Q&As about Brewery Fermentation Cellar design

Q: About the use of u-bend pipes for future expansion, are there pressure losses in these pipes that should be taken into consideration? 

A: There is a pressure loss in each bend, whether or not it is installed in the expansion loop. Alfa Laval uses special software to calculate both pressure losses and expansion loops. 


Q: How is valve matrix drip tray clean during months or years of use? 

A: Alfa Laval mixproof valves are spillage free. When the valve opens or closes, there is no product spillage during valve operation, and none through the leakage chamber either. Consequently, there is no product (yeast, beer, etc.) left in the drip tray during standard operation. If, for some reason, the valve leaks and product is found in the drip tray, it can be manually flushed after routine valve maintenance. Optional cleaning spray nozzles can be installed in the drip tray and activated on a timely basis. 


Q: What, in your opinion, would be the best transition from a cellar with pipe bend panels to a semi-automated cellar, considering the various steps that must be implemented? 

A: We would recommend starting with product routing to maintain manual Cleaning-in-Place (CIP) and manual gas routing. If the cellar is split into blocks, we recommend initially converting one block to semi-automated operation and then converting subsequent blocks until all blocks have been converted. 


Q: You mentioned that tanks undergo cold Cleaning-in-Place. Is this due to caustic or acid cleaning? If due to the presence of caustic, how do you vent the vessel before CIP? 

A: Tanks undergo cold Cleaning-in-Place for both caustic and acid cleaning. For venting the vessel, we use blowers at the bottom to evacuate CO2 from the tank and replace volume in the cylindrical conical tanks (CCT) with the sterile air. 


Q: Do you typically use check valves to protect pipelines from contamination, for instance those pipelines for deaerated water? 

A: No, we try to avoid using check valves in the brewery process installation, especially for transporting product, for hygienic reasons. We always design routes for deaerated water to ensure that they are fully cleanable with hot CIP and we focus on correct functional description in order to prevent product from going back into deaerated water lines. 


Q: When setting up a new fermentation cellar, how much excess space do you recommend for future expansion? 50% of the capacity or more? 

A: It depends on expansion needs and business growth plans. That said, we would recommend a minimum designing with a minimum excess space of 50 to 100% of the existing tank farm.