Cleaning In Place (CIP)

The (cleaning in place) CIP equipment sanitation process is vital to any brewery because not properly cleaning equipment can lead to uncontrollable flavors in the beer. The CIP can be portable or stationary, and can contain single, multi, and rCIP carte-use tanks.  The CIP process follows a general guideline when cleaning any piece of equipment which is pre-rinse, alkaline detergent wash, rinse, Acid wash, rinse, and sanitize. Some important variable when doing the CIP process is the concentration of cleaning solution, time of each step, and temperature at each step is critical. The items necessary for the CIP is a storage vessel for all the cleaning solutions, usually referred to as the CIP cart. Next item needed is a pump that is properly sized for your system to handle a certain volume of liquid. The last item needed for non-mechanical cleaning of vessels is the CIP spray ball that is usually mounted at the top of a cellar vessel. The importance of the CIP spray ball in larger systems is that if manually cleaned the scouring of the inside of the tanks make it easier for bacteria growth on the affected area. But the spray ball ensures that every surface inside the tank will get hit because of the 360 degree coverage of the sphere.

The First part in the clean in place process is the pre-rinse to remove any visible organic material without the introduction of chemicals. This takes approximately 15 – 30 minutes. The pre-rinse temperature of the water should be cold or room temperature water to ensure that organic material will not be baked onto the side of the vessel.

Second phase of the process is to fill the vessel with the alkaline based detergent that breaks down organic materials by hydrolyzing peptide bonds, and breaking down insoluble protein bonds into soluble material. Most popular alkaline based detergent is caustic soda or otherwise known as sodium hydroxide. It has strong penetrating abilities for proper saponification of fatty and protein like soils. The caustic is best used in a temperature range from 140 – 180 Fahrenheit or 60 – 82 Celsius. The vessel being cleaned will be filled with the caustic soda and looped through the system so that every surface the wort touched is being cleaned, from the plate heat exchanger to every piece of tuning in the brew house.

After the caustic loop has been completed it is time to do a hot rinse of the caustic on all ports the caustic has touched. Be sure to remove any valves, c clamps, and gauges for a soak in the caustic solution. A thorough rinse is required after the caustic loop, and some brewers save on the cost of alkaline based detergent by recovering used caustic and reusing it to clean other vessels.

The third phase of the cleaning process is the acid cycle, where a phosphoric acid, nitric, acid, or a combination of both will bpassivatione added to the vessel. This is an important step because it does three main things, first is that the acid neutralizes the caustic that may be left over from the previous cycle. Second the acid breaks down in-organic materials leftover from brewing like beer stone, hard water deposits, and mineral deposits. Lastly the acid wash repairs the stainless steel’s integrity, by passivating or removing the upper layer of iron that has deposited on the stainless steel by re-oxidizing the upper layer of chromium.

The final phase after the organic and inorganic material from the vessels have been removed the last part is to sanitize the vessels from any microbes. The sanitization of tanks can be achieved by chemical disinfectants that kill microorganisms. Some sanitizers are a no rinse needed solution like Iodophor that does not need to be rinsed out of the vessel. A drawback to using sanitizer is that the vessel must be completely dry before filling with sanitizer because sanitizer is an oxidizer you do not want residual sanitizer oxidizing the beer during fermentation.

To bring the CIP process into perspective each step in the process has a role on the big picture of equipment cleanliness. From the breaking down of organics by the caustic, then the acid breaks down inorganics, and the sanitizer disinfects from any microorganisms. The CIP removes human error from the equation by use of the spray ball; it also can utilize the reuse of chemicals to save cost, and limits the exposure of harmful chemicals to the person operating CIP. Some areas of concern when routinely cleaning your equipment is understand vacuum relief so that a vacuum isn’t created inside a vessel when cleaning. Next are some special areas to consider during CIP one is the plate heat exchanger, with very small cracks and crevices it is an area that needs to be scrutinized during CIP. Another area of concern is any peripheral elements of the vessel, for example sight glasses, sample valves, faucets, and carb stones. Third area of concern while cleaning is the gaskets between metal to metal contact points are build up areas. Lastly are the gas, CO2, and oxygen lines that are externally equipped can bring about concerns of unsterile environment.

Brew House Heating


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Brewer’s and the craft brewing community in general enjoys the amount of control they can have over their system to provide the best beer possible. Controlling the key variables in a brewery is what creates successful beer. Therefore controlling the source of heat is a substantial manipulation a brewer can have in the process. Each source of heat has its pros and cons, and can be weighed accordingly to each specific circumstance. The heat source for a brewing system can be direct fire, indirect fire, electrical heating elements, and steam jacketed heating. Not one single heat source is dominant and selection comes down to the preference and pre-requisites of the brewery whether it is home or production size.

