Brewery Glycol System

Our glycol chiller arrived at the brewery – it is a large and important piece of our brewery. The glycol chiller pumps cold propylene glycol through the cooling jackets on our 6 bbl fermenters. This controls the beer temperature throughout fermentation to ensure you, the reader, get a tasty beer.

The next step is to hook the chiller to our fermenters through a series of complicated piping. Needless to say, Chris was very excited that he had to draw some cool 3d piping models. It’s like Legos for adults he always says.

We ran the designs by the folks over at Pro Refrigeration who were extremely helpful. They also have an online glycol plumbing guide if you’re interested.

The last step in our design phase is to figure out what piping materials to use. There are several choices, each with some pros and cons:

  1. Copper: Really expensive and poor insulation. Shiny and pretty.
  2. PVC: Very cheap but not rated for low glycol temps temps… although tons of breweries use it with no problem
  3. ABS: Similar to PVC but a little more expensive. It’s rated for very low temps and is more durable than PVC.
  4. Cool Fit Plus ABS: Basically the most awesome (and most expensive) piping option. This is a three layer pipe with ABS, pipe insulation & then more ABS pipe. If Cool Fit Plus ABS piping was a car, it would be a Rolls Royce.

We’re leaning toward getting the ABS. Regardless of what piping we get, we’ll insulate it.

Here’s how our brewery glycol system is designed to work:
Glycol is pumped from the chiller down the long line along the wall through the pressure control valve (shown next to the gauges) and back to the chiller to complete the loop. When a temperature controller calls for fermenter cooling, a solenoid valve on the fermenter opens, allowing chilled glycol to enter the bottom tank jacket and make its way to the top jacket, then back to the return line. The system is set up in a way that the first fermenter on the supply line is the last to be connected to the return line.

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One Response to “Brewery Glycol System”

  1. […] system design approved, we went to work installing the glycol pipes. You may remember, back when we designed the glycol system there was some discussion on what pipe to use. We decided […]

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