Skanderborg Bryghus in Denmark produces a wide range of organic beers and has developed a well-earned reputation as a successful microbrewery. So successful, in fact, that the company has partnered with GEA to expand the capacity no less than 30 times, which means increased its output from 100,000 liters to about 3 million liters of beer per year. Implementing a high level of automation and cutting-edge production equipment has resulted in a state-of-the-art craft brewery. Currently, 27 fermentation tanks enable the plant to produce several different beer types — or bottled drinking water, tonic or sweet waters — in parallel, at the same time.
For us, says Lars Kromand, Partner, “The new brewery has been a dream come true. Working with GEA the combination of them being a manufacturer of brewing equipment and their ability as an engineering company to enable us to achieve our targets means that we can now produce the highest quality beer. Every aspect of production is fully documented, providing unique possibilities to ensure the uniform high quality we want for our amazing beers.”
The new brewery has been a dream come true.” - Lars Kromand, Skanderborg Bryghus, Partner
At the heart is the GEA CRAFT-STAR® brewhouse with the MILLSTAR® milling system where the malt is crushed and mashed at the same time. MILLSTAR® combines the benefits of conventional wet and dry milling, which ensures almost perfect husk conservation and optimal grinding of the endosperm. The end result provides numerous advantages for both the brewing process and the final product. “We now have a significantly better and easier to use process for mashing and lautering,” adds Lars, “which really elevates the quality.”
After boiling with hops, the wort is automatically aerated in the WORTSTAR® to ensure a fixed and documented oxygen level from brew to brew. With the WORTSTAR® wort aeration system, GEA has developed an innovative, hygienically designed aeration unit that, compared with conventional aeration systems, both treats the wort gently and operates very efficiently.
All conveyance is handled in a huge system of connected steel pipes controlled by automatic valves, thereby avoiding any mistakes with hoses being connected to the wrong tanks. “This system enables us to keep everything hermetically closed and clean, ensuring that no oxygen enters the brew and preserves its quality throughout the entire process,” notes Lars.
After 2–3 weeks of fermentation, the beer is ready for further processing. The remaining yeast and trub, for instance, are removed by the GEA Plug & Win separator skid before the alcohol percentage and carbonation are adjusted in the high gravity brewing (HGB) unit. GEA’s HGB-compatible DIMIX-B system has been designed to precisely control both the original wort (alcohol) and CO2 content in such applications. Deaerated water for the HGB and for water push is made in a VARIDOX-C plant. The beer is then filtered and pasteurized before bottling.
All processes are controlled and documented by GEARBOXX, GEA’s process control system. The automated GEARBOXX ensures repeatable batch production, process visualization and remote support, and gives for example full control of the lautering process with integrated systems that monitor the differential pressure. “With GEARBOXX, we get an overview of the whole process, from the malt mill to the bottling line; this is a unique control system,” enthuses Lars.
As the partnership between GEA and Skanderborg Bryghus goes from strength to strength, the brewery’s love for handcrafted beer can continue to evolve. “Our aim is to contribute to existing trends and define new ones by setting higher standards within the craft beer universe,” Lars concludes.