)]aqm can be incorporated into a
modified equation constant Kw, where:

With pH 7 as the neutral, then decreasing

values from 7 0 means the concentration of
H+ ions increases and the solution becomes
more acidic. Conversely as the pH value
increases from 7 14 the levels of H+ fall and
the solution becomes less acidic or more
alkaline. See Figure 1.
The negative log scale is also useful for
measuring the hydroxyl ion [OH-]
pOH = - log10 [OH-]
Knowing this, we obtain the following useful

Kw = [H+(aq)]aqm x [OH-(aq)]aqm

pH + pOH = -log10 KW = 14.00

Kw is called the concentration product of

water and at 20C (which is 298Kelvin) Kw is
equal to 10-14. mol-2 l-2 . In pure water each
water molecule dissociates to give to give one
H+ and one OH- ion, hence at 20C :

Since the pH scale is logarithmic, the intervals

between each whole pH unit is not equivalent.
pH units are usually given as mol/l which is
also equivalent to g/l and ppm. For simplicity
the units will be shown as ppm. The effect of
the logarithmic scale is shown in Table 1.

[H+(aq)] = [OH-(aq)]
since Kw = [H+(aq)] x [OH-(aq)]
then substituting for [OH-(aq)]
Kw = 10 -14 = [H+(aq)]2

pH 7.0
pH 5.6
pH 5.4
pH 4.0


However as explained above the scale is

logarithmic and hence the range of hydrogen
ions H+ is much greater for the finished beer
than it is in the boiled wort.
For wort with a pH of 5.4 0.2 the range of
ions H+ concentration will be 4 ppm (2.5 ppm
to 6.3 ppm)
For the finished beer with pH 4.0 0.2 the
range of H+ ion concentration will be 100
ppm (63 ppm to 159 ppm)

Controlling pH
in the brewing process
The full range of pH is found in the brewing
process are shown in Figure 2.
The fall in pH is governed by the mineral
composition of the brewing water and mineral
treatment added to the brewing water.

Increasing Acidity
The principal increase in acidity during
mashing comes from the precipitation of
phosphates and amino acids/polypeptides
derived from the malt.
The phosphates dissociate:
1. H3PO4 H+ H2PO42. H2PO4- H+ HPO42FIGURE 2

Measuring the acidity

or pH of a wort and beer
Beer along with most beverages is acidic (i.e.
with a pH below 7.0). Typical pH for the
brewing operation for a standard lager is
shown as follows:

[H+(aq)] = 10-7 mol/l


Brewing water
Boiled wort
At end fermentation

Table 1 - The relationship between pH and [H+] over the range pH 3.1 6.0.

H+ ppm


H+ ppm


H+ ppm







Ref: Taylor D. MBAA T.Q No4 1990.

The BREWER International Volume 2 Issue 8 2002



Table 2 - The effect of the Mineral Composition of mash water on wort pH

Water composition

Wort pH
Before boil
After boil

50 ppm Ca2+
50 ppm Ca2+ & 100 ppm CO32350 ppm Ca2+
350 ppm Ca2+ & 100 ppm CO32-



Ref: Taylor D. MBAA T.Q No4 1990.

3. HPO42- 3H+ PO43If calcium ions are present then the

phosphates precipitate as calcium phosphate
leaving 3H+ in solution, thus increasing the
4. 3Ca2 + 2H3PO4- 6H+ Ca3(PO4)2
A similar reaction will occur with the amino
acids and polypeptides present in the wort:
Amino Group-COOH 2H+ + Ca(Amino
When calcium sulphate (CaSO4) is added to
brewing water, the amino acids and
phosphates form an insoluble salt (as shown
above) leaving hydrogen ions (H+) and
sulphate ions (SO42-) in solution. The increase
in hydrogen ion concentration means that the
solution becomes more acidic.
The change in mineral ion composition and
precipitation of calcium salts account for most
of the pH fall prior to fermentation. During
fermentation the beer becomes more acidic
(pH falls from around 5.2 to 4.0). A small
amount of this fall will be due to further
precipitation of calcium salts but the majority
of the fall in pH is brought about by the
excretion of organic acids by yeast.

Decreasing Acidity
However other mineral ions present in water
can react to impede the fall in pH, and these
are the salts of carbonates (CO3) and
bicarbonates (HCO3) often called temporary
1. Ca(HCO3)2 Ca2+ + 2HCO32. 2HCO3- + H2O H2CO3 + OH3. H2CO3- H2O + CO2
The production of hydroxyl ions (OH-) mops

up free hydrogen ions (H+) to form water and

hence limiting the fall in pH. It is therefore
necessary to treat all brewing water to remove
temporary hardness to ensure the correct fall
in pH is achieved. The effect of the ionic
composition on pH is shown in Table 2.
Temporary hardness is also responsible for
scale and must be removed from process
water such as boiler feed water, CIP water and
water used in bottle washers, pasteurisers and
bottle rinsers to avoid unnecessary scale build


Wort and beer as a buffer

Wort and beer are good buffers and are able to
withstand small additions of acids or bases
without significant changes in pH. Buffered
solutions resist a change in pH when small
amounts of acid or base are added.
Buffers contain acidic species to neutralise
OH- ions and a basic species to neutralise H+
ions. However, these two species must be able
to co-exist in a solution, without completely
neutralising each other. For example beer is a
weak acid (HX) and when it dissociates from
its base (X) the following equilibrium occurs:
HX (aq) H+ (aq) + X - (aq)
If OH - ions are added they will remove H+
ions to form water, thus increasing the pH.
However, the equilibrium reaction will shift to
the right as H+ ions are released. The [H+] will
therefore remain fairly constant, as will the pH.
If more H+ ions are added, then the above
reaction will shift to the left.
The effect of changing concentrations on
equilibria can be predicted using Le Chateliers
Principle. This principle states that if a system
in equilibrium is disturbed then the equation
moves in the direction which reduces the
Hence in the system above, when more
hydrogen ions are added the equilibrium will
move towards production of HX in order to
minimise the disturbance. This will cause the
[H+] to decrease, to close to what it was
before, and thus the pH will stay fairly
The most effective buffering solutions are
those which have similar concentrations of HX
and X -, because then the buffer has the
capacity to absorb both acid and base, with
the same effectiveness in either direction.

The effect of pH
on the brewing process.
pH has a major effect on the rate of reaction,
solubility and electrostatic charge of many
molecules. This will have an important
influence on beer quality and production
throughout the brewing process:

e.g. colloidal stability of the beer

Chemical e.g. isomerisation of alpha acid

Enzymatic e.g. malt and yeast enzyme
a. Physical
The solubility of inorganic ions such as mineral
salt may be affected by the pH of the solution,

Volume 2 Issue 8 2002 The BREWER International

especially if one or both of the ions are

moderately acidic or basic. If a substance has
a basic anion, such as Mg(OH)2 and CaF2, its
solubility will be affected by the pH of the
solution. In general the solubility of slightly
soluble salts which contain basic anions,
increase as the pH is lowered.
Most of the reactions in brewing are organic
reactions in aqueous systems and these are
effected by pH. Biological macromolecules
act as acids and bases by donating and
accepting protons. However, due to the size of
these molecules, they often contain several
different groups that accept or donate
protons, thus having both acidic and basic
groups rather than behaving as purely acids or
These acidic and basic groups act as weak
acids and bases. Changes in the pH around
the macromolecule will determine which
groups are protonated and which are not,
which in turn determines properties of the
A typical example is amino acids, which are
small molecules containing both an amino
group and a carboxyl group. Since each amino
group can be protonated and each carboxyl
group de-protonated, the structure of an
amino acid depends on the pH of the solution
it is in. At pH 7, amino acids have the following

Amino group

Carboxylic acid group

When in an aqueous solution, amino acids

can act as both acids and bases, i.e. they are
If only positive charges or only negative
charges are present, the molecule is
described as either a cation or an anion
respectively. However, both positive and
negative charges can be present at the same
time. When this happens, the molecule is
called a dipolar ion or zwitterion.
All amino acids exist as zwitterions at pH
7.0. There is no pH at which both groups are
electrically neutral.
Amino acids can be joined together to form
proteins and polypeptide molecules through
condensation or dehydration reactions
between the carboxyl group of one amino
acid and the carboxyl group of the next. This
bond is called a peptide bond.
It therefore follows that all the protein and
polypeptide molecules in beer will be charged
and this will effect physical properties such as
their ability to coagulate and settle out as hot
and cold break. Also their tendency to form
hydrogen bonds leading to the formation of
chill haze and foam.
Enzymes are complex proteins which rely on a

three dimensional structure for their activity.

Much of their structure is derived internal
electrostatic bonding (e.g. hydrogen bonding)
and hence they can only operate within a
given pH range. (see later)


Figure 3

The role of pH is essential in beer production.

It governs most of the physical and chemical
reactions which occur and creates the
necessary living environment for the yeast
grow, flourish and complete the fermentation
The acidity of the beer itself contributes to
the taste and character of the beer. Acid is one
of the four principal tastes sensations and the
pH will effect the way the other flavour
compounds are perceived by the consumer.

b. Chemical
There are a few non-enzyme catalysed
chemical reactions which occur in brewing,
examples are:
Isomerisation of alpha acid into iso alpha
acid during wort boiling. This is a basic
chemical reaction, which is favoured by
higher pH (pH 8 to 10) where it is goes to
over 90% conversion. At wort pH (pH 5.2)
typical conversions are around 60% in the
kettle giving final bitterness utilisations of
It is not practical to alter the pH of the wort,
but many brewers chose to use preisomerised hop products, where the
isomerisation of alpha acid is carried out at
pH 8 for maximum conversion and the
isomerised extract added to the wort.
Colour is increased during wort boiling due
to the Maillard reaction. This reaction is not
favoured at lower pH thus limiting wort and
hence beer colours.
The husk of the malt contains polyphenols
and silica compounds which are more easily
extracted under alkaline (pH > 7.0)
conditions. Polyphenols can produce a
colloidal instability and astringency in the
beer. Most of the polyphenols are extracted
during the latter stages of sparging. It is
important to ensure all brewing water is at
least neutral or slightly acidic. Some
brewers add mineral salts to all the brewing
water including the sparge to maintain a
lower pH thus avoiding this risk.
An important reaction during maturation is
the conversion of alpha-acetolactate
excreted by the yeast into diacetyl in the
fermenting beer. This is a natural
decarboxylation reaction which occurs
outside the yeast cell and the rate of
decomposition is increased at lower pH.
Many brewers acidify their wort to
accelerate the reduction of acetolactate at
the end of fermentation.
At beer pH oxalates produced from the malt
form insoluble salts with calcium ions and
precipitate as calcium oxalate thus reducing
the tendency for haze and gushing in
packaged beer and beerstone production.
The majority of the chemical reactions in
brewing are catalysed by enzymes. As was
explained earlier these are made up of chains
of amino acids and rely on a three
dimensional structure for their activity. The
charge on amino acids is critical to its
structure and most enzymes will only work
within defined pH ranges (see Figure 3).

The optimum pH ranges for the brewing

enzymes fit well within the range of the typical
mash pH (5.8 0.2), thus:
Alpha amylase which randomly hydrolyses
starch optimum pH 5.2
Beta amylase which hydrolyses pairs of
maltose sugar from non reducing end
optimum pH 5.5
Proteases hydrolyses proteins to
polypeptides to amino acid optimum pH
Beta-glucanase hydrolyses beta glucans to
reduce wort viscosity optimum pH 6.0

As a result many of the process parameters

which rely on efficient enzyme conversion will
be affected by the pH of the wort, for
1. Proteolytic and amylolytic enzyme activity,
which improves brewhouse extract.
2. Increases wort fermentability
3. Increases wort free amino and soluble
4. Increases rate of mash tun run off
The other major contributor of enzymes is the
yeast itself, which converts the sugars to
alcohol through a complex series of enzymic
reactions. The yeast as a living organism, is
capable of regulating its own intracellular pH
at around 6.5, but prefers to live in an acidic
medium. It can tolerate pH as low as 2.0 for
short periods of time, hence the use of acid
Bacteria on the other hand generally do not
like acidic conditions and only a specialised
group of organisms can grow and infect beer.
Few bacteria can tolerate the low pH
conditions of acid washing. Lower beer pH is
one of the essential properties of beer, which
gives it microbial and physical stability.
Very acidic beers such as Belgian Lambic
beers which have a pH around 3.5 are
perceived as sharp and acidic, while beers
with high pH are often described as soft and
lacking in mouthfeel.

I would like to thank Dr Lisa Bradley for her invaluable
help in preparing this text.
Further Reading
1. Moll Water in Brewing Science and Technology
Series II published by the Institute of Brewing
2. ORourke Water in Brewing Science and
Technology Series III (in print) published by the
Institute and Guild of Brewing
3. O`Rourke Treatment and use of water in Brewing
Brewers Guardian December 1998
4. Taylor D The importance of pH control during
Brewing MBAA Technical Quarterly Vol 27
pp131 136.

The BREWER International Volume 2 Issue 8 2002



The function of
enzymes in brewing
The nature of enzymes
Enzymes are proteins with a special
structure capable of accelerating the
breakdown of different substrates. They act
as catalysts to increase the speed of a
chemical reaction without themselves
undergoing any permanent chemical
change. They are not used up in the
reaction or appear as reaction products.
The basic enzymatic reaction can be
represented as follows:
Substrate + Enzyme Product(s) + Enzyme.
Energy is required for chemical reactions to
proceed. The energy is called the energy of
activation. It is the magnitude of the
activation energy that determines just how
fast the reaction will proceed (See Fig 1).

How enzymes work

Enzymes bind temporarily to substrate of the
product they catalyse. In doing so, they lower
the amount of activation energy needed
enabling the reaction to proceed at more
quickly at lower temperatures (See Fig 2).

Technical Summary 9
By Tim ORourke
Continuing this series of
technical summaries for
the Institute & Guilds
AME candidates.
In order to do its work, an enzyme must
combine even if ever so briefly with at
least one of the reactants. In most cases,
the forces that hold the enzyme and its
substrate are non-covalent, being an
assortment of:
Hydrogen bonds
Ionic bonds
Hydrophobic interactions.
Most of these interactions are weak and
successful binding of enzyme and
substrate requires that the two molecules
are able to approach each other closely
over a broad surface. The substrate

molecule binds to the enzyme like a key in

a lock.
This means that the structure of the
substrate has to match the shape of the
enzyme and explains the remarkable
specificity of most enzymes. The necessity
for a close fit between enzyme and
substrate explains how the enzyme can be
inhibited by molecules with a similar
Many enzymes require the presence of
an additional, non-protein, co-factor.
Some of these are metal ions such as
Zn2+ (the co-factor for alcohol
dehydrogenase), Cu2+, Mn2+, K+, and
Some co-factors are small organic
molecules called co-enzymes for
example the B vitamins.

Temperature sensitivity
Like most chemical reactions, the rate of an
enzyme-catalyzed reaction increases as
the temperature is raised. (A 10C rise in
temperature will increase the activity of
most enzymes by 50 to 100%). Variations in

Figure 1. Free Energy diagram showing how

enzymes reduce the energy of activation of a

Figure 2 Schematic of the mechanism for an

enzyme binding with a substrate.

Figure 3. Temperature Sensitivity of Enzymes.

Figure 4. pH Sensitivity of Enzymes.

Figure 5. Effect of increasing enzyme

concentration on the rate of reaction with
unlimited substrate.

Figure 6. The effect on limited enzyme

concentration on the rate of reaction


Volume 2 Issue 9 2002 The BREWER International

reaction temperature as small as 1 2 may

introduce changes of 10 to 20% in the
In the case of enzymatic reactions, this is
complicated by the fact that high
temperatures adversely affect many
enzymes. The reaction rate increases with
temperature to a maximum level, then
abruptly falls off with further increase of
temperature. Many enzymes start to
become denatured at temperatures above
40C (See Fig 3).
Over a period of time, enzymes will be
deactivated at even moderate
temperatures. Storage of enzymes at 5C
or below is generally the most suitable.

pH sensitivity
Enzymes are affected by changes in pH.
The most favourable pH value the point
where the enzyme is most active is known
as the optimum pH (See Fig 4).
Extremely high or low pH values
generally result in complete loss of activity
for most enzymes. pH is also a factor in the
stability of enzymes, as with activity, for
each enzyme there is also a region of pH
optimal stability.
The optimum pH value will vary greatly
from one enzyme to another. Most of the
brewing enzymes have an optimum pH in

Figure 7: Schematic showing the action of alpha- and beta -amylase in starch hydrolysis.
the range 4.5 to 6.0 which is the operating
range of most brewing process.

Enzyme concentration
With an excess concentration of substrate,

AllTech Ad

The BREWER International Volume 2 Issue 9 2002



such as starch in a brewers wort, there is a

linear effect of increasing the enzyme
concentration upon the reaction rate (See
Fig 5).
Hence the if all other factors are kept
constant, malts with higher enzymic power
will break down the starch faster.
The amount of enzyme present in a reaction
is measured by the activity it catalyses.

enzyme activity in terms of rate of reaction

(See Fig 6).
In addition to temperature and pH there
are other factors, such as ionic strength,
which can affect the enzymatic reaction.
Each of these physical and chemical
parameters must be considered and
optimised in order for an enzymatic reaction
to be accurate and reproducible.

Substrate concentration

Biochemical changes
during brewing

It has been shown that if the amount of the

enzyme is kept constant and the substrate
concentration is then gradually increased,
the reaction velocity will increase until it
reaches a maximum. After this point,
increases in substrate concentration will
not increase the velocity.
It is thought that when this maximum
velocity had been reached, all of the
available enzyme has been converted to the
enzyme substrate complex. This point on
the graph is designated Vmax. This
information can be used to calculate

Enzymes are essential in catalyzing the

biochemical changes, which occur in the
brewing process. There are two principal
processes of interest to the brewer:
The break down the carbohydrate,
principally starch in malted barley to
The fermentation of sugars and other
nutrients under anaerobic conditions by
yeast to release energy and producing
ethanol as a metabolic by-product.
These biological reactions are catalyzed

Table 1


Optimum temp C Optimum pH

Alpha amylase
Beta amylase

Random hydrolysis of starch

Hydrolysis of pairs of sugars from the
non-reducing end
Proteases (various) Solubilises proteins and polypeptides
Malt beta glucanase Breaks gum cell walls, reduces viscosity



52 (some higher)


Table 2. Effect of mash temperature on wort fermentability (all malt mash)

Mash temp C

% Extract

% Fermentability

Attenuation limit for a 1040 wort (10P)





pH Optimum

Optimum Temp.

Temp. Inactive










Endo beta 1-4

Endo barley
beta glucanase
beta glucan

Table 4. Effect of mashing temperatures on the release of beta glucan.

Temp C

Wort beta glucan mg/l



Wort viscosity cp

Wort filtration rate volume in 30 mins



Table 5. Effect of adding exogenous beta glucanase on the filterability of wort

Beta glucanse
as % of
grist weight


All malt mash

Wort filtration rate
vol in 30 mins

Wort viscosity cp

60% barley + 40% malt

Wort filtration rate Wort
vol in 30 mins
viscosity cp

Volume 2 Issue 9 2002 The BREWER International

Breaking down the carbohydrates

Although malting and mashing are
physically separate processes and usually
take place in different locations, malting has
a profound influence on the subsequent
release of sugars during mashing.
During malting the barley corn is allowed
to germinate where it produces enzymes
which break down the cell walls in the corn
and produces enzymes capable of releasing
the energy stored as starch in the
The starch, which is laid down in
concentric granules surrounded by a
protein matrix, has to be broken down
during mashing before the starch
hydrolysing enzymes, Amylases, can gain
access to the enclosed starch store. There
are three principal enzymic reactions in malt
involved in the mashing process, which are
listed below along the upper limits of their
thermal activity.

Starch hydrolysis

Table 3. Temperature of beta glucan enzyme activity


by enzymes from the barley and yeast

respectively. Every organism is obliged to
produce all the enzymes needed to break
down its component molecules.
Thus barley is able to produce all the
enzymes needed to degrade starch, betaglucan, pentosans, lipids and proteins,
which are the major compounds of concern
to the brewer. It follows that it must be
possible to produce malting and mashing
profiles to allow all these reactions to take
Table 1 shows how enzymes work best
between specific pH and temperature


The principal enzyme reaction involved in

mashing is the hydrolysis of starch to
sugars by alpha- and beta-amylase. Before
enzyme hydrolysis can occur it is necessary
to exceed the starch gelatinisation
temperature of malt. Therefore it is
necessary to select the optimum conditions
for the saccharifying enzymes to operate.
This is achieved by stabilising the enzymes
in a number of ways:
Optimising pH at mashing (usually
between pH5 and 6)
Adding calcium ions to stabilise the
Using thick mash (high concentration
substrate to insulate the enzymes against
Optimising temperature to favour the
activity of both the alpha and beta
The amylase enzymes are able to break the
alpha-1,4 links in amylose and amylopectin
to give a mixture of glucose, maltose,
maltotriose and higher sugars called
dextrins, which are unfermentable, to give a
wort (malt derived sugar solution) which is
about 70% fermentable.
alpha-amylase produces random

hydrolyses of starch to dextrins.

Most beta-glucan is water soluble, but a

proportion is bound co-valently to cell wall
proteins. If there is insufficient degradation
of the cell walls, then enzymic access to the
protein and starch will be restricted, and the
extract from the malt reduced.
Although much of the necessary betaglucanase activity occurs during malting,
there is inevitably some survival of cell wall
material (even in the most fully modified
This will be exacerbated if adjuncts such
as barley and wheat are also used.
Consequently it is necessary to ensure the
continued activity of beta-glucanase during
mashing, since the release of beta-glucan
will continue through the activity of betaglucan solubilase which is more heat stable
than the malt beta-glucanase which breaks
down the beta-glucan structure. (See Table
The results of the different optimum
temperature can have an effect on the

beta-amylase attacks the starch and

dextrins from the reducing end, stripping
off pairs of sugars molecules (maltose) as
shown in Figure 7.
By varying the mashing temperature it is
possible to preferentially favour one
enzyme reaction over the other and hence
influence the fermentability of the wort, with
the lower temperatures giving higher
fermentable worts as shown in Table 2.

Beta-glucan breakdown
As well as starch there are a number of nonstarch barley polysaccharides. The most
significant non-starch polysaccharide in
barley and malt is beta-glucan which makes
up more than 75% of the cell wall. The
molecule has a distinctive linear structure in
with roughly 70% beta-1,4 linkages and
30% beta-1,3 linkages.

Table 6: Effect of mashing temperature after 1/2 hour stand on protein hydrolysis.
Temperature C

Nitrogen mg/100 ml


Head Retention Rudin (sec)


Shelf life (weeks)



Table 7: Common enzymes used in syrup manufacture

Type of enzyme


Principal sugars produced

Heat stable alpha amylase

Endo-1,4 alpha bonds

Alpha amylase and

Alpha amylase and
beta amylase
Alpha amylase and

Alpha-1,4 bonds
and alpha-1,4 & 1,6 bonds
Alpha-1,4 bonds

Reduces viscosity
Glucose syrup

Alpha-1,4 bonds
Alpha-1,6 bonds

Principally maltose syrup

Principally very high maltose

Based on information supplied by ABM Rhone-Poulenc

The first aid kit




Cereal Cooker

Glutinous starch
Retrograded starch
Enzyme deficient malt
Starch in wort
Set mash will not filter
Adjunct brewing wheat or barley

Heat stable alpha-amylase

Mash mixer


Maturation and

Low wort nitrogen

Poor wort fermentability
Starch in fermenting wort
High beer attenuation
Rapid diacetyl removal
Low sweetness
Promote secondary fermentation
Chill haze protection
Poor filterability
Haze from starch or glucans


Resistance to oxidation or
oxygen barrier

Bacterial alpha-amylase
Heat stable beta-glucanase
Alpha-amylase, protease &
Neutral protease
Fungal alpha-amylase
Amyloglucosidase or pullulanase +
Alpha-acetolacate decarboxylase
Fungal alpha-amylase or betaglucanase
Fungal alpha-amylase or beta
Immobilised glucose oxidase in
crown liner

viscosity and hence the filterability of wort

and beer (See table 4).
If the large viscous beta-glucan
molecules are not broken down during
malting or mashing other process problems
can also occur:
Reduced extract recovery
High wort viscosit
Poor run off performance
Beer filtration problems
Beer haze problems
The high molecular weight beta-glucans
released by beta-glucan solublilase
contribute to wort viscosity and poorer
extract recovery.
Most brewers are very careful in selecting
malt with low beta-glucan levels, and betaglucan degradation occurs during malting.
However most initial mash temperatures are
at or above the maximum stability
temperature of the malt beta glucanase
enzymes, and it is common practice in
many breweries to add exogenous betaglucanase to decrease wort and beer
viscosity and to improve filterability.
The effects of enzyme addition on the
breakdown of beta-glucan can be shown by
an increasing in filter flow rate and decrease
in wort viscosity. The effect will be more
noticeable with higher concentrations of
unbroken beta-glucans when using for
example raw (un-malted) barley adjunct
(See Table 5).

Hydrolysis of
Proteins and Polypeptides
While about 95% of the starch from malt is
solubilised by the end of mashing, only
about 35 40% of the malt protein (TN
total nitrogen) is solubilised. This is referred
to as the TSN (total soluble nitrogen) in an
unboiled wort.
The permanently soluble nitrogen (PSN)
is the nitrogenous material which remains in
the wort after wort boiling (i.e. is not
precipitated as break). The PSN is usually
calculated as TSN x 0.94.
The principal groups of enzymes involved
in the breakdown of malt proteins are
Endoproteases which break the large
protein molecules into relatively large
polpeptide chains, and the Exopeptidases
which attack the polypeptides from a
specific end stripping off small units to
produce amino acids.

They have a relatively low optimum
temperature and hence with high
temperature mashing (e.g. 65oC isothermal
mashing) most of the protein breakdown
will have taken place during the malting
process, and randomly attack the protein
Optimum conditions
Inactivation temperature


The BREWER International Volume 2 Issue 9 2002



They are able to withstand higher
temperatures and release the amino acids
from the prolypeptide chains.
There are two principal groups of
Exopeptidase enzymes:
Carboxypeptidase which attacks the
proteins from the carbonyl end. This
enzyme is not present in raw barley, but is
rapidly produced during steeping and is
active at normal mash pH.
Optimum conditions
Inactivation temperature


Aminopeptidase, which attacks the

proteins from the amino end, is much less
active at mash pH and does not play a
significant role in protein breakdown
during mashing.
Optimum conditions
Inactivation temperature >70C
Most of the proteolysis occurs during
malting. It is impossible to completely
compensate for a nitrogen deficiency in
malt by introducing a prolonged mash stand
at < 50C without adding exogenous
Nitrogenous materials account for 5-6%
of wort solids, which is equivalent to around
30-40% of the total nitrogen in malt. Good
yeast growth and rapid fermentation
requires 160mg/l of free amino nitrogen (at
12P wort) depending on the yeast strain.
Carboxypeptidases can release amino
acids in mashing provided that the
endopeptidase has broken down the
protein substrate during the malting
process. The optimum temperature to
produce free amino nitrogen production is
Proteins in the mash dissolve at these
low temperatures and then precipitate at
65C, which can inhibit lautering.
Excessive proteolysis in malting and
mashing will reduce foam stability and the
pH of a normal mash is not optimal for
proteolysis (See Table 6).

Typical types of
protein material found in wort

Large molecules with a unique identity.
Much of the surplus protein is left behind in
the spent grains, but when oxidised can
form a protein scum which causes run off
problems. Some of the soluble proteins play
an essential role as enzymes catalysing the
reactions described above.
Long chain sequences of relatively high
molecular weight amino acids, with two
important groups in brewing, hydrophobic


polypeptides which make up beer foam and

acidic polypeptides which can combine
with polyphenols to produce hot and cold
break, and if not removed, these contribute
to colloidal instability in beer.
This group of compounds are also probably
important in contributing to the texture and
mouthfeel of the beer.
These are short chain sequences of amino
acids usually 2 to 10 units long, and
probably have a minor effect on body and
Amino Acids
These make up 10 to 15% of the TSN and
are an essential source of nutrient for yeast
growth. The usual concentration of soluble
free amino nitrogen (FAN) in wort is required
to be above 160 mg/l; lower levels can lead
to a defective fermentation.
In addition to role of amino acids in yeast
growth, they are also involved in a number
of metabolic pathways, producing
significant flavour active compounds, which
contribute to the final flavour of the beer.
The activity of proteolytic enzymes are
effected by temperature of mashing, which
in turn will effect the total nitrogen, amino
nitrogen, head retention and shelf life

Most living organisms respire aerobically,
converting sugars to carbon dioxide and
water releasing the energy bound by
photosynthesis in the carbohydrate
(sugars) molecules.
However some micro-organisms,
including yeast, are able to respire
anaerobically, but under anaerobic
conditions they can only partially break
down the sugar molecules to ethanol to
release energy in the form of ATP
(adenosine triphosphate).
The role of yeast in the fermentation is
that of a living catalyst, effecting the
reaction without becoming part of the
finished product. During the course of the
fermentation the yeast cells grow and
replicate up to 5 times.
Although the yeast gains its energy from
the sugar, which it converts to alcohol it
can only utilise simple sugars. The sugars
are taken up in a specific order, with the
monosaccharides, glucose and fructose
used first, together with sucrose. Although
the latter is a disaccharide, it behaves like a
monosaccharide since it is broken down to
glucose and fructose outside the cell
through the action of the yeast enzyme
Once the wort glucose level falls, the
yeast starts to use the disaccharide,
maltose, which is usually the most
abundant sugar in brewers wort. Maltose
has to be transported into the cell, where it
is broken down to glucose. Lastly most
yeast strains can utilise the trisaccharide,
maltotriose, but only slowly.

