Better Beer Quality by Measuring Dissolved Oxygen

One of the workshops that caught my eye at next week’s Emerson Exchange meeting is Dave Anderson‘s Dissolved Oxygen Measurements Improve Beer Quality and Lower Operating Costs. Dave is from Emerson’s Rosemount Analytical division. This probably caught my eye because I’m a fan of quality beer.

Dave helps us novices with the basics like what dissolved oxygen actually is. It’s the concentration of Oxygen (O2) in liquid phase remaining after exposure of gaseous oxygen to an aqueous solution. The process of brewing is aerobic where the yeast requires oxygen to convert the sugars to ethanol in the fermentation process. The dissolved oxygen measurement is important since too much oxygen can create unwanted side effects, including excess Dimethyl sulfide. This compound negatively impacts the beer’s taste.

The Rosemount Analytical Dissolved Oxygen sensors are designed to handle high pressure surges and not be as sensitive to flow rates. Most oxygen sensor can handle a few clean-in-place (CIP) operations which clean and sterilize the process vessels and piping. This sensor was designed to handle more than twenty of these CIP cycles.

Dave mentions the key process areas where brewers should measure dissolved oxygen. These areas include: brewhouse wort kettle, fermentation/aging tank, de-aerator vessels in the packaging area, and the utilities. Also, it is important to develop best maintenance practices to maintain highly accurate measurements over time.

Better control of the dissolved oxygen levels throughout the brewing process has great impact on the quality of the beer produced. And that makes us global beer consumers happy indeed. I hope to see a few of you next week in Nashville!

Posted Tuesday, September 26th, 2006 under Analyzers.

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