Pilot scale testing of novel ingredients
Developing new drinks products - be they carbonated or still soft drinks, beers, lagers, ciders or spirits - requires technical input from many sources. Trialling the new formulation or process in a way that replicates full production conditions as closely as possible is vital. Our pilot plant facilities allow you to do just that, with a range of equipment to suit varied needs. Here are three recent examples of how they have been use to explore novel ingredients:
Creation of a Scottish Rye whiskey
We worked with John Fergus & Co to help them produce a new whisky which met the legal definition of Scotch whisky and Rye whiskey in the US. For this project we made rye malt according to the client’s specification and then mixed it with distillers malt before brewing it using a mash filter to separate the wort. The fermented wash contained more than 51% rye. The resulting spirit is now maturing in their distillery.
Gluten-free rice beer
We used rice as an alternative to other traditional grains to make beer. Rice is a gluten-free ingredient and, as there is no legal definition of beer in the UK, rice could potentially be used to make a 100% rice beer. We performed several trials with rice from Italy, including malting and brewing, and built up our knowledge for the development of novel gluten-free food and beverages.
This research has been published on the Science Direct website
Speciality rice malts
We made specialty rice malts (such as crystal, dark and chocolate malt) and used them to develop an Irish red 100% rice beer with coffee, liquorice and caramel notes, an ABV of 3.8% and no gluten. This beer was showcased at Campden BRI Day 2018 and led to further projects with clients to develop new beers using rice.
Our pilot maltings and pilot brewery
Developing beers requires knowledge of how a product will react to scale-up. Our 50kg pilot maltings were built to bridge the enormous gap between conventional micro-malting systems and the ‘real world’ of full-scale production. Steeping and germination are carried out in malting drums, and the kilning takes place in dedicated units which accurately simulate modern deep bed kilning systems. The whole maltings are automated and can operate over a very wide range of temperatures and humidity. This enables us to mimic the many different conditions found in malting plants all over the world. As well as product development, it can also be used for research into process, health and safety issues, and training. We also have pilot roasting facilities.
Once the malt has been produced, it can then be used in our pilot brewery. The brewhouse comprises a mashing station, stirred mash conversion vessel and cereal cooker, wort separation by lauter or Meura mash filter, stirred kettle, and trub separation by whirlpool or hop back. Fermentation is in 100 litre cylindro-conical FVs, which can also be used as unitanks. Among the many special features installed in the brewery are carbon dioxide and nitrogen bulk gas tanks, a gas blender, a hydrophobic gas control rig to produce deaerated liquor and for carbonation/ nitrogenation of beer, and a flash pasteuriser.