Volume 2 Issue 9 2002 The BREWER International

Brewing strains of yeast cannot generally

ferment the longer chained or branched
sugars (called dextrins) which persist in to
the finished beer as unfermentable extract
to give the beer body and mouthfeel.
As well as sugars, yeast requires
nitrogen, which in wort comes from the
malt in the form of soluble amino nitrogen.
A healthy fermentation yeast requires more
than 160 mg/l of soluble nitrogen.
If there is insufficient soluble nitrogen,
for example when high cereal or sugar
adjunct are used, then additional nitrogen
may be required in the form of simple
ammonium salts.

Syrup manufacture
A number of brewers use brewing syrups
which are manufactured from hydrolysed
starch solution. Since the starch is not
malted, microbial exogenous enzymes have
to be used and by selecting different
enzyme combinations the syrup producer
can control the composition and
fermentability of the syrup. (See Table 7).

A brewers first aid kit

It is the objective of most brewers to avoid the
use of external enzymes and rely on the
naturally produced enzymes from the malt and
the activity of the yeast alone to produce their
beer (See table on previous page for some first

Further Reading
ORourke Mashing in Brewing Science and
Technology Series III (in print) published by the
Institute of Brewing
ORourke Brewing chapter 2.6 from Industrial
Enzymology Ed 2 edited by Godfrey and West
Macmillan 1996.
ORourke Mashing Brewers Guardian
December 1999


Malt specifications & brewing performance

When buying malt, the brewery
is looking for a product, which
will yield the most economic
extract (wort) and will operate
satisfactorily under brewhouse
conditions and throughout the
brewing process. Malt, which is
difficult to handle can cause
quality and process problems
involving additional costs. To
ensure that an appropriate malt
is supplied the brewer will set
and agree a suitable
specification with his supplier.

rewhouse performance of the malt is

affected by the interactions between malt
quality and:
The type of brewing process.
The type of brewhouse equipment.
Other materials that are used with the malt
e.g. adjuncts.
The brewer has certain objectives when
purchasing malt:
To recover a high yield of sugar (extract) from
the malt.
That the malt will operate satisfactorily in the
plant without additional processing or
The malt will pass through the plant within
the required cycle time (run off time).
The wort produced from the malt provides all
the necessary nutrients to ensure a
satisfactory fermentation.
The malt delivers the flavour and process
requirements of the brewer and his
All of these benefits are supplied on consistent
and reliable basis.

Malt specifications
Barley, and the malt produced, is derived from
natural living material, and hence subject to all
the variations which can occur as a result of
genetic and environmental conditions. It
follows that no two batches of malt are alike.
Malt is analysed in accordance with
standard industry tests such as the IoB, EBC
and ASBC methods of analysis. However,
standard malt specifications are not always a
reliable indicator of how well the malt will
perform in the brewery. Brewers and maltsters
are continually looking for better predictions of
brewing performance of a malt.
Barley variety
There is a list of approved barley varieties for
malting. Each barley variety has its own

Technical Summary 10
By Tim ORourke
Continuing this series of
technical summaries for
the Institute & Guilds
AME candidates.
characteristics through its genetic make-up
which will determine certain properties of
important to brewing. Some varieties produce
better malt than others.
Barley variety will influence malt quality in
terms of variables such as:
% nitrogen or protein in grain (see later)
% beta-glucan after malting
Size and homogeneity of grain plumper
grains yield better extracts and are easier to
malt and mill. Most brewers specify that all
grains should be 2.2 mm
Not all barley varieties have similar abilities to
produce enzymes, this can be important
particularly when using high levels of
The environment also influences these
factors, e.g. weather, soil type and the use of
The barley variety used to make the malt is
considered important not only because of its
brewing properties, but because of special
characters it gives to the finished beer. Today
many traditional ale brewers still specify Maris
Otter as they believe it makes better quality
beer, even though this variety is no longer
recommended because of its poor yield and
agronomic performance.
Extract Yield
Extract is a measure of the amount of sugar
recovered from the malt after mashing. The
extract value is based on a laboratory mash.
There are two basic laboratory procedures
used for measuring extract.
The IoB method, which involves mashing
10% malt with, distilled water and letting the
mash stands for 60 minutes at 65C. The
extract is measured as the specific gravity of
the filtered solution at 20C. The results are
expressed as litre degrees per kilogram.
In the EBC (European Brewery Convention)
method two mash stand temperatures of
45C and 70C are used. The Extract is
expressed % sugar (sucrose) over total
weight of malt
Extract value for typical malt made from
standard 2-row barley.
Malt extract dry
IoB l/kg
Standard ale malt
305 315 81 82
Standard Lager malt 300 310 80 81

Both methods give a prediction of brewhouse

performance. However under laboratory
conditions mashing are not optimised which
explains how extract recoveries of greater
than 100% can be achieved with more
modern mashing and wort separation
techniques such as the modern mash filter.
The factors which favour high extract
recovery include:
1. Varietial effects different barley varieties
give different yields
2. The total nitrogen content the higher the
nitrogen the lower the extract.
3. Corn size large even corns size give better
malting and milling performance.
4. Modification the malt should be
adequately but not over-modified see
5. Enzyme capacity the malt should have
sufficient enzymes to degrade the starch
and convert it to simple sugars.
6. Low in gums extract recovery can be
reduced by the presence of gums
particularly beta-glucans in the malt. This
problem is often resolved by the addition of
exogenous beta glucanase.
Malt Nitrogen (usually expressed as %
The higher the level of nitrogen the lower the
% extract. Therefore brewers specify the %
nitrogen or protein in malt.
Typical % nitrogen is in the range of :
Ale Malt
1.4 1.6%
Lager Malt
1.6 1.8%
(Nitrogen is sometimes expressed as
% protein which is % nitrogen x 6.25)
However nitrogen plays an essential role in
the quality of the beer:
Nitrogen, in the form of amino acids, is
required for yeast growth with typical values
of 160 to 240 mg/l depending on yeast
strain and wort gravity.
Hydrophobic nitrogen from the malt provide
the beer foam and head retention in beer.
Some long chain polypeptides cause
colloidal instability (chill and permanent
haze) in beer and have to be reduced in the
brewing process.
Proteins and polypeptides contribute to the
texture and mouthfeel of the beer. Excessive
removal leads to a thin tasting beer with
poor foam.
It is important to ensure a avoid excess
nitrogen in the barley, but ensure sufficient of
the nitrogen available is broken down to
soluble nitrogen. The ratio of total to soluble
nitrogen is an important indicator or brewing
performance. Most of the nitrogen breakdown
occurs during malting.

The BREWER International Volume 2 Issue 10 2002



Moisture (usually expressed as % moisture)

The lower the % moisture, the higher the
extract in the malt. Malt specifications express
the extract as extract dry or extract as is
which includes the moisture content.
The darker the malt colour, the higher or
longer the kilning time. This results in lower %
moisture. Because of their darker colour ale
malts tend to have a lower % moisture than
lager malt.
Kilning uses a large amount of energy. The
next process stage after kilning is mashing
when the malt is re-hydrated, There is no
benefit in excessive moisture reduction and
the trend is to move to higher lager malt
moistures to reduce energy costs. For safe
storage and good milling performance malt
moisture should not exceed 6%.
The higher the moisture, the lower the
extract yield per tonne of delivered malt. This
has to be adjusted in the price since the
brewer wants to pay for malt not water.
Typical % moisture values for standard malts:

observation of the endosperm and evaluate

the degree of modification. It is found that
these observations correlate well with brewing

Figure 1 Process of modification of a barley


Figure 2. Before showing the beta glucan cell

walls surrounding the starch granules in the
endosperm before in barley before malting.

Standard ale malt = 2 3% moisture

Standard lager malt = 4 6% moisture
During kilning chemical reactions take place
between the malt components to produce
colour compounds. There are a number of
colour and flavour reactions. The principal
reaction is between amino acids and sugars
called the Maillard reaction which produces
both colour and flavour active compounds.
The higher the kilning temperature, the
greater the amount of colour compounds
produced. As well as producing colour, these
compounds also contribute to flavour.
The colour of the malt is based on the colour
obtained from the IoB or EBC mash using a
10% solution. This colour value provides an
approximate indicator of final beer because it
is based on a dilute laboratory mash with an
original gravity of 1030 (8Plato). Further
colour develops during wort boiling.
Before the brewer can break down the starch
in malt to sugars during mashing, the maltster
has to break down the cell structure in the
endosperm to make the starch granules
accessible. This process is called modification
and is the most important measurement when
predicting brewing performance and extract
yield from malt.
Modification gives a measurement of how
evenly the cell structure in the endosperm has
been broken down during the malting process.
Enzyme activity starts from the embryo and
the aleurone layer surrounding the endosperm
to break down the protein and beta-glucan cell
walls surrounding the starch granules (see
Figure 1).
The process of modification has the effect
of stripping away the cell wall structure and is
shown in the two electron micrographs
(Figures 2 and 3).
The degree of modification can be measured


Figure 3. After showing how the cell structure

has been stripped away exposing the starch
granules, which can now be degraded by
enzymes during mashing.
Thanks to Professor G. Palmer, Heriot Watt University, for
permission to use the electron-micrographs.

in a number of ways:
Direct observation
The electron micrographs clearly show the
degradation of the cell walls. This is a
complicated and expensive technique for
routine analysis.
However, the presence of cell wall material
can be detected using a calcofluor stain. The
calcofluor dye binds with beta-glucans (cell
wall material) and fluoresces under UV light.
Thus if sectioned grains are exposed to this
dye those parts of the corn rich in beta-glucan
will fluoresce. This technique can be used to
determine both the proportion of corns that
have modified as well as the extent of
modification within individual corns.
By taking a series of transverse sections
through the gain it is possible to make direct

Indirect measurements
Another way of measuring modification is
assessing factors influenced by the
breakdown of the endosperm structure in the
1.During malting the protein matrix, which
surrounds the starch granules inside each
storage cell is broken down. The greater the
value of soluble nitrogen, the higher the
modification. The IoB analysis it is usually
expressed as the Soluble Nitrogen Ratio
(SNR), which is the soluble nitrogen/total
nitrogen expressed as a %. The EBC method
uses a similar ratio based the EBC mash
where it is called the Kolbach Index.
2. Unless the malt is fully modified a number of
cells within the endosperm will not be
degraded and will remain intact with coarser
milling. When the malt is mashed the
enzymes will not be able to penetrate the
cells and gain access to the starch. These
cells are ruptured with fine milling and the
extract can be recovered. Another
measurement of modification is the
course/fine difference, which measures the
difference in extract yield between finely
and coarsely ground malt. The smaller the
difference the better the modification.
3. During malting the cell walls in the
endosperm are dissolved away making the
grain softer and easier to mill. It is possible
to use this property to measure the degree
of modification, by measuring the amount of
energy required to grind the malt (Friability).
The method takes 50 grams of malt which is
milled with a constant pressure over a mesh
screen. The well modified grain will fall
through the screen leaving the chunks of
under-modified malt. The weight of ground
malt indicates the degree of modification. It
also measures the homogeneity or
evenness of modification.
4. Cold water extract measures the amount of
sugars broken down and released during
the malting process. higher cold water
extracts indicate higher modification (see
Table 1).
It is important to use malt that has been
correctly modified:
In under-modified malt all the cell walls have

Table 1: Typical specification for modification in pale ale and well

modified lager malt.
Index of modification
Kolbach % (Sol N/Total N)
Course/Fine difference (l/kg)
Friability %
Homogeneity %
Cold water extract %

Volume 2 Issue 10 2002 The BREWER International

Pale Ale Malt

Lager Malt

38 39
1.8 2.0

40 43
2.0 2.2

not been broken down, it usually has a lower

soluble protein content (SNR is lower) and
there may still be small starch granules
present which can give starch conversion and
haze problems. Under-modified malt will give
brewhouse problems and give poor extract
In over-modified malts the cell structure is
fully broken down, the soluble protein is higher
(high SNR), and most of the small starch
granules have be broken down. It is much
easier to recover but extract from over
modified malt, but some extract may have
been used up during the malting process.
Excessive nitrogen breakdown may lead to
loss of foam positive proteins and poorer beer
foam performance.
Enzyme Activity.
The principal activity of malting is to
encourage the barley to produce its own
enzymes. Some of the enzymes are required
during malting to modify the corn structure.
The other enzymes, principally the Diastase
enzymes (which break down starch) are
required to work during mash conversion in
the brewhouse.
There are two principle diastatic enzymes:

the starch to produce shorter chains and

reduces the viscosity. The activity of the
enzyme is measured by the length of time
required to break down a standard starch
solution to a specific colour standard using
an iodine indicator. The activity is expressed
as dextrinizing units (DU).
The other enzyme, beta amylase attacks the
non reducing end of the starch chain to
produce maltose sugar. The enzymic power
is measures as DP (Diastatic Power in
Lintner) in the IoB methods of analysis.
The DP is around 35 40 for standard Ale
Malts, but can be as high as 100 to 125 for
lager malts and over 160 for some high protein
six row North American malts. The latter malts
have far more enzymic power than they
require just to convert the starch from the malt
itself and enable the brewer to use high levels
of unmalted starch adjuncts (see a later
In EBC analysis the diastatic power is
measured as WK (Windisch-Kolbach units).
The value of WK can be converted to Lintner
by the formula:
DP Lintner = (WK + 16) / 3.5

Alpha amylase which randomly hydrolyses

The contribution of malt to flavour

Malt is the principal ingredient in beer
supplying sugar to the yeast which produces
alcohol. In addition to sugar, yeast requires a
variety of essential nutrients which are
necessary for satisfactory yeast growth and
nutrition. The typical components required
Simple sugars (glucose, maltose and
maltotriose) for fermentation
Amino acids (free amino nitrogen > 150 mg/l)
for yeast growth
Mineral ions for enzymes typically zinc,
copper etc
Vitamins for healthy growth
Some lipid material for cell wall production
although yeast manufactures most of these
compounds using available oxygen in the
During fermentation yeast will produce a
number of flavour compounds as a direct
consequence of metabolising brewing wort.
Changes in wort composition will influence
this metabolism and hence the flavour of the
beer produced.
Malt also contributes directly to the appearance final character and taste of the beer:

Murphy Half
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The BREWER International Volume 2 Issue 10 2002



Most of the colour of beer comes from the

crushed malt or is developed during the
brewing process from reactions between
malt components.
The colour compounds also give beer a
characteristic flavour from light biscuity
for the lager malt to a strong burnt acrid
taste for black malt and roasted barley.
The mouthfeel and texture of the beer
comes mainly from the residual
unfermentable sugars (dextrins) derived
from the malt.
The pH of wort and beer is regulated
through the precipitation of malt
components with mineral ions from the
Beer foam is made up from hydrophobic
proteins, which have their origins in the
Other protein fractions are involved in
beer haze and have to be removed to
achieve long term colloid stability in small
pack beers.
Malt also has an effect on beer flavour
through certain flavour active compounds.
Most of these factors other than colour, are
not included in the malt specification.
However there is one flavour active
compound formed during malting which
has to be controlled in the finished beer.
DMS or Dimethyl Sulphide is a malt
derived flavour compound with the flavour
of cooked sweetcorn often associated
with lagers. It has a flavour threshold of
around 35 ppb. It is only noticeable in lightly
kilned malts (lager) and is derived from a
precursor, S-methyl methionine (SMM)
produced during germination which is

Typical Specification for a Lager Malt.

Extract yield (dry wt)
Corn size > 2.5 mm
Total Nitrogen
Total Soluble Nitrogen
SNR Soluble nitrogen ratio
Coarse/Fine difference
Friability meter reading
Diastatic Power
Wort viscosity mPas @ 20C
DMS precursor
Beta glucan mg/l
Alpha Amylase du (dextrin units)

IGB (Institute & Guild

of Brewing) methods:
4.5 5.5 %
> 305 l/kg
2- 4 EBC
1.6 1.8%
0.57 0.66%
> 160 mg/l
34 40 %
3 7 l/kg
> 85%
> 96%
> 65 IoB
1.55 -1.65
2 8 mg/kg
< 200
> 30

converted to DMS by heating.

The levels of DMS precursor can be
reduced during malting by:
Reduced proteolysis and rootlet growth
during germination
Poorly modified malts have lower SMM
Higher kilning temperatures reduce SMM.
The brewer will often set a maximum
specification for SMM to reduce the beer
DMS. However in some beer brands DMS is
seen as a positive flavour and high SMM
levels are encouraged by short, low
temperature kilning conditions.
Nitrosamines are chemical compounds
containing the grouping N-NO and may be
found in malt. They do not have a flavour

EBC (European Brewery

4.5 5.5 %
> 80.5 %
2 4 EBC
1.6 1.8 %
0.65 0.75%
> 160 mg/l
38 44 %
1 2%
> 85%
> 96 %
> 220 Windisch-Kolbach
1.55 1.65
2 8 mg/kg
< 250
> 30

contribution but are thought to be

Volatile nitrosamine in malt is produced
as oxides of nitrogen (NOx) react with
naturally occurring malt amines during
kilning to produce N-nitrosodimethylamine,
usually abbreviated to NDMA. NOx may be
present either in the hot gases from
combusted fuel where direct drying is used
or even from general air pollution in
indirectly fired kilns.
The most active forms of NOx are N2O3
and N2O4. To avoid the formation of these
compounds most maltsters use indirect
heat to fire the kilns, low NOx burners or
burn sulphur. Although there is no legal limit
for NDMA in the UK there is an industry
agreed standard of < 5 ppb.

The Institute & Guild of Brewing

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Volume 2 Issue 10 2002 The BREWER International



Hops and hop products

Although hops were not added to
the first beers, now all modern
beers are hopped.
Hops contribute to the flavour
and appearance of beer.
They provide beer with its
characteristic bitterness and
The function of hops in brewing.
Hops are exclusively used to provide aroma
and bitterness in beer. They add the following
Provide the bitter taste in beer (with alpha acid
the principal precursor)
The oils provide aroma.
Modify yeast performance during
Contribute to beer texture (mouth-feel)
The bacteriocidal properties protect beer
against some biological spoilage organisms.
Reduce over foaming during wort boiling.
Aid in protein coagulation during the boil.
Act as a filter medium when a hop back is
Foam active agent in beer improving foam
performance and cling.
Cone hops contribute tannins which may
increase the reducing power of a beer, and
hence its resistance to oxidative staling.
Tannins may also contribute to a tendency to
produce chill haze.

Hops (Humulus lupulus) belong to the

family Cannabinaceae.
The part of the hop plant used for brewing is the
inflorescence (that is a modified branch) of the
female plant, which matures to produce a
strobile - commonly called a cone. This
contains small yellow granules called lupulin
glands. These glands contain the hard and soft
resins and the essential oil. The soft resins are
converted into the bitter substances in the beer
and the essential oils impart the hoppy
character .

Figure 1. Cross section of a

hop cone.
It is the soft resins (soluble
in hexane) that are most
important in brewing, and
these consist of alpha
acids, beta acids and uncharacterised soft resins.
The alpha acids and
beta acids provide the bittering principals.
These acids are largely insoluble in cold water
and are more soluble in boiling water. However
during wort boiling, the alpha acids are
isomerised into iso-alpha acids that are much
more soluble.
The beta acids are less soluble and are

lost in beer foam (fermenting heads)

Iso-alpha acid is lost in beer foam and
absorption by the final filters.

Technical Summary 11
By Tim ORourke

Whole hops

Continuing this series of

technical summaries for
the Institute & Guilds
AME candidates.
largely unchanged during wort boiling, and
hence contribute little to the final bitterness of
the beer, unless they are oxidised to hupulones
in which case they will also contribute
bitterness. See Figure 2.
The amount of alpha acid added is
calculated from the weight and concentration in
the raw hops or hop product used, and when
using hops added to the kettle, the utilisation
decreases throughout the brewing process:
Typical recovery rates of iso-alpha acid during
brewing with cone hops.
Process Stage
Recovery of
alpha acid
At the end of Wort Boiling
50 55%
At the end of Fermentation
35 40%
Bright Beer
25 30%
After dispense
20% of
bitterness can
segregate into
The reasons for loss of iso-alpha acid from
conventional hops in brewing are:
The nature (duration and vigour) of the boil.
Only around 50% is isomerised from alpha to
iso-alpha acid during wort boiling.
Iso-alpha acid is absorbed by the trub (hop
debris/protein) during hot wort clarification.
Iso-alpha acid is absorbed by the yeast and

Whole hops are added to the kettle, and

separated through a hop strainer or hop back.
Although used by a number of traditional
brewers they can be difficult to handle and
store in a modern brewery, and many brewers
prefer to use hop products.
Whole hops cones are cleaned to remove
unwanted stems and leaves before being dried
and baled. They are generally stored cold (circa

Figure 2. Isomerisation of alpha acid into isoalpha acid.

5C) to reduce the loss of alpha acid.
Since they are not usually blended each bale
will have a unique alpha acid content
depending on the variety season and growing
Whole hops also tend to give the poorest
alpha acid utilisation during boiling (25% to
30%) since they have higher quantity of
vegetative material and the alpha acid is less
readily available. The higher the content of
vegetative material, i.e. the greater the bulk of
hop debris, then the greater the potential to
retain wort with higher wort losses during wort
clarification at the end of boil. There is usually

Table 1. Summary of benefits from using whole hop

Major use
Method of use

Bales from growers

Bitterness and aroma
Direct addition to kettle during boiling or cask for dry hopping

Total resins
Soft resin alpha acids
beta acids
Hard & uncharacterised resins
Essential; oils
Protein (N x 6.25)
Lipids and waxes
Amino acids
Cellulose & lignin
Resins and oils will vary according to variety

Traditional form
Free from extraction solvents
Standard aroma & bittering product
Aids hot break formation & settling
Bulky and expensive to store
% alpha and aroma varies each year
Subject to loss of alpha and aroma on storage
Possible contaminates from debris and pesticide
Low utilisation (25 30%)
Higher losses of wort in spent hops
Costs of disposal of spent hops

The BREWER International Volume 3 Issue 1 January 2003



Table 3. Summary of benefits from using iosmerised hop pellets

Major use
Method of use

Magnesium oxide is added to milled hops and gently heated before being
palletised and vacuum packed
Bitterness with good aroma properties
Direct addition to kettle during boiling can be added part way through the boil

Similar to Type 90 pellets
Almost all the alpha acid is converted to
the equivalent magnesium iso-alpha acid.
Slight reduction in beta acid content
Presence of magnesium and magnesium oixide

Figure 3. Manufacturing process of pelletised

hop products.
an associated cost to remove the spent hop
material. See Table 1.

Pelletised Hops
Pelletised hops are made by milling whole
hops and compressing the hops into pellets.
These are generally packaged under vacuum
or in an inert gas such as nitrogen to reduce the
rate of deterioration. Pelletised hops are
available as:
regular pelletised hop, (type 90 pellets)
enriched pellets (type 45 pellets), where some
of the vegetative (non-alpha acid bearing
material) is removed to give a constant
product with a much higher alpha acid.
See Figure 3.
Hops of the same variety but with differing
alpha contents are often blended to give a
standard product with a constant alpha acid
appropriate for each variety and growing
Pellets are added to the kettle where the
alpha acid is isomerised during wort boiling.

Pelletised hops generally yield 2 to 3 %

improvement in utilisation over the equivalent
whole hops (between 27% and 32% utilisation
but sometimes up to 40%).
Milling makes the alpha acid more readily
accessible, with less vegetative material there is
also a lower entrained wort loss, which can be
further decreased through a trub recovery
Wort clarification is usually carried out in
whirlpool vessel and the trub (including the
spent pelletised hops) is often recovered and
sold along with the spent grains. See Table 2.

Isomerised hop pellets

The pellets for isomerised hop production are
produced in a similar way to standard pellets
(see Figure 3) with about 2% magnesium oxide
added during the pelletising process. These
stabilised pellets, packed in an inert
atmosphere are heated to 50C for
approximately 14 days, when up to 99% of the
alpha acids are isomerised in situ, giving wort
utilisation rates of 80 to 90%, and final beer
utilisation rates of up to 70%
The handling and processing of isomerised
pellets is similar to regular pellets. See Table 3.

Hop Products
Beside whole hops (hop cones) and pelletised
hops, other hop products and extracts are used
either as alpha acids added to the kettle or as

Table 2. Summary of benefits from using pelletised hop

Major use
Method of use

Leaf hops are cleaned, milled, palletised and vacuum packed

Bitterness and aroma
Direct addition to kettle during boiling

Type 90 pellets similar to leaf hop but may be
standardised for alpha
Lower moisture content
Better utilisation through ruptured resin glands
Type 45 pellets increased alpha due to
concentration of lupulin gland.
Between 40 to 50% of vegetative material
is removed
Resin/oil concentration is approximately double.


Traditional product
Free from extraction solvents
Standard aroma & bittering product
Aids hot break formation & settling
Significant reduction in volume
Improved storage properties
Improvement in % hop utilisation
Easier disposal of spent hop debris
Bulky than extracts
Possible contaminates from debris and pesticide
Low utilisation (25 35%)

The BREWER International Volume 3 Issue 1 January 2003

Similar to hop pellets
Better keeping properties
Better utilisation (50 to 60%)
Similar to hop pellets
MgO could be perceived as a chemical addition
Low utilisation (25 30%)

isomerised iso alpha acids added to the kettle

or after fermentation. Hop oils and hop bittering
products can be added after fermentation to
give a dry hop character, or to modify the
character of the final beer.
Processed hop products represent a
convenient and controlled system for adding
both bitterness and aroma character to beer,
and can be useful for adjusting beers produced
outside specification.
Their benefits include:
Reduced bulk
Reduced transport costs
Reduced storage costs
Potential for automating hop addition in the
Uniformity - (can be standardised to % isoalpha acid value)
Greater stability (long term storage)
Improved utilisation (pellets up to 10%: Post
fermentation bitterness up to 70%
Reduced beer and wort losses
Improvements in beer quality and consistency
Decreased level of polyphenols/tannins
Decrease (or absence) of nitrates
Decrease (or absence) of pesticide residues
These potential benefits have to be balanced
Increased production/processing costs
Possible inclusions of solvents and toxic
residues (not with CO2 extract)
Purist/public attitudes to the use of
processing and solvents
Possible adverse effects on beer quality and
All of the products are derived from whole hops
in the first instance, and are generally used to
help the Brewer overcome the effects of aging,
storage and consistency problems.

Hop extract
It is possible to extract the soft resins in a
variety of solvents, thus obtaining a
concentrated solution of alpha and beta acids
as well as uncharacterised soft resin.
Two typical solvent systems are used:
Organic: Principally Ethanol; and Hexane
Carbon Dioxide: Liquid and Supercritical
Carbon Dioxide. See Figure 4.

Table 4. Summary of benefits from using hop extracts

Major use
Method of use
Total resin
Alpha acid
Beta acid
Essential oils
Hard resins

Figure 4. Process flow chart for the

manufacture of hop extracts.
The main organic extractants are strong
solvents and extract plant pigments along with
the soft resin. After extraction the solvents are
boiled off, to leave concentrated resins
containing alpha acids for addition to the kettle.
Solvent extracts are increasingly falling from
favour because of perceived problems with
residue, although ethanol does not have this
Carbon dioxide is a more selective extractant
removing less of the water soluble
components. Supercritical CO2 (operating
typically above 250 to 300 bar and below 40 to
45C) has the properties of both gas and liquid,
and is a more polar solvent extracting more
plant material than the sub-critical CO2 . The
latter often known as liquid CO2 operating at 50
bar and 10 to 15C is a relatively mild non-polar
solvent, like hexane, but gives lower overall
extraction efficiency with a higher yield of alpha
acid. See Figure 5.
The immediate availability of the hop resins in
the extracts added to the wort is favourable for
utilisation (overall in the range of 35% - 45%),
and the material is free from or has greatly
reduced nitrate and pesticide residues. Liquid
CO2 extracts also contain much of the hop
essential oils, but the immediate availability of
the hop oils decreases their survival during
boiling, which may be detrimental to beer
Standardisation of alpha acids in hop
extracts (normally 30% alpha, but sometimes
25% or 45%) can easily be achieved. A pure
resin extract (P.R.E.) is usually obtained first
using optimum extraction conditions to
produce the best yield of alpha acids from a
particular batch of hops (normally in the range
of 40 - 55 % alpha in the P.R.E. extract).
The P.R.E. is then diluted to the required
standard before final packaging by the addition
of either glucose or corn syrup, or, more rarely
(because of storage stability problems) with a
hot water extract of the hop material, which will
contain some of the hop sugars, tannins,
polyphenols etc.
Further fractions of carbon dioxide extract

Resins and oils are extracted from the hops using solvents which are then
driven off.
To provide bitterness to beer
Direct addition to kettle during boiling
Whole hops
12 20%
2 12%
2 10%
0.5 2%
2 4%
4 12%
1 5%
8 12%

Organic solvent extract

15 60%
8 45%
8 20%
0 5%
2 10%
0.5 5%
1 20%
1 15%

Less bulk storage
Good storage properties (several years)
Improved utilisation (45 to 65%)
Reduced pesticide residues
Minimal wort/beer losses

Super critical CO2

75 90%
27 55%
23 33%
1 5%
5 11%
0.1 5%
4 13%
1 7%

Liquid CO2
70 95%
30 60%
15 45 %
2 10%
0 1 10%
1 5%

Different brewing operation compared to whole
Solvent extract
Solvent residue (minimal)
Altered aroma profile
Presence of chemicals
Supercritical CO2
Altered aroma profile
Highest cost of extraction
Possible impurities
Liquid extract CO2
Lower yield than supercritical
Higher cost per unit alpha than other extracts.

Figure 5. Schematic of plant used to manufacture of hop extracts.

