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Australian technology lifts quality, flavour of small batch beer

May 14, 2015
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Spark Brew's 300L raked mash nano system

Spark Brew’s 10hL compact footprint brewhouse

In the first of three sponsored articles, Julian Sanders, founder of innovative Australian brewing system manufacturer Spark Brew Engineering, reviews some of the techniques currently being used to improve beer quality, extend the range of flavours and styles available and improve drinkability and shelf stability in the marketplace.

With more breweries, venues, beer styles and beer lovers than ever before, these are exciting times for our industry. And with recent developments in Australian brewing technology being made affordable across a wide range of brewery sizes, excellent equipment is now available at the right price points to support brewing businesses that put flavour first.

The craft beer marketplace is so crowded that consistent high quality is critical for brand reputation. Breweries that can be relied upon to consistently deliver an excellent experience deserve to see strong sales growth, so selecting equipment that allows this is critical for survival and success.

10hL compact footprint brewhouse

Spark Brew’s 300L raked mash nano system

The organic and metabolic reactions during each stage of brewing are controlled in terms of times and temperatures by transfer of heat in and out of the vessels. Recent R&D involving the control of these thermodynamic processes has led to a new range of modern Australian brewing systems that put a brewer’s hands right on the flavour levers, empowering them to create beers of distinction with consistent high quality.

This Engineering R&D focuses on the following aspects of brew science for craft brewing:

  • Step mashing programs – controllable wort saccharide profiles;
  • Adjustable kettle character – adjustable flavour and colour from maillard reactions;
  • Whirlpool hopping temperature – controllable cooling profile for retention and control of hop flavour;
  • Fermentation recirculation hopping – improve flavour, yield and utilisation;
  • Remote fermentation alerting and control via phone or PC; and
  • Automated brew log record keeping.

A quality brewery allows quality beer. Consider this golden hierarchy of features:

  • Clean by Design – steel quality, weld smoothness, surface finish and CIP systems should all allow effortless, meticulous sanitation;
  • Precise Process Control – digital control with automatic brew logging to make it easy to precisely repeat and improve beers;
  • Easy to Use – if a brewery is fun and comfortable to brew on, you can devote your energy and brain space to your beer, not working around awkward equipment; and
  • Reliable and safe – compliance with Australian electrical and pressure vessel standards, local support, local stock to allow fast cellar expansion, spare parts and warranty.
Control via phone and PC, digital precision and automated brew records

Control via phone and PC, digital precision and automated brew records

Australia’s high beer prices and craft sector growth rate make it possible to build a solidly profitable small brewing business. This is excellent news for our national drinking culture of mindful consumption of fresh beer by local people, with individual brewers being able to create and express their own style, while hosting interconnection within the community.

The next article in this series will analyse different brewing business models and consider the critical aspects of sales and marketing.

This post has been prepared and sponsored by Spark Brew Engineering. Consistency and quality in small batch brewing is only possible with the best tools available. In Spark Brew Engineering we’ve brought our experience in large brewery design to bear on small systems to empower Australian craft brewers.

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