Flows.com could not be happier to hear how our products are improving our customers’ businesses. With so many breweries and distilleries interested in making their processes easier and more efficient, we wanted to highlight how a flow meter is helping just one of our customers. Heather and Jeff from Flows.com had the opportunity to talk with Head Brewer Steve Chavez from Crossed Arrows Brewery in Gig Harbor, Washington about how he is using the Mag Meter in his brewing process.
Something that we understood clearly when talking with Steve is that accuracy and consistency are very important to him when it comes to brewing beer.
When searching for a flow meter he had specific criteria his meter needed to meet:
- Food Grade
- Withstand temperatures above 175°F
- Display flow rate
- Easy to read
- Easy to incorporate into their 1 BBL brewing system
The stainless-steel MAG Series Flow Meters sold by Flows.com met all those requirements. Flow rate, flow total, and temperature are displayed on the meter in large, bright LED digits. Depending on the size of the meter it can measure flow at rates from 0.005 - 160 gallons per minute. It can also be mounted horizontally or vertically and withstand temps up to 190°F. Along with the meter Steve also purchased the Easy Reset Button. The total of the MAG meter can be reset using buttons on the meter, however, it is a multi-step process. By adding this button Steve can simply press one button to reset his MAG meter total.
Crossed Arrows Brewery is using their MAG meter in a few different ways...
The First Application of the MAG Meter was Filling the Boil Kettle:
Before utilizing the Mag, Steve and his team would rely on sight when filling the Boil Kettle. There are gallon and liter markings on the inside of the kettle, however, you need to open the kettle to see them, thus loosing heat and decreasing efficiency. Additionally, you are trying to determine volume from an angle because you can’t get into the kettle and see exactly where the water line is. Not to mention can anyone really tell the difference between 20.5 gallons and 20.65 gallons using a line inside of a kettle? Because of this they had some efficiency issues and that’s when Steve started looking for a flow meter.
The Second Application is During Sparging:
The MAG meter allows users to easily track temperature and flow rate into the Boil Kettle. Steve adds a 2nd MAG meter to monitor the flow rate from the Hot Liquor Tank (HLT) through the HERMS coil and into the Mash Tun during the sparging process. This setup allows Steve to monitor 2 important aspects of the process.
1) Making sure sure to maintain a temperature of 168-170 degrees entering the boil kettle throughout the process.
2) Using the right amount of water over the right amount of time to perform the process.
When sparging he wants 19 gallons of this hot water to wash over their grain bed over the course of 45 minutes while maintaining a water level 1 to 2 inches above the bed. Being able to see the flow rates in and out and using a diaphragm valve to adjust the flow as necessary in order to make them match once the desired water level is reached. This means the process does not need to be as heavily babysat as was the case before installing the meters.
19 gallons over 45 minutes means that a flow rate of 4.22 gpm is needed. Once the flow rates are dialed in and matching, with the proper water level, the process doesn't need much attention at all. Steve can be sure that the water level will remain constant. Previously, periodic checking was needed to monitor the water level. This process also required opening the kettle and loosing a lot of heat - not to mention his time.
By using the MAG meters Steve has been able to increase their Brew House Efficiency to over 80%, which is great for the industry.
The Third Application is During Wort Transfer to the Fermenter:
Another place they are using the Mag meter is at the base of their fermenter. They use the mag to tell them how many gallons they put inside the fermenter as well as the temperature of the wort. If it is too hot, they can stress or even kill the yeast. By tracking the total volume of flow and the temperature they know exactly how much wort they have and can be sure that it is a safe temperature to pitch the yeast.
Because they are a nano brewery efficiency is very important. Not only that but Head Brewer Steve really wants to deliver a consistent product for his customers.
Far too often in small breweries, the recipes, amounts, times, and temperatures are inconsistent from batch to batch. This results in differences in the final product. By using the Mag meters to get precise volumes and temperatures, Steven can duplicate successful recipes every time and provide a consistent taste for his loyal customers.
This is how Steve sums up the benefits he’s experienced by adding the Mag meters:
*Thanks for your Service Steve!
Are you in the brewing, distilling, or wine making industry and interested in more information about the Mag meter or other flow meter solutions? Our team here at Flows.com is ready to help! Give us a call, an email, or chat with us online!