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59. Beer monitor basic: A new, economical method for in-line alcohol measurement in the brewery

D. L. Gore (1), J. P. NORTHROP (1); (1) Anton Paar GmbH, Graz, Austria


The classic method of measuring beer extract and alcohol using density and sound velocity has been around for more than 20 years and is the recognized standard in breweries around the world for its high accuracy and reliability. As the global beer industry changes, however, new requirements and alternatives present themselves. Many craft breweries have reached the point where process instrumentation is vital to ensure product quality, improve process automation, and reduce costs. A classic beer monitor, however, often remains out of reach or is simply not yet needed, and an “entry level” system is more attractive. Other breweries may only need to measure alcohol and do not need other parameters or the highest accuracy. A simple, compact, and easy-to-install alternative is needed. This presentation will describe a new, low-cost alternative for measuring beer alcohol using only sound velocity and a stored average brand density and demonstrate how well it compares to existing laboratory methods. Although density is not actually measured, alcohol and original extract are still accurately determined and an optional CO2 sensor can be added at any time but is not necessary. A six week comparison test of four different beer styles (filtered, unfiltered, and bottle conditioned) will further demonstrate the overall measurement stability, correlation to the lab reference, and influence of any batch-to-batch variations.

J. P. Northrop is a senior technical sales rep for Anton Paar’s Process Instrumentation Division. He is responsible for sales and assists the technical support of all U.S. brewery clients. He has authored and co-authored multiple scientific papers, posters, and presentations covering a wide range of topics. He has a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the College of William and Mary, a master's degree in chemistry from the University of Delaware as well as an MBA from Temple University. J. P. is a board member of the American Chemical Society and an active member of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.

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