The BREWER International Volume 3 Issue 1 January 2003



Table 5. Summary of benefits from using isomerised kettle hop extracts (IKE)
Major use
Method of use
Supercritical CO2
Liquid extract CO2

Pure resins undergoes controlled heating with alkali metal salts which
isomerises most of the alpha acid.
To provide bitterness and late hop character to beer
Direct addition to kettle during boiling
Similar to pure resin extract- 90% of the alpha acid is isomerised
Essential oil components absent
High levels of purity
Contains similar amounts of essential oils as the leaf hop

Easy to handle and store
Standardised constant product
Precise control of bittering
Retains aroma contribution
High utilisation (50 to 75%)
High purity/ minimal residues
Minimal wort/beer losses

Restricted to those varieties processed
Considered to be chemically processed

can be used for separating the hop oil fraction

from whole hops, so that the oils can be used
for dry hopping. The alpha acid can also be
used to produce isomerised kettle or post
fermentation hop bittering extracts, thus
enabling all the brewing properties of the hop to
be recovered. See Table 4.

Isomerised kettle hop extracts.

In order to improve utilisation it is possible to
pre-isomerise the alpha acid before wort
boiling. Alpha acid can be isomerised by
heating with an alkali metal carbonate while still
in the resin form to produce pre-isomerised
kettle extract (IKE). If it is made with potassium
salts it is usually called PIKE; if it is made with
magnesium salts, MIKE.
The benefit of isomerised kettle extract is its
ease of use, standard utilisation being around
70%, but it is relatively expensive. See Table 5.

Isomerised hop extract.

As well as adding the isomerised extracts to the
kettle where there are still losses due to
absorption by the trub and yeast, it is possible
to add isomerised extracts post fermentation
(PFB - post fermentation bitterness), when the
utilisation of alpha will be higher.
It is usual to use a pure alpha acid, which has
been separated from the soft resin, purified and
isomerised externally to produce potassium or
magnesium salts of the iso-alpha acid by
heating. The isomerised extract is water based
and is standardised to 20% or 30% isomerised
iso-alpha acids from which a utilisation of 70%
to 95% or greater can be expected.
The material left behind in the soft resin is
called the base extract and contains oils,
beta-acids, and other resin materials plus
impurities; it is often added to the kettle during
boiling to:

Figure 6. Production of light struck flavours (3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol).

1. prevent excess foaming or over boiling

2. to add tannins and hop oils
3. to provide a source of non isohumulone
4. to provide hop compounds to ensure
fermentation proceeds normally
As PFB isomerised extracts contain only isoalpha acids, they contribute no flavour
character other than pure bitterness to the beer.
The extracts are often used to adjust for lack
of kettle bitterness or to supplement nonisomerised hops in high gravity brewing (thus
achieving better utilisation).
When PFB isomerised extracts are used as
the sole source of bitterness, base extract
should also be added to the kettle to give other
elements of hop character to the beer. See
Table 6.

Reduced hop extract

Figure 7. The production of reduced iso- alpha- acid compounds from iso alpha acid.


The BREWER International Volume 3 Issue 1 January 2003

In the presence of sunlight (UV/visible

radiation), conventionally hopped beers
produce a skunky or light struck flavour.
For this reason many beers are packaged in
light proof or brown glass which is opaque to
the radiation. See Figure 6.
Light struck flavours develop when the isoalpha acid molecule splits stimulated by UV

light, and the free side chain bonds with a free

sulphur radical. If the weak double bonds are
reduced the iso-alpha acid cannot be
photolysed and the reduced hop compound is
not susceptible to the light strike effect.
A variety of reduced compounds have been
developed from both alpha and beta acids
which are not prone to light struck taints while
at the same time providing bitterness to beer.
The mechanisms and structures are shown in

Figure 7.
As well as providing different levels of
bitterness, some of the reduced humulones
have an effect in enhancing beer foam
The products are usually marketed at
concentrations of between 5% and 20% in
aqueous solution.
If a brewery uses clear glass and reduced
iso-humulone, it is necessary to exclude all

Table 6. Summary of benefits from using isomerised

(post fermentation bittering (PFB) extract
Major use
Method of use

Alpha acid extract from the resin is convert to alkali metal salt of iso-alpha acid
in buffered water solution.
Provides all parts of the hop bitterness
Added in line post fermentation

Alpha acids (HPLC)
Beta acids
Aroma compounds
Iso alpha acid (30% solution)
Potassium carbonate buffer

0 0.8
0 0.3
29 - 31
68 - 70

pH (1% solution)
Haze (1% solution)
Gushing test

9.0 9.5
0 5 EBC

Easy to handle and store
No aroma contribution
Standard bittering product
High utilisation (70 95%)
Easy adjustment of bitterness
No hop aroma contribution
Reduced kettle hop addition which contributes to
hot break
Reduced hop character in beer
Chemically processed

Table 7. Summary of benefits from using reduced hop compounds

Major use
Method of use

Reduction of iso-alpha acid or beta acids

Light strike resistance and foam improvement in beer
Added post fermentation

Traditional form
Free from extraction solvents
Standard aroma & bittering product
Aids hot break formation & settling

Utilisation lower (45 55%)
Chemically processed
If aroma is required it has to be added separately

The reduced iso compounds have different benefits

Reduced iso product
Bittering power
Standard iso alpha acid
Dihydro - iso alpha acid
60 80
Tetrahydro- iso alpha acid
160 180
Hexahydro- iso alpha acid

Foam stability
Standard +
Much greater +++
Greater ++
Standard +

sources of conventional hop (iso-alpha acid)

below 0.2ppm. Iso alpha acid can be carried
over from all vessels, pipework and in pitching
yeast. It is usual to keep a pure strain of yeast or
use freshly cultured yeast to avoid any carry
If it is only being used for its foam enhancing
properties, the reduced iso material may safely
be used in conjunction with conventional
hopping regimes. See Table 7.

Hops and hop essence

Most of the hop products considered so far
have been used to enhance the bitterness
fraction in beer, but hops are also a source of
hop oil aroma and these can be separated by
steam distillation or by CO2 extraction. The oils
are ideal for post fermentation addition where
they give dry hop aroma to beer, retaining much
of the aroma character of the original hop
Hop oils are usually added in the form of an
emulsion (with a food grade emulsifier),
marketed in concentrations between 1,000 and
10,000 ppm of pure oil, or by re-dissolving in
liquid CO2 and directly injecting this solution
into a beer main.
Other developments of hop oil addition
techniques involve the adsorption of oils on to
the surface of finely divided silica, and the
retention of oils inside the ring structure of bcyclodextrin molecules. Both these methods
entrap the oil in a solid (powder) form, which
readily releases the oils in to beer on contact
with water.
With column chromatography it is possible to
fractionate the whole hop oil into late hop
essence, which may itself be divided into spicy
and floral fractions:
Late hop essence Spicy contains terpene
and sesquiterpene oxides which produces
spicy flavour in beer, improves mouthfeel and
enhances perceived bitterness.
Late hop essence Floral - contains ketone
fraction which imparts light floral notes
improving the fragrance rather than the taste
of the beer. See Table 8.

Resins and oils will vary according to variety

Table 8. Summary of benefits from using hop oils and late hop essence
Major use
Method of use

The oil fraction from whole liquid CO2 extraction of hops is further extracted
and purified by vacuum distillation. Essences are fractionated from whole oil
by column chromatography.
Enhance hop aroma and flavour in beer
Added post fermentation

Hop oils
Late Hop Essence Spicy
Late Hop Essence Floral

Pure varietal oils or blends, semi refined

Principally terpenes and sequiterpenes
Principally ketone fraction

Easy to handle and store
Standardised constant product
Available in variety of specific or generic forms
Provides means of precisely adjusting and
controlling late hop character
Less change in hop character over time than with
cone hops

Oil require top be emulsified before use
Essences are very costly
Some drinkers can detect the difference in dry
hop character between hop oils and whole hops
Extraction dosage rates are critical

Further Reading
Neve R.A. Hops published by Chapman and Hall
IoB Blue Book on Hops
ORourke T IOB Blue Book Brewhouse and
Brewing Materials (in print)
Morris Hanbury Jackson LeMay Ltd.
technical literature
Brewing Science Vol 1 ed J.R.A. Pollock various
Malting and Brewing Science Hough, Briggs and
New Brewer July 1994
Moir M (1988) Development in Hop Usage, Ferment
Vol 1 No 3,
ORourke T Back to Basics Brewers Guardian
April 1998.

The BREWER International Volume 3 Issue 1 January 2003



Mash separation systems

Once mash conversion is
completed, when all the starch
has been broken down to sugar, it
is necessary to separate the sugar
solution from the malt solids to
produce clear sweet wort.

Technical Summary 12
By Tim ORourke
Continuing this series of
technical summaries for
the Institute & Guilds
AME candidates.

Typical mash tun cycle

he basic principals of mash separation are

the similar. The wort is strained through a filter
bed made up of the husk and solid material remaining from the malt
which is held on a course septum such as a screen or filter sheet.
The principles of filtration are defined in terms of Darcys equation:

Mashing in
Mash conversion stand
Run off
Drain down & Spent grains removal
Total turn around time

Flow rate u = filter surface area (A) x pressure differential across filter (P)
Beer viscosity x resistance to the flow of beer (L )

20 minutes
75 minutes
185 330 minutes
20 minutes
300 -440 minutes

Excluding the time taken for the mash conversion, the mash tun is the
slowest wort separating system. Mash tuns are well suited to their
traditional use in producing wort from well modified malt. They are the
cheapest system in terms of capital outlay and are the simplest to operate
with little or no automation.
Mash tuns can only use a single temperature for mash conversion and
as a result poor quality malts or malts requiring a protein or glucanase
stand cannot be handled. Mash tuns are also less well suited to modern
large batch production where high brewhouse utilisation and extract
efficiency are expected.
When using a Lauter Tun or Mash filter the mash is converted in a
separate mash conversion vessel often using a range of temperature
stands. The function of the Lauter tun and Mash filter is purely to separate
the solids.

Therefore the highest flow rate is achieved with:

Large filter surface area (A)
Increased differential pressure across the filter bed (P)
The lower the wort viscosity
The shallower the filter bed (L)
Darcys equation describes the conditions for optimum flow not
optimum wort quality. It is also necessary to obtain the maximum
recovery of extract (sugar) and to produce bright wort free from
suspended solids.
There have been a number of different designs of wort separating
equipment, but currently three basic types are commonly used.

Isothermal Mash Tun

This is a combined conversion and wort separation vessel. Since it has no
form of agitation or heating it operates at a single temperature in the
range of 65C.
Mash tuns have the smallest filter surface area with the deepest bed
depth (up to 1 meter deep) which applying Darcys equation will explain
why it has the slowest filtration and poorest extract recovery. The poorer
run performance is partially compensated by using a coarse grist but this
could lead to poorer extract recovery. It does produce the brightest
Extract performance is a result of the combined effects of the malt grist
and the bed depth. The poorer potential performance of the mash tun is
partially offset by using a low volume of water in mashing (water: grist
ratio of 2:1) this allows a higher volume of sparge water to optimise the
leaching effects.
The flow rate of wort from a mash tun is usually controlled manually.
The run-off taps are set and adjusted to prevent pulling the bed down on

Isothermal Mash Tun.

to the plates. Unlike the other wort separation

systems the mash in a mash tun floats on the
wort, at least during the strong wort recovery.
During the initial run-off, the flow rate is low to
allow for the high viscosity of the wort and to
prevent the floating bed of mash being drawn
down on to the false bottom of the vessel. The
flow rate can be increased during sparging as
the wort viscosity falls.

Lauter Tun
Before transferring mash from the mash conversion vessel a layer of
brewing water or underlet is added to cover the plates in the lauter tun.
The transferred mash is allowed to settle on the lauter plates. The bed in
the lauter tun is shallower (around 0.5 m) and the vessel has a larger
diameter (greater surface area) than the mash tun. This gives it a better
filter performance and allows the use of finer grist, which helps extract
The initial wort collected from the lauter tun is re-circulated to ensure
that only bright wort (haze less than 5 EBC) runs to the kettle. The
medium fine grist used in the lauter tun causes an increase in the
resistance of wort run off, which has to be compensated by the use of
rakes to open the bed and allow faster filtration. The rakes must operate
in such a way to avoid the sparge being channeled through the bed and
to avoid the filter bed being totally disrupted. Slight increases in wort
viscosity can have a dramatic effect on run off performance.

Lauter Tun.

The BREWER International Volume 3 Issue 2 February 2003



There are a number of different ways of running a lauter tun which vary
according to beer type, installation and tun design. Raking can be
continuous in a wave, or using a number of discrete steps The sparge
can be added continuously or as a batch addition when it is often
accompanied by a total break up and re-mash of the bed.
Most lauter tuns are fully automated and as well as controlling the wort
run-off rate, they also measure and control the differential pressure above
and below the lauter plates. When this pressure falls below a set pressure
it has reached a set bed condition. The run-off is stopped and the rakes
are lowered to the bottom of the bed and used to beak up the bed for 5 to
10 minutes before normal filtration is resumed.
To control a lauter tun run-off, the following properties can be
Wort flow rate (which can be accumulated to give total volume of wort
Flow rate and volume of underlet and sparge
Differential pressure which is the difference in pressure above and
below the later tun false bottom. This directly measures resistance to
flow through the filter bed.
Wort clarity wort should have a haze less than 5 EBC with less than 1
mg per litre of suspended solids.
Wort density as the density decreases, the wort viscosity also falls
allowing the lauter tun to run off more quickly.
Temperature of sparge
Dissolved oxygen is reduced by gentle filling usually from the bottom of
the vessel and through gentle operation.
These measurements can be used to control the lauter through:
Controlling flow rate rate of run off
Sparge rate, that is the rate of re-hydrating the bed and the amount of
water on top of the bed.
Sparge temperature (higher temperature reduces wort viscosity, but
also increases extract of unwanted husk compounds).
Raking and set bed routines (these are primarily to relieve the build up of
differential pressure across the lauter bed).
Re-circulation at the start of run off and often after a set bed the worts
are re-circulated on top of the lauter tun until they are bright before
running to the kettle.

The large number of plates and shallow bed depth gives a high filter
flow rate and the fine grind coupled with a thin filter bed results in high
extract efficiency without the reduction in wort quality.
The sequence below shows the series of events during a mash filter

Mash is pumped at low pressure
from the mash conversion vessel
Volume of run off

5 mins
0.7 bar

The solids in the mash form a cake
on the surface of the filter cloth.
Clear wort is run off to the kettle.
Volume of run off


30 mins
0.7 bar
175 hl

After all the mash has been
transferred from the mash mixing
vessel, gentle air compression is
applied to the membrane which
forces the strong wort through the
Volume of run off

5 mins
0.9 bar
10 hl


When most of the strong worts has
been squeezed from the grain, the
membrane pressure is slowly
released and sparge water is
pumped through the mash inlet;

A typical lauter tun cycle

First worts
Second worts
Last worts
Weak worts
Drain down
Grain removal

Time in mins

Volume Hl

Modern Mash Filter

The modern generation of mash filter is typified by the Meura 2001. This
filter has a large surface area because of the number of filter plates. It
uses a very thin filter bed a few millimeters thick, and operates at up to 1.5
bar pressure, which provides a significant driving pressure to aid filtration.
Through its design, the mash filter is able to optimise the filtration
conditions defined in the Darcy equation and is therefore able to handle
very fine grist. Mash filter grist is produced using a hammer mill; the very
fine grist ensures an excellent extract recovery.
The mash filter is charged with converted mash from the mash mixer.
The mash filter is fitted with fine pore polypropylene filter sheets suitable
for fine grist, without particles bleeding through the sheets. The fine filter
sheets and grind result in a tight filter bed which means that no recirculation is required before first worts are drawn off which can run
straight to the kettle.


Volume of run off

35 mins
0.7 bar
175 hl


Final Compression
When all the sparge has been
supplied the membrane is
compressed at high pressure and
the grain bed squeezed dry.
Volume of run off

10 mins
1 to 1.5 bar
20 hl

Cake discharge


Once all the extract has been

squeezed from the grain, the
pressure is released and the filter is
opened up. The gains fall into a grain
hopper for removal.
Volume of run off

10 mins

The new mash filter is able to use a

very fine grist which allows a high
extract recovery usually in excess of

The BREWER International Volume 3 Issue 2 February 2003

Final Compression

Illustrations of the mash filter by kind permission of Meura

100% laboratory extract. In

addition because it requires a
lower sparge volume than the
other systems it can readily
produce high gravity worts from an
all malt brew.

Spent Grains
After wort separation is complete the waste material left behind called
spent grains and is drained down and sold for cattle feed.
The removal of the grains depends on the mash separation system:
Mash Tun thrown out by hand, or removed by a mechanical arm which
rotates over the false bottom of the tun and pushes the grains towards
outlet ports.


Lauter Tun usually combined with the lauter rake equipment, where
either the rake arms turn to present a flat surface pushing the grains
towards outlet ports, or a bar attached to the rake arms descends to
achieve the same purpose.

Summary of the advantages of a mash filter over a lauter tun.

Mash Filter
Extract efficiency Circa 102 %
Sparge volume
Less sparge
Higher gravity worts
Turn around
Circa 2 hours
12 brews/day
Full charge + 5 % -10%
No underlet
Easier run off
Small 3 x12m
(10 tonnes)
Low few moving parts
Quality (under )
Good improved
correct operation foam stability
Spent grains
Dry moisture < 65 %
Capital Cost
Can be cheaper
depending on civil costs

Lauter Tun
Circa 97.5 %
Higher sparge lower
gravity wort
Circa 3- 4 hours
8 - 10 brews/day
Full charge 35 %
More problematical run off

Mash Filter the filter is opened up and the grains fall out, occasionally
with sticky grains the cloths may require scraping.

8m dia.
Higher more moving parts
Wet moisture > 78 %

After grain discharge the plates or cloths are usually hosed off, in
preparation for the next brew, and the vessels will receive a full hot CIP at
least once per week. The discharged grains are usually conveyed either
by a screw conveyor or using compressed air to a storage silo, where
they can be loaded into local transport for removal.
The % solids of the grains is between 19 and 36% depending on wort
extraction system and drainage, where there is no concern over effluent
and when the brewery is adjacent to suitable agricultural sites, the grains
are discharged wet and removed for storage and ensiling on the farm.
If the grains cannot be taken away wet then it is necessary to dry the
grains. In which case after draining down, the grains may be passed
through a decanter centrifuge to remove excess moisture before being
dried in a drum oven.

One of the principal differences between the three separation systems is

in composition of the grist required, which is shown below:
Summary of the principal differences in grist composition based on the
standard EBC Pfungstat Plansifter sieving of grist.
Mesh size (mm)
1.01 to 0.547

Mash Tun
Coarse Grits
Fine Grits

Lauter Tun

Mash Filter

References and further reading

ORourke T - IoB Blue Book Brewhouse and Brewing Materials (in print)
Meura technical literature
Briggs technical literature
Malting and Brewing Science - Hough, Briggs and Stephens
ORourke T Back to Basics Brewers Guardian July 1999.

The Institute & Guild of Brewing

Please visit our web site for information on all IGB activities and services

The BREWER International Volume 3 Issue 2 February 2003


Efficiency Line Philosophy








In 1992 I presented a paper titled Development of a Packaging Line to the Brewers

Guild in Blackpool, and then at the MBAA Conference in the Caribbean. I made
reference to the first packaging line that I managed in Ghana from 1971 to 1973. The
speed was 120bpm, efficiencies were 85% and waste was negligible. It was a doddle! So
whats gone wrong? The answer is simple. The modern line is faster, technology more
complex and there is a multiple range of products. If you want a successful line today, it
must be right the line philosophy should be perfect. Is this too much to ask for well it
usually is!
When starting from new, frustrations can evolve as a result of:

Inadequate budget. It is either arbitrarily cut or poorly constructed.

Time constraint. Once a decision is made there never seems to be enough time,
everything must happen now!
The contract. It is important to have a contract but I find they are now overly
complex. This does three things 1) makes the supplier nervous (they will probably
seek legal advice), 2) leaves a tendency for simple things to be left out, and 3) can
delay the project. What generally happens is the project goes ahead while the
contract is still being sorted out not the perfect situation.
Second-rate machinery is purchased or insufficient research is carried out.
Not enough work is done on studying the compatibility of the materials with the
Operators are not properly trained.
There is not enough involvement with those who will be running it!

Good planning is the essence of achieving the right end result, if this is not achieved,
there is a nightmare to follow, and there is not much sympathy around! Good planning
also means that when you are challenged you have the answer, and the consequences of
any change are immediately known. So before developing a packaging line ensure that all
parties have been consulted, and that there is total agreement on the objectives. So whom
should you involve? The simple answer is, the customer, but sadly there is not one but
many of them. My list would include planning/sales, marketing, manufacturing
(production and engineering managers and shop floor), and finance. Make sure that the
top person is approached in each area, and ask that he/she nominate individuals who will

be asked to sign off what has been agreed. There will then be a steering committee
involving all these people and a project owner who would normally be someone from
manufacturing who will work with the project and then finally take it over. This may
seem a bit petty but a lot of money is being invested, so it is important that a great deal of
up front work is carried out. If the reader works for a small company all this may not be
necessary, as communications are easier and ownership is extremely clear. It is also
likely that the same people will be around throughout the project! However, a clear plan
still needs to be put together. All this may seem extremely obvious, but so many fall at
this hurdle.
After the requirements have been established, the line layout and type of plant must be
decided. Specifications therefore need to be prepared and discussions take place with
suppliers. You should still remain reasonably flexible in your approach, as suppliers will
often as not come up with good ideas.
On one occasion I remember talking to a supplier after the installation of his palletiser.
We in manufacturing had specified the patterns for palletisation, and these were duly
given to the supplier who actually suggested a better pattern for one particular format.
This was turned down by project because the pattern had already been specified! Later
on, when we discovered this, we changed the pattern on the suppliers advice, and it
worked much better. So have an open mind do lots of listening!
Line layouts and speeds are of the essence to good line performance. There are many
layout alternatives. The end result may depend on existing layouts but the modern
objectives would include (Mnemonic-FEEL DEMO!):

F ast changeovers (Less than 10 mins)

E rgonomics
E ase of maintenance and cleaning
L ow manning levels

D esign line to pull product

E ase of waste removal
M aterials ingress and compatibility
O n line Quality Control

The line needs to be designed around the heart of the line i.e. the machine that does the
primary packaging. If this machine stops, the output is immediately affected. For a
beverage packaging line this would normally be the filler. A graph is then drawn with the
filler at the bottom of the graph this is known as a V graph (see fig 1). In cases where
a tunnel pasteuriser is installed, this may be at the bottom of the graph. However, if this is

done the filler needs to be electronic to allow it to modulate.

'V' G raph for 1500Cpm Canning Line





Fig 1

Machines before and after the filler are planned to run faster by increments of 5 to 8%. In
this way the line stands the best chance of giving a good efficiency. The machine at the
bottom of the graph gives you the rated output for the line. The faster the line, the less
robust it is, and stoppages will also give a greater loss of output.
This leads us to the next point, accumulation. For slower lines, <500cpm, accumulation is
not as important, and also the V graph can be flatter. For higher speeds, however,
accumulation is required to give an effective line balance. There are two types, static and
The simplest form of static accumulation is the bi-directional table, which is fitted at right
angles to the conveyor. The product accumulates, and is then released into the conveyor
when the line restarts. The disadvantage of this type is that products maybe held on the
table for some considerable time, as the product will only be slowly released onto the
line. In fact on some tables, the product can sit on the dead plate at the end of the table
until it is physically pushed onto the conveyer. At a recent exhibition, drinktec interbrau
in Munich, Gebo Industries exhibited an in-line accumulation conveyer table. This has
the advantage of ensuring that no product is left behind and is a neat combination of the
dynamic and static types. It also takes up less space than dynamic accumulation on the
Dynamic accumulation can take place on any conveyors more than one slat wide.
Conveyors on a packaging line are divided into two distinct areas upstream and
downstream (see fig 2)
Normal State:
Conveyors Full


Normal State:
Conveyors 50%Full

Fig 2

Upstream conveyors feed the core machine, in this case the filler, and downstream
conveyors take product away from that machine. The upstream conveyors will normally
run full, so if for any reason a machine feeding the filler should stop, there is a buffer of
cans on the conveyor to keep the filler running. Conversely, the conveyors downstream

will run around half full which allows them to fill up when there is a stoppage
downstream. So how much accumulation does one have? When it comes down to it, it is
a matter of money and space. The best advice one can give is to analyse the most
common stops on a line and relate the accumulation capacity to these. There are now
some brilliant packages available that allow line performance to be simulated there are
companies around that can do this for you, conveyor manufacturers should also be able to
do this for you.
For an existing line it is worthwhile spending some time on ensuring that your line is in
balance and that the accumulation space is being properly used. On many occasion I have
seen people increase the speed of the filler and expect higher output, the reverse actually
takes place. A line always runs better when it is allowed to run continuously at the correct
rated speed. It may be that the line has to be re-rated, or that machines upstream and
downstream need to be speeded up. I have seen new plant being installed on a line and as
it runs at a different speed to the de-installed plant, it throws the line out of balance.
Another consideration is the line layout. There are two distinct ways to go a straight
line or a U shaped line (See figs 3&4). The latter gives the best solution from the
ergonomic point of view, as machines are much more accessible and also more visible.
However, this will not be the easy solution if straight lines are already in place, or when a
range of different pack formats are required. Should the latter be the case, a comb layout
will be necessary giving a choice of routes. Whatever is chosen the above objectives
FEEL DEMO - should be met in order to give a satisfactory performance.
In conclusion, the competence of the operating crew is absolutely key to achieving good
output, but I also believe that a well-designed and balanced line makes a big difference to
both morale and therefore output. Good planning is the essence; then ensure it is in
balance and, finally, look after it!
The next article is about measurement of line performance with a little financial input.

Efficiency Line Philosophy








In 1992 I presented a paper titled Development of a Packaging Line to the Brewers

Guild in Blackpool, and then at the MBAA Conference in the Caribbean. I made
reference to the first packaging line that I managed in Ghana from 1971 to 1973. The
speed was 120bpm, efficiencies were 85% and waste was negligible. It was a doddle! So
whats gone wrong? The answer is simple. The modern line is faster, technology more
complex and there is a multiple range of products. If you want a successful line today, it
must be right the line philosophy should be perfect. Is this too much to ask for well it
usually is!
When starting from new, frustrations can evolve as a result of:

Inadequate budget. It is either arbitrarily cut or poorly constructed.

Time constraint. Once a decision is made there never seems to be enough time,
everything must happen now!
The contract. It is important to have a contract but I find they are now overly
complex. This does three things 1) makes the supplier nervous (they will probably
seek legal advice), 2) leaves a tendency for simple things to be left out, and 3) can
delay the project. What generally happens is the project goes ahead while the
contract is still being sorted out not the perfect situation.
Second-rate machinery is purchased or insufficient research is carried out.
Not enough work is done on studying the compatibility of the materials with the
Operators are not properly trained.
There is not enough involvement with those who will be running it!

Good planning is the essence of achieving the right end result, if this is not achieved,
there is a nightmare to follow, and there is not much sympathy around! Good planning
also means that when you are challenged you have the answer, and the consequences of
any change are immediately known. So before developing a packaging line ensure that all
parties have been consulted, and that there is total agreement on the objectives. So whom
should you involve? The simple answer is, the customer, but sadly there is not one but
many of them. My list would include planning/sales, marketing, manufacturing
(production and engineering managers and shop floor), and finance. Make sure that the
top person is approached in each area, and ask that he/she nominate individuals who will

be asked to sign off what has been agreed. There will then be a steering committee
involving all these people and a project owner who would normally be someone from
manufacturing who will work with the project and then finally take it over. This may
seem a bit petty but a lot of money is being invested, so it is important that a great deal of
up front work is carried out. If the reader works for a small company all this may not be
necessary, as communications are easier and ownership is extremely clear. It is also
likely that the same people will be around throughout the project! However, a clear plan
still needs to be put together. All this may seem extremely obvious, but so many fall at
this hurdle.
After the requirements have been established, the line layout and type of plant must be
decided. Specifications therefore need to be prepared and discussions take place with
suppliers. You should still remain reasonably flexible in your approach, as suppliers will
often as not come up with good ideas.
On one occasion I remember talking to a supplier after the installation of his palletiser.
We in manufacturing had specified the patterns for palletisation, and these were duly
given to the supplier who actually suggested a better pattern for one particular format.
This was turned down by project because the pattern had already been specified! Later
on, when we discovered this, we changed the pattern on the suppliers advice, and it
worked much better. So have an open mind do lots of listening!
Line layouts and speeds are of the essence to good line performance. There are many
layout alternatives. The end result may depend on existing layouts but the modern
objectives would include (Mnemonic-FEEL DEMO!):

F ast changeovers (Less than 10 mins)

E rgonomics
E ase of maintenance and cleaning
L ow manning levels

D esign line to pull product

E ase of waste removal
M aterials ingress and compatibility
O n line Quality Control

The line needs to be designed around the heart of the line i.e. the machine that does the
primary packaging. If this machine stops, the output is immediately affected. For a
beverage packaging line this would normally be the filler. A graph is then drawn with the
filler at the bottom of the graph this is known as a V graph (see fig 1). In cases where
a tunnel pasteuriser is installed, this may be at the bottom of the graph. However, if this is

done the filler needs to be electronic to allow it to modulate.

