Transfer hose “snake pits” are commonplace in craft brewing cellars. Swing panels and hoses are used widely to route product and cleaning solutions through brewery piping systems and has the advantage of lower investment costs. However, operational costs are considerably more than an automated system because it is very dependent on the operator. It is also much more difficult to clean and to eliminate O2 pick up in a swing bend system. Replacing hoses with valve manifolds can clean up cluttered cellars and improve safety, efficiency, shelf life of product and reduce overall operating expenses in the brewery.
For the growing craft brewer who is making constant brand changes, dragging hoses from tank to tank, ensuring consistent product quality is difficult. While there is no “magic’ number as to a size or time when a brewery should consider making the move to mix proof valves/manifolds this technology needs to be on every growing brewery’s radar.
The valve system connects the process pipes from tank outlet to the manifold and on to the destination. This means that product recovery is greatly increased and product losses and product contaminants are reduced considerably. The bottom of the tank and valve cluster is enclosed in the tank skirt which greatly reduces refrigeration costs. This saving in combination with lower maintenance cost reduces operating costs considerably. Product quality will be maximized by the elimination of open lines between the vessels which, when mix proof systems are not used, are left standing in an unclean state for considerable times and therefore are a potential cause of contamination.