Inside the Brewery, Pipes and Valves Go To Work

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August 18, 2014 by Prost Brewing

New, smaller, more efficient wort cooler

Each piece of brewing equipment, like the wort chiller, is connected by pipes that include important valves to regulate flow.

The factors that determine the quality of bier at Prost Brewing go far beyond ingredients and brewing methods. Our brauhaus itself, including kettles, fermentation vessels, our vast system of pipes, and more, is the foundation of what we do. We described in a recent blog post how fluid dynamics play a big role in understanding how things work in the brewery. Today we’re taking a closer look at the piping system, specifically at the types of valves commonly found in a brewery to regulate flow of fluids throughout the pipes.

The oldest type of valve is the simple cock valve, which is a plug with a hole that can be turned to restrict or stop flow. The recognizable cock valve sometimes has a handle that turns 90 degrees, from fully open to fully closed.

Another type is the diaphragm valve, in which a soft diaphragm is pushed against a bell-shaped feature using a mechanical screw. This allows gas or liquid flow to be controlled within the valve’s total variability, but the flow pressure tolerances are fairly tight.

The butterfly valve is the most common in breweries due to its compact design and wide pressure and flow tolerances. It consists of a metal disc which rotates within the body of the valve and closes against a rubber seal. Its flow-through design makes it easy to clean.

The fourth type is the manifold valve, which is common in large breweries where systems are hard-piped. This complex valve can be installed vertically and crossed with horizontal piping, and is common in release matrixes. While very useful, it tends to be very costly as well.

In a well-designed layout, all valves are placed close together for proper cleaning. Each piece of our brewery equipment, no matter how small or mundane it may seem, plays an important role in brewing excellent German-style bier. Prost!

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