'V' G raph for 1500Cpm Canning Line





Fig 1

Machines before and after the filler are planned to run faster by increments of 5 to 8%. In
this way the line stands the best chance of giving a good efficiency. The machine at the
bottom of the graph gives you the rated output for the line. The faster the line, the less
robust it is, and stoppages will also give a greater loss of output.
This leads us to the next point, accumulation. For slower lines, <500cpm, accumulation is
not as important, and also the V graph can be flatter. For higher speeds, however,
accumulation is required to give an effective line balance. There are two types, static and
The simplest form of static accumulation is the bi-directional table, which is fitted at right
angles to the conveyor. The product accumulates, and is then released into the conveyor
when the line restarts. The disadvantage of this type is that products maybe held on the
table for some considerable time, as the product will only be slowly released onto the
line. In fact on some tables, the product can sit on the dead plate at the end of the table
until it is physically pushed onto the conveyer. At a recent exhibition, drinktec interbrau
in Munich, Gebo Industries exhibited an in-line accumulation conveyer table. This has
the advantage of ensuring that no product is left behind and is a neat combination of the
dynamic and static types. It also takes up less space than dynamic accumulation on the
Dynamic accumulation can take place on any conveyors more than one slat wide.
Conveyors on a packaging line are divided into two distinct areas upstream and
downstream (see fig 2)
Normal State:
Conveyors Full


Normal State:
Conveyors 50%Full

Fig 2

Upstream conveyors feed the core machine, in this case the filler, and downstream
conveyors take product away from that machine. The upstream conveyors will normally
run full, so if for any reason a machine feeding the filler should stop, there is a buffer of
cans on the conveyor to keep the filler running. Conversely, the conveyors downstream

will run around half full which allows them to fill up when there is a stoppage
downstream. So how much accumulation does one have? When it comes down to it, it is
a matter of money and space. The best advice one can give is to analyse the most
common stops on a line and relate the accumulation capacity to these. There are now
some brilliant packages available that allow line performance to be simulated there are
companies around that can do this for you, conveyor manufacturers should also be able to
do this for you.
For an existing line it is worthwhile spending some time on ensuring that your line is in
balance and that the accumulation space is being properly used. On many occasion I have
seen people increase the speed of the filler and expect higher output, the reverse actually
takes place. A line always runs better when it is allowed to run continuously at the correct
rated speed. It may be that the line has to be re-rated, or that machines upstream and
downstream need to be speeded up. I have seen new plant being installed on a line and as
it runs at a different speed to the de-installed plant, it throws the line out of balance.
Another consideration is the line layout. There are two distinct ways to go a straight
line or a U shaped line (See figs 3&4). The latter gives the best solution from the
ergonomic point of view, as machines are much more accessible and also more visible.
However, this will not be the easy solution if straight lines are already in place, or when a
range of different pack formats are required. Should the latter be the case, a comb layout
will be necessary giving a choice of routes. Whatever is chosen the above objectives
FEEL DEMO - should be met in order to give a satisfactory performance.
In conclusion, the competence of the operating crew is absolutely key to achieving good
output, but I also believe that a well-designed and balanced line makes a big difference to
both morale and therefore output. Good planning is the essence; then ensure it is in
balance and, finally, look after it!
The next article is about measurement of line performance with a little financial input.

Efficiency the Materials

In last months article I talked about the Ishikawa approach in defining a process, as







Most people tend to focus on the Machinery and People. Production blame the Engineers,
Engineers blame the operators. Although this is a culture we would like to think has
passed us by, unfortunately, when there is pressure on output, this rather unhealthy
discourse tends to raise its head once more. When I visit operations that have not done a
full study on their plant performance, I often find that the materials that they are using are
the greatest cause of downtime. The frustration on the shop floor is enormous and the
answers are often found there. A simple example that I came across was with a labeller
that was applying pre-cut paper labels and the operator was struggling with the varying
sizes of label. It turned out that the company was buying from two different suppliers and
each company was cutting the label to a slightly different dimension. Materials are
probably the most comfortable item to look at because it mostly involves people outside
the manufacturing arena and also the results can be extremely rewarding!
So what is the best approach? I have listened to lecture in which a person from Quality
Assurance was saying that you need good specifications and that you ensure that the
suppliers keep to them, so far so good but who lays down the specification and is the
supplier really comfortable with it. In this instance the user wrote the specification and
then told the supplier that this is what he wanted. This can lead to an uncomfortable
relationship with the supplier and tends to set up a feeling of animosity. This goes back to
the days of material inspection and AQLs (Acceptable Quality Limits). In my mind a
component is either right or wrong why should there be any failures?
Interestingly the best approach is the one that favours the buyer and the manufacturer;
that is to have a single supplier and partnership where the supplier works closely with the
manufacturer to achieve the best result. Most suppliers are into this approach and like it
as they can then ensure that they are supplying the best materials for your plant and
understand why certain dimensions are critical or not as the case might be.
These are important and can be divided into three parts. The first is an overall policy
statement it could relate to a restriction in chemical treatment or the use of compounds
used which you, as the user, do not want to come into contact with your product. It would
include the requirement for tests should the supplier wish to use a different form of
treatment; for example, use a different lacquer inside a beverage can. This may also

include an environmentally based statement that requires a percentage of the supplied

material to be recycled. This of course needs to be done with great sensitivity, as some
materials will have a significantly reduced performance if there is a recycled content!
The second part, which I call the Leader Specification, will cover all components that
come under a common heading, such as bottles, cans, trays, cartons, film etc. This will
cover the general description, technical requirements, quality and environment specific to
this component. Finally the third part, the Individual Specification which will specific
to the actual component giving dimensions, type of material, barcodes, artwork and so
on. This is agreed with the supplier with other players, such as marketing, sales and
manufacturing being involved. There are other ways of putting specifications together but
I have always liked this hierarchical approach. As components are added or changed
there is less documentation involved whether it is computer based or in a file. Each
component is given a code preferably alphanumeric but if you are unlucky and have
SAP it has to be numeric!
Getting the Specifications Right
This is all about capability. Packaging is in effect a means of carrying your product
undamaged to the consumer. But there is more I use an aide-memoire, Is Capable to
I Innovative
S Sells the product
C Collation of packs
A Appeal through good design
P Protects and preserves the measured contents
A An easy product to handle
B Best practice for pack integrity
L Labelling for identity and information
E Environmentally acceptable
When specifying the packaging it is necessary to have some or all of the above points
considered. Especially important is to consider its end destination and how it will be
handled en route. Having said this it must ALSO be capable of running on the machine!
Earlier in this article we mentioned the importance of dimensions. There will be others
such as slip for board, cans and bottles; glue viscosity and temperature and so on. This
capability is well demonstrated by a frequency distribution curve. The Lower Specified
Limit (LSL) and the Upper Specified Limit (USL) are the tolerance limits for the
machine this is known as the Engineering Tolerance or ET. The range is calculated by
multiplying the standard deviation by 6. This is known as the Normal Tolerance or NT.
Capability is calculated using standard deviation a function available on any scientific
calculator. At least twenty readings are necessary to give good data. It is calculated using
the following formula

Frequency Distribution showing a Process

Capability (Cp.) of 1
Unfortunately another calculation is required known as Cpk which takes the mean or
average result into account. The following graphs aptly demonstrate this:

Rejects or Waste

Graphs showing Capability Variation

Process Capability Graphs showing Capability within Specification

I have had experience of a supplier adding up all his measurements, taking the average
and then boldly stating that he has met the specification! This brings us to the final
Final Comment
To achieve the best out of the plant the materials or components must be consistently
correct. The specifications should be agreed with the supplier and signed off perhaps
using a Certificate of Conformance this should be done at least annually. It is the
suppliers responsibility to meet this specification as it is with the manufacturer to meet
specifications for the final product!
The best way of achieving this is to introduce Exception Reporting with a points system
relating to the severity of fault. The exception report will be instigated by the operator
and followed through with the supplier by Quality AND the Buyer who if not directly
involved should be aware. Audits are then carried out with suppliers as to their
performance and at the end of the year a certificate can be awarded to the Supplier of the
Year. Suppliers take great pride in being awarded with these.
At the end of the day never forget the significance of materials in achieving better
efficiencies. Also having received them on site, ensure that they are stored in the right
conditions in a clean place and do not hold them for too long!
Next month the article will be on People.

Efficiency People
This month people is the theme:







There is no doubt that the most important part of a good process is the people that run it
they can make or break an operation. I have never found a magic ingredient, but one
thing for sure, most are guilty of not looking after this main asset properly by this I do
not mean conditions of employment, I mean ordinary things like communicating, interest
in the individual, and being consistent.
Management of people is one of the most written about subjects and many have made a
great deal of money out of it. Management of people has changed from control,
direction, compliance, discipline, measurement, feedback loops and union meetings to
empowerment, self management, involvement, co-ordinating, facilitating, enabling and
team meetings and the structures are now flatter.
I have been through management change that moved from one extreme to the other, and
there is no doubt that there are problems at both ends of this spectrum. The latter,
however, has to be the healthier environment to work in. The difficulty is that some of the
people who worked under the old regime often do not fit in to the new one. This leads to
some hard decisions about the people who clearly no longer fit in the organisation.
Empowerment and self-managed teams may be good things, but it also needs first class
production management - even better than before. However, there is so often a lack of it,
production managers run themselves into the ground chasing resources and seeking
emergency fixes for problems; instead of giving themselves time to understand, observe,
listen and then to improve the manufacturing process.
So why is this? I would suggest it is because manufacturing has become so tight that
resources have been stretched to the limit. There is always two streams of activity, firstly,
the real job of manufacturing producing good quality product as required - and
secondly the constant change programmes that enshroud manufacturing today. It is
difficult to do both well! Fifteen years ago it was Unions, today it is Change.
Resources are geared to cope with production, ignoring change, but for change
programmes, people in the manufacturing teams are needed. As most change
programmes have such a significant future impact on the plant the best people need to be
involved therefore manufacturing suffers. This cycle will continue, and so change needs
to be part of a team activity not something that is divorced from it. Often there are so
called change management teams but they are not always helpful to manufacturing.
They tend to build up resistance to change; then they need internal help, so you end up
with the same problem.

Coupled with this, manufacturing teams have become flexible. Apart from the obvious
advantages, this has other connotations. With the dedicated operators of the past,
machines were owned and cared for by specific individuals, now with flexibility the same
dedication is not there, and as a result machines are not receiving the same level of
attention. I was talking to a manufacturer of board a short while ago about flexibility and
ownership, and he identified immediately with this problem. Two issues arise from this:

The consistency of operation

The aptitude of the individual.

To overcome this, training has to be good. Individual operators need to be trained and
properly assessed. With bigger operations that run a number of shifts this is really key.
The only way out is to have professional training perhaps with the help of NVQs - and
having done this, individuals operating the machinery need to be constantly assessed. I
also favour the nomination of key operators for individual machines, and linking them to
a technician, in order to bring some ownership back they can still be flexible but will
have a special interest they will also be the trainers for their specific machine.
In the next issue we will talk about maintenance and how initiatives like TPM (Total
Productive Maintenance) also have an impact on people. At the end of the day people are
a part of plant and process with which they are inextricably linked:




For this article I have chosen to talk about the issues that directly affect output. There are
two excellent chapters on the subject of people in a new book called Excellence in
Packaging of Beverages produced by myself and Eric Candy and recently published by
the Binsted Group. Tel 01256 764180.

Efficiency Line Measurement








Line efficiency is one of the most emotional topics in a packaging plant. As a result it is
important that figures are on time, calculated correctly and that they portray the correct
message. Initially efficiency was measured over the time that was available for
production. Take as an example a 2 x 8 hour shift operation running for16 hours per day.
If it takes one hour to start up the operation and two hours to close down, with half an
hour per shift allowed for breaks, the efficiency would be measured over 12 hours. This
can result in the manipulation of the efficiency figures, thereby creating a false picture.
Today, there is a much greater emphasis on yield, which is measured over the full period.
Therefore, using the above example, it would be calculated over the full 16 hours. Terms
like sweating the assets have entered the vocabulary, and benchmarking has become the
norm. It is therefore very important that there is no ambiguity, and when comparisons are
made, it is like for like.
The working day often starts with the question What efficiency did we get yesterday?
The yield figure is fine as a reply, but alongside this should be two other figures,
operation efficiency and utilisation. If the yield figure is the only one that is given, it is
open to too much interpretation and innuendo. Hours can be wasted discussing irrelevant
information. I have actually seen figures over the years become less and less relevant to
those that specifically require them, and senior management being overloaded with
information through management systems such as SAP. This is not healthy, as it can be
responsible for creating a blame culture. Investment in a real time measurement system
would improve this, but again, only if it is done properly. It must be geared for use by the
shop floor in order to allow improvement initiatives to be carried out at that level.
So what is yield? This is the good production in the warehouse divided by the rated
output of the line to give standard hours. This is then divided by the number of paid
hours. So for a three shift x 8-hour operation, this would be 24 hours.
Standard Hours = Production in the Warehouse
Rated Output /Hour of the Line

Yield = Standard Hours

Paid Hours
So, if a line produces 1000 cans per minute for 44cl cans, output is 26,400 litres. In the
warehouse after 24 hours we have 45,000 trays x 24 x 44cl cans = 475,200 litres. So
Standard Hours = 475,200/27,400 = 18 hours. Yield therefore = 18*100/24 = 75%.
Depending on the activity, this figure could be really depressed. It is important therefore,
to also show the Operation Efficiency. For this figure, the Operating Hours are used. The
paid hours are adjusted for the number of planned hours that the line is down for.
Planned Hours = Time allowed for changeovers (from measurement!), maintenance,
meetings etc
Operating Hours = Paid Time Planned Time
So if planned time is 2 hours, the Operation Efficiency is 18*100/(24-2) = 82%
To keep a check on planned hours taken it is a good idea to record line utilisation during
paid hours.
Utilisation = Operating Hours
Paid Hours
So for this example, Utilisation = 22*100/24 = 92%
The yield, operation and utilisation figures will provide useful data. For example,
changeovers, an extra long meeting and maintenance time can be easily identified.
However, there will be days when there are other reasons such as machinery breakdowns,
component problems/shortages, shortage of labour, skill shortages and so on. This is
where the controversy becomes an issue, and when good information pays dividends. To
make matters worse, you are potentially discussing someone elses shift, and they are not
represented or involved in the discussion. For this reason, I advocate a good line
monitoring system (LMS), something that not many companies have, either because they
have had a bad experience with one, or they do not wish to spend the money.
The good thing about a system today, is that the management information (MIS) can be
fed into any management package such as SAP that is already in place, and at the same
time the shop floor are motivated by receiving the information they need. I have recently
come across one such system that provides the solution to these needs. This is produced
by a Spanish company in Barcelona called Adbraintage. It is not cheap, but it is definitely
worth the investment. The system will tell you where the problems have been, and also
whether the line is working in balance or not. It is designed to be operator friendly and
the information report is well laid out. (See figs 1&2)
Figs 1&2 Examples: Adbraintage Screen Display??
So many systems only go half way and that is why they are often not used; or they can go
to the other extreme and be far too complex.

A correctly designed system ensures that managers spend the minimum amount of time
in the office, thereby maximising their focus on line issues. Measurement in real time
gives many other advantages as well; this would include informing component suppliers
of the status of the production line; this ensures that components do not run out or
become over stocked. The same goes for finished goods. A much more efficient form of
communication can be set up with warehousing and transport as they will have ready
access to production information. Another benefit is providing the finance department
with ready data that allows, for example, a more accurate costing of individual products.
This is especially important for products with short runs and long changeovers.
The accuracy of information is important for many reasons. Preventative Planned
Maintenance (PPM) relies on it see November Issue of Canning & Filling. This
information will also support Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) activities discussed in
the same article. For TPM to be successful the correct machines need to be targeted for
improvement, so that full analysis can be carried out. Furthermore, this accurate and
easily accessible data allows properly informed decisions to be made on machinery and
This article would not be complete without mentioning financial measurement.
Accountants can be perceived as being supportive or as a threat. They will always be
there, so it is wise to keep them on your side. This is especially important today as data is
not as visible as it once was. We need to know how the business is performing against the
challenging targets that are set for us, and help the operation to keep them on track. Two
measures, which I am familiar with, are PMDO (Costs of People, Maintenance,
Depreciation and Others) and TDEC (Total Delivered Economic Cost). Others would
include items like site maintenance, canteen etc. TDEC would include the cost of
materials and waste the variable costs. These costs, and certainly the PMDO element,
are often used for benchmarking and would be expressed against a unit of production;
this could be, for example, per litre or hectolitre (100 litres) or per case. Where a good
accountant can be extremely helpful, is in pinpointing where the variances are, making it
much easier to find the source of a problem.
Measurement is a wide-ranging subject and I hope the points made above will give some
food for thought. The key is to ensure that complexity is kept to minimum, and that
figures are on time, even in real time. If figures are not understood fully or they are late,
continuous improvement will be hindered significantly


Efficiency Changeovers
This month changeovers is the theme:







Changeovers have become a big topic over the past few years with diversification of
products, globalisation and economic consumer response (ECR). ECR is all about fast
response to consumer demand and taking inventory out of the supply chain. None of this
helps the producer, and in fact there is very little over the last five years that has!
Manufacturing has had to cope with reducing costs, which inevitably means less
resource, shorter runs and more stock keeping units (SKUs). The manufacturer therefore
needs all the help he can get. We have already discussed good maintenance; this is a vital
ingredient to good line performance especially after changeovers.
Most manufacturers are now faced with too many changeovers, and ridiculously short
runs. The appeal is for sensible planning, rationalisation of product - in order to reduce
the level of changeovers, and innovation that fits as closely as possible to manufacturing
facilities already available. On many occasions I have found that planning schedules
could be changed this is especially important with a difficult product when longer runs
are needed for the line to settle down. Planners can be adamant as their focus is demand,
but after discussion it can often be found that a product can be produced fortnightly rather
than weekly. Planners are measured on Customer Service not Production Efficiency!
The message for production is to do everything possible to limit changeovers in the first
I know a company who recently installed a new bottling line. It was only at this moment
that they looked at rationalising the different bottles used. Rationalisation need not mean
every product going into the same bottle, it can also mean bottles produced with the same
diameter. The project team worked with the glass manufacturers and marketing, and
ended up saving significant sums on change parts and changeover times. Why wait for a
new line?
An activity programme for this approach is shown in fig 1. This can take different forms
according to the components used, but a similar interrogation and result is required.



Same Beer?

How Many SKUs?

Do Not Know

Categorise SKUs


Same Bottle?


Bottle Sizes &


Short Runs
<4 hours?



Meeting with

Reduced number
of SKUs &

Fig 1 Flow diagram showing approach to changeover reduction

Having carried out this exercise and being sure that you have the best you can get, work
now needs to be carried out on the shop floor so as to ensure that the best situation for
changeovers exist. What approach is therefore necessary to ensure that changeovers are
carried out? One clich that sticks in my mind is A place for everything and everything
in its place. At Guinness we had a person who championed this and it went well.
Coloured boxes were painted on the floor for components etc and cupboards were made
to tidy away cleaning materials close to their point of use. This is certainly a good place
to start. Today, you will hear more about the 5Ss which have been central to the
Japanese methods that have evolved since the end of the Second World War. The
objective is similar but there are clearer messages enveloped in this approach. There are
many translations of the Japanese words but the interpretations are similar no matter what
you read! The 5Ss are as follows:

Seiri Sort the first important thing is to sort out what is and what is not
needed. If an item is not going to be used during the next 30 days, take it away
and store it in a separate location where it can be easily located at a later date.
Other components or parts can be stored close by. The only items that should be
directly visible in the workplace are those items directly associated with current
production. The important issue here is that the workplace is left uncluttered

Seiton Straighten out or Orderliness items that have been sorted out after Seiri
need to be arranged in an orderly manner. Racks need to be made and these
should be properly labelled. All parts must be easily accessed.
Seiso Scrub or Cleaning this means clean everything tools, machines,
change-parts, floor, ceiling it should all be impeccably clean.
Seiketsu Standard of Cleaning or Cleanliness this extends the concept of
cleaning to making it normal work practice that becomes a checking and active
routine. It emphasises that it needs to be done daily, and that it is not a one off
Shitsuke Sustain or Discipline the four Ss above need to be engaged within a
standard for the plant so as to ensure that it is maintained. It should be constantly
audited more frequently after it has been introduced.

The above, when adopted, clearly assists in achieving smarter changeovers and prevents
the panic when looking for parts that you were sure were there last time. Indeed, in my
experience, it was probably another shift that did the changeover anyway making it easy
to blame someone else!
In the October edition of Canning and Filling the subject was Maintenance. Total
Productive Maintenance (TPM) was discussed and it is through this that machines can be
improved to give quicker changeovers by, for example, good settings and parts that fit
properly, or even modifications to give faster setting up and settling down times. One
simple thing that really helped us was having colour coded change parts. These are made
tailor made to suit specific component sizes, e.g. 275ml, 330ml and 500ml bottles. Many
manufacturers are now adopting this principle. The important thing is to ensure that a
reputable company makes the parts, as they must be a good fit. I have dealt with one such
company, Zepf Technologies. Apart from making change parts for existing machinery,
they have agreements with filler and labeller manufacturers to make change parts on their
We have now covered three activities:
1. Reduction in the number of changeovers
2. Sorting out change parts through the 5 S philosophy
3. Making machines easier to changeover
This leaves one outstanding activity, and that is the methodology. Enter the Japanese
once more! Shigeo Shingo started carrying out some productivity improvement work at
Toyota in the early 1950s. It was here, when trying to improve ways to improve the
utilisation of large body presses, that he first had the idea of separating the changeover
operations into two fundamentally different types, Internal and External.
Internal Set Up such as mounting and removing dies that can only be carried out when
the press is stopped
External Set Up such as transporting the old dies to storage or conveying new dies to
the press, which can be carried out while the press is in operation.

Shingo had immediate success and it took a further 19 years to really develop it. The final
target was to reduce changeover times to less than ten minutes, hence the name given to
the method Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED). The objective is to convert as
much of the internal time as possible to external set up time. Although the work was
carried out in the automotive industry, its concepts are as equally applicable to any
production process.
One way to start this process is by recording each element of the changeover on a
camera. This, however, can cause great consternation, as we found out! Many people do
not like having their actions recorded on camera. Could it be used as evidence?! If you
can do this or indeed persuade the team to film themselves doing it, it is worthwhile for
analysis purposes. Here are two very useful exercises that will complement this activity:
1. Carry out a changeover study on a sheet that gives:
Event order
Description of Event
Event Time (plus box for total time)
Elapsed or Cumulative Time (plus box for total time)
Bar Graph for Event Time against each activity
Box marking activity as Internal (I) or External (E)
See fig 2
Event Event
20 40 60

80 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240



Fig 2 Sample Sheet

2. A brainstorming session that involves everybody, or a good cross-section of those
who takes part in the changeover. Each person is given two differently coloured
blocks of post-its, and they write one activity on each post-it one colour for
internal, the other for external. These are then stuck onto a large sheet divided into
two boxes, Internal and External. There is then a debate as to what can be
moved from internal to external and how much time can be saved with the
combination of activities.

From these studies, together with what has been learnt from the 5 Ss and TPM, work
instructions are prepared. This in my experience is so often not done, or if it is, it is not
done properly. An individual needs to be nominated to take ownership of the whole
process, which includes the work instructions and the final and most important bit the
installation across all shifts, training, and the review! Then, once satisfied, hand it over
for audit at an agreed frequency. It is important that this is done, otherwise the hard work
put in will be wasted, and old ways will slip back! There is no doubt that it is difficult to
put all this in place and sustain it, but the rewards are there. Figure 3 shows is a summary
of the above approach.
Activity Summary






In next months issue the subject is line philosophy.

Efficiency Maintenance
This month maintenance is the theme:







Maintenance is not the sexy part of packaging, which is why perhaps it never receives
enough attention. If a packaging line is under pressure, that maintenance slot is lost, and
if this becomes a habit, the line performance becomes worse, confidence in the plant
reduces, and morale is low. It becomes a vicious circle.
Less Time for

Additional Capacity

Equipment Condition


Rework Increases

Poor Quality

The above demonstrates this dilemma well, and although it is not a position we like to
find ourselves in, I suggest that there is not one reader who cannot identify with that
situation. How can this be overcome?
Let us assume that you are in this situation. Before you can do anything, it is important
that you know your equipment. Machines are inclined to move in a cycle. When they are
new or overhauled there is the teething phase adjustments, alignments have to be made.
The machine at this stage is receiving a lot of attention and will settle down. At this stage
interests wane because another machine has become a problem, and many of the
learnings that have been made about the machine are forgotten. Planned maintenance
schedules have probably been prepared but only 25 to 50% of these have been carried

out. The machine then starts to become unreliable again and major work is required once
Adjustments and Alignments


Lack of Attention


This raises the question about planned maintenance. If the schedules are not adhered to
the maintenance system is discredited and, indeed, the critical work may have been
missed. The key to this is to know your machine and to look after it; if it is ignored the
following will happen:

Unplanned Downtime
Catastrophic failures
Collateral equipment damage
Product quality suffers
Every day is a surprise!!


Efficiencies also tend to follow the planned maintenance trend as the following graph




So how do you start to bring yourself on track? Initially there must be a clear
maintenance policy and it needs to be adhered to and measured. For example, as
illustrated above, planned maintenance compliance is as important as line efficiency, as
one will directly effect the other. Therefore, both should be reported together. The policy
should include:

Maintenance Approach
Capability/Skills required to carry out work
Resources use of contract, own skill limitation etc
Support tools, spares, planning etc
Training and Development

A lot of this work will hinge on knowing your equipment as already stated. So what does
this entail?
Firstly, a gathering of equipment history. Hopefully this is available if not this must
also be addressed and data built up from existing knowledge, and this then updated as the
facts emerge use every available source of information including the manufacturers!
The historical data needs to be sub-divided into two categories:

Repetitive failures
Major stoppages

Each will require a different approach and indeed may lead to machine modification in
some cases. Modifications should not be entered into lightly. They are often felt to be the
fun bit of maintenance and can go badly wrong. Any changes should receive as much
attention as any project and be properly planned. Plan Do Check Act. The data
gathered will help to build up a sensible preventative maintenance plan and indeed
change what is already in existence. The use of a CMMS (Computerised Management
System) is recommended.
Secondly, the involvement of the operator through activities like TPM (Total Prodructive
Maintenance). It is important that there is ownership. Sadly this has been lost through
operators now being flexible. I am suggesting that they should still be flexible but, at the
same time, maintain an interest in one piece of equipment. TPM is an important factor in
this as it provides a good systematic approach to understanding the machine and it
involves people. There is clearly not enough space to describe the process here, but
suffice to say that the process is designed to maximise the overall equipment
effectiveness. This is done by establishing and sustaining the optimal relationship
between people and their equipment. The objective is to eliminate the six losses as

Excessive set-ups and adjustments
Idling and minor stops
Reduced Speed

5. Reduced Yield through defects

6. Start Up losses
The next stage is to go through the three cycles; the Measurement Cycle (historical and
present performance), the Condition Cycle (assess and plan) and the Problem Prevention
Cycle (develop and install). Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is defined as the
multiple of three factors; Availability (losses 1&2), Performance (losses 3&4) and
Quality (losses 5&6).
So OEE = Availability% x Performance% x Quality%
Thirdly, it is important that materials fed to the machine are consistent and that the
operator follows work instructions. This really does not need explanation and is well
covered in my previous articles on materials and people.
Another vital factor is the cleanliness of the machine in an uncluttered workplace, and the
Japanese approach to this is perhaps the best. It is known as the 5 Ss and this will be
explained in the next article, which is about changeovers.
This article would be unfinished if RCM (Reliability Centred Maintenance) was not
mentioned. It provides another approach to putting together a maintenance plan and is
very focussed on the equipment operation and the possible consequent failures. The
approach is not unlike the FMEA (Failure Mode and Effect Analysis) which follows
through every detail. It is a top down approach should come up with a sensible
maintenance strategy, which is technically feasible and economically justified. However
it takes a lot of resource and is time consuming. Within this strategy condition monitoring
may be considered. This would include vibration analysis (pumps and shafts), oil analysis
(particles, lubricant breakdown,, water) and infrared(IR) thermography (contacts in
panels). This is expensive so needs to be very precise if used.
Finally, if you get it right it is very rewarding. The following are the positive indicators:

Operator and technician ownership and productivity

Work is known and measurable
Reduced overtime requirements
Effective budgeting
Better and more focussed overhauls
Increased uptime/higher efficiencies
Increased capacity
Higher morale!

The ownership or improvement cycle should look something like this:



Identify Issues

Take Action

Decide Action

A much healthier state to be in!


Towards the lights-out brewery

A brewers view of automation
The top man says Well
build a state of the art,
fully automated brewery.
These have been mostly
large developments, often
on green-field sites,
where consolidation of
facilities produces large
gains in productivity and
reduced overall cost. Can
it be that only in such
circumstances that the
high cost of automation
can be justified when the
financial gurus run the
figures through their
By Paul Buttrick
Beer Dimensions

rewers who have simple ideas

to automate and improve
quality and reliability in a small
section of an existing brewery often
fail to justify their ideas in hard
financial terms, and only sacking
some of the few operators they have
left will produce these hard savings.
In this article, I will look back at
how automation has developed in
the last 30 years and at how it might
develop in the future. There will be
examples from my own experience
as well as opinions and ideas for
people to mull over as they strive for
utopia in their own brewery.

A brief history of automation

in breweries
I sat in an office in Warrington
reminiscing on past times with
Frank Ainsworth and Paul Mahony
of CAL Systems. I had worked
closely with CAL over many years
at various Whitbread breweries,
including Boddingtons. As the
conversation continued, I began to
reflect on some of the battles which I
had had with brewery and project
engineers in the past. We brewers
were particularly hard on our
pioneering engineering colleagues at
times do I sense a touch of guilt
creeping in? Not really, Im sure

they questioned our parentage on

many occasions!
Packaging lines and areas
involving what I call stop/start,
on/off control had always been seen
as very clever and automated, but
brewing was undertaken by
operators having special skills to
regulate the processes that needed
better measurement and control.
Relay logic and solid state CMOS
Logic figured in early control
systems, with huge electric cabinets
and mimic panels. The coming of
automation meant that in the huge
breweries of the 1970s could be built
with sophisticated modern looking
brewhouses hidden behind marble
walls and space age control
panels.(Fig 1)
Much of the following process,
except possibly CIP (in place
cleaning), remained fairly manual up
to the packaging line. The coming of
the microprocessor gave rise to the
first generation of PLCs
(programmable logic controllers)
bringing another major step forward.
The program was entered into the
PLC on something akin to a desk top
calculator with a single line of text
available to the programmer.
Simulation was achieved by hard
wired connection of switches and
lamps to the PLC inputs and outputs
Brewers were told that anything
was possible; you could programme

a microprocessor and the

plant would
automatically carry out
the programme
faultlessly every time.
What we brewers did not
realise was that the plant
would work consistently every time,
it took us a long time to understand
that if any changes some maybe
very simple - had to be made, these
chips or EPROMs as they were
called had to be sent away for
reburning or reprogramming as we
understood it.
In the mid 1980s, the arrival of the
second generation PLCs (Fig 2)
revolutionised automation and
improvements in process control
(P&ID-piping and instrumentation
diagram control loops) really made
full automation practical and flexible
at plant level. Programs could be
modified on the hoof bringing with
it a new set of problems in software
version control.