The first type of heating option is direct firing of the brew kettle or hot liquor tank. This means that a direct flame would be heating the vessel, and is more customary to home brewers. But they are as well found in systems up to 10 barrels where the direct flame would be heating the exterior of the tank. The findings are similar between the home brewer and the larger system in terms of benefits, which are a more vigorous boil, quicker time reaching boil, has the lowest startup costs, and most brewers have previous knowledge working with gas fired kettles. As far as the disadvantages go for direct firing caramelization of the brew kettle tends to happen more because of a single contact point of heat. So cleaning the caramelized wort is extensive, but some brewers prefer the caramelization in terms of flavor and recipes. Also the single contact point can bring up issues of scorching the wort as well.  Another drawback of this heating option is that the cheaper upfront startup cost is balanced by the long term cost of inefficiency in terms of energy transfer from the direct flame to the actual liquid is 25 – 50%. This in term means more propane or natural gas to compensate for the loss of energy. This is the reason direct fire is not found in sizes above 10 barrels due to inefficiency.

The second heating method that also utilizes fire is the indirect use of fire to heat the brew kettle by either means of a heated jacket that covers the tank or by way of directing the heat from the open flame to a diffuser plate that heats a secondary unit that heats the tank. The advantages are comparable to the direct fire with low startup costs, quick boil times, and boil vigor. But the drawbacks are similar to the direct fire mainly being energy efficiency is low in this heating system and has a long term cost associated with it. The fire heating both direct and indirect remain consistent in that they are only relevant up to the 10 barrel size due to the fact that they are not efficient and brewing large batches means efficiency needs to be at an all-time high to drive down cost.

The third heating option for the brew house and hot liquor tank is electrical heating elements that are mounted on the inside of the tank where the elements are in direct contact with the liquid. Electrical heating is energy efficient because 100% of the energy being created by the heating elements is being transferred to the liquid. The advantages of an electric heating element is the control of temperature is much more precise, energy utilization is high, and no concerns about explosive or flammable gases. Some problems with the electric heating is cost of operation is higher than gas, needs a sufficient/safe source of power (not a typical household outlet or breaker), and heating elements must also be cleaned to ensure they are not giving off bad flavors. This style of heating is preferred on the 2 – 10 barrel size because beyond those sizes the electrical heating will take longer to heat up and be ready to maintain a boil, which means a longer brew day and precious time wasted.

The last option for consideration when heating a brew kettle or hot liquor tank is the use of steam that is created by an external device called a boiler. Steam from the boiler is then pumped into an insulated jacketed area of the tank to heat it. The advantages to a steam heated system are the rate of heat transfer is high, energy utilization is more predictable than gas, and cleaning is much easier compared to the other methods. Some of the disadvantages is the upfront cost of the external boiler unit, boiler inspection costs by state or municipal inspectors, boiler maintenance costs, and is not cost effective at small scale. Around the 12 barrel mark is when steam heating becomes the only option because other heating options are not viable in terms of getting a vigorous boil and maintaining it with such a large volume of liquid.


UL and CSA stand for Underwriter Laboratory and Canadian Standards Association respectively. These are third party companies that specialize in product testing and certification services. UL and CSA are private companies not specific to any brand or industry and gives them independence or unbiased view on standardizing. Unlike Europe the North American continent does not have a harmonized set of standards that must be followed by anyone wanting to sell a product in that country. So importers of products are free to follow the standards of any country, so long as they are deemed safe by the importer. Sometimes these standards fall short of the North American bar that is set by UL/CSA, and serve as a risk if not properly certified. UL/CSA is there to guarantee that a product is certified safe and functional under pre-defined circumstances. Using UL/CSA standards then protects both the product manufacturer and the customer, ensuring both parties are satisfied with the standards of their product.

China is the largest exporter to the US, and often than not they fall short of UL/CSA standards. The difference between Chinese electronic standards and UL/CSA standards is that underwriter laboratories was created in 1894 and have since grown to understand the industries it serves. Comparable to the Chinese electronic standard otherwise known as Chinese compulsory certification (CCC) was implemented on May 1, 2002. The Chinese standards in terms of viability and length to which they have been operating are trumped by the North American standards that UL/CSA has been upholding for many more years than CCC. So in turn Chinese electronic standards are tailored for a low cost and high production market. Knowledge and experience that UL/CSA provides trumps that of the CCC by number of years operating. Chinese standards before then were handled by a government agency which proved to be a problem.


