Comparing optical versus traditional measurement technology in the brewery

Analytical Session
Daniel L Gore, Anton Paar, Graz, Austria
Co-author(s): Keyvan Ghanaviztchi, Anton Paar, Graz, Austria

ABSTRACT: Optical measurement technology is becoming more and more common in process environments, especially in the brewing and beverage industries, and offers many benefits, such as ease of installation and cleaning, compact size, reduced maintenance, etc., but does it also meet the high expectations of the brewmaster and quality personnel in terms of accuracy, repeatability, and stability in daily use? This paper describes the results of a head-to-head test to compare ease of use in daily routine, measurement performance (accuracy and repeatability) of the test instruments compared to the lab reference methods, performance during product changes, start-up procedures, and measurement response time. The test location for this comparison was a 60.000 hL brewery with 14 different beers and multiple product changes every day. The test candidates were the VS-3000BM optical sensor with the VS-300 sensor management station and the beer monitor, comprised of the DSRn427S, Carbo 510 Smart Sensor, and mPDS 5 evaluation unit. The VS-3000BM is an optical, mid-infrared ATR (attenuated total reflectance) spectrometer that measures the components of liquids. A specific, modulated, infrared emitter emits a signal that reflects through the ATR crystal, where some wavelengths are absorbed by the product and then strikes various detectors, each with a narrow band pass interference filter. Specific wavelengths are used to measure alcohol, extract, and CO2 and as a background reference. The classic beer monitor is a measuring system combining two well-established sensors. The combined density and sound velocity sensor DSRn427S measures density according to the oscillating U-tube principle. The U-shaped tube is made of Hastelloy C276 and is excited to a continuous oscillation at its natural frequency by means of a magneto-electrical excitation system. The oscillation frequency is directly related to the density of the product flowing through the tube. The sound velocity is measured by an ultrasonic transmitter and receiver located on one side of the U-tube. The electronics measure the propagation time of the ultrasonic pulses through the product and calculate the sound velocity. These two sensors are responsible for alcohol and extract measurement. The Carbo 510 Smart Sensor combines the classic method of CO2 analysis according to Henry’s law with the volume expansion method, which makes use of the fact that the solubility of CO2 in beverages is much higher than the solubility of air.

Daniel Gore received his B.A. degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, including two years of study in Germany. After graduating in 1995 he returned to Germany and began an apprenticeship as a brewer and maltster at the Lammbrauerei Hilsenbeck. After successfully finishing his apprenticeship he worked in multiple breweries throughout Germany, including the Uerige Obergärige Hausbrauerei and Quenzer Bräu before moving back to the United States to assume the role of head brewer at the Long Trail Brewing Company. In 2006 he changed focus to work as a technical sales representative for Anton Paar, USA and continued to put his 12 years of practical brewing experience to good use serving the beverage industry. During this time Daniel was a member of MBAA and ISA and enjoyed working with local chapters in the Northeast. In 2010 he moved to Graz, Austria, to become Anton Paar GmbH’s application specialist, supporting Anton Paar’s existing applications in the beverage industry, as well as developing new beverage applications and technologies.