A Guide to the Gas Hazards in Breweries

The brewing of beer is often considered an art by many. However, in reality this art is a science, and a very serious one at that. Today, the beer brewing industry has expanded and requires highly precise and exacting safety standards, much like the quality of its beverages.

Through its innovative and flexible approach, 3M Gas and Flame Detection is equipped to provide solutions that are tailor-made for the safety requirements of the brewing industry.

The brewing process involves the following steps:

  • Milling
  • Mashing
  • Lautering
  • Boiling

The Malting Process

As the name suggests, the malting process involves the washing of malt, which is then steeped, meaning soaked in water, in order to induce germination. After the germination has finished, the malt is then rinsed. Once this is done, the malt is dried in kilns and then separated.

Before the process of brewing commences, the malt is crushed. Following this, water is added to the mixture, which transforms the starch into malt sugar. Finally, the malting process ends with lautering, involving the separation of the draft. In the end, only liquid wort is left behind.

Preparing the Wort

The preparation of the wort begins with the collection of liquid wort. Once this is done, the liquid wort is boiled in the brewing kettle, followed by the addition of hops. Finally, the whirlpooling process involves separating the extract from the wort.

Fermenting Process

Fermenting begins by cooling the wort and then adding yeast. The fermentation process involves two distinct phases: main fermentation and maturing fermentation.

The latter takes place in two separate tanks, in order to allow the beer to rest and mature in the right manner. One of the by-products of the fermentation process is Carbon Dioxide (CO2), which, in high concentrations, can be hazardous, and even fatal.

Packaging and Distribution

To distribute beer, it can be filled into bottles, barrels, or cans. In some cases, beers go through an additional process known as filtration, prior to being packaged. In other instances, some beers are filled into the packaging in their natural, unfiltered state. However, the process of leaking of Ammonia when beer is refrigerated, can prove to be highly hazardous.

Sanitization

Confined spaces are some of the most hazardous spaces in breweries. Confined spaces can include anything from beer storage tanks, pumping stations, to bottling areas. In addition, they can also include the carbonation process, which has a high likelihood of carbon dioxide being present.

Typical brewery confined spaces include:

  • Bright tanks, fermenters, mash or lautering
  • Grain silos, sump pits, and others

Fermenting Process

  • Whirlpooling
  • Cooling
  • Fermenting
  • Maturing
  • Filtering
  • Packaging
  • Distribution

Common Gas Hazards in Breweries

Some of the most common gas hazards in breweries include: Carbon Dioxide, Ammonia, Nitrogen, lack of Oxygen, H2 in forklifts, warehouses, and CH4 present in boiler rooms

Dangers of CO2

5 000
ppm
(0.5%)
15 000
ppm
(1.5%)
30 000
ppm
(3%)
50 000
ppm
(5%)
75 000
ppm
(7.5%)
100 000
ppm
(10%)
300 000
ppm
(30%)
Long-term Exposure Limit (LTEL) Short-term Exposure Limit (STEL) Shortness of breath Heavy breathing
Sweating
Pulse quickens
Drowsiness
Headaches
Increased blood pressure
Vomiting
Unconsciousness
Coma
Convulsions
Death

 

Dangers of NH3

0-25 25 ppm 35 ppm 50- 100 ppm 100-500 ppm
Eyes, lung & skin irritation Long-term Exposure Limit (LTEL) Short-term Exposure Limit (STEL) Pulmonary Oedema
Temporary blindness
Irreversible blindness & lung damages

 

Key Products

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by 3M Gas & Flame Detection.

For more information on this source, please visit 3M Gas & Flame Detection.

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