Not many Americans like warm beer — except, of course, process cooling engineers who work for breweries. They know that maintaining elevated temperatures within a metal tank in the brewhouse is critical throughout much of the fermentation process. Only at the proper time is coolant — often a mix of glycol and water — circulated by a programmable controller that opens and closes valves, directing flow through a tank jacket. The resulting temperature drop stops fermentation and readies the brew for the next step.
As cooling processes go, it is not particularly complicated. However, sometimes trouble can arise. This article will explore how selecting valves for an expansion project at a regional craft brewery raised issues that may interest engineers working in other process cooling applications.