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Posted: 30 March 2012
As everyone will be aware energy is expensive and the brewing process uses a lot of it – we spend time heating things up, cooling them down or moving them around. There are comparisons between energy usage in the home and in the brewery but with an obvious difference in scale.
You probably have a boiler for the hot water, we have a very similar system for heating water at various stages in the brewery, but slightly larger. As part of your central heating system there is a pump which allows the hot water to get round the radiator system, we will move the water, wort and beer round the brewery via a complex system of pipes and tanks using many pumps. At the most basic level a copper in the brew house is just like a kettle – it heats the wort to approximately 103 degrees centigrade (just above boiling), a household kettle will boil up to 3 litres, our coppers are boiling 25000 litres at a time.
Cooling is similar, you may want to chill a bottle of beer (or wine or milk) in your fridge, we chill the beer down at the end of the fermentation from 20 degrees to 4 degrees or even to minus 1 dependent on how we will be packaging it.
At home in order to reduce the ongoing cost of cooling your bottles of beer (wine or milk) you would invest in a new A rated fridge, we are just in the process of doing something similar.
The local population of Faversham may have noticed a number of large vehicles, including a crane as we took delivery of a lorry load of shiny new equipment. To the uninitiated (me included) it looked incredibly complicated with tubes and pipes sticking out everywhere. The engineers assure me that this new refrigeration plant will (once plumbed in and wired up – unfortunately this is slightly more complicated than just a 13 amp plug in a socket) speed up the cooling process whilst reducing our energy usage.
So as the sun shines and we are all anticipating a heat wave with everyone sitting back enjoying a beer while admiring the brown patch that used to be their lawn we will be testing our new plant to its capacity.
Stewart Tricker - Senior Brewer