Efficient Plant July 2018 - 24
feature | plant profile
Near right. Jason
Roeper opened the Rivertown Brewery when he
was 32 years old. Now,
less than a decade later,
the operation produces
about 28,000 barrels of
craft beer annually.
Far right. Every piece of
equipment that touches
beer in the Monroe,
OH, brewery is stainless
The Rivertown brewery
produces 28 different
flavor varieties of craft
beer that are distributed in 37 U.S. states.
See videos of
Brewery in action at
ployee to stand there and filter all day long."
Speed and functionality were also important. "We wanted to be sure we could
flow at a very specific rate, depending
on the type of beer, and get the
end results we wanted," Roeper
explained. "We also needed technology to support the fact that
we have employees who need
to multitask. The technology is
there so we just set it and let it
run. It's very hands off."
Clarifier separators are used
to separate solids from liquids,
thereby permitting highly efficient
"A propeller inside mixes the product, spinning 6,700 rpm, which is the
speed of some airplane propellers," Roeper
said. "As the beer flows in, [the propeller] basically
throws it against the sides of the bowl and you can see
the beer in the other sight gauge as separated liquid.
Hops, debris, and yeast are thrown out the side chamber and discharged."
The operator can check the clarity at any time to
make sure it is within specification. If it's hazy, the
system can re-route and send the liquid back through
until the end goal is achieved.
"It's important that this system allows us to deaerate the water," Roeper continued. "This is an
orbital sphere spinning at a very fast rate so anything
you pump into it has the potential to pick up oxygen.
We want to limit that as much as possible. We pump
CO2 gas into the de-aerater. We bring in ground water
and go through a filtration process, with the filter
injecting CO2 to counteract the oxygen. Depending
on the product, we can set the machine at different
rates and intervals. Each product has a specific set
up. It will detect ratings that vary from what has been
entered in the system. The system will automatically
Roeper explained that beer will naturally separate
on its own, but it's a very slow process. A high-capacity brewing operation needs technology that will speed
the process. "A separator does not sterilize beer, it just
removes the solids," he said. "The difference between
separation technology and filtering is that filtering
can take things out of beer, but it also strips flavor.
A separator takes out hop debris that is left in the
fermenter. With a separator you can choose what gets
through and what doesn't."
Roeper said that adding the centrifuge was a
big game changer with regard to improving plant
efficiency. "Without clarification, all beer would be
cloudy and full of yeast," he explained. "Some yeasts
don't taste good, and you have to get it out and find a
way to consistently get it out and hit those same levels
every time. Centrifuge technology for us was huge,
because it allowed us to separate and run all day and
speed up our production.