Quite simply, a better beer

Brahma is South America’s leading brewing company, with around 20 breweries in Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina. Operations are modern and rational. With the help of Alfa Laval’s semi-welded TwinPlate heat exchangers, the matured beer is cooled directly with NH3 before filtration and bottling. Safe, effective and energy efficient.

DATE 2023-11-28

The brewery has been built almost entirely without exterior walls. The view of the surrounding tropical-green mountains gives a sensation of space probably unique in the world of brewing. Maybe that is another reason why such good beer is brewed here. 600 of Brahma’s 6,000 employees work in the plant, which was completed in 1995. The output is impressive – this one single brewery produces more beer than for example Italy’s entire brewery business.

One important part of the brewing process is cooling the matured beer. A rapid reduction of the temperature achieves the precipitation of proteins that could otherwise result in a cloudy final product. These proteins can then easily be filtered off before the beer is bottled.

“Brahma uses only the most modern brewing equipment,” says brewing master Luis Americo Jaco. “Instead of cooling the beer with glycol as at many other breweries, we have chosen to cool it directly with ammonia. With Alfa Laval’s TwinPlate, this method is safe, energy efficient and eliminates an expensive cooling stage.

“The beer is cooled down from storage temperature to -1°C. At such low temperatures there is a real risk of freezing. The freezing point is -3°C but even at -2°C the filtration is low enough to interfere with production. That’s why we have to be able to control the process with great precision. TwinPlate handles the task perfectly.

The construction of TwinPlate heat exchangers combine maximum safety with easy maintenance. Brahma has three TwinPlate units with a combined capacity of 3,000 hectoliters per hour. Despite the high flow, there is minimum need for maintenance. Cleaning in place (CIP) is done on average once a week, and during the two years that these units have been operating it has never been necessary to take them apart.

“TwinPlate has large capacity while yet being compact and requiring little space,“ says Luis Americo Jaco. “That is a great advantage when you are cooling with ammonia. And compared with other solutions, the plate heat exchanger also provides superior temperature control.”

And the result? “Quite simply, a better beer!” says Luis Americo Jaco with a smile.