M-36: Exploring energy efficiencies in scaling up to a larger brewhouse

M. WILSON (1); (1) Abita Brewing Co., Abita Springs, LA, U.S.A.

Sustainability II
Saturday, June 7 - 10:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
Level 3, Crystal Room

In 2002, Abita switched from a 30 bbl steam-jacketed brewhouse to a 100 bbl Merlin boiling system. In addition to the larger capacity, one of the main factors in choosing this system was energy efficiency. The Merlin system offered a 70% reduction in energy consumption. This focused on a smaller evaporation rate (4%) as well as a vapor condenser. The vapor condenser could only be used, however, during boiling, not during stripping on the way from the whirlpool to the heat exchanger. This limited the system’s energy recovery capabilities. In 2012 we realized our production growth would require a larger brewhouse. Energy efficiency again played a major factor. However, instead of only focusing on boiling technology to achieve our goal we looked at the complete brewhouse, from mashing through knockout. We have installed the Equitherm system for our mashing. This uses recovered hot water to heat the mash and offers a 30% reduction in energy. We have switched to a Stromboli boiling system, with which we will remain at a 4% evaporation rate with a vapor condenser. We have installed a complete energy recovery system to reclaim all condensed water to use in other operations in the brewhouse and boiler. The result will place our brewhouse among the most energy-efficient brewhouses in North America.

Mark W. Wilson is brewmaster at Abita Brewing Co., Abita Springs, LA. Mark was born and raised in New Orleans, LA, and earned a B.A. degree from the University of Alabama in 1993 and a diploma in brewing science from the World Brewing Academy in 2003. Mark began his brewing career at Abita in 1995 and was promoted to brewmaster/production manager in 2004. Abita Brewing Co. was founded in 1986. Abita produced 22 different beer styles and sold 158,000 bbl in 2013.


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