  1. Heat water above 140 degrees but below 180 Controlling temperature is not as simple as heating your water to 140 and spraying down the area you want to clean.
  2. Drain all liquid in tank and rinse with hot water, remove Co2 with a vacuum system or you can use a 5 HP shop vac for 20 minutes. Very important! Co2 neutralizes the caustic solution. (be sure to open up all valve to make an air change)
  3. Pre heat tanks with hot water before using caustic with spray ball.
  4. Start caustic rinse with sodium hydroxide around 2 to 5 oz. per gallon should be done in 7 second bursts and rinse until clear liquid come out of the trub dump or drain. Repeat on all ports.
  5. Drain caustic and burst rinse on all ports, same as caustic rinse except with hot water.
  6. After rinsing with hot water remove all sanitary connections and valves to soak in caustic solution. Inspect all ports and openings for any type of buildup especially around the spray ball if you find buildup clean with brush, when done with the soaking part put back together and rinse again with hot water.
  7. After vessel is back together it’s time for an acid rinse, there are 3 reasons to acid wash Acid neutralizes caustic solution 2. Helps bring back integrity of the stainless steel. 3. Breaks down any leftover mineral deposits left inside of the tank.
  8. start by hooking your pump on a recirculating cycle system to be able to put the acid back in the vessel when is leaves, one of the mixtures you can use is a half and half mixture of phosphoric acid and nitric acid about 1 0z. Per gallon, rinse continually for around 20 minutes or until you decide. When done, rinse with hot water, drain water, seal the vessel up and do not open until ready to brew/ ferment.

Find out if you are buying quality equipment.

Checking Equipment Quality
Generally, when comparing and contrasting each offer that a supplier provides, there
are many points that should be taken into consideration in order to ensure that the
best selection is made. These points can be divided into two categories: tangible
(material quality, type of fittings, welding quality, etc.) and intangible (production
skills, customer service, after sales service, etc.)
In this document, we will focus on the different aspects that we believe are of critical
importance when trying to select a supplier. We will provide you with key quality
factors that should be focused on to assess the quality of the equipment being
Type and Quality of Material and Peripherals Implemented
Throughout a System
1.- Stainless Steel 304 (SUS 304) is the standard material that should be used for
any type of brewing system and for those willing to pay extra for a higher quality
material, Stainless Steel 316 (SUS 316) can be used. But in the Chinese brewery
manufacturing industry, their main point of focus is to reduce the cost of production
while maximizing their profits. The manner in which they achieve this is by utilizing
cheaper material such as Stainless Steel 301 (SUS 301) and in some cases even
Stainless Steel 201 (SUS 201). The negative impacts this will have would be a
reduced life span and rapid rust formation. There have also been instances where manufacturers utilize SUS 304 for all interior
tanks, but use SUS 201 for outer cladding, tank legs, etc. The most extreme case we
have witnessed was the usage of carbon steel for the leg supports of the tank
(welded onto the interior tank) and decorated with a SUS 304 exterior. This would
give the appearance of SUS 304 but in reality is still carbon steel.

2.- Equipment fittings such as valves, piping, etc. are also critical points that need to
be taken into consideration. Below, I will provide a comparison between a lower and
higher quality butterfly valve: There is an evident difference between one valve and the other, the butterfly we
implement has more flow control, sturdy ergonomic handle and longer life span
compared to that of the competition. However, this higher quality valve also has a
higher material and production cost. The heat exchanger we are currently using is the best we can source in China,
which is a two phase chilled (water and glycol respectively) that is made of SUS 316 and possesses a very high cooling efficiency. In addition to this, all interior tubing is
Stainless Steel 316 that would allow to design the manifold to send the outflow of
heated water (phase 1, city water) into the HLT, Kettle, or any vessel where you can
place your brewing water for the next batch.
On another note, all of our system implemented pumps and motors are renowned
brands such as ABB. And we would be more than happy to utilize any specific name
brand pump per customer request.
As a final important factor, we self-manufacture our manifolds in order to ensure that
all welding have no points for contamination and can be sanitized 100% as well as
provide a maximum degree of flexibility with all of our designs. Our skilled welders
cut the pipes as evenly and smoothly as possible so that all welds can easily be
done (both inside and outside) and create customized connections.