TOP: Figure 1: The past

a vast array of panels
and knobs at Bass
Runcorns new
brewery in the 1970s
INSETS: Figure 1a and
1b: The present all
information is brought
to a PC screen in the
brewers office as in
Adnams new brewhouse
or available out on the
plant like this tiny Allen
Bradley mimic panel at
Oakham Ales.

Brewery plant
It was not just the control side which
needed to improve to give full
automation. Plant had to be designed
and installed to give a fail-safe
situation which did not spoil the beer

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 8 August 2007


Figure 2: A major step

forward in automation
and control in the
brewhouse at Inbevs
Magor brewery.

Figure 3: The original

1966 Tuchenhagen
mixproof valve.
(Photo supplied by GEA Process
Systems Ltd)

if a failure occurred. The

introduction of the mix-proof valve
was an enormous step forward
which allowed large numbers of
tanks to be hard piped and
automated without risk of improper
mixing or contamination with water
or detergents.
I can remember that everyone
wanted Tuchenhagen valve
matrices. Otto Tuchenhagen
invented the mix-proof valve
concept in 1966 (Fig 3, Fig 4)
following an incident in Germany
involving contamination of school
milk. The range of valves still goes
under the Varivent trademark name.
The flexibility and control offered by
PLCs, and mix-proof valve
technology moved automation on
from having the ability to work with
less operators on bigger and more
complex plant, to fully automated
plant with operators having an
overseeing brief ensuring the plant is
working correctly and carrying out
on-line quality checks.
Most modern brewhouses are
essentially fully automated from raw
materials intake to wort chilling with
one person (or part of a person)
inputting data and taking samples
for analysis. Adding hops was one of
the last operations to be automated,
this remained manual because there
was always someone around to do it,
but dosing of extract and pellets has
been automated in a number of
modern plants.

Automated tanks

Figure 4: The 2007

version of the
Tuchenhagen mixproof
(Photo supplied by GEA Process
Systems Ltd)

Fermentation has long been

automated as far as controlling
temperature has been concerned. A
number of breweries have tried
control on the basis of automated
present gravity and pH
measurement, but these have often
failed due to inconsistent
measurement as well as the cost of

installation, maintenance and

calibration of the instrumentation.
Predicting the progress of
fermentations has been easier and
more productive than sophisticated
control based on individual
instrument readings.
Full auto-routing of fermentation
and cold storage/maturation vessels
is still rare apart from the most
modern highly capitalised breweries.
With up to half a dozen mix-proof
valves needed per tank, the difficulty
in justifying the spend cannot be
covered by the normal hard
production savings (e.g. manning,
losses etc). Decisions such as when
to remove yeast, and where to, can
be too complicated in all but the
simplest plant. A lights out
fermentation and maturation area is
therefore unlikely to be common in
the near future.
Most large breweries seem to
manage fermentation with very few
people, and with some automation
and pipework routing, could reduce
the requirement to a single person
per shift. Having said that, yeast
propagation is an area where
automation can be justified because
precise control and complex
operations are required to give
consistency. For automation of
tanks, many breweries make a
decision based on residence time
and frequency of valve movements.
Bright beer tanks which may be
filled and emptied a couple of times
a day are the most commonly
automated.(Fig 5) The modern BBT
farm is often a lights out area with
everything from beer into tank, beer
out to packaging line, blending and
CIP being controlled by PLC.

Filtration using vessel filters (screen
and candle filters) were automated at
an early stage (Fig 6). The closed
nature of the equipment made for
easy automation using hard wired
systems backed up by a turbidity
meter. The plants are normally
manned by a single operator,
whereas breweries which opted for
plate and frame filters tended to be
more manual and had more staff.
Full automation of large plate and
frame filters was trialled by a
number and failed by all!
I have been involved in a number
of potential filtration projects where
the desire to move from a more
highly manned plate and frame
operation to a fully automated vessel
filter plant, has failed because the

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 8 August 2007

financial justification did not stand

It seems that installing fully
automated vessel filters could only
be financially justified if a project
was started from scratch, was
volume driven, or the current plant
grossly overmanned. With
kieselguhr-free filters now
establishing their credentials, and
increasing problems with powder
handling and disposal, we shall have
to see whether breweries opt to jump
from existing plate and frame
straight to the new technology.

Justification for automation

In many cases, automation is
specified to keep manning to a low
level and to give a consistent
operation. Previously a reduction in
manning was one of the only
acceptable hard benefits of investing
in pipework and routing installation.
The improvement in monitoring
equipment has widened what is
achievable. With capacity being
tightly managed, time means
product, so the elimination of dead
time in processes is now measurable
and thus more easily costed.
Automation and instrumentation
for protecting the product e.g.
avoidance of contamination, with
conductivity and pH probes on
filling lines are far more easily
managed in a fully automated plant
where prescribed reactive processes
can be programmed and
automatically carried out. Beer
losses often used to be costed on the
basis of raw materials being lost,
however the true cost should also
include utilities and effluent charges,
and in some tightly managed plants
a labour element is included as well.
The impact of poor publicity on a
brewery which pollutes the
environment with an unauthorised
discharge is huge and it would be
wiser safeguarding its reputation
with well engineered
instrumentation and failsafe
automated responses rather than
leaving things to a conscientious but
not infallible operator.

Cost of automation
Automation is still costly, but
compared to 30 years ago is
relatively more affordable. For
example, in 1985, a 75 mm
Tuchenhagen mix-proof valve and
control head with feedback had a
typical market price of 1261,
compared to 1259 in 2007.
Considering that costs have risen by

over 100% since 1987, the relative

costs have reduced and the quality
and reliability of the valve have
increased substantially. Control
equipment e.g. PLCs, field
instrumentation and programming
have all reduced considerably in
price since the early days.

A few tips for reducing

automation costs

always used to its full effect. The

control plant suppliers offer any
number of parameters to trend, but
these are not always configured on
relevant pages and their scaling is
often outside the useful range for
quick and meaningful diagnostics.
An example of this might be
trending of dissolved oxygen and
temperature on a filtration plant.
How often is a scaling seen as 0-

10C for temperature and 0 10

ppm for oxygen, when the target is
likely to be 0C for temperature and
less than 0.10 ppm (100 ppb) for
oxygen. I challenge people to go into
their breweries and see whether their
SCADA (Supervisory Control and
Data Acquisition) trend graphs are
optimally configured, I would only
expect a handful of positive replies.

Figure 5 below: A
modern Tuchenhagen
valve matrix on a tank
Figure 6 bottom: An
automated filter plant at
SABMillers plant at
Poznan in Poland.

In my time I have become an expert

in getting automation installed on
plant where project engineers have
been keen to keep overall costs to a
minimum. Remember:
When planning a project, take
account of any future projects and
install as large a PLC as it is
reasonable to justify; this will
reduce future automation and
control costs. If this is not
possible, make sure what is
installed is easily adaptable and
When looking at automation
projects, take a really close look at
how much plant is required. For
example, how many tanks are
required? Do we need three of
these, can we work with two? The
efficiencies afforded by
automation very often reduce the
requirement for extra plant; this
cost saving can often be used to
offset the cost of automation,
especially when projects are
engineered to a budget.
Automation gives the opportunity
to build in flexibility, but how
much of this flexibility will
actually be used and how often?
Over-engineering is often the
cause of projects being too
I recently visited a brewery with the
most fantastic fully automatic yeast
propagation plant. Every aspect was
PLC controlled, with the absolute
minimum of input required from the
operators except that the air supply
for aerating the culture remained
manual not quite spoiling the ship
for a haporth worth of tar, but a
small anomaly on an otherwise
perfect installation.

The improvement in process control
instrumentation, plant schematics
(Fig 7) and trending of parameters
provides useful information for plant
operators. In my experience,
trending data has always been part of
the requirement of any plant control
system, but the information is not

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 8 August 2007


Trending for process

In my opinion, a glance at a well
configured SCADA trend screen is
the quickest and easiest way to tell
whether a process is under control.
Each process will have a
recognisable trend shape which,
with frequent use, will be familiar to
the operator. Any trace which is not
following the right line or, has an
unusual shape needs to be
investigated and corrective action
taken. Unless a problem is
significant, it may otherwise not
present itself until well after the
event, so frequent monitoring
coupled with a well thought out
alarm system can significantly
improve quality and efficiency. In
normal production, trends are most
useful for diagnosing problems,
particularly when matched with
sequence steps and process values.
An example is trending for dissolved
oxygen in processed beer, where any
adjustments to plant and equipment
are almost instantaneously recorded.
Similarly plant faults, such a
defective pump seal sucking in air,
can be instantly picked up and


Figure 7 top: A SCADA

screen showing
graphics from yeast
Figure 8 above:Trend
graph from a
fermentation SCADA
(Images: FMA Process
Engineering Ltd)

Use of trending for plant

Trending (Fig 8) is often one of the
last items on the commissioning
plan its far more useful to have the
trends properly set up early on to aid
commissioning. One of my recent
commissioning experiences was
with some 500 hl/hr green beer
centrifuges. The centrifuges would
ramp up and down in flow according
to the turbidity of the beer coming
on to them. The start up procedure
was set according to a predetermined ramp rate, but the timing
and set points were such that the
average flow of the centrifuges was
below the required capacity of the
plant. The maximum flow was easily
achieved, but time wasted in
stopping/starting the centrifuges and
tank changeovers, meant that the
daily volume requirements were
missed. Once the trend graphs on the
SCADA system were configured and
scaled correctly, the ramping up and
down of flow rate could be improved
to increase the average transfer rate
from 300 hl/hr to greater than 400

My own early brewing world was

dominated by malt extracts, losses,
the laboratory report and packaging
line efficiencies. I can remember
being asked by Charles Tidbury, the
then Chairman of Whitbread, how
my wort attenuation limits were on
Mackeson Stout? Energy, water
and effluent costs were well down
the priority list. How that has
changed, with these costs rising and
now accounting for 20% of brewery
costs. Legislation and response to
global warming in the guise of IPPC
(Integrated Pollution Prevention
Control) permits feature highly. The
IPPC permit may be looked on
essentially as a license to
With the requirement to introduce
best available techniques when
practical, and demonstrate year on
year improvements in performance,
automation and monitoring in
utilities becomes justifiable. As with
all these things, a virtuous circle is
formed, with the legislation driving
companies into investment which in
turn reduces costs. In many cases the
justification would not be there
without the motivation of legislation.
Integrated MIS (Management
Information System) packages

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 8 August 2007

developed from SCADA can

indicate where and when waste and
extra cost is occurring. They can
therefore be used to reduce and
optimise energy usage.
The cost of utilities can be directly
allocated back to the using process
and accountable team. In the ideal
situation, the cost of utilities supply
would be the responsibility of the
utilities team, the cost of usage
would be the responsibility of the
production team. It sounds easy in
principal, but having the
instrumentation and data collection
correctly positioned and configured
is a considerable task and very
costly. Only the larger modern
breweries could justify such a
scheme, where utilities budgets run
to 1.50/hl which would be 3.0
million for a 2 million hectolitre

I dont trust computers!

With automated systems being more
flexible, process changes,
improvements and enhancements
can be made and tested on site. The
old problem of not trusting
computers is becoming less
common. Blaming the software still
happens, but the control system only
does what has been programmed to
do nowadays it is normally an
instrument or sensor that is faulty, or
the programme was not quite right to
start with. In a well managed
project, a prescribed procedure for
developing and installing the
software takes much of the pain out
of plant commissioning that was
such a feature 10 years ago.
Up-front work with customers
giving a good process description
(URS User requirement
specification) followed by a well
developed P & I D ( process and
instrumentation diagram) and
HAZOP (Hazards and Operability
Analysis) study gives the control
company a sound basis to write an
FDS ( Functional Design
Specification) which is developed
into the end software. Testing of the
software with the client before it
goes to site should give 98% of what
is required with only a few minor
issues to be sorted at site during
actual commissioning. Software
simulation packages are available
which can fully simulate process
plant system inputs and outputs
(I/O) via ethernet connection to the
PLC software. From experience
again, any little awkward decisions
that are avoided in the early stages,

will always be there, and are twice

as awkward and costly to address on
site, so my advice is to leave as little
as possible till the last minute.

Figure 9: Schematic of
modern brewery IT
architecture showing
ERP, MES linking in
with SCADA and brewer

The Top End ERP and MES

Automation and reporting has been
around for a long time using
SCADA, but there was always
difficulty bridging the information
gap between what happened on the
plant and what information (and its
accuracy) reached the planners and
executive management. Inputting
data by hand that is readily available
electronically in SCADA and
numerous other systems was, to
those who had to do it, a real pain.
In the last few years systems have
been developed and improved so
that manual double entry is being
replaced by electronic transfer in
what are called ERP and MES
systems. ERP (Enterprise Resource
Planning) systems are the top layer,
and handle ordering, planning,
finance and HR while MES
(Manufacturing Execution Systems)
provides the electronic bridge to
SCADA and the process itself (Fig
9). MES systems basically gather
data and analyse it for management
control and decision making. It can
be said to have three main functions:
1) To provide an electronic
paperless system and data flow.
2) Enables key performance
indicators (KPIs) to be
established and monitored
within a brewery, and in large
groups, if the data collection
systems are comparable,
between plants.
3) Recipe management in a
controlled environment.
One effect of a properly
implemented MES is to force the
brewery into rethinking its work
processes. Running processes in
manual leads in inaccurate
reporting, which has an adverse
knock on effect over the whole

The future
I asked Paul Bunyan and Tony
Goodman of FMA about their view
of the future trends in IT and
automation in breweries. Their view
was that large breweries are
collecting their islands of
automation into plant wide systems,
with an emphasis on standards
which will ease maintenance and
bring consistency to information,
which would allow realistic plant

and process comparisons to be

made. Many breweries have ERP
systems like SAP which are separate
from production, There will
therefore be increased investment in
MES systems which will enable
electronic transfer of data across the
whole operation.
This will improve overall
efficiency and cost by reducing order
time fulfilment, reducing
manufacturing cycle times from
ordering materials to shipment of
order, improving inventory control,
reducing rework from improved
quality management. Breweries
which have invested in ERP and
MES will require and implement
higher levels of automation with
more rigid standards in order to
maximise benefits from these
systems; this in turn will lead to a
continued reduction of staff, who
will be more highly trained. The
traditional departmental structure of
brewhouse, fermentation, processing
and packaging will probably give
way to a simple brewing and
packaging control structure,
although packaging would remain
more labour intensive due to the
need for more manual intervention.

breweries. The lights out

philosophy will only exacerbate this
and may not be totally desirable.
Questions I often ask people if they
have problems in a brewery are:
what does it look like?, what does it
taste like ?, have you felt the pipe to
see if its hot? (there is a health and
safety issue here if its too hot, but
then HSE is a whole new ball
Lights out operation may be less
of a target to some brewery CEOs,
but hectolitres per man will remain a
key comparator for high level
company assessment. In reality I
think money is more likely to be
invested in reducing the high areas
of costs namely energy, water and
waste, and in ERP and MES systems
which will improve cost and
efficiency, and vital data flow over
the whole operation.
Lights out is not ideal, maybe
keeping a light on in the corner so
that the new vigilant operators can
still walk the plant and experience
and see a bit of what is going on is
preferable. In any case whos going
to feed the brewery cat or maybe
even that can be outsourced?

There will therefore

be increased
investment in MES
systems which will
enable electronic
transfer of data
across the whole
operation. This will
improve overall
efficiency and cost
by reducing order
time fulfilment,
manufacturing cycle
times from ordering
materials to
shipment of order,
improving inventory
control, reducing
rework from
improved quality

Those mouse-click
I was talking to a German
Brewmaster the other day about
mouse-click brewmasters that is
brewers who work in automated
plant relying on PLC feed back for
all their information. We were in
grumpy old men mode and agreed
that this new breed of brewer was
technologically very competent, but
in the real world were not exposed to
the sounds, smell and vision of the
process, and therefore missed out on
having a true feel and understanding
of what was happening in their

My thanks go to Andrew Ball
(Tuchenhagen), Frank Ainsworth (CAL
Systems Ltd), Paul Bunyan and Tony
Goodman ( FMA Process Engineering
Ltd) and Robin Cooper for their help in
writing this article

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 8 August 2007


Recovery of beer from tank bottoms

a review
Many early Beer Recovery
Systems are still in use today.
In the days before duty at the
gate, most breweries in the UK
had some sort of recovery
system to reduce beer losses.
With breweries becoming larger
and waste disposal cost
increasing, recovering high
quality beer from yeast is again
becoming a real topic for

By Paul Buttrick
Beer Dimensions

What are the financial benefits of

recovering beer from surplus
The following tables show approximate
operational savings that can be made by
recovering beer from surplus yeast. The
figures are general ones, and each brewery
will have to use its own data and costing
conventions to get a more accurate value.
See Table 1.

Figure 1: A one tonne yeast press in a British

brewery with polypropylene plates and frames
installed in the 1980s.
complexity of the operation increased.

What happened next?

eer recovery in traditional British

breweries often involved the Scott yeast
press system. In this process, yeast was
skimmed by vacuum from the top of an open
fermenter to a tank usually in a room below the
fermenting room. The tank was then
pressurised with air and the yeast slurry
passed over a yeast press, where high value
beer (excise paid) was recovered and returned
to the fermentation vessel it came from.
Pressed yeast (of about 25% dry weight
solids) was either used for repitching or sold at
a high price to a well known food manufacturer.
However, the plant was difficult to clean, which
resulted in a serious microbiological risk, and
many breweries stopped returning beer
because of this.
With the advent of processed beers, lagers,
and small pack beers, additional technology
was used to improve the quality of the
recovered beer. Beer was sometimes filtered
and flash pasteurised before being returned
occasionally to the fermentation vessel but
more often to the cold store tank.
Even though the risk of microbiological
contamination was significantly reduced, there
were problems:
a) High beer oxygen levels, coupled with high
pasteurisation time and temperatures, made
the beer taste poor and had a negative impact
on flavour stability, haze stability and beer foam.
b) Despite the pasteurisation process, cleaning
and sterilisation of the equipment continued to
give problems; this area of the brewery was
often away from mainstream production areas,
and consequently did not always get the
attention required to maintain quality
c) The running costs continued to rise, and the

The financial driver for recovering beer

increased as beer duty rose significantly above
the rate of inflation. Rotary vacuum filters,
OMD filters, and large semi-automated
presses (Fig .1) were installed which were able
to handle increased volumes. A pressure
squeeze from membrane presses increased
beer recovery rates further.
Both the rotary vacuum filter and OMD filter
needed a filter aid to recover the beer, which
also had high oxygen content. These
investment returns certainly kept the
accountants happy, but were not good for beer
flavour and quality.

Where are we now?

Despite the move to duty at the gate and the
value of recovered beer reducing from approx
70/hl (incl. duty at 5% abv at current duty
rates) to 56/hl, many breweries are still using
large presses to recover beer, but problems
with beer quality, running cost and complexity
are forcing brewers to look at alternative
Few breweries outside the UK recover beer
from surplus yeast mainly because returns on
investment were poor, and the probably correct
perception that beer quality would be

Surplus yeast as a co-product not a

waste product
Although beer savings alone may not justify a
beer recovery project, the costs associated
with effluent and disposal cost for yeast slurry
will pay an increasing part in the financial
equation. As disposal sites become full and
costs increase (probably including
government charges I think these are called
taxes) breweries will be driven even more to
reduce their waste.
Companies are beginning to look at surplus
yeast as a co-product producing an income
stream instead of a waste stream with a
disposal on-cost. With food safety being high
on the agenda, farmers are looking more at
accredited food sources. Brewers yeast is an
ideal high protein food for pigs for example.
It does, however, have to compete with
other feed, and can only be economic if
slurries are concentrated before collection. As
a basic rule of thumb, yeast slurry from
fermentation vessels is about 10% dry weight
(dw), from cold storage tanks approx 7% dw,
and a positive cash flow is only available with
slurries above 14% dw. Depending on
circumstances, revenue of approx
1/%/tonne above14% dw, so yeast slurry
despatched at 17% dw would attract gross
income of 3/tonne.
It is important to note that yeast sent for
animal feed has to be dead before it is
consumed this means that either the brewer
or the feed supplier will have to kill the yeast
using heat or chemical addition. Because of
the high cost of transport, slurry sent out at
less than 14% dw is likely to incur a transport
on-cost. (Fig.2)

Table 1: approximate volumes of waste yeast and recovered beer expected

from different sized breweries, and the value of the recovered beer.


Volume of beer
(65%) khl

Volume of yeast
for disposal
(35%) khl

Value () of
recovered beer





The calculations are based on: Surplus yeast is 4% of site volume; the beer recovery rate from the
yeast is 65%, leaving 35% surplus yeast; recovered beer is valued at 6/hl.

The BREWER & DISTILLER Volume 2 Issue 4 April 2006



Table 2: the calculated operational cost saving (including beer) if waste

is sold as a co-product at 3/tonne as opposed to a waste product
with disposal costs of 1/tonne.

Figure 2: A 44-tonne tanker delivering 28

tonnes of yeast to a pig farm in the UK photo
supplied by Wheyfeeds Ltd.
What should a brewers approach
be now?
With costs being squeezed, brewers are being
driven to reduce beer losses. Consolidation of
brewing plants with increased capacity, makes
beer recovery more financially attractive, and
most companies are grappling with the how
are we going to reduce our losses and waste
costs? question.
The answers are not straight forward, even
different plants within the same group come
up with different solutions. Another significant
factor for UK brewers is that those breweries
which already have established beer recovery
facilities have great difficulty in upgrading to
higher quality more efficient operations,
because what they already have makes a
considerable impact on their costs, and extra
investment based on a straight ROCE is
difficult to justify.
From my experience, the question of what
equipment and process to use will depend
very much on what equipment already exists,
the quality standards expected, and what level
of investment can be justified.

Volume of beer brewed khl

Operational saving( beer and disposal cost) k



Table 3 shows the same calculation if waste disposal costs increase to 3/tonne
Volume of beer brewed khl

Operational saving( beer and disposal cost) k


the future. They may decide to concentrate

surplus yeast but not return recovered beer to
their beer stream.
2) Continue with existing press operations
This may be possible for a time, but control of
quality and maintaining aging equipment will
eventually prove to be uneconomical and
unacceptable from a quality perspective. The
beer yield from presses is high, with yeast
being concentrated to approx. 25% dw.

1) Do nothing
Some brewers will decide that they do not
want to return any recovered beer for quality
reasons. These breweries will increasingly
have to address the problem of where and
how their surplus yeast will be disposed of in

3) Alcohol recovery from yeast slurries

Many UK brewers recovered alcohol
evaporated from surplus yeast in the 80s and
90s, and some continue to get good return for
their efforts. GEA-Wiegand (Fig. 3) and
Unipektin were the main suppliers of this
equipment. The technology, based on falling
film evaporation working at 60-70C and
reduced pressure, is also used for producing
alcohol free beers. The yield is high (up to 94%)
because alcohol is recovered from within the
yeast cell as well as from the beer slurry. When
the calculations are done, the volume of
alcohol evaporated from surplus brewing yeast
is very close to the maximum allowed to be
blended back into beer in by HMCE. With good
plant maintenance and carbon filtration of the
distillate, there are positive quality aspects of
this process, although there were some flavour
issues in early plants, where the operational

Figure 3: A GEA-Wiegand 20hl/hr falling film

alcohol evaporation plant for recovering
alcohol from brewery yeast photo supplied by

Figure 4: A Westfalia CB 506 decanter

centrifuge for processing up to 40hl/hr of yeast
photo supplied by Westfalia Separator Ltd.

What are the options?

There are a number of options and
technologies available:


The BREWER & DISTILLER Volume 2 Issue 4 April 2006


and control parameters were not ideal.

The distillate is biologically stable and has
little effect on flavour, head retention and haze
stability. Because the flavour is neutral, alcohol
distilled from different brands need not
necessarily be segregated and can be returned
to beer on transfer to cold storage tank. A
downside for this technology is the image of
chemical brewing, particularly when premium
brands are involved.
4) Centrifuges
There are a number of options where
centrifuges can be used to recover beer from
surplus yeast. These can be split into 2 main
types of operation:
Decanter centrifuges
These machines have been improved in recent
years to being more suitable for foodstuffs, and
are in use in a number of large breweries. There
have been issues with cleanliness and sterility,
and manufactures say that these have been
overcome. Due to their mode of operation,
these machines are able to concentrate yeast
slurries up to 25% dw. (Fig. 4)
The squeezing element from the decanter
screw, is thought by some to cause damage to
the yeast cells. The centrate does have high
yeast counts and some brewers have a small
clarifying centrifuge and flash pasteuriser in
line after the main decanter centrifuge, to
ensure quality is assured before beer is

Figure 5: A FEUX-510 Alfa Laval continuous

discharging nozzle disk owl centrifuge (yeast
processing rate 20-80 hl/hr) photo supplied
by Alfa Laval Ltd.

The cost of a single decanter centrifuge may

be attractive, but the extra equipment needed
to ensure quality, increases cost and
complexity considerably. Some brewers might
decide that centrate with a high yeast count
does not have a deleterious effect on quality,
and therefore if cleanliness and sterility can be
assured and the recovered beer can be
blended back immediately, then extra
equipment is unnecessary.
Another claimed advantage is the ability to
handle a range of slurry thickness fed to it; the
control system needs to be very good to
ensure consistent centrate out of the machine.

Figure 6: A single head, 40m2, Pallsep

Vibrating Membrane Filter (VMF) for
crossflow filtration of yeast up to 18 hl/hr
photo supplied by Pall Europe Ltd.

Figure 7: Bright beer quality filtrate from yeast

slurry processed on a Pallsep VMF.

Figure 8: Diagram and photo showing the

40m2 crossflow filter head of the Pallsep VMF
supplied by Pall Europe Ltd.

Disk bowl and Continuous Discharging Disk

Bowl Nozzle Centrifuges
Disk bowl and continuous discharging disk
bowl nozzle centrifuges are sometimes
considered for recovering beer from yeast
slurries. Large disk bowl centrifuges are not
often used, and manufactures more often
recommend their decanter machines.
Continuous discharging disk bowl nozzle
centrifuges (Figure. 5) are compact hygienic
machines that can be used to concentrate
yeast slurries, eg of pitching yeast. In beer
recovery situations they can also be used online to concentrate yeast bottoms and
simultaneously dosing the centrate back into
the main beer stream, or as off-line stand
alone machines.
These machines have the disadvantage that
the yield is variable according to the thickness
of slurry put to the machine. Compared to
25% dw yeast from a decanter centrifuge, the
yeast from this machine will be about 18-22%
dw. The yeast count on the centrate varies
according to the thickness of slurry pre
machine and control parameters applied.
Their advantage is that the machines are
compact, easy to keep clean and sterile, and
are not thought to cause undue stress to the
yeast. If a brewer already had a yeast press
achieving 25% dw yeast, then the yield from a
continuous discharge bowl centrifuge would
be less. However brewers who have no current
beer recovery operation, would be attracted
by the physical advantages of the machine as
well as reducing their losses.
5) Cross flow filtration
Cross flow filtration technology has been
applied by a number of manufacturers, There
are two applications a) crossflow filtration
using static membranes and b) vibrating
membrane crossflow filtration (Pallsep VMF)
sold by Pall.
The main advantage of crossflow is, that
due to the very small pore size of the
membranes (typically 0.5-0.8 microns), the
filtrate is close to bright beer quality, virtually
yeast free, has good palate and physical
parameters. The membranes are ceramic or
polymer, and installations can be completely
automated. With the VMF (using PTFE
membranes) most of the energy applied to
separate beer from yeast comes from the
vibration of the membrane. This means that
very little pumping energy is needed to

Fig. 9 - A Filtrox CERinox ceramic crossflow

filter. The photo shows a 3 module plant, with
each module of 40m2 capable of handling up to
18 hl/hr of yeast slurry photo supplied by
Filtrox AG.
circulate the slurry across the membrane,
consequently temperature rise is minimised
and the yeast flow is very gentle and stress
free. (Fig ures 6,7 and 8)
With the static crossflow filter, high flow
rates are the driving force behind the
beer/yeast separation, and a heat exchanger
is needed within the equipment to reduce
yeast stress and prevent autolysis. These
filters eg Kerflux, from Pall, and CERinox from
Filtrox, (Figure 9) are based on robust ceramic
membrane technology (Figure 10).
Because cross flow filters rely on the
pumping of yeast slurries around the
membrane, the final thickness of the yeast is
less than 20% dw at the end of a batch. In
order to achieve an extract recovery equal to a
yeast press of 25% dw, a dia-filtration with
deaerated water can be used to wash out
additional beer from the slurry. Control
parameters need to be set so that the diafiltration process does not wash out any
undesirable material from the yeast.
A new development in static membrane
technology, is a plate and frame polymer based
membrane from Alfa Laval (Figure 11). This
equipment has 0.45 micron membranes and is
designed to give low pressure conditions and
keep energy consumption down
This type of filter concentrates yeast slurry to
approx 20% dw so yields are less than from
some other plant alternatives.
An initial disadvantage of membrane
systems has been the cost of replacement
membranes. The manufacture of the
membrane has improved significantly, and the
guaranteed life is now making this option more
6) Blending yeast slurry back pre-centrifuge
This process involves taking yeast from the
bottom of a vessel and dosing it back as beer
is transferred from a fermenting vessel via a
centrifuge to a maturation vessel/cold store
tank. The proportional dosing of the tank
bottoms means that the centrifuge will be able
to remove the yeast dosed back because the
load is spread over a large volume of beer.
This looks to be an ideal system a simple

The BREWER & DISTILLER Volume 2 Issue 4 April 2006



Figure 10:
Filtration module
from a ceramic
cross flow filter
Photo supplied by
Filtrox AG.

on-line process with little extra equipment,

especially if green beer centrifuges are already
in use. However there are a number of
a) The centrifuge must be sized to handle
the extra yeast dosed from the vessel at the
required beer transfer rate. If the centrifuge is
not big enough to handle the extra yeast, then
investing in extra green beer can be very
expensive (Figures 12 and 13).
b) The dose back rate needs to be kept at
low levels to reduce the possibility of yeasty
flavours in the beer.
c) Planning within the brewery must be such
that bottoms and beer transfer can be carried
out simultaneously this is not as easy as it

Filtrate/centrate blend-back rates?

