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Master Brewers Association of the Americas > BREWING RESOURCES > Ask the Brewmaster > Posts > Warming Calculations
November 26
Warming Calculations

Q: I'm looking at initiating a can conditioning program. We are planning on filling the beer cold (~32–34°F). I will need to warm it up from the filling temperature to 65–70°F in order to initiate conditioning fermentation in the can. I need to calculate how long it will take to warm it through a "warming tunnel" given the ΔT and the temperature of the water used to warm it (~125°F). The can volume is 16 oz., so how much residence time will be needed to get the beer into the desired temperature range?

Also, if we wanted to build a warming table—i.e., an accumulation table that could hold an inventory of cans that slowly move under a hot water shower—how do I calculate how big to make it if I am running at 45 cpm and need a residence time of X (from the calculation above) to warm the beer properly?

A: Why don't you consider putting in a beer warmer so beer is instantaneously warmed to 64–68°F? I recall one particular brewery that looked at a "warming tunnel" but didn't like how high the temperature of the water needed to be (125°F) or how difficult it was to control the beer temperature. It seemed that to get the interior core of the beer up to 65–70°F, the beer next to the can wall would get close to the temperature of the water, possibly harming or autolyzing the yeast. Their current beer warmer is programmed so that if the water temperature goes above 77°F, the beer flow stops and the unit goes into recirculation to avoid "cooking" the beer.

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