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Sustainable brewing and distilling - Water

Brewing - water


Boilerhouse operations


Confirm equipment uses water at its recommended consumption


The hot water or steam is more valuable than standard mains water


Pretreatment: if ion exchange column is employed control regeneration with conductivity probes


Condensate return to boiler’s hot well


It may be possible to use cooling water in the boilerhouse


Case study: Distillation technology to improve energy efficiency

Alpirsbacher Klosterbrau installed a rectifying column on the wort boiler. Rectifying columns are usually associated with the distilling process and increase the speed at which unwanted compounds are removed. The rectifying column is compatible with almost any boiler. Total energy savings were 80% in the boiling process and 25% across the brewery. Evaporation loss was also reduced to 2%, resulting in savings in water.


Sustainability in production. Brauwelt, March 2011. 151 (11), 351-352.



Case study: Carlsberg lean utilities

Carlsberg breweries in Western Europe have implemented a programme which minimises the energy of the equipment used. The programme, called "Lean Utilities", uses efficiency measures such as frequency at which machines are used during low-season and setting personal targets for utility consumption on the work floor. A 5% reduction in energy consumption has been achieved since 2009. The programme is expected to encourage more significant reductions in energy consumption as it is rolled out across the rest of Europe and best practice techniques are shared among the group.


Carlsberg Group, 2011. When green production and good business go hand in hand. Published online.



Case study: Pursuit Dynamics PDX wort boiler at Shepherd Neame

PDX Steam Injection system in Shepherd Neame brewery in UK. System directly injects steam into wort to provide an efficient boil. Due to no contact between the heating source and the wort there is no caramelisation. The boil is also more vigorous which uses hops more efficiently and requires less cleaning time. Savings of up to 57% energy consumption have been acheived, mostly due to a reduced boiling time of just 30 minutes.


Case Study provided by Shepherd Neame in August 2011



Case study: Solar heating at Hofmuehl Brewery

Hofmuehl Brewery installed solar water heating which consist of narrow pipes (8mm) through which water flows under high pressure (16bar) and reaches temperatures of 130 oC. Even in Winter it can produce sufficient hot water to perform all of the brewery’s process heating functions. The system is responsible for heating the brewhouse vessels, the bottle washer, the hot water process reserve tanks, the CIP system and the buildings.


Winkelmann, L. 2010. And besides, it is environmentally friendly. Brauwelt, 150(7), 185-186.



Case study: Hofbrauhaus Wolters install new boilerhouse. Copper evaporation optimised for ideal energy recovery.

The history of the brewing enterprise now known as Hofbrauhaus Wolters can be traced back to 1647, but in its present form it dates only from 2006, when it was refounded as an independent company following a management buyout from InBev Deutschland (which had acquired it in 2003). The recent refurbishment of its brewhouse is described. A GEA Brewery Systems "OTAS" process control system, covering all the brewhouse vessels and ancillary systems, has been installed. The wort copper has been retrofitted with a GEA "Jetstar" internal boiling heater, but also retains a heating jacket on its bottom, to enable it to boil smaller quantities of wort than the main heater can handle. This feature allows the brewery to produce speciality beers in styles for which demand is limited; these cannot be sold in the amounts required to make it economically viable to brew them in full sized batches, but can be quite profitable if produced efficiently in the low volumes for which a market is assured. Other items installed include a new wort vapour condenser, an insulated tank (to store the energy recovered by the condenser in the form of hot water) and a wort heater. This last is a heat exchanger that uses energy recovered from an earlier brew to preheat the wort of the current brew before boiling. In order to avoid generating more recoverable energy than can be used, the wort boiling process has been altered to reduce the evaporation rate (which before the refurbishment was about 10%). The optimum rate, from the viewpoint of energy efficiency, would be about 4.5%; by the time of writing, the average evaporation loss had been cut to about 5% without any detrimental effects on wort quality. The refurbishment cost about 400000 euros. At the time of installation, the reductions in both heat and electricity consumption achieved by the refurbishment were predicted to generate energy cost savings sufficient (at the prices then prevailing) to recover the whole sum invested within about 3 years.


Brauwelt, 8 July 2010, 150(27), 806-808



Case study: Research paper: Sustainable technology in the brewhouse.

Examples of innovations in brewhouse equipment, all developed in Germany and designed to improve the energy efficiency of wort production, are described. They are (1) the Krones Steinecker "Shakesbeer" vibrating mash stirrer, (2) the Rolec "ESS" brewhouse vapour energy recovery system and (3) the Kaspar Schulz "SchoKo" wort boiling and unwanted volatile constituent evaporation system and its small scale variant for microbreweries, the "SchoKolino" (also called the "GentleBoil" and "GentleCraftBoil" respectively when exported to English speaking countries). The first and last of these have already been extensively described in the literature, but the "ESS" is a more recent innovation. It consists of a vapour condenser combined with a heat storage tank, the water in which is heated to 95 degrees C by the energy recovered from the vapour of each brew. When the next brew is lautered, the hot water is circulated through a heat exchanger built into the pipe that connects the lauter tun to the wort copper, thus preheating the wort from its lautering temperature of about 74 degrees C to just under 93 degrees C, so that bringing it to the boil requires only about a quarter of the energy input that would be needed to heat it directly from lautering temperature to boiling point. Wort preheating lowers the temperature of the heat storage water to about 74 degrees C, from which it is again heated to 95 degrees C when the vapour from the boiling of the preheated wort is condensed. Unlike conventional vapour energy recovery systems, in which some of the heated water is used as mashing and sparging liquor but the volume of water required to take up the recovered heat is usually significantly greater than the brewhouse's liquor consumption (so that a quantity of surplus water is generally wasted, together with its recovered energy content), the "ESS" uses all the recovered energy without any loss of water.


Dornbusch, H., New Brewer, July/Aug. 2009, 26(4), 40-45