Suggestion on inspecting the materials and fittings:
1) Ask different suppliers if the materials they are using is SUS304 or ask them for a
material parameter certification.
2) See or confirm what kind of butterfly valve, heat exchanger, motor, pump etc. they
will use for you.
3) See what they normally use or what kind of components they will use for detailed
parts such as the top manway on each vessel throughout the brewhouse, sample
valves, side/top manways for fermenters and bright beer tanks. (You should be
allowed to modify equipment that best suit your brewing process.)
In one words, you need to make sure what they will do for you on your own brewery

Craftsmanship / Production Skill:
A crucial aspect for a high quality system is the welding and polishing throughout the
production process. Improper welds and inadequate polishing, especially in the
interior of the vessels, can lead to improper cleaning and contamination as well as
impact the structural integrity throughout the system. Another important factor that goes hand in hand with craftsmanship would be the
equipment design. Different suppliers may implement different production protocols,
however, most of the Chinese companies will select economically inexpensive designs (minimize materials as well as labor.) An example of this would be the
cooling jacket that is used in the inner tanks of fermenters and BBTs.

Comparing and contrasting both cooling designs, the dimple jacket that we use has a
better cooling effect. The reason is that as the jacket is filled, it provides an even
cooling effect throughout the vessel, while minimizing flow rate by the individual
welds that are placed throughout the jacket. This in turn drastically increases the
cooling efficiency of the vessel but in turn this requires more labor, time and

On the other hand, the cooling band does not provide an efficient or uniform cooling
effect due to its unrestrictive flow and that the glycol increases in temperature as it
moves along the band. This will require a longer cooling time as well as having the
pump and chiller constantly on until the temperatures of the tanks reach the set point.
However, due to its simplicity, the production cost is relatively cheap and will also
drastically reduce the production time frame.
Also, sometimes when the cooling jacket is welded, the interior polish of the vessel
will be affected. In our current production method, the welding joint can be polished
after welding them together, which ensures that all interior tanks have a smooth
interior surface.
Suggestions on inspecting the production process:
1)Look carefully at the weldings and polish of the vessels, which is an indicator as
to the quality of the equipment being provided.
2)Clarify the design of each vessel and their production process, like the cooling
jacket design and installation as well as the welding process that is being
3)See the interior polishing, including tanks, piping line etc.
4)Clarify which components are fully welded and which are not.
Even before production, you should provide the manufacturer with a rough idea in
regards to your brewing process, like beer Gravity/Plato, amount of malt to be used,
For example: If we use 300-400kg malt for 1000L wort batch, but the gross volume
of the mash tun is just 1300L, we would be unable to obtain our targeted 1000L wort
Additional Points of Consideration
Software Suggestions:
1) Making the control level clear, is it PID control (with simple digital meter) Or PLC
control, or manual controlled?
2) What kind of brand? Siemens touch screen or not? CE certified or not? Or any
other special required standard?
3) What kind of software? If that is Siemens S7, series 200 or 1200 or 300? Or you
need to tell what is more suitable or reliable to use in your place? Currently, S7-200
series PLC is mainly for China.
After Sales Service Suggestions:
1) What they will do on the installation on site?
2) Warranty policy and duration

Additionally, you must make sure, if the sales man you are contacting with is
professional enough, he/she should have a clear understanding of the brewing
process, or at least have a high level of familiarity with brewery equipment. In other
words, if the salesman cannot understand what your requirements are, how will
they be able to provide you with a functional brewing system that meets your

All about the Food Grade 304, 18/8

XIMO USA brewing systems are made from the highest food grade virgin stainless steel, we use 304 18/8,  what does it mean? 18/8: This is one of the most common grades of stainless steel used for food preparation and dining, also known as Type 304 (304 Grade) and are part of the 300 series. The first number, 18, refers to the amount of chromium in and the second represents the amount of nickel.  For example, 18/8 stainless steel is comprised of 18% chromium and 8% nickel.

304 grade stainless steel is also comprised of 0.8% carbon and at least 50% iron. The chromium binds oxygen to the surface of the product to protect the iron from oxidation (rust). Nickel also enhances the corrosion resistance of stainless steel.  Therefore, the higher the nickel content, the more resistant the stainless steel is to corrosion. The stainless alloy resists most oxidizing acids and can withstand all ordinary rusting. HOWEVER, IT WILL TARNISH. It is immune to foods, sterilizing solutions, most of the organic chemicals and dyes, and a wide variety of inorganic chemicals. Type 304, or one of its modifications, is the material specified more than 50% of the time whenever a stainless steel is used.
Because of its ability to withstand the corrosive action of various acids found in fruits, meats, milk, and vegetables, Type 304 is used in all kind of applications. It is also used in numerous other utensils such as cooking appliances, pots, pans, and flatware.

Type Analysis of Stainless Type 304

Carbon 0.08% max. Silicon 1.00% max.
Manganese 2.00% max. Chromium 18.00-20.00%
Phosphorus 0.045% max. Nickel 8.00-10.50%
Sulfur 0.030% max.