Hops and Bots, Let’s have a drink

Hops and Bots, Let’s have a drink.

As we prepare to wind down after a long work week, who doesn’t like to enjoy nice cold “brewski”, preferably a craft beer, or two? One of my favorite things to do over the weekend is attending Beer tastings that are set up by my fiancé and her sister using Groupon. With Groupon we get to experience the many amazing breweries the Chicagoland area has to offer. As we take a tour down to Lagunita’s Brewery, which make some of my favorite beers (I highly recommend their “Brown Shugga” brew, by far one of my favorite beers on their menu), I notice how much Automation is involved. From Receiving the Malt product, which consists of automated weighing and milling, to mixing and batching of ingredients for a specific brew. Automation is also used to help develop a consistent brewing process and record all recipes, making it easier to experiment with new recipes in the future.

Automation solutions help the brewing process by monitoring and controlling every step of the brewing process. But what is the brewing process? The brewing process consists of Malt grains placed in a tank of water and heated, similar to a pasteurization process, to extract the starch. The grains are then strained out and the liquid is boiled, which converts the starch to sugar, increasing the sugar content of the liquid. Then, comes the cooling process, where the liquid is quickly cooled and pumped into a fermentation tank. The fermentation tanks require monitored consistent cooling. This is due to the heat being produced by the metabolic process of converting sugar to alcohol (yeast turns sugar into alcohol and wort into beer). This process is the most enduring one because of the time it takes for the specific beer. For example, a Pilsner beer would take four days to ferment but a Lager would take about two weeks. A second fermentation may also take place and consist of adding flavors to the beer such as coffee, chocolate and fruit extracts.

Rockwell Automation is offering craft brewing solutions for brewers and OEMs that would combine world-class technology and services with proven results for greater productivity, quality, reliability and consistency. They offer HMI and remote access options that prompt the operator throughout all automated sequences and manual interactions, Fermentation Temperature Controls that can help drive batch quality and consistency, and Automated Temperature Control of fermentation cellars to optimize cooling efficiency. Siemens also offers their BRAUMAT process control systems that are state-of-the art process systems that deliver full modern industrial performance and maximum flexibility.

Many new technologies are being implemented in the brewing process to produce the finest and most consistent brews in the craft beer market. I don’t know about you, but all this talk about beer making has me parched and ready for a cold one right about now. As for my preferences, I’m an IPA kind of guy and would like to share some beers of my liking such as; Ballast Point-“Sculpin IPA”, Pipeworks- “Ninja vs. Unicorn”, Lagunitas- “Alittle Sumpin Sumpin”, Founders “All day IPA” and Goose Island- IPA. Don’t be shy and share some of your favorite beers.