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The Importance of Ethylene Glycol in Your Brewery

Views: 8     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-04-24      Origin: Site

If the heart of a brewery is similar to a brewery, then glycol can be thought of as blood.

Here's what keeps your precious beer alive.

Many brewers just starting out know how important it is - but there are many more - that you need to get it right.

It's not just about deciding on the right brewery equipment. You need to consider what percentage of the system will be needed, how much will be needed, the type of plumbing that will be used - and of course the layout.

Here are some things you should consider when making these decisions.

Size your mash room cooling equipment

For your brewery equipment, making sure you have the right size glycol cooler is critical - not just for your initial wine cellar, but for the future.

It's best to size your chiller for future growth because not only will new chillers in the future be costly, but your utility may not be able to handle the electrical load.

Some customers will buy an initial chiller - and plan to add another to help handle the load - but also as a safety measure in case something goes wrong.

When it comes to chillers, we have come across a wide variety of good chillers. When making a choice, we advise clients to consider the following:

  • Indoor chiller or outdoor chiller?

  • Onboard fluid reservoir or dedicated glycol tank?

  • Will my electrical load handle it?

The above decisions will also determine where breweries will put these noisy and heat-generating equipment.

Ethylene glycol pipeline

Once you have your cooler sized and ready, it is important to start thinking about how your glycol will run around the brewery.

You should make your main line larger than your jacket. We recommend installing more ball valves than you need.

Each tank should have a valve next to the main circuit - for supply and return - and then a valve before the jacket inlet to help reduce flow when the jacket freezes.

Remember that the fluid will always follow the path of least resistance. So the first container your glycol loop hits will get the most likes - and the last will get the least flow.

This is where the valve comes in. You can reduce the flow to the first container and continue working to the last jar, which will most likely be fully open.

We have started supplying glycol ports for tanks with glycol bypasses, which are completed prior to shipment - including components. This saves time and money as it is very plug and play. You insulate, connect to the main circuit, and go!

Ethylene Glycol Pipe Materials

Stainless steel will look the best - especially if you have an installer who can keep the pipes straight. The aesthetics of straight pipes around the brewery will give a premium look, even if the insulation and cladding will obscure it.

We all know that the aesthetics of a brewery are important, especially the more expensive beer bars.

You can also choose PVC or PPR pipes that work fine, but if they are not well supported they will fall over time.

We also have customers who use soft hose, which is the most economical option, but may not seem the best.

After the plumbing is done, you need to insulate everything. This will save you money as you will have less heat escaping - your glycol cooler will love you!

If you really want everything to pop out, you can clad the pipes in aluminum or stainless steel. This helps match the stainless steel of the container - it will look amazing!

After you have a now insulated pipe - possibly clad - you will end up with a much larger diameter than the original. So you should consider the spacing that the pipes whip around the brewery.


Connect with your beer equipment

Neither the glycol sheath location nor the connection type is standardized. So make sure to specify to the manufacturer what works best for them.

We typically use NPT connections in the US market and BSP elsewhere. We also used tri-clamp connections, but most plumbers are not familiar with them and require adapters.

You can place the glycol inlet and outlet at a 45 degree angle to the back. This will allow you to use the empty space between the tanks and place them directly against the wall or another row of containers. You can also run glycol piping in insulation and terminate at the top of the container.


When commissioning a glycol system, first run it without glycol for a few hours at around 10C. This allows you to check for leaks and patch them if needed. (Do not set the chiller too low during this time, as the water will freeze.)

Ethylene glycol is expensive! So you don't want to leak money at your brewery before you go.

When you first start running water into the pipes, the goal is to flood the jacket and expel all air from the system.

Air pockets sometimes form, and if the tank is not cooled, it may be due to air pockets and the glycol flow is uneven.

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