For centrate from presses and centrifuges,
most brewers put a 3 -5% limit on blending
back. This is chosen because any flavour or
quality differences will be blended away and
not be noticed in the final beer; it also happens
to be approximately the amount of filtrate
produced. With crossflow technology,
producing bright filtrate, brewers have
blended back at up to 10%. With alcohol blend
back, the maximum is set by HMCE and is
approx 2-3% depending on the strength of the

Figure 12: Picture of two large Westfalia SC

150 disk bowl centrifuges rated up to 600 hl/hr
suitable for a yeast dose back operation photo
supplied by GEA- Westfalia Separator Ltd.
there is no yeast in the filtrate which will be
autolysed by the hot conditions. The hot
environment also has a pasteurising effect.
This type of operation is not as straight
forward as it seems, because recovered beer
is not always produced in synch with brewing.
Options for centrate with higher yeast count
include being added to actively fermenting
yeast in fermenter, where the purging effect of
fermentation washes out any flavour defects.
Most brewers add beer back between
fermenter and cold storage tank, and some
add beer from crossflow equipment to beer
before filtration.
There is an old brewers rule which says
that any addition to a beer should be made
going forward in the process; the benefit here
is that any quality issues are restricted to beer
from the point off addition. When adding
returned beer just before filtration, care must
be taken to ensure that there are no issues
with haze stability.

To sum up
Recovery of beer from tank bottoms can be
justified, with spent yeast from a recovery
process considered as a co- product with

value instead of a waste on-cost.

There are numerous alternative
technologies for recovering beer from
bottoms. Each brewery needs to assess its
own quality and operational requirements
before deciding what is best for them. There is
no ideal solution which can be universally
recommended and applied.
A word about total investment costs. The
justification for installing beer recovery
equipment can easily be made on the basis of
a single piece of recovery equipment.
However, the associated plant can increase
the overall project cost at least 2-3 times, and
brewers need to be very clever in identifying
the minimum practical cost of this plant in
order to justify their investment.

The author would like to thank the following
companies for supplying photos, diagrams
and information for this article: Alfa Laval Ltd,
CAL Systems Ltd, Filtrox AG, GEA Wiegand
GmbH, Westfalia Separator Ltd, Pall Europe
Ltd, Wheyfeed Ltd.

The Author
After a long career with Whitbread and
Interbrew, including time as Head Brewer of
Boddingtons and Stella Artois Brewmaster,
Paul has started his own independent
consultancy Beer Dimensions. Paul has an
MSc in Brewing Science from Birmingham
University and is one of only a handful of
British brewers to have studied at
Weihenstephan (T.U. Munich). You can contact
Paul on or

Where to blend-back?
This is determined by the quality of
filtrate/centrate and policy of the brewer.
Some brewers add beer back to the whirlpool
or into the wort stream just before wort
cooling. This can be successful as long as

Figure 11: A DSS M39-H Alfa Laval plate &

frame polymer membrane crossflow filter
capable of handling 35 hl/hr yeast slurry
photo supplied by Alfa Laval Ltd.


Figure 13: Process diagram of a yeast dose-back pre-centrifuge process Diagram supplied by CAL
Systems Ltd.

The BREWER & DISTILLER Volume 2 Issue 4 April 2006


Photo: Roger Putman.

The Huppmann
brewhouse at Oettinger
Brau in Germany has
been installed within a
no frills industrial
building. Oettinger is a
leading supplier to the
supermarket trade.

A brewers view on a
modern brewhouse project
Mention building a new
brewhouse and any
brewers eyes light up and
the red mist descends at
the thought of gleaming
shiny vessels in a marble
hall set off with murals of
malt and hops and
modern lighting effects.
The reality is often quite
different and a lot of
thought, analysis and soul
searching have to be
done before the dream is

permanent, and any fundamental

mistakes very difficult and certainly
costly to rectify.
From the brewers perspective,
there are five key requirements in
specifying a new brewhouse these
a) Brand image.
b) Capacity how big should it be?
c) Wort and beer quality taste, head
retention, flavour and haze
d) Capital costs plant choice and
e) Running costs brewhouse yield,
raw materials energy costs, manning
and other costs.

Brand image
By Paul Buttrick
Beer Dimensions

his article is written by a

practical brewer and is not
intended to be a thorough analysis of
each item of equipment, but will
look at the things anyone building a
new brewhouse should consider.
Brewhouses are expensive, basically

It is important that a company takes

into account its brand and image
when developing a new brewhouse.
If beer quality and tradition is core
to a brand image particularly
premium brands, then positive PR
can be gained from a showpiece
brewhouse, but if a company is more
commodity based, leading with
price and does not have strong
individual brands, then a different

approach can be made. With brand

image and strength becoming more
important, how many companies
regret building functional
brewhouses? After all, customers
expect to see more than a chemical
plant when they visit the home of
their favourite beer. It does not
always cost a fortune to make a
brewhouse smart instead of purely
functional (Fig.1)
Brand image may not only
influence the look of a brewery, but
also dictates the raw materials and
processes used. In designing a new
brewhouse, there must be a serious
debate on the recipe of a beer,
because this will decide the plant
choice and the final cost of the

The decision by
SAB-Miller to retain
the triple decoction
process, a copper
heat exchange
surface, and direct
gas firing for Pilsner
Urquell is no doubt
the result of a
debate that puts the
beer and traditional
process used at the
heart of the image
demanded by this
unique beer.

Figure 1: A showpiece
Ziemann brewhouse at a
Latin American brewery.

The BREWER & DISTILLER Volume 2 Issue 2 February 2006

Photo: Roger Putman.


Figure 2: Pilsner
Urquell brewhouse
(2004). Note the copper
clad vessels with one of
two 10m lauter tuns in
the back ground. Over
100,000 visitors a year
inspect this view from an
elevated walkway.

The decision by SAB-Miller to

retain the triple decoction process, a
copper heat exchange surface, and
direct gas firing for Pilsner Urquell
is no doubt the result of a debate that
puts the beer and traditional process
used at the heart of the image
demanded by this unique beer.

How big should

a brewhouse be?
The beer recipe can
significantly influence
the capital cost of a
brewhouse, and its
effect on ongoing
brewing costs. The
degree of malt
modification dictates
wort and beer quality
as well as brewhouse
processes. In
traditional lager
brewing, under
modified malt is
processed using a
decoction system,
with mash boiling
vessels being key
plant items.

The normal way to size a brewhouse

is to take the peak weekly or
monthly volume of the business and
use this as the basis for the capacity
calculation. It is also important to
include an overall efficiency factor
for the operation which would
include plant cleaning, mechanical
efficiency and other non-production
down time. Extra capacity can then
be added to take account of future
volume growth. This can be done by
leaving extra days or shifts available
for peak working, e.g. five and seven
day working, double or triple shift
working or a planned option to
decrease brew cycle times.
A single brewery company will
take a different view to a
global/national one with a number of
breweries. With multi brewery
operations, the capacity and
capability of all the breweries must

be taken into account, as is the

decision about which plant is to be
expanded. In these situations, an
overall production and minimum
cost sourcing exercise needs to be
done to get the right economic
answer, before taking other factors
such as local marketing conditions
and risks into consideration.
The planned brew length will
normally be dictated by the size of
other plant in the brewery
especially fermenting vessels.
However the opportunity should
be taken to review both brewlength
and brewing gravity, because it will
affect the capacity of the whole
brewery. It is important in this
exercise to make sure everything
fits and not get a mismatch of
vessel size and brewlength e.g. a
500 hl brewlength with 5000hl
fermentation vessels or a 1000hl
brewlength with 300 hl vessels
would not be ideal. It is also
important to ensure that yeast
pitching can be properly managed.
Brewers always like to build in
flexibility, but at what level does this
become uneconomic? Some
breweries that are based on a two
stream brewhouse, should consider
whether a single stream plant is a
better option. A single stream will be
less complex, less costly to install,
easier and more economic to run.

Raw materials
The beer recipe can significantly
influence the capital cost of a
brewhouse, and its effect on ongoing
brewing costs. The degree of malt
modification dictates wort and beer
quality as well as brewhouse
processes. In traditional lager
brewing, under modified malt is
processed using a decoction system,
with mash boiling vessels being key
plant items. Many breweries are
using temperature programmed
mashes and some employ infusion

RIGHT: Figure 3:
Equipment schematic
for wet and dry
milling operation
diagram from
FAR RIGHT: Figure 4:
The Dispax milling
system in a Dutch
brewery photo
supplied by Ziemann

The BREWER & DISTILLER Volume 2 Issue 2 February 2006

mashing to produce lager wort.

Current opinion and experience
suggests that reducing the length and
intensity of mash heating and copper
boiling results in beers with
improved flavour stability little did
ale brewers of the last century realise
that they were at the forefront of 21st
century brewing science!
Malt is the main raw material, but
adjuncts play a big part in dictating
brewhouse plant and costs. For
example, the use of un-gelatinised
maize grits requires the use of a
cereal cooker, but using flaked maize
does not. Similarly, use of liquid
sugar requires storage tanks, but
does not take up conversion vessel or
wort separation equipment capacity.
Maize grits are less expensive than
maize flakes, liquid sugar is the
same cost as malt. Doing an exercise
weighing up the cost of extra plant
and complexity against raw material
and energy cost needs to be carried
Remember that cereal prices vary
from year to year, so a spot
calculation on a single year is not
wise. The result of this can lead to a
bit of soul searching and wise
decision making on behalf of the
brand owners (more often than not
the Marketing function who may
have to manage the PR aspects of
any recipe or process changes.
Many people underestimate the
part that hops play in beer flavour and
quality, therefore the choice of hop
products is important. Extracts
produce a clean beer with little hop
flavour or aroma and are easier to
process due to less bulk; wort losses
can be up to 1% lower than when
using hop pellets. Hop pellets give
more polyphenol content to wort and
if added late impart aroma and hoppy
flavour. Polyphenols add to the
overall mouth-feel and body of the
beer as well as improved flavour
stability, but if in excess can detract

Photo: Roger Putman.

Figure5: The dimpled

surface on ShakesBeer
conversion vessel
photo supplied by
Figure 6: One of two
centrally-fed 16 tonne
Meura 2001 mash filters
installed at InBevs
Magor plant in South

from haze stability. Hops whether

from pellets or leaf are known to
improve the quality of beer foam
compared with beers brewed using
The correct choice of plant will
influence the overall project cost,
beer quality and how much it will
cost to brew for the next 20 years or
more. With energy and waste costs
rising, these will have an increasing
influence on running costs. The
latest techniques involving reduced
wort oxidation and thermal stress
are also leading to improvements in
flavour, flavour stability and head
Thermal stress is brought about
by any process involving excess
heat at high temperatures in any
brewhouse process (eg excessive
wort boiling) Over enthusiastic
mixing in other brewhouse vessels
such as conversion vessels also has
a negative effect on flavour stability.
The leading brewhouse
manufacturers all offer their own
interpretation and development on
the latest available brewing
knowledge and science.

order to get the 30% fine flour

required, power consumption is up
to three times that required by wet
milling systems. Noise and
explosion risks also need to be taken
into consideration.
Continuous steep milling is
recommended by Steinecker
(Variomill) and Huppmann
(Millstar) and can be used in
conjunction with any lauter tun.
Conditioning of the whole malt
grain in a continuous warm water
steep increases the water content of
the husk to approx 15 % before
milling. Advantages over dry
milling are said to be better and
faster wort separation with
opportunities for increased lauter
tun loading, less equipment and less
explosion risk (no dry ground grist),
less oxygen uptake due to mashing
taking place at the same time as
milling (Fig.3).
Ziemann have recently developed
their innovative Dispax dispersion
mashing/milling system which is a
compact wet option mainly for use
with mash filters (Fig.4)

Mash Conversion
There are three main options for
milling. Dry milling normally uses
six roller mills and is still popular
with breweries using lauter tuns.
The milling is independent from the
mashing process and therefore a
lower rated mill can be used so that
the milling operation can utilise the
conversion vessel cycle-time,
whereas continuous steep milling
requires milling to take place in 20
minutes of the mashing process. It is
also reckoned that mill adjustments
available on the three sets of rollers
give a better opportunity for
optimisation of extract and run off.
Hammer milling is only used in
conjunction with the mash filter in

The key here is the choice of

infusion/temperature programmed
mashes and whether mash boiling
and cereal cooking are part of the
desired brew recipe. All
manufacturers feature on low
oxygen pick up, efficient mixing,
heat transfer with latest design
mixers and temperature control.
Ziemann and Steinecker
(ShakesBeer) have introduced
dimpled heat surfaces inside the
vessel (Fig.5) which gives improved
heat transfer and hence faster
temperature rises for programmed
mashes. Along with hot water
injection, heat rises of over 2C/min
as against 0.5 0.9C/min for a
conventional conversion vessel can

be achieved. This would be

important to any brewery whose
mash cycle is the rate determining
step in their brewhouse. For a
temperature programmed mash
starting at 45C and rising to 75C,
an overall time saving of 3050
minutes is very significant. Note
that any operation using mash
boiling or decoction will include
more complex plant as well as
increased energy costs.

Wort separation
The big debate continues on the use
of lauter tuns and mash filters.
Historically mash filters had a brief
rise in the late 1970s, but
improvements in lauter tun design
reasserted their ascendancy until the
introduction of the Meura 2001
membrane mash filter (Fig 6).
Ziemann continue to offer modern
mash filters and lauter tuns. The
Ziemann TCM (Thin layer Chamber
Mash filter) produces up to 16
brews per day, the largest version
taking a 21 tonne grist. At present
there is no clear winner, except that
each brewer must make the decision
based on its own requirements.
Breweries using unmalted adjucts
and high gravity brewing often opt
for mash filters, as do breweries
with a low number of wort streams
requiring fast throughput and high
extract yields. Lauter tun
manufacturers, Briggs, Ziemann,
Steinecker (with Pegasus) and
Huppmann (with Lauterstar) have
continued to develop their
equipment to increase loading (up
from a norm of 160kg/m2 to over
200kg/m2) while reducing cycle
times and increasing extract. An
emphasis has been put on
decreasing down time (like spent
grain removal) with improvements
in rake design, automated raking
and run off control improving the

Continuous steep
milling is
recommended by
(Variomill) and
Huppmann (Millstar)
and can be used in
conjunction with any
lauter tun.
Conditioning of the
whole malt grain in a
continuous warm
water steep
increases the water
content of the husk
to approx 15 %
before milling.
Advantages over dry
milling are said to be
better and faster
wort separation with
opportunities for
increased lauter tun
loading, less
equipment and less
explosion risk (no
dry ground grist),
less oxygen uptake
due to mashing
taking place at the
same time as

The BREWER & DISTILLER Volume 2 Issue 2 February 2006


Figure 7: The underside

of a modern lauter tun
take note of the number
of wort run off pipes
photo supplied by

Figure 8: The Symphony

external wort boiling
system supplied by
Briggs of Burton.

wort flow itself. A significant step

forward has been to increase the
number and positioning of run off
ports incorporating a conical design
(Fig.7). This has resulted in faster
run off with an even extract
recovery across the whole bed and
less vacuum produced.
Without getting into detail, the
main differences between a lauter
tun and mash filter include the
following. The lauter tun is more
flexible for loading charges of +
50% to -30% are claimed with the
mash filter only able to handle
+10% to -20% of optimum loading.
Smaller breweries with a large
number of beer brands are more
likely to favour lauter tuns because
of this.
The cycle time of the mash filter
of 90120 minutes has been
consistently better than the lauter
tun, although using the latest run off

technology twelve brews per day on

a bed loading of 200 kg/m2 can be
achieved with a lauter tun. Whatever
mash separation device is used, the
malt quality is vital to good
performance, especially levels of
beta glucans, with -glucanase
addition to the mash often used to
maintain consistent run off
performance on mash filters.
A recovery of 100101% of
laboratory extract from a mash filter
compared with say 98.5% on an
optimised lauter tun can mean a
saving in malt of around 150,000
per year at a brewery producing one
million hectolitres of wort. There is,
however, a debate about how much
the extra 34% extract is of positive
value from a beer flavour and
quality perspective.
Capital costs of lauter tun systems
are claimed to be about 70% of an
equivalent mash filter. The
maximum size for a single mash
filter has been around 11 tonnes of
grist (approx 600 hl of high gravity
wort) compared with up to 25
tonnes for a single lauter tun,
although the 21 tonne Ziemann
mash filter is catching up fast.
Operating costs for mash filters
are also higher. This is mainly due
to higher maintenance costs,
cleaning costs (cleaning required
every 5060 brews), replacement of
filter sheets (every 2,0003,000
brews) and membranes (every 5,000
brews). Unlike the Meura 2001, the
Ziemann TCM has no membranes to
maintain or replace.

Wort Boiling
As energy costs rise, wort boiling
will continue to be an area of
increased attention. Modern
understanding of wort boiling has
enabled manufacturers to look at
wort volatile reduction and protein
denaturisation/ coagulation as
separate processes. The idea of
applying a minimum temperature
difference between the heating
medium and the wort by effectively
increasing heating area and
inducing two phase liquid/vapour
bubbles in the wort means that wort
evaporation can be reduced from
over 8% to 4 5%. Different
approaches have been made by
manufacturers, with some opting for
a separate volatile reducing step
after wort boiling.
Beers produced have similar
fermentation characteristics and
volatiles as well as reduced DMS
levels. Reduced thermal stress on

The BREWER & DISTILLER Volume 2 Issue 2 February 2006

the wort also predicts an increase in

flavour stability, although results
supplied by manufacturers are
difficult to assess and compare
because they are often from different
tests and analyses. With flavour
stability and beer freshness
attracting more focus, relying more
on tasting beer and using better
understood analysis would be
helpful. Reduced evaporation from
less and lower heat input also results
in improved beer foam. Less fouling
of the heating surface also has the
benefit that cleaning frequencies can
be reduced. The introduction of a
natural thermosyphon during
boiling is becoming a feature in all
modern wort boilers.
There is a choice between internal
and external wort boiling. The latter
is a development of Briggs external
wort boiling system and is called
Symphony (Fig.8) This involves
increasing the specific heating
surface of the boiler to 0.43m2/hl
which is five times more than for a
typical internal heater, and twice as
high as a standard external wort
boiler. By using this increased area,
the steam temperature and pressure
can be reduced and a two phase,
liquid/vapour driven thermo-syphon
is produced. The wort, which is
circulated eight to ten times during
the boil, is returned to the copper in
a tangential manner to reduce
foaming and minimise trub break
up. This arrangement of external
wort boiler and tangential inlet to
the copper is easily arranged into a
combination copper/whirlpool.
Other suppliers have developed
efficient internal copper heaters. A
dynamic or low pressure boiling
technique has been introduced by
Huppmann (Fig.9) which involves
heating wort under pressure of 150
mbar, equivalent to a boiling
temperature of 103C. When this
pressure is reached, it is rapidly
reduced to 50mbar and the
temperature drops back to 101C.
This takes place at least six times
during each boil and the effect
produces a flash evaporation with
the formation of foam and bubbles
within the wort kettle which strips
unwanted volatiles and aids
coagulation of hot break particles.
In order to accommodate the flash
evaporation, the copper volume
needs to be 30% greater than for a
standard system and the wort is
circulated 2030 times per hour.
Ziemann offers a similar
technology. The internal wort heater

as applied by Steinecker
(Stromboli) creates a large heating
surface within an internal heater
which enables wort volatile removal
and precise protein coagulation at
low thermal load. The heater has a
specially designed two part spreader
for the heating and boiling part of
the cycle. A natural thermo-syphon
via a jet pump above the central
tube enables the heat input to be
reduced(Fig 10,11) As with the
Briggs Symphony system, fouling
of the heater is reduced, resulting in
a lower cleaning frequency( Fig
12,13) Huppmann introduced an
internal heater with a natural
thermosyphon called Jetstar in
September 2005.

Volatile stripping from wort

after boiling
German manufacturers have
developed equipment to improve
energy efficiency, beer quality and
flavour by stripping volatiles after
the copper. This allows copper
evaporation to be reduced to 35%.
DMS and precursor reduction takes
place after the copper, but before
wort cooling.
The Steinecker system, called
Merlin is a vertical cylindrical
vessel with a steam heated, coned
shaped interior over which a thin
film of wort is pumped before it
goes the whirlpool (wort
evaporation is 12%) (Fig.14).
Ziemann offers a different approach
using a vacuum technique working
at approximately 0.4 bar
underpressure to strip out volatiles
between whirlpool and wort cooler

Energy saving and wort

With UK gas prices reaching a peak
of 1.40 per Therm (0.013/MJ) in
November 2005, the requirement to
save energy moves from a financial
nice to do to a definite must do.
It would be sensible for any brewer
to look at retrofitting energy saving
equipment whether or not a full
brewhouse development is being
Brewers should be as focussed on
energy usage as they are on malt
extracts. Large energy savings are
possible, especially if energy
recovered from a vapour condenser
is used for preheating wort going to
the copper. This technique involves
installing an energy storage system,
which comprises a hot water storage
tank and heat exchanger for taking

Figure 9: The
chart of dynamic/low
pressure boiling
process supplied by

FAR LEFT: Figure 10:

The Stromboli
internal copper heating
wort up to boiling
LEFT: Figure 11: The
Stromboli internal
copper heating system
in boiling mode
Diagrams supplied by

FAR LEFT: Figure 12:

The tubes of a
conventional internal
wort heater after 8
LEFT: Figure 13: The
tubes of a Stromboli
internal wort heater
after 80 brews notice
how the less intensive
heating regime has
reduced fouling
considerably. Photos
supplied by Steinecker.

Figure 14: The inverted

heating surface cone of
a Merlin boiling/ wort
stripping system seen in
an exhibition mock up
photo supplied by

The BREWER & DISTILLER Volume 2 Issue 2 February 2006


Figure15: A Ziemann
vacuum wort
stripping system
positioned after the
whirlpool but before
wort cooling photo
supplied by Ziemann.

wort from approx 75C after the

wort separator to 95C+ in the
copper (Fig.16).

Trub separation

It is easy to get
carried away with
new plant, but a
dedicated project
team and detailed
planning needs to
be in place from the
beginning. Bringing
the new plant on
stream is not always
as straight forward
as first thought and
a logical step-wise
programme of trials
to ensure beer
flavour and quality
match the
specifications is

Table 1 shows the order

of magnitude of costs for
wort pre-heating and
boiling for a one million
hectolitre brewery
(volume brewed) at both
5% and 10%
evaporation as the cost
of fuel doubles.

The whirlpool remains the most

popular and simplest method for
separation of hot trub from boiled
wort. The workings of whirlpools
have been studied extensively with
many theories and calculations
showing the best design. A vessel
height to diameter ratio of around
0.5, copper casting time of ten
minutes, tangential inlet velocity of
34 metre/sec and stand time of 20
minutes normally works effectively.
An often overlooked
consideration is solids loading. In
order to get good trub separation, it
is said that hop pellet loading should
not exceed 2.0kg/m2. Hop pellets
also retain extract, so increasing or
decreasing hop pellets and hop
extract ratios can make a difference
in yield. There are many designs for
the run off system, floor shape, and
trub removal, all of which are
important to consider as long as the
basic design gives a good result.
Converting hop backs in traditional
breweries to effective whirlpools is
often easily achieved with minimal
Combined copper-whirlpools
have been successfully installed in
recent years, these tend to be a
compromise in optimum design,
Vessel configuration and the hop
grist must be fully considered along
with all other criteria. An advantage

Figure 16: Schematic of a brewhouse energy store system, with heat

recovered by a vapour condenser used to preheat wort on its way to the copper
diagram supplied by Huppmann.
of a copper whirlpool is that a vessel
to vessel transfer is eliminated, there
is less trub particle size reduction,
and it allows a faster start up of
wort transfer to fermenter. The
copper/whirlpool is a natural
development from the Briggs
Symphony system involving a
tangential inlet to the copper and is
branded as Symphony Plus

The author would like to acknowledge

the help of the following for supplying
information, diagrams and
photographs for this article.
Briggs of Burton (Paul
Dowd), Krones/Steinecker (Peter
Gattermayer), Huppmann (Thomas
Bhler) and Ziemann Group (Volker

A final word
It is easy to get carried away with
new plant, but a dedicated project
team and detailed planning needs to
be in place from the beginning.
Bringing the new plant on stream is
not always as straight forward as
first thought and a logical step-wise
programme of trials to ensure beer
flavour and quality match the
specifications is fundamental.
There should also be a
comprehensive blending operation
in place until all stakeholders are
satisfied with the result. It is
important that the Marketing and
Sales functions are included in this
process and the success criteria for
a successful flavour match is agreed
beforehand, so there is no dispute
when the time for the final sign off

The author
After a long career with Whitbread and
Interbrew, including time as Head Brewer
of Boddingtons and Stella Artois
Brewmaster, Paul Buttrick has started
his own independent consultancy Beer
Dimensions. Paul has an MSc in Brewing
Science from Birmingham University and
is one of only a handful of British brewers
to have studied at Weihenstephan (T.U.


Energy usage

Cost per 1 million hl per Therm

brewed with gas cost at 0.65
(0.00616 per MJ)

Cost per 1 million hl brewed with

gas cost at 1.4 per Therm
(0.0133 per MJ)

Wort pre-heating
from 75C to 95C
5% wort evaporation
10% wort evaporation







The BREWER & DISTILLER Volume 2 Issue 2 February 2006

Meura ad

The BREWER & DISTILLER Volume 2 Issue 2 February 2006


the facts
A survey of systems and methods
In my early
Whitbread days, it
was always Process
and Packaging but
when the bigger
breweries were built
it became part of the
brewing area, mainly
because filtration
problems were often
pushed back upstream in the
brewery. We were
brewing lager and
had to deal with beta
glucans which
gummed up the
works and yeast that
refused to settle to
the bottom of tall

The diverse nature of

kieselguhr as seen under
a microscope.

When I first started in the brewing industry, filtration

was something carried out down in the cellars or
across in the packaging store. Even in France where I
worked in my first brewery, it was dans les caves.
Today, with take-home beer beginning to outstrip onsales, beer with a 12 month shelf life required closer
attention to filtration and stabilisation. With
consolidation of breweries and focus on capacity
utilisation and efficiency of packaging lines, beer
quality and filter problems are no longer acceptable.
Right first time is the requirement.

By Paul Buttrick
Beer Dimensions

have been an examiner for the

IBD Master Brewer examinations
for many years, and questions on
filtration were often poorly
answered and showed a lack of
experience and understanding,
compared to other areas such as
brewhouse and fermentation. This
may have been due to where
responsibilities lie for filtration and
there were debates about whether it
was a brewing or packaging
responsibility. In my early
Whitbread days, it was always
Process and Packaging but when
the bigger breweries were built it
became part of the brewing area
mainly because filtration problems
were often pushed back up-stream in
the brewery. We were brewing lager
and had to deal with beta glucans
which gummed up the works and
yeast that refused to settle to the
bottom of tall cylindroconical tanks.

The basics
Like all things, the laws of science
dictate performance and Darcy from
way back in 1856 still shows the
way. The table below develops his
law and applies it to filtration :
Applying this equation, it is easy to


see how filter design affects beer

Maximum pressure drop allowed
across a filter
On early 60cm plate and frame
filters, the maximum allowable inlet
pressure was 3 bar, for later versions
and 100cm frames, this went up to 7
bar, so the newer filters gave a large
potential increase in filter run
lengths. It is easy to see how one of
the easiest and most cost effective
ways to increase filtration capacity
in a small brewery was to replace an
old 60cm filter with a more modern
100cm version.
Filter area:
The 100 cm plate and frame filter
gave the possibility of large filtration
areas, so pressure drops were low
and filter runs long. However with a
flow-rates of 2.53.5 hl/m2/h, the
area needed to be large to get a fast
flow-rate compared to vessel filters
designed for 510 hl/m2/h, although

flow on vessel filters tend now to be

nearer the lower rate. On vessel
filters, the filtration area is dictated
by the number of candles or screens.
Flowrates on kieselguhr-free
crossflow filters are slower at 0.5
1.0 hl/m2/h
Filter cake thickness:
This is dependent on the solids
content of the beer and dosing rate
of body-feed powder. Breweries
which install centrifuges reduce the
solids presented to the filter, are able
to make large increases in filtration
performance and capacity. The
sludge capacity, that is the amount
of powder that can be put into a filter
will dictate the filter run length and
reducing the body-feed dosing rate
enables more beer to be filtered. The
frames of the larger plate and frame

Flow rate = Permeability factor Pressure drop Area of filtration surface

Filter bed thickness Liquid viscosity
Pressure Drop = Flow rate Filter bed thickness Liquid viscosity
Permeability factor Area of filtration surface

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 12 December 2007

(Photo: Puresep.)


fully automated 600 hl/h
Filtrox kieselguhr and
PVPP candle filter lines
installed in Becks
brewery Germany in

frame filters. At Magor, now part of

InBev, long runs of very high quality
filtered beer are achieved using high
area filters run at slow flow rates
with quite low porosity powders.
With these regimes it is possible to
achieve yeast-free filtrate on a
100ml aerobic plating of beer from
the outlet of the filter.

