Introduction to heating equipment in the beer brewing industry
The beer brewing process is complex and requires fine attention to detail to have great-tasting beer come out as a result, and the same is true of the equipment. If you want your brew to come out well, you need optimal industrial heating equipment.
There are various immersion heaters used in the beer brewing industry. The most common types of immersion heaters Wattco supplies to the brewing industry include:
- Screw plug heaters
- Flanged heaters
- Circulation heaters
Wattco also supplies highly-responsive, precise control panels available for heating equipment. Wattco control panels and other equipment and parts are compatible with third party products and make great replacement components.
Heaters for Microbreweries
Screw plug heaters are the most popular product we sell to the brewing industry because these components are so critical to the process. Screw plug heaters are most commonly purchased by microbreweries and installed in drums that are used in the fermentation process.
Most commonly, Wattco gets requests to consult on the following applications and equipment:
- Heated mash turn
- Hot water heater
- Heating elements
- Immersion heaters
- Temperature control panels
Heaters for Larger Commercial Breweries
Companies which run larger brewing operations more commonly use flange heaters and circulation heaters because of the larger volume of product they are producing.
What role does heating equipment play in the brewing industry?
Heating equipment is among the most important to the industrial brewing process. During the mashing stage, water and milled grain is heated up. While heated, the enzymes in the malt activate and break down the starch in the grain into sugars. If you can’t make a good mash, you can’t make a good brew.
What Kind of Heater to Choose for Making Craft Beer
The unequivocally best choice of heater to use in the craft beer manufacturing process is an industrial electric heater. One of the greatest advantages of using an electric heater is that an electric heater reaches the desired temperature faster than other heaters can. The electric heater provides direct heat transfer, meaning the heating element is in direct contact with the substances being heated.
A faster heat up time for the element makes for a faster, more efficient manufacturing process.
Another factor to consider when choosing a heater, perhaps the most important consideration is the safety of the heating equipment. Electric industrial heaters are among the safest industrial heaters available. With an electric heater, there’s no worrying about gas leaks or buildups which could lead to an explosion or other catastrophe.
Electrical heating isn’t just safer, but it’s more viable as well. Any place where craft beer could be manufactured most likely has access to electricity. However, it’s not so for alternate fuels like natural gas.
Finally, immersion heaters are such a popular choice in the brewing industry because of the ease of maintenance they provide. Wattco immersion heaters are built in a sterile environment using SAE 316 Stainless Steel, an alloy specially designed for applications which involve water.
This steel is especially designed for use in the food industry. The addition of molybdenum to this alloy prevents forms of corrosion to which other alloys are susceptible.
History of heating equipment in the brewing industry.
Before the industrial revolution in the 18th century the primary methods of heating mash for brewing beer were fires fueled by wood, charcoal, straw, or coke.
These fuels posed various challenges for brewmasters. Chief among them was consistency. A fire-heated oven doesn’t provide a consistent heat source, leading to inconsistent results for the final product.
Many early breweries weren’t properly ventilated, exposing workers to hazardous inhalants.
Remembering how electric immersion heaters differ from technologies of the past help put into perspective how truly extraordinary these heaters are.
Integrating Wattco equipment with equipment from other companies.
Wattco heating equipment, whether it’s a replacement component or an entire heater, is fully compatible with virtually any industrial process. You don’t have to worry about compatibility issues if you procure heating equipment with Wattco.
The Benefits of Having the Right Industrial Heating Equipment.
Having the right equipment is essential for brewing craft beer. Having quality, dependable equipment ensure the best possible products result from an efficient and cost-effective industrial process.
In short, having the right heating equipment optimizes the “hot” side of the brewing process. A high-quality heating element delivers the precise amount of energy required to produce mash with consistency and dependability.
The Cost of Having the Wrong Equipment
The repercussions which arise from not choosing proper heating equipment are numerous. The least of these problems is an inefficient production process. If a heater isn’t performing optimally, transferring heat well, or simply isn’t converting electrical energy to heat efficiently, it can have a significant impact on the viability of a production process.
Having the wrong heater could lead to inconsistent batches, or spoiled products.
Other more serious repercussions include safety risks, industrial accidents, harm to personnel, and damaged equipment.
If you’re unsure about the equipment you need, don’t hesitate to contact an expert to ensure you are procuring the right equipment for your operation.
Some brewmasters prefer to buy what’s known as a “turnkey” heating solutions. A turnkey heating system includes everything you need to get brewing, provided you have the rest of the infrastructure in place.
Wattco provides turnkey solutions to the brewing industry in the form of a skid-mounted circulation heater. A skid-mounted circulation heater is used in manufacturing operations which produce large amounts of beer. These turnkey solutions come equipped with an integrated control panel, a heater, and replacement components.
Speak with a Wattco representative to determine if a turnkey solution is right for your application.
How to Pick the Right Equipment.
If you don’t have an engineer involved in your brewing project, contact Wattco to make sure you are buying the right equipment for your needs. We’ve worked with multinational corporations in the food industry including Molson, Labatt, McCains, Maple Leaf, and Cavendish Farms.
The most common misconception we hear from clients is about the materials which can be used in the beer production process, whether in the “hot” stage or otherwise. It’s critical to use equipment made of food-grade alloy because otherwise the equipment will deteriorate and/or contaminate the product.
Procuring Heating Equipment for the Brewing Industry
Contact a Wattco representative to procure heating equipment for your beer-brewing operation. We’ll work with you to determine the optimal heater, element, and control for your needs.