Many people consider beer brewing an art, but most of them do not know that there is a serious scientific concept behind this art. In the modern brewing industry, the same rigorous standards of safety are demanded like those demanded for the quality of beverages.
The Brewing Process
The following processes are used in brewing:
The different processes involved during brewing and the gases evolved during each of them
1 - Malting
In this process, germination is induced by washing the malt and then soaking it in water (steeped). As soon as germination is over, the malt is cleaned, dried in kilns, and finally separated.
Before brewing, the malt is compressed, and water is added to convert starch into malt sugar. Next, the Lautering process is initiated, and the draff is separated, leaving behind the liquid wort.
2 - Preparing the Wort
After collecting the liquid wort, it is boiled in the brewing kettle and the hops are eventually introduced. The extract obtained, is isolated from the wort in the whirlpooling process.
3 - Fermenting
Yeast is then added to the fermentation process after the wort has cooled down. Two main phases are involved in this process: (i) main fermentation and (ii) maturing fermentation, which takes place in two individual tanks so that the beer is able to mature properly.
During the fermentation process, CO2 is formed as a bi-product, but high concentrations of this gas can be toxic and can even prove lethal. The fermenting process includes the following:
4 - Packaging and Distribution
Beers can be packed into cans, barrels, or bottles for distribution purposes, but there are certain beers that go through a filtration procedure before packaging, while other beers are filled in their natural and unfiltered condition.
However, it can be very dangerous if ammonia leaks during the refrigeration of the beer product.
Gas Hazards in Breweries
The following are common gas hazards encountered in breweries:
- Oxygen deficiency
- H2 in forklifts
- CH4 in boiler rooms
Carbon dioxide exposure can result in a wide range of problems from shortness of breath and sweating at low concentrations (30,000 ppm, 3% CO2) to drowsiness, vomiting and even death at higher levels (300,000 ppm, 30% CO2)
Ammonia is even more dangerous. Even at the lowest of levels (0-25 ppm NH3) workers are at risk of eye, skin and lung irritation. At only twice this level of exposure (50 ppm NH3) pulmonary oedema, where fluid fills the tissue of the lungs, can occur. At levels over 100 ppm there is a high risk of permanent damage to vision and the lungs.
Gas Detection Solutions for the Brewing Industry
Using a flexible and innovative approach, we offer specific solutions to meet the needs of breweries.
Confined spaces are regarded as one of the most dangerous places in breweries. This includes bottling areas, pumping stations, the carbonation process, and beer storage tanks where carbon dioxide (CO2) gas could exist.
In breweries, confined spaces are among the most hazardous places.
Other confined spaces in the brewery include:
- Bright tanks
- Sump pits
- Grain silos, etc
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.