ABOVE: A 100 cm plate

and frame filter, still
used in many UK

Choice of powders

filters have comparatively more

capacity than vessel filters. The
standard frame was 40mm deep, and
some companies increased this to
50mm to increase filtration run

(Schematic: Krones.)

Beer viscosity:
I can remember, over 25 years ago,
spending many hours in the
Samlesbury Brewery brewhouse
doing starch tests on wort with my
fellow brewer the late Bill Barker
we were known as Starchy and
Husk after a well know pair of
American detectives. Better
brewhouse procedures and a malt
specification to reduce beta glucans
in the wort, sometimes with the aid
of added beta glucanase, made sure
we were able to filter plenty of lager
in the hot summers of the late

build up than coarser powder. A

compromise was needed because the
finer the powder used, the better and
brighter the filtered beer. It is also
important to remember that vessel
filters which are run at faster flow
rates generally use coarser filter
powders to keep the pressure
differential down.
When all is considered, it is easy
to see why some companies
continue to use 100cm plate and

The choice of filter powders has not

changed much over the years in that
kieselguhr (diatomaceous earth) is
still the preferred material. No other
material gives quite the same
filtration performance. Perlites made
from volcanic rock are increasingly
used for a first precoat, but few use it
for second precoat and bodyfeed.
The main driver for brewers moving
away from kieselguhrs is health and
safety, where particularly flux
calcined-white powders (heated in
the presence of caustic soda) contain
high levels of crystalline quartz
(crystoballite) which is known to
cause serious lung diseases.
The white flux calcined powders

Schematic of the
Steinecker TFS filter.
This filter is specifically
designed to give an even
powder coating over the
whole candle.

The pressure differential across a
filter bed is determined by the
permeability of the filter bed, which
is dictated by the size and porosity
of the filter powder. Very fine
powder produces a quicker pressure

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 12 December 2007



The Pall Big Bagbulk

handling system, using
0.5 tonne bags of filter
powder at Reissdorf in

best not to make them too big (say a

maximum of a days supply)
because continual stirring can
degrade particles which will block
the filter rather than keep the bed
open. Also because it is very
abrasive, slurry pump design and
maintenance is key to operations. It
is also important to make sure that
the stirrer in the tank is either backed
up with a spare or alarmed because
powders settle and set like concrete
if they are not kept in suspension
digging them out is not fun.

Big Bags

The Pall ZHF Primus is equipped

with Durafil
screens of 30micron size that
only requires the
equivalent of a
working precoat.
Other filters
including some
candle filters also
have 30-micron
gaps, although
Filtrox have
remained with a 70
micron gap which
is said to be less
prone to blocking
and has better

have larger particles and are

generally used for the first precoat.
Perlites are now used for this purpose
in many UK breweries. Perlites are
difficult to manufacture in fine
grades and do not have the absorptive
properties of kieselguhrs which give
brilliant beers. There are very few
breweries who use a complete perlite
regime and these use sheet filtration
afterwards to give their beer its final
brilliance. Many filters using
kieselguhr do not use polishing
filters, but go straight to packaging
which includes either flash or tunnel
Some filter manufacturers have
designed their filters to work without
a first precoat.
The Pall ZHF Primus is
equipped with Durafil screens of
30- micron size that only requires the
equivalent of a working precoat.
Other filters including some candle
filters also have 30-micron gaps,
although Filtrox have remained with
a 70- micron gap which is said to be
less prone to blocking and has better

With filter powders, being classed

as hazardous materials, companies
have sought to protect their people
from the dust. There have been many
designs for handling 20kg paper
sacks in a special cabinet with bag
splitters and vacuum dust removers.
Some have been more successful
than others and some have been
more dust dispersers than offering
personal protection. The level of
protection tends to go with the
amount of powder used, with
smaller users still putting powder
directly into the dosing tanks, the
operator being protected with a face
mask specific for kieselguhr dust.
Filter powders are only hazardous
in powder form, so it is quite
common to see powder slurries
mixed with water in a separate area
from the filter room and then
transferred to the dosing tank when
needed. Another method is to have a
separate area above the filter room
with powders sent directly into the
dosing tanks below.
A little advice from experience
when designing slurry tanks, it is

The KHS Kometronic



Kometronic precoat
filter using regenerable
cellulose fibres on trial
with only one chamber
in the stack.


The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 12 December 2007

(Diagramand photo: KHS.)

RIGHT: Diagram of a
KHS Kometronic
precoat filter using
regenerable cellulose
fibres instead of

Any reasonable size brewery should

be thinking of using bulk powder
supply rather than paper sacks.
Health and safety issues are greatly
reduced and man power in big plants
can be redeployed. With approx 10hl
filtered per kg of filter aid, a brewery
of 500,000 hl will be using 50 tonnes
of powder per year; about 100 halftonne big bags a year. I dont know
of any brewery currently using
tanker delivery and bulk silo storage
of filter powders, the main problem
here is the availability and cost of
bulk powder tankers and the capital
cost of a silo system.
Even for big bag handling, the
number of powders used should be
kept to a minimum, in most cases a
first precoat, second precoat and
body feed should be enough, and
very often the second precoat and
body feed is the same powder. Some
filter aid suppliers recommend
mixing powders, not something I am
too keen on to me it is a bit too
much of a black art or a three of
sand plus one of cement approach.
The cost of supplying kieselguhr
in big bags is similar to that of
paper sacks. Some quite cost
effective powder fluidising and
transfer systems have been installed
and can be justified on health and
safety as well as manpower savings
for sack handling, although civil
costs can be high. A large brewery

(Diagram and photo: Norit.)

using 200 tonnes of filter aid per

year, would be handling 10,000
20kg paper sacks so it must make
sense to reduce this to 400 halftonne big bags. The big bags are
made from woven polypropylene. They are not re-used in
the food industry, but may be
collected free of charge or for a
small fee for use in non-food
applications. Robinsons of
Stockport use big bag supplied by
Flexibulk, and Thwaites are about to
install a big bag powder handling
system to be supplied by Mass
Measuring Ltd.

Disposal costs for spent kieselguhr
is an increasing part of the total
filtration costs. With landfill being
carefully controlled, costs will only
increase. Soil injection is used by
many companies in the UK. In parts
of Germany spent kieselguhr is
already considered as a chemical
waste which is extremely expensive
to dispose of and more countries will
follow suit.
KHS are in final stages of
developing a filter system called
Kometronic incorporating a precoat
filter replacing kieselguhr with
regenerable cellulose fibres.
I know that a number of
companies are looking at
manufacturing a replacement
powder but they are not at the
commercial stage yet. I am sure
there will be long queues of
interested brewers when they
eventually come on the market as
long as the economics are sound and
the material can be used on existing

Pall Food and Beverage has
developed a kieselguhr regeneration
system called Befis which is used in
conjunction with their Primus filter.
This system works on the principle

Norit BMS.
ABOVE: Schematic of a
600 hl/h Norit BMF,
showing from left to
right: cold store tank,
stabilisation dosing,
recirc/retentate tank,
filter, buffer tank,
carbonator, bright beer
LEFT: A 600 hl/hr (72
module) Norit BMF
installed in a brewery in
of regenerating and cleaning the
spent kieselguhr from a filter with
caustic, acid and an enzyme
preparation. This material is used as
the body feed for subsequent
filtrations. A fresh, new precoat is
needed on each filter run. Overall
kieselguhr savings of 70-80% are

Which filter is best for me?

In the UK, plate and frame filters
were used extensively until the
1970s. The plates and frames were
mostly 60 cm with flow rates limited
to 100hl/hr. This gave a typical run
length of 1000 hl in ten hours. The
introduction of the Seitz Orion 100
cm2 filters enabled a step change in
throughputs where flow rates over
320 hl/hr were possible. A maximum
67 bar inlet pressure allowed a
differential pressure of 5 Bar (75 psi)
and gave run lengths of over 4000 hl
and with centrifuges and
optimisation runs over 24 hours are
achieved. The large sludge volume
enabled much longer runs and even
some 200 cm2 frame filters were
introduced. The problem was that the
downtime to wash off, clean and
sterilise the filters was 46 hours and
required a lot of manual input.
Although attempts were made to
automate cleaning of plate and frame
filters, they were not successful, so

automated vessel filters were

Candle filters and other screen
filters were already in use on the
continent. In the 1980s, candle filters
and horizontal screen filters were
most popular. Candle filters had
comparatively small sludge volumes
which restricted filter run lengths,
they were the answer for breweries
who wanted large volumes filtered in
a short time. Also, because the vessel
volume was large, losses were high
because of the water-beer interfaces
at the start and end of the run. A
problem also associated with the
large plate and frame filters.
The introduction of large
horizontal screen filters was a major
step forward. This enabled long filter
runs at fast flow rate and because the
filter cake sat on a horizontal screen
the filters could be emptied using
carbon dioxide gas through low level
rest elements which were not used
during the main filtration. The
beginning and end of filter runs could
be free of beer-water interfaces, so
losses were greatly reduced.
Because of the horizontal screens,
the filtration could be halted the
bed was stable, whereas the bed on a
candle would slip off. The same was
true during a power interruption. The
main manufacturers with the
exception of Filtrox concentrated on

Disposal costs for

spent kieselguhr is
an increasing part of
the total filtration
costs. With landfill
being carefully
controlled, costs will
only increase. Soil
injection is used by
many companies in
the UK. In parts of
Germany spent
kieselguhr is already
considered as a
chemical waste
which is extremely
expensive to
dispose of and more
countries will follow

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 12 December 2007



(Photo: Pall Corporation 2007.)

Membrane modules
(each of 12m2) on a Pall
Profi filter installed at
Carlsberg in Fredericia
which processes up to
480hl per hour.

horizontal-screen filters. It seemed

that the candle filter was becoming
outclassed. Horizontal-screen filters
had many advantages, but changes to
brewing practice and a need for
simplicity has seen a come back by
the candle filter, with many of the
concerns being answered.
The introduction
of large horizontal
screen filters was a
major step
forward. This
enabled long filter
runs at fast flow
rate and because
the filter cake sat
on a horizontal
screen the filters
could be emptied
using carbon
dioxide gas
through low level
rest elements
which were not
used during the
main filtration.


Candle filters make a

The complexity of moving parts and
seals on the screen filters produced
engineering headaches for some, so
the simplicity and lack of moving
parts in the candle filter again
became attractive. Filtrox (Synox),
KHS (Getra Eco) and Steinecker
(TFS) all looked at the more
negative aspects of candle filters and
came out with innovations, to
improve the efficiency and running
cost. New wedgewire designs
replaced the scalloped ring candle
which are easier to keep clean and
give a more even powder coating.
For example, in the Filtrox Synox
PF candle filter launched at Brau
2004, an optimised version of the
successful Filtrojet filter, the filter
area was increased by introducing a
25 mm instead of a 33mm diameter
candle. The smaller diameter candle
enabled more units to be put into the
housing. The overall effect was to
allow more filtration area and sludge
space and less relative void volume
which contributed to losses in the
form of water-beer interfaces at the
beginning and end of a filter run. The
increased use of high gravity
brewing meant that beer at the
beginning of a filter run could be run
into a tank at very low gravity
(assuming deaerated water is used to
charge and pre-coat the filter) which
could be compensated for by

running in a precalculated volume of

high gravity beer, thereby
eliminating losses at start up.
Similarly, at the end of the run, the
blending water can be shut down
early to compensate for weaker beer
being run at the end of the run
although care should be taken to
ensure proper mixing. The same
system could also be applied to a
large plate and frame filter and some
brewers who installed horizontal
screen filters never use the blow
down facility. It must also be
remembered that when a filter is
blown down with CO2, the filter
cake contains full gravity (often high
gravity) beer, so the losses are not
zero as some have claimed.
Another development by
Steinecker (Krones) is the TFS-Twin
Flow System candle filter introduced
in 2000. This filter is different in that
there is no filtered beer section of the
filter vessel. The rough beer comes
into the vessel, filtered beer comes
out through the candles into a
manifold within the body of the filter
which feeds directly into the filter
outlet pipe. Ten percent of the flow
through the filter is recirculated from
the bright back to the rough side in
order to give an improved
distribution of filter aid particularly
at the top of the candle. The TFS is
also designed to be used without a
first precoat.
So which powder filters are
available and who makes them? The
main filter suppliers have
consolidated over the years, with
only Filtrox remaining independent
and having the same ownership. Pall
bought Seitz-Schenk in 2002, while
Steinecker became part of Krones
and SEN became part of KHS. Table
1 shows the main manufacturers and

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 12 December 2007

brand name of various powder


Kieselguhr-free filtration
The issues associated with powder
handling and disposal of spent filter
powder have led to companies
developing kieselguhr-free systems
based on cross flow technology. This
technology is extensively used for
cider and wine, so what is the
situation with beer? Early attempts
by APV in the 1980s to filter beer
using ceramic membranes were
unsuccessful, but at least three major
players currently have systems in
use in breweries. The 0.7- 1.0 hl/m2
flow rates on cross flow filters are
slow compared with powder filters.
The principal of cross flow filtration
is straight forward with the
unfiltered beer circulating across a
polymeric 0.450.6 micron
membrane. A cross-flow rate of
approx 1.2 m/s has a pressure which
is above the pressure on the filtered
beer side of the membrane (this is
called the trans-membrane
differential pressure).
The pressure difference between
the rough and bright side of the
membrane provides the force to
push the beer through the membrane
and take out any particles. Because
there is a fast flow across the
membrane perpendicular to the flow
through the membrane, there is little
build up of solids. There is no dead
end filter bed to go through as in a
conventional filter, so there is no
static filter bed build up and hence
little pressure build up. There will
be some build up of solid material
on the membrane which will cause a
rise in the trans-membrane pressure,
and the process will continue until a
pressure difference of about 1.5 bar
is reached. The manufacturers of
cross-flow filters all use an interim
pulsing or backwashing
technique to disturb any solid build
up and reduce the trans membrane
pressure. A stage is reached when
the trans membrane pressure will
not reduce, in which case a chemical
clean is carried out.
If we are looking at the physics of
filtration, the same principles apply
crossflow filtration is enhanced by
a large surface area, thin filter bed,
and slow flow rate/m2, so there is
slower pressure build up compared
with conventional filtration.
The three systems presented by Pall,
Norit and Alfa Laval, all use
polyethersulphone membranes put
together in a series of modules.


(Photos: Alfa Laval.)

Alfa Laval systems.

RIGHT: A 300 hl/h
Alfafine membrane filter
in operation in a
brewery in Western
Europe since 2005
FAR RIGHT: A 0.7m2
cartridge used on a
Alfabright membrane

development by
Steinecker (Krones)
is the TFS-Twin Flow
System candle filter
introduced in 2000.
This filter is different
in that there is no
filtered beer section
of the filter vessel.
The rough beer
comes into the
vessel, filtered beer
comes out through
the candles into a
manifold within the
body of the filter
which feeds directly
into the filter outlet

Norit and Pall use hollow fibre

modules and Alfa Laval use a series
of cassettes to make up the filter. A
large recirculation pump is used to
provide the fluid flow across the
membrane. Table 2 compares the
systems features (previous page).
Cross-flow membrane filters
produce a yeast free filtrate (due to
0.4-0.65 micron pore size) Suppliers
have also reported improved hazes
in bright beer as well as better
flavour and haze stability due to
reduced oxygen and iron pick up
from filter powders. This is a good
start, but only with longer term use
and experience will these
improvements be substantiated.

The cross-flow players

Norit is a Dutch company which
specialises in purification
technology, including water and
other beverages. The BMF-200 beer
filter was introduced to the market

at Drinktec 2001, and extensive

work has been carried out with
Heineken. A filter with the
capability of up to 200 hl/h has 24
filtration modules of 9.8m2 filtration
area each. The membranes are 0.5
micron PTS (polyethersulphone),
each consisting of 2800 1.5 mm
diameter fibres. In process terms,
the filtration flow rate is 0.8hl/m2/h
and the cross flow rate is 1.2 m/s. A
system pressure of 3 bar gives a
maximum trans membrane pressure
of 1.2 bar. The filters have a typical
average run length of 20 hours
which includes a small number of
backflushes, to reduce the trans
membrane pressure and allow CIP.
The chemical based clean using an
oxidising agent and membrane
cleaner takes 2.5 hrs and is carried
out when the membranes become
partially blinded.
Pall Food and Beverage is a
global company, well known to the

Table 1: Main manufactures and

brand name of their powder filters

Plate and frame

Horizontal screen




Steineker FS 130K

Synox PF
Getra Eco
Steineker TFS

brewing industry, which specialises

in filtration technology. The Profi
system was developed in
conjunction with GEA Westfalia
Separators and a great deal of
development work has been carried
out with Carlsberg. A filter with the
capability of up to 240 hl/h has 20
filtration modules of 12 m2
filtration area each.
The membranes are 0.65 micron
PTS (polyethersulphone). In
process terms, the filtration flow
rate is up to 1.0 hl/m2/h. The
system is designed in blocks of
modules, which are taken out in
sequence for cleaning, thus
allowing a continuous operation.
Because the beer solids are mostly
removed by the centrifuge, no
retentate buffer tank is required,
and the volume of beer involved in
beer changes is low. Beer changes
and the end of batch operations are
carried out by blowing out the
system with CO2.
Like the Profi system, Alfabright
is based on a combination of a
centrifuge from Alfa Laval and a
membrane system supplied by
German filtration specialist
Sartorious. A typical system

Table 2 Comparing available kieselguhr-free filtration systems

Module size
Size/modules etc
Pore size
Flow rates
Number in use


Batch or continuous
9.8 m2
Blocks of 24 modules up to max
of 72 (600 hl/h)
0.5 micron
0.8 hl/m2/h

Pall Alfa
12 m2
Blocks of 20 modules (up to
240 hl/h per block)
0.65 micron
0.5 1hl/m2/h

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 12 December 2007

0.7 m2 cassette
Up to 432 cassettes
(up to 300 hl/h)
0.6 micron
0.7 hl/m2/h

designed for 225 hl/hr based on

302m2 of filtration area (0.75
hl/m2/hr). The membrane filter is
made up of a number of 0.7 m2
Sartocon cassettes with a 0.6
micron PES membrane. This design
is different from Norit and Pall in
that the membrane cassettes have a
very narrow distance between
membranes 120 microns, which
according to Alfa Laval enables the
filter to be run using lower
powered, smaller recirculation
pumps. The compact design of the
cassette is also said to give a more
stable membrane and optimium
cleaning characteristics which have
a positive impact on membrane life.
The filter system works
continuously, with sections taken
out for cleaning every 2-5 hours.

Do you need a centrifuge?

There continues to be a debate about
whether a centrifuge is required to
clean beer before it is filtered on a
crossflow filter. Pall and Alfa Laval

recommend using a centrifuge to

reduce yeast load on the
membranes. Norit argue against the
need for a centrifuge because they
believe a separator does not remove
the small particles (< 0.5 micron)
which are responsible for blocking
pores on the filter. The Norit system
includes a retentate/recirculation
tank where the solids removed from
the beer are collected. In the
Alfabright and Profi systems, the
solids are mostly removed by the
upstream centrifuge.
Centrifuges are very costly to buy
and operate and not having to
include one in a new filtration
scheme gives a big financial
advantage to the Norit system. Like
all new technologies, the debate will
continue and only plant
performance and experience will
dictate whether centrifugation is
Another unknown is the
robustness and reliability of the
membranes and until better

Another unknown
is the robustness
and reliability of the
membranes and
until better
guarantees and
replacement costs
are substantiated,
many brewers will
not take the

guarantees and replacement costs

are substantiated, many brewers will
not take the kieselguhr-free route.
However there have been huge
strides in membrane technology and
it is widely used in other industries,
so the time will come when brewers
feel more confident to embrace the
powder-free route. For companies
with a longer term view of capital
investment on strategic items,
overall project lifetime costs may
well be better on cross-flow than
current powder systems, when
everything including energy and
environmental cost is considered. In
the mean time, only continued
development and experience will
confirm whether crossflow is the
future for beer filtration.

The author would like to thank those
companies who supplied information
and images in the preparation of this


Puresep optimising your filtration performance

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accessories and auxiliary equipment for KG
and sheet filters, enabling our service
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making Puresep the ideal choice for helping
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Our engineers are experts in the filtration and

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Professional installation, commissioning and
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Upgrades and refurbishments

New requirements and the need for greater
production capacities mean that the
equipment you previously invested in may not
be running at optimum performance.
Refurbishment and upgrading of the existing
plant is often a practical and cost effective
alternative to extend a systems life.

Service and Maintenance Agreements

Plant Optimisation

A 100 cm plate and frame filter.

Our bespoke service and maintenance

agreements provide security, reliability,
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To save you time, expense and frustration, we maintain an emergency
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We pride ourselves on working with you to

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Tel: +44 (0) 1531 636 328
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Puresep Filtration Technologies Ltd is a member of the Puresep Holdings group

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 12 December 2007


Glossary of Brewing and Packaging Terms:Absorption

Where chemical compounds are removed from a liquid by being retained on a
solid surface examples proteins adsorbed by silica gel or organic
compounds adsorbed by activated carbon.
Measure of alcohol content by volume - expressed as % alcohol by volume
A flavour compound produced during fermentation tastes of raw apple
Acetic Acid
Acid (Vinegar) produced by bacteria under aerobic conditions. Usually
indicates the presence of Beer spoilage organisms.
An aerobic bacteria produces an off flavour of acetic acid and turbidity in beer.
An addition source of extract (starch or sugar) which is not malted barley.
Cool wort is aerated/oxygenated to provide oxygen for yeast growth.
Waste product produced by yeast during fermentation to be consumed and
enjoyed by the customer.
Originally a term for un-hopped beer. Now used to describe most darker beers
(top fermented) with ale yeast. (common in UK and Belgium)
Alpha acid
A natural hop resin which is isomerised to iso alpha acid during wort boiling
and to give beer its bitterness.
Amber Malt
A medium brown grade of malt made by higher temperatures during the later
stages of kilning. It provides beer with a crisp biscuit taste and aroma.
Amino Acids
Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids. Amino acids are
produced by the enzymic breakdown of proteins during malting & mashing.
They are required as essential nutrients for yeast growth.

A general name for the enzymes that breaks down starch.
Alpha amylase is an endo enzymes which liquefies starch by breaking
long starch chains in smaller polysaccharides.
Beta amylase is an exo enzyme which is a saccharifying enzyme by
breaking pairs of sugars off from the non reducing end of starch and
polysaccharide molecules to form maltose.
A mouth drying/bitter harsh after tastes which are often produced by
polyphenols derived from malt and hops.
A term used for controlling or cooling beer during fermentation
Attenuation Limit
A measure of the fermentability of wort tested by fermenting with an excess of
yeast. It represents the amount of non-fermentable carbohydrates left in beer.
Auxiliary finings
Liquid finings made from alginate or silicate which helps to settle protein. It
usually works best when added sequentially in combination with isinglass
Small living organisms which lives by breaking down organic matter such as
beer. Specific bacterial species infect wort and beer producing off flavours
and turbidity.
A cereal a member of the grass family grows in temperate regions of the
world. Barley is the most common cereal used to produce malt for beer. It has
a thick husk which makes it robust in the malting process, and the husk forms
a filter bed during mash separation.
A traditional volume for measuring beer. The UK standard barrel contains 36
gallons of beer. Barrels are still used in measuring capacity but few full barrel
containers (36 gallon casks) are still in use.
A drink produced by the fermentation of sugars derived from malted barley
flavoured with hops
Beta Glucan
A gummy material which comes from barley cell walls. It is largely degraded
during malting, but if present in wort or beer can cause filtration problems.

An soluble salt which produces temporary hardness reducing the fall in
acidity (pH), and generally has to be reduced in waters used for brewing.
Bicarbonates decompose to form carbonates which form a scale on heating
A taste associated usually associate with iso-alpha acids in beer (isomerised
alpha acids from hop). Some traditional ales were bitter and hence the term
is also used to describe types of ales with a high hop rate
Black Malt
Is made from pale malt which is then roasted in a malt drum. It gives beer a
black colour and strong burnt flavour.
The mixing of beers to achieve quality or in high gravity beer.
A deposit on bottles often due to carbonates in the water
BOD is the measure of the amount of oxygen in milligrams per litre of sample
which is utilised over a five day period in the biological oxidation of the sample
after suitable dilution. It is often written as BOD5 to reflect the 5 day duration
of the test. BOD is an indication of the amount of oxygen which will be taken
up from a watercourse due to microbial growth on discharge of the sample.
Body Feed
Filter powder added to the beer flow in line to improve solids loading and to
aid filtration
Boiling Wort
A stage in the brewhouse process when clarified wort from mash separation is
boiled to stabilise the wort, remove unwanted aromas and isomerise the alpha
acids from the hops.
Bottom Fermentation
For a successful fermentation yeast has to be in suspension in the wort. Once
the fermentation is complete (the final gravity is achieved) lager strains of
yeast clump together or flocculate and sink and settle to the bottom of the
fermentation vessel.
This is the term given to protein/polpeptide molecules which for insoluble
solids and settle to the bottom of the vessel. Hot Break or trub forms after wort
boiling and also contains hop debris. Cold break forms in cooled wort and can
often be collected at the bottom of fermentation vesses.

Bright Beer
Beer that has been through filter to remove visible haze and most microorganisms in preparation for packaging.
Brown Malt
A roasted malt which produces a reddy brown colour and gives beer a rich
malty, biscuit flavour.
Buffer Tank
Is any vessel used as a break between two processes eg between maturation
vessel and filter is the filter inlet buffer tank.
It is an important metal ion which is added to mash and has a number of
beneficial effects in brewing particularly in help to drop pH which is
necessary for many enzyme activities and yeast growth and flocculation.
A measure of energy. Beer has quite a low level of calories typically around
450 kcal or 1870 kJ per litre. Most of the calories in beer come from alcohol, hence
the higher the % alacohol the greater the number of calories.
Candle Filter
Is a design of primary filter where rods or candles are used to support the filter
Dark burnt sugar which is usually added to beer to adjust colour.
A continental darker malt used to add some colour but principally mouthfeel
and texture to lagers.
Complex sugars which are generally found as a energy store in plants such
as barley endosperm.
Carbon Dioxide
A gas which is produced during fermentation, under pressure it combines with
water to form carbonic acid. A level of carbon dioxide is present in all beer
and it proves beer with its fizz.
A salt which dissolved in hot water but tends to precipitate in cold water
producing a hard coat of scale or beer stone.
Cask Conditioned Beer
Beer that that remains unfiltered at the end of fermentation is conditioned and
matured in a cask. It is usually clarified in trade through the addition of
isinglass finings.

Equipment for clarifying beer by spinning it at high velocity separating the
solids from the liquid. It is able to remove most yeast from beer in a matter of
Cereal Cooker
A separate vessel used to prepare cereal adjuncts by heating (boiling) to
gelatinise the starch (used for adjuncts which have a gelatinisation
temperature greater than malt).
Colloidal stability
Haze causing colloids such as proteins and tannin must be removed from
beer. This is done through good brewing practice and chilling the beer prior to
filtration For beers which require a long shelf life adsorption stabilization
agents which are insoluble in beer are used to reduce the haze forming
compounds (principally protein and ployphenol) prior to filtration.
Is a anion often added as Calcium Chloride and gives beer smooth full palate.
This is characteristic of many lagers and mild beers.
Chocolate malt
A dark roast malt used in dark beers and stouts
CIP Cleaning in Place
Automated system of vessel and line cleaning Cleaning In Place.
Separating suspended solids from wort or beer.
Where beer foam adherers to a glass
The attraction of solid (often protein) to each other resulting in the formation of
solids during boiling
A chemical method of measuring BOD used to look at the biological load in
A protein also known as finings usually derived from Isinglass and is added
to clarify beer.
Conditioning (Maturation)
Is the process during which the raw flavours of fermentation are removed and

CO2 is formed which helps to carbonate the beer.

A term used to describe the breakdown of starch into sugar in the brewhouse.
A liquid used to cool beer or wort
Copper (Kettle)
A vessel used for boiling wort
Copper (kettle) finings
Material (usually Irish Moss) added to the copper kettle to aid coagulation and
clarification of trub.
Regulations for handling hazardous material
Crown Cork
A cap for sealing bottles
Crystal Malt
A malt prepared by stewing on the kiln to produce crystallised sugars. It adds
colour and flavour to beer.
Customs & Excise
The regulatory body for collection of Excise duty.
Equipment for offloading bottles, cans or kegs delivered on pallets
Deaerated Liquor/Water
Water where the dissolved oxygen stripped out or removed
Decoction Mashing
A method of heating the mash where part is taken out into a separate cooker
and boiled before being added back to the mash to raise the temperature by a
required amount.
A liquid which is capable of dissolving soil (dirt) used for vessel and line
Unfermentable sugar often left in mash because of the incomplete breakdown
of amylopectin which has branched chains.

