Case Study: Brewing up success with sensor technology

Producing over 70,000 litres of beer every day, Fuller’s have been brewing some of Britain’s most popular beers since 1845. Fullers’ flagship organic product, Honey Dew, must stay natural and chemical free – from the first grain to the last bottle. To ensure the organic approval Fuller’s has turned to Palintest sensor technology.

Who are Fullers, and why did they need Palintest’s help?

UK-based Fuller, Smith and Turner Ltd have been brewing some of Britain’s most popular beers by the Thames since 1845. Producing over 70,000 litres of beer every day comes with significant water management challenges. To ensure their flagship organic product, Honey Dew, stays all natural and chemical free, Fuller’s enlisted the expertise of Palintest and our unique sensor technology.

The brewing process utilises water in several different ways, using some for the final product and some for the production processes. The water that is used to make the beer, known as brewing liquor, has been highly purified to remove trace chemicals such as chlorine which are added by water utility companies. This helps to protect the unique strains of yeast used by Fuller’s to make their beers and ales.

A separate stream of water is used for cleaning tanks, powering heat exchangers and rinsing bottles. This water, known as process liquor, is also highly purified, however a disinfectant must be added to prevent microbiological contamination. Rather than using traditional disinfectants which have long-lasting residuals and can form organic disinfection by-products, Fuller’s has implemented a chlorine dioxide dosing system.

To find out more about types of disinfection used in the brewing industry and why these need to be monitored click here.

Why is chlorine dioxide used in the brewing industry?

Chlorine dioxide is a highly volatile but effective disinfectant with the ability to kill even chlorine-resistant pathogens such as Cryptosporidium.

Chlorine dioxide produces fewer disinfection-by-products compared to traditional disinfectants such as chlorine and bromine. This means once the water has been disinfected, there is a much lower level of oxidising and by-product chemicals left over – perfect for cleaning-in-place applications where a product’s organic status needs to be maintained. For more information about Cleaning in Place click here.

How is Palintest technology being used by Fuller’s Brewery?  

One of the few by-products formed is chlorite – the oxidised form of chlorine dioxide. Being able to accurately measure chlorite is essential as the Soil Association set an upper limit of 0.5 ppm for water that could potentially come into contact with an organic product.

To ensure the organic approval of its product, Fuller’s has turned to Palintest sensor technology. Our disposable sensor technology utilises chronoamperometry which eliminates the interferences typically associated with colorimetric methods. As colorimetric test methods rely on light transmission for the test function, they do not tolerate highly coloured or turbid samples. Chronoamperometry does not rely on light or colour and therefore overcomes these challenges associated with reagent-based testing. To view our full list of sensors, click here.

Amperometric methods are traditionally the domain of large laboratory instrumentation which require high levels of user care and maintenance of the electrodes. Palintest sensor technology allows Fuller’s to monitor chlorine dioxide and chlorite without transporting samples to a lab. This efficiency means the right dosing decisions can be made at the right time and the brewery can keep producing great tasting organic beer.

To learn more about Palintest sensor technology or