Diacetyl is a by-product of the metabolism of yeast during the fermentation
process. The majority is removed by well controlled secondary fermentation.
Small amounts of diacetyl in beer cause an unpleasant odour and taste of
General name given to enzymes that break down starch. In Brewing these are
mainly alpha and beta amylase.
Diatomaceous Earth
A powder made up of the mined skeletal remains of diatoms which is used as
a filter aid in beer filtration.
Dissolved Oxygen
A measure of oxygen dissolved in beer
DMS Dimethyl Sulphide
A flavour compound derived from malt which gives a sweetcorn character.
A natural delay in the onset of barley germination
Draught Beer
Beer served from large containers (casks or kegs)
Dry Hopping
The process of adding hops to casks beer to provide hop aroma
EBU (also called IBU)
A measure of beer bitterness (based on the European Brewery Convention)
Process waste stream which leaves the brewery either for in house
treatment or to municipal treatment (Sewage Works)
The starch food store of the barley corn which provides the extract for
A group of flavour compounds found in beer generally produced during
fermentation through the combination of acids and alcohols. They give beer
strong fruity aromas and taste.
Ethanol (ethyl alcohol)
The main alcohol produced by fermentation. This is an important property
which determines the strength of the beer.

A measure of sugar potential or yield from the raw materials. Most extract
comes from the malted barley but additional extract can be added in the form
of adjuncts.
False Bottom
The slotted base of a mash or lauter tun
The process when yeast metabolises simple sugars to produce alcohol abd
carbon dioxide (and some heat) under anaerobic conditions.
The process of using a porous surface medium to hold back solids thus
separating solids from the liquid beer.
A changed material added either as liquids or solids and used aggregate
suspended particles in the beer to aid clarification. (eg Kettle finings, auxiliary
finings and isinglass finings)
A container or cask which holds 9 gallons capacity
Flash Pasteurisation
Pasteurisation (heating) through a plate heat exchanger to kill/reduce live
Flavour Stability
The extent to which a beer tastes as good on ageing as it did fresh when
The stable head/bubbles on beer formed by protein coating bubbles of carbon
dioxide gas. Beer is the only beverage with a stable foam.
Excessive or uncontrolled foam
Forcing Test
A procedure for heating and holding samples at a higher temperature to check
for flavour or microbiological stability.
The initial process in mashing when the starch has to unwind from its
crystalline structure in order to make it accessible to enzyme degradation.

German Purity Laws

The German Beer Purity Law or Reinheitsgebot is the world's oldest food law
purity law. It was decreed by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria in 1516. The decree
states that only barley, hops and water may be used in the brewing of beer.
Yeast was added subsequently but had not been identified as essential for
fermentation in 1516 and natural "wild" yeast produced the necessary
The growth or sprouting of the grain second stage in the malting process.
A simple sugar which forms the base unit of starch
Gram Stain
A procedure for differentiating between different species of bacteria. It relies
on the structure of the bacterial cell wall.
Green Beer
Immature beer at the end of fermentation before it has been matured.
Green Malt
Germinated barley before it is kilned
A term for milled crushed malt ready for mashing.
Calcium Sulphate present in some brewing water such as Burton on Trent,
and often added as a salt to water or mash as part of water treatment. It
contributes to permanent hardness bringing out the dryer, bitter flavours in a
Beer should be clear. Haziness or cloudiness in beer occurs because of
suspended material which can be organic chemicals colloidal haze or microorganisms biological haze.
Head Retention
A measure of the foam stability of the head on beer (common methods used
to assess foam are direct observation or instruments like Rudin & Nibem )
The volume of gas above the beer in a bottle. Part of this gas can be air or
oxygen which contributes to beer staling.
The usually volume of measurement in most breweries One hectolitre = 100

High Gravity Brewing

Many beers are brewed with an original gravity (OG) higher than sales
producing beers with higher levels of ethanol. After processing the beer is
dilutee to sales gravity using de aerated water, usually post filtration.
Is an oversize barrel or cask which holds 54 gallons. Few if any are still in
Hop Back
A vessel used for hot wort clarification after wort boiling when using whole
(cone) hops which are used as the filter medium.
Hop Extract
An extract of the bitter and some times the aroma components of hops
Hop Oil
An extract of the hop aroma compounds
A perennial plant which produces hop cones in the female plant which contain
bitter substances (alpha acids) and aromas and used to bitter and add
aroma/flavour to beer
Horizontal Leaf Filter
A beer filter with horizontal screens on which the filter aid is deposited and
then used to filter rough beer.
Ice Beer
Beer where the contents is partially frozen ice is formed to produce a
smother flavour.
A term for single temperature mashing traditionally used in mash tuns
Ion Exchange
A method of treating water to remove un wanted mineral ions.
Collagen, the active ingredient in finings made from the swim of selected fish
Isomerised hop bitterness compounds iso-alpha acid is also called iso
humulone. This is derived from alpha acids or humulone
A small jet of hot water is often fired into a bottle after filling to cause it to froth
up so that it is capped on foam to reduce dissolved oxygen.

A metal container for holding beer (usually 11 gallon 50 litre or 22 gallon 100
litre some are as large as 36 gallons or a UK barrel)
Kettle / Copper
The name given to the vessel used for boiling wort
A bung which holds the tap in a cask of beer
A filter aid made up skeletal diatoms used in beer filtration
Kilderkin (Kil)
A cask holding 18 gallons (half a barrel)
The last stage in malting where the moisture is driven off to produce a stable
malt with increase colour and flavour compounds.
The process of enhancing warm maturation (secondary fermentation) by
adding fermenting wort from a subsequent brew to the maturation tank of a
beer on completion of primary fermentation.
Equipment for labelling bottles
The effect of foam clinging to a glass of beer as it empties
Lactic Acid
An acid produced by certain bacteria (lactic bacteria) which can effect the
beer flavour
Species of lactic acid bacteria which produce acid and turbidity
Lag Phase
The stage at the start of a fermentation before the yeast start to replicate
Beer brewed using traditional Continental methods (usually typified by using
bottom cropping yeast and pale lager malt)
The process of maturing lager beer traditionally the beer was stored for
several months at zero or below.

The process of wort separation using a lauter tun which is a filter vessel with a
false slotted bottom.
A hazardous bacteria found in warm and cooling water assoacited with
cooling towers and tunnel pasteurisers
Fatty material in raw materials such as malt and produced by yeast when
aerated at the start of a fermentation.
A term used in the UK and Ireland for brewing water
The difference between the volume and strength of what you started with in
comparison to the volumes and strength at the start and finish of a process
Lupulin gland
The resin gland of the hop cone which hold the acids and oils used in
Maize Grits
Broken embryo of Maize milled which has to be cooked in a cereal cooker
before being mixed with the malt mash.
Malting Variety
A type of barley suitable for malting
The principle sugar produced by conversion of starch to wort during mashing.
The process of mixing grist (ground malt) and water at the necessary
temperature and mash thickness.
Post fermentation processing during warm maturation flavour development
occurs cold maturation is required for colloidal stabilisation.
A very small living organism usually only visible under a microscope.
A term to describe the change of barley into malt and the extent to which the
cell walls in the endosperm have been digested.

Chemical salts found in water often indicating contamination. There are
maximum permitted levels and many breweries use water treatment to
remove nitrates.
Nitrogen gas
Inert gas used to eliminate air or to give beer a stable head (nitrogen is
sometimes incorrectly used to describe proteins, polypeptides and amino
acids, found in beer)
Non Biological Shelf Life
The time that beer remains free of non biological haze (protein/polyphenol
complex chill haze)
Original Gravity. The specific gravity or density of wort before fermentation
has started
Gas required by living organisms. It is added to stimulate yeast growth before
fermentation starts. If present in finished beer it will cause beer staleness
Equipment for loading packs onto pallets
Procedure for heating beer to sterilise it
Pasteurisation Unit
A measure of the degree of pasteurisation (1 PU is the energy given by
holding beer at 600C for 1 minute)
An anaerobic of bacteria infecting beer
A type of filter aid made from volcanic dust
A measure of the acidity/alkalinity of a liquid (measures -log10 H+ ions)
A style of beer (lager) originally from Pilsen in the Czech Republic
A cask holding 4.5 gallons
The process of adding yeast to wort to start fermentation

Plate and Frame Filter

A vertical chamber used with filter aid to filter green beer
Plate Heat Exchanger
Counter current flow through a of plates for cooling or heating liquids flowing
Unit of measurement of specific gravity expressed in percent based on a
sucrose solution
Polish Filtration
Fine filtration of beer usually after a primary green beer filter.
Polyclar PVPP
A beer stabilising agent which adsorbs polyphenols in beer.
Procedure for coating a filter with filter aid
Sugar added to fermented beer to fuel a secondary fermentation or sweeten
the beer.
Complex organic compounds made of nitrogen, carbon and hydrogen
important in malt quality and break down to provide compounds for beer foam,
haze pre-coursers and yeast nutrition.
The process of protein breakdown during mashing
Pure Culture
A procedure for producing high quality pitching yeast
The process of filling casks/kegs with beer
Recovered Beer
Beer recovered from yeast after fermentation
The process of cooling beer down to lower temperature (usually below 00C)
The process of oxygen use by living matter

Roast Barley
An adjunct used in some dark beers and stouts to produce a very dark black
colour and roast bitter taste.
Rough or Primary Filtration
Used to remove most of the particles all yeast, most bacteria and settled
haze top produce beer from green beer.
The process during mashing when starch is broken down into simple sugars
principally through the activity of beta amylase enzyme
An instrument for measuring specific gravity (see hydrometer)
Saccharomyces Cerevisiae
Yeast used in ale fermentation
Saccharomyces Uvarum
Yeast used in lager fermentation (sometime Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis)
Secondary Fermentation
A fermentation which occurs after the principle fermentation is complete
usually at a lower temperature to improve flavour or increase carbonation.
Shelf Life
The time during which a beer retains its marketable quality in terms of flavour
and haze stability.
A bung that fits into the top of a cask
Silica Hydrogel
A material for stabilising beer it adsorbs protein
Removal of top cropping yeast after fermentation particularly for ale brewing
where the yeast is harvested from the top of the vessel.
Water used to wash out extract from the mash after strong wort run off during
mash separation.
The tube in a keg used for filling and emptying the keg
Specific Gravity
A measure of the relative density of a liquid

Spent Grain
The brewery co-product which remains after all the wort is extracted and is
used for cattle feed.
Spray Ball
Equipment fitted to a tank for spraying water and detergent during cleaning
The process of processing beer to retain quality
The process whereby beer loses its fresh flavour usually due to oxidation
The carbohydrate food source of plants
Starch Granules
Starch is held as granules in the barley endosperm
First step during malting which involves adding water to grain to start
Material for killing micro-organisms
Sterile Filtration
Fine filtration designed to remove micro-organisms
A simple sugar broken down by yeast outside the cell and used to fuel
A salt dissolved in water often added to bitter beers as permanent hardness
Sunstruck Flavour
The skunky flavour created when hopped beer is subjected to sunlight or UV
A substance in barley or other plants which affects beer stability (also called
Top Fermentation
A fermentation where the yeast floats to the surface on completion of

Solids protein and hop debris created when wort is boiled and separated in a
whirlpool or hop back.
Tunnel Pasteuriser
A chamber where hot water is sprayed on packaged small pack beers (bottles
& cans) to heat them to kill any micro-organisms by pasteurisation.
A term for the cloudiness of beer
Vertical Leaf Filter
A type of beer filter
A measure of the number of live yeast cells usually done by staining
Substances essential for healthy yeast growth
Water Softening
A process for removing water hardness for boiler feed, CIP, and bottle
washer. Brewing water may be softened to remove temporary hardness or
have more extensive treatment.
Equipment for clarifying hot wort which is not bittered with whole hops after
A smallpack insert for creating foam usually nitrogen gas
Wild Yeast
A yeast strain different from that approved for pitching the beer. Many wild
yeast strains affect flavour and beer stability.
Extract of malt produced in the brewhouse before fermentation
A single celled fungus - micro-organism used to ferment wort
Yeast Count
A measure of the number of yeast cells in a sample


Palate matching
A brewers answer to provenance?
Provenance is a word that has
been used by beer aficionados
when breweries are closed or
famous brands moved. Palate
matching has been successfully
achieved by some, some have
failed. Paul Buttrick shares
some thoughts and considerable
experience on this topical
By Paul Buttrick
Beer Dimensions

n the past few years many brands Draught

Bass, Youngs, Old Specked Hen, Gales,
Boddingtons and most recently Courage have
been moved from their original brewery to
other sites. Some have moved more than
once. The word provenance has been used
to justify or not whether a beer can move
home without changing its taste and
character. What were the provenance issues,
say in the case of Draught Bass, when this
beer was moved from the large, modern,
mostly lager-brewing Coors plant in Burton,
down the road to the smaller and more
traditional Marstons brewery? It is not only
ales where the debate is taking place,
premium lagers such as Stella Artois,
Kronenbourg, and A-Bs Budweiser have all
come under the spotlight for brewing beer
away from the home brewery.
With constant change and consolidation in
the industry, there is a need to manage such
brand transfers effectively. It is not just major
brewers who are closing breweries or moving
location, small and medium sized companies
are also setting themselves up for the future
whilst at the same time improving quality and
In order to make the change, a handful of
people, brewers and possibly sales and
marketing get together and agree a plan. A
number of trial brews are carried out and the
group reconvene to taste the test (trial),
against the key (reference) beer. The
expectation from the trade is that the beers
will taste exactly the same, because brewers
have told them that they can achieve a match.
The brewers think they can match the beers,
but sometimes its not always as straight
forward as first thought.
A consensus is reached and the beer goes
into the trade, where the its not the same as it
used to be brigade will make their voices
heard in all the wrong places such as the
Chairmans ear when hes going round his

What can realistically be expected?

Start Early

In my experience, there are ways to manage

changes in production location or plant, which
take much of the stress and emotion out of the
process. The first is for brewers to manage the
expectations of their sales and marketing
colleagues, the second is to have objective
criteria, where both parties can agree that the
matching process has been successfully
Whatever reason a beer company is moving
a brand, a similar strategy should apply. In
each case, customers will worry that their
beer might change it is strange, but why is
change so often perceived as negative?
Companies do not intentionally move brands
to make poorer beer, on the contrary, the
reason for many investments is an
improvement in quality.
Brewers have a dilemma; matching beers is
a skilled job, people want to know it can be
done successfully in a reasonable timescale,
but it is not an exact science. I suppose
brewers would like people to see it as a
triumph of the brewers art, but for themselves
they would prefer a process with minimal risk!

I would advise the process to start early, this

can be difficult in sensitive brand moves
perhaps involving a brewery closure, but its
no fun being up against a tight timetable which
cannot change, when the beers are not
matched properly.
The perceived easiest way to move a brand,
is to brew it in exactly the same way as the
original. This means the plant, raw materials
and processes used are identical. Malt and
hops are quite easy to manage, but what
about the yeast? The discussion about using
the original yeast or a different one already in
use at the new brewery is always a lively one.
Having had this discussion a few times, I come
to the conclusion that there is no right answer.
What must be taken into consideration is the
flavour produced by the yeast in the original
beer and the flavour produced by an
alternative yeast in the new brewery. An exact
match can only be achieved if the original
yeast strain is used, but a very good
commercial match is often attainable using a
different strain.
From a process control, continuity and
capital investment perspective using a yeast
already in use in the new brewery will normally
be preferred. In some cases this is a more
sensible option than trying to introduce a new
strain and process into a new environment. My
advice would be if time permits, do a couple
of trial brews early on and make an educated
decision on whether using a different yeast is
likely to produce a good match. If time is tight,
there is really no other option but to use the
original yeast strain unless a commercial
match is acceptable. In the matching
processes I have been involved with, all the
major brand moves have involved retaining the
original yeast strain. Even then, considerable
skill and invention was required to get the
required result, especially when beer was
moved from conical fermenters to squares and
vice versa.
It is not just taste that consumers will notice,
I have successfully matched beers for flavour,
but have run into trouble because the head of
the beer was not as it was this can be a
particular problem north of Watford Gap!
How do we go about setting and agreeing
criteria for a palate matching exercise? An aim
must be for any criteria to be objective and
give an unequivocal result. This means that the
brewery must have objective tasting schemes
in place, or should consider introducing them.
Depending on resources, there are a number
of techniques available to large and smaller
companies. Larger companies can afford
more sophisticated and statistically accurate
techniques, but smaller companies can have
quite simple systems that give very objective
results, that are far more beneficial than what I

How close a match is required?

I have been involved in many matching
processes, some sadly involving brewery
closures, but others driven by expansion,
logistics and marketing requirements. The first
question for any brewer to ask sales and
marketing is what they expect from a brand
transfer. There are only really two answers, an
exact match or what I call a commercial
match. An exact or perfect match means the
beer will be identical to the original in every
way. This type of match is usually required
when a high profile brand is moved to another
A commercial match may be agreed for
smaller brands of lower volume, where the
beer should have a similar taste and character
as the original, but need not be identical. It can
be quite difficult to get brand owners to accept
anything but an exact match but there has to
be some realisation that striving for perfection
can take a lot of time and resources. In some
cases where a commercial match has been
agreed, the new beer has been preferred to
the original, and I think this is a good way for
brand owners to feel comfortable with
agreeing what they may see as a reduced
status for their beer.
Matching cask beers can be more difficult
because of the changing flavour of cask beers
during their shelf life. An exact match can
therefore be difficult to achieve, and the term
fully matched has been offered as a better
description. The basic character of a cask
beer at various ages should be similar, so a
good match should be possible.

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 3 March 2007



call ad hoc individual judgements.

The sophisticated panel

Many years ago, brewers agreed on a
common terminology for beer flavour terms.
There are 122 of these which have been
formed into what is known as the beer flavour
wheel. These flavour terms have been cleverly
formed into a wheel with simple descriptors as
well as more detailed descriptions, which can
be used for flavour recognition and training.
The flavour wheel adorns the walls and
tasting tables of many breweries.
Many brewing companies have
sophisticated well-trained tasting panels
based on the flavour-wheel characters. Beers
are tasted sometimes against as many as 2030 flavours and an intensity score is given to
each flavour. Scores can range from 0 (absent)
to 10 (extreme) with full scales ranging from
05 to 010 depending on the brewery. The
results are plotted on a graph, with the
average scores of the original beer plotted as a
comparison (Fig 1). Statistical analysis of the
results can indicate where key differences are
and if a beer is true to profile This is the most
objective method for analysing beer flavour,
and goes into a lot of detail, but it does rely

Fig 1: A global lager showing one brand at three breweries in different countries.
heavily on expert tasters and is often carried
out away from where the action is. Only
breweries with ample sophisticated resources
can use these techniques.

The use of experts

There are organisations and companies that
specifically help companies set up training
systems and train staff. FlavorActiV is
probably the best known, and after ten years is

a world leading supplier of tasting systems to

over 800 breweries in more than 160 countries
worldwide. Originally only the larger
companies were involved, but more smaller
companies are now taking a more professional
approach to maintaining the flavour of their
beer. FlavorActiVs philosophy is based on
training people from all areas of a beer
company to recognise beer flavours both
good, not so good, and flavours that should

Fig 2: A typical brand profile produced by FlavorActiV. A narrative describes the main brand attributes, it shows the beer descriptors that are
present, those which should be absent. A 12-parameter spider diagram is supported by an originsplot which details the contributions from grain,
yeast and hops. Each origin is split further into specific flavour characteristics altogether giving a very comprehensive finger print for the brand.


The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 3 March 2007

Lovely Ale Profiles
















Body / Fullness
Burnt /Roast


Flavour intensity scores


no taste
very slight
very strong

Fig 3 above: The key brand attributes for the Lovely ale range in tabular and spider diagram formats.
Fig 4 below right: A completed trueness to type form for Lovely Bitter in cask showing there is a way to go before matching is complete.
not be in a beer. The company also supply
flavour spikes in the form of capsules which
are specifically made to be used in taste
training and brand comparisons. There are
currently about 40 flavours available, which
are constantly being added to.
BRi is another organisation which is often
used by companies for flavour analysis and
training. These services, sit alongside its other
activities which include brewing research,
information services, and consultancy
services to member companies and other

Is there a difference?
Triangular taste test
This is the classic method to assess whether
tasters can tell the difference between two
beers. A number of tasters are asked to pick
out a different beer from three glasses, two
contain the same beer, and the third a different
one. Statistical analysis is used to say whether
there is a difference between the two beers.
Brewers use a 1*, 2* and 3* difference which
relates to a 5%, 1% and 0.1% probability of
the result being due to random variation. For
this test 7 or 8 tasters may be used, but
greater than 15 is ideal.
The test can also go on to ascertain why the
beers are different and which is preferred.
However, as only a small sip is taken, results
must be guarded and only used in conjunction
with tests involving larger volumes. These
tests do not require any special training and
can be undertaken by people other than the
breweries trained tasters.
Trueness to Type
In this test, beer is tasted against an agreed
brand profile. Each brand has a basic
description and a list of flavour characteristics
with a known intensity. There can be a list of
flavours but from experience, it is easier to
introduce if there are only about ten of the
more easily recognised flavours. The process


Cask Lovely Special Bitter

Tasted by

A Taster


On freshly poured beer, assess and add totals for clarity,head/foam and lacing/cling



Lovely Brewery

9 gal cask

Clarity, head,cling =












Very good = 7- 9
Good = 5 - 6
Fair = 4

Unacceptable = <4

A - Standard Flavours
Please taste the beer & score the following flavours. Put a mark in the appropriate column.
If you thing the beer is a little too bitter, mark the 1 - A little too much column
If you think the beer is just right for bitterness, mark the 0 - just right column

Less Intense


More intense










A little


A little



too little

too little

too little


too much

too much

too much

Body / Fullness
Burnt /Roast







B - Off and non-standard flavours
OFF/other flavours you have noticed that you think changes the overall beer flavour - these are to be deducted from the score
These flavours are normally something extra to the flavour of the beer and must score 1 to 5 according to intensity

Slightly sulphury nose

TOTAL B - Off flavours & non-standard flavours














A score of 80% is considered as True to Type,a score of > 85% is considered a very good example of this brand

The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 3 March 2007



A score of 6 and over is acceptable,
A score of 5 is borderline
A score of < 5 is not acceptable

Description - how much do I like this beer ?

The best beer

The best beer Ive ever tasted
An excellent beer
An excellent beer
A very good beer
A very good beer
A good beer
A good beer - typical of the style
Satisfactory beer
Some minor defects
A few noticeable defects
A poor example of this beer - but style is recognisable
Not good - some "off" flavours
Some significant "off" flavours - style just recognisable
Very poor
Very poor - style not recognisable
Very poor/undrinkable
Fig 5: Scoring guidance for a simple numerical beer assessment.
involves comparing a beer with the standard
profile and saying whether it has more or less
of each attribute.
Although a brewing scientist may
disagree, it is also possible to include other
characteristics of the beer like condition for a
cask beer, or maybe smoothness for a
nitrogenated ale. Since trueness to type
tasting is set against a brand profile, results
can be handled to produce a spider diagram
where key differences are easily identified (Fig
3). A simple calculation can also be used to
give a Trueness to Type score, often quoted as
a percentage. The test can also include
appearance (colour, clarity and foam) and
aroma. Many people would separate aroma
from taste, but they are very much linked
especially when tastes such as hoppiness and
sulphury are present (Fig 4) If there are any
undesirable or off flavours, these can be
noted and will count against a beer and reduce
the overall Trueness to Type score.
Overall Opinion
Another useful assessment is an overall
opinion, normally set on a 110 scale where 1

is a very poor beer, 10 is superb. Scores and

descriptions vary but a beer with a score of 7
could be considered a good beer. If the beers
are tasted by a team of regular tasters, it is
surprising how consistent they become in
assessing their beers (Fig 5). In my opinion
tasters dont have to be brewers, but I think
they do have to have a good palate and enjoy
tasting beer. Again, brewing scientists may
disagree, and say that tasters do not
necessarily have to enjoy the product. I think
we ought to have more passion about beer
we are not tasting dog food!
Preference Testing the two glass test
Sometimes there is a requirement to see if one
beer is preferred to another. Two glasses of
beer are tasted alongside each other, and the
taster says which beer they like most and then
goes on to say which characteristics are
preferred. Statistical analysis can be carried
out, but just collating results can be very
informative. In this test it is preferable to have
larger volumes (say half a pint) to sample. Sip
tests such as triangular taste tests are fine for
testing to see if there is a difference between

the beers, but sweeter beers are often

Drinkability Testing
This should be the most definitive test, after
all, the aim of a brewing company is to be
profitable by selling beers that people are
willing to pay for. A perfectly-brewed beer is no
good if it does not have drinkability that is
moreishness or balance. I firmly believe that
balance is a characteristic of most successful
beers. Bitterness and fruity hoppiness,
balanced off against maltiness and subtle
sweetness is a characteristic of many of
Britains finest ales. Similarly character and
balance is also is evident in many of the
worlds best appreciated lagers.
Drinkability testing in its true sense can be
an interesting exercise. In one test nearly ten
years ago now, I was involved in some
hopping changes in Boddingtons Bitter. The
test involved 300 regular Boddingtons drinkers
having: a triangular test, a two glass
preference test and a four pint drinkability test
which involved the participants giving their
opinions after each pint to a lady armed with a
clipboard. Half the participants tasted the
original beer, the others the trial beer. They
were asked how they rated each beer against
the previous one they had tasted. Participants
were sent home in a taxi and as the incumbent
Head Brewer I was obliged to attend over all
three nights of the test life can be very hard
cant it? The same young lady rang
participants the following morning to check for
any ill effects and the answers were collated
and a graph showed that the drinkability of the
new hopping regime was equal to the previous
one (Fig 6)

The value of Market Hall tests

Fig 6: The results from a drinkability test where one beer was initially preferred but after one than
one glass that preference changed.


The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 3 March 2007

In an ideal world, consumer or market hall

testing would be carried out whenever a
significant brand change is made. They are
normally carried out by the larger companies,
where the outlay for the test (10 30,000 is
not unusual) can be justified by the value of

Palate Matching Tracking


Trial No.


Overall score
Triangular Taste

Nil significant difference
7 or >7
Trueness to



Brew Date




Brewery A



Harsh, thin, bitterness high

Reduce hopping by 15%



Brewery A



Harsh and thin

Bitterness now in spec, fermentation slow



Brewery A




Slow fermentation, increase O2 to 13 ppm



Brewery A



Lacking estery/fruity, sulphury

End fermentation slow



Brewery A




Reduced mash temp & increased skim gravity



Brewery A

Not done

Rough beer

No off/yeasty off flavours

Fermentation and other parameters all in spec



Brewery A



Slightly up on sulphury, harsh

Reduce gypsum from15kg to 5kg next brew




Brewery A
Brewery A

Nil Sig
Nil Sig




Good result - no changes

Good result - no changes


Taste comments

Process change

Fig 7: A completed tracking chart for matching. The colour coding shows the progress towards an exact match.
the brand. There are very good companies
experienced in the drinks industry which do a
very professional job like MMR Research. The
format of the tests is agreed between the test
company and usually the marketing
The test usually involves a carefully selected
pool of tasters which fit the demographics of
the brand and the location and conditions are
set up to be ideal for the brand. The
environment for the testing is also very
important, I remember a market test for a well
known lager during a very cold winter being
carried out in an ambient temperature which
was below that of the beer being served! The
reports from the tests include detailed
statistical analysis, with an interpretation on
their significance and recommendations.
There are some things to be wary about
consumer testing it is beneficial to have
experienced beer people as well as
marketeers involved in the tests in order to get
the best interpretation and follow up action. If
consumers are to be asked for a preference, it
is important that the test is more than just a sip
test, where sweeter blander beers tend to be
preferred. Preference tests should include at
least half a litre of beer. Four pints as in the
Boddingtons case above is not mandatory!
Because the cost of these tests is so high,
there can be a tendency to overcomplicate
them and make results more difficult to
interpret. Tests which involve many beers for
preference testing need to be very carefully
setup and results treated carefully; too often
these tests involve just sipping a number of
beers, and the results can be misleading. In
setting the test criteria, it is important to state

the primary aim of the test is it a can you tell

the difference test? or which beer do you
prefer test?
There are other less formal approaches.
Without preliminary sip tests, it is possible to
mark two dispense heads 'A' and 'B' and allow
drinkers to sample whichever taps they like. At
the end of the evening it is a simple matter of
checking which beer container had the most
taken out of it to see which beer was preferred.
When one cask beer moved breweries, the
company gave a cask to 'friendly' landlords to
sell blind. They noted consumer reactions.
Then a second cask of the trial beer was put
on sale but the licensee was told to say it was
a test brew and again note the reactions. This
method helps involves the trade and seeks
comment from those who sell the beer.

Managing the brewing trials

The trial brewing and tasting programme has
to be systematically managed and
documented. Appointing one person to
coordinate within a small team is important, as
well as having the success criteria agreed and
set. Details of the trials and changes to the
recipe should be collated alongside the taste
results (Fig 7). An example of a success criteria
for an exact match could be >85% scored on
a Trueness to Type test, and No significant
difference on a triangular taste test. In order to
prove consistency, it is recommended to
achieve three consecutive positive results. For
a commercial match, a Trueness to Type of
>80% and a 1* (95%) significant difference
might be acceptable. A simple table showing
progress towards the matching criteria gives
confidence about how well the programme is

going against the set criteria and timescale.

Once the agreed success criteria have been
achieved, the matching process has been
completed and the brand transfer can be take
place as required.

Managing the transfer and

Palate matching is only the first part of the
process. Ideally the transfer of the brand
should take place over a number of weeks
involving a blending programme with 2533%
of trial beer being sent to trade, with this rising
to 5066% over the next few weeks until 100%
new beer is in full production. A close eye
should be kept on how the new beer is
performing in a number of key accounts, and
Trueness to Type taste tests must continue to
confirm that the new beer is consistent. Also
to be considered is continuity and
sustainability. Ive known breweries which
have succeeded in achieving an exact match
during trials, but have had considerable
problems managing the yeast and maintaining
the palate afterwards. Also remember that as
the transfer of product from one brewery to the
next takes place, the availability of the original
beer reduces significantly. Eventually there will
be no beer with which to compare the new
beer, therefore, a trueness to type assessment
backed up by a good memory is the best and
only objective way of checking continuity.

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The BREWER & DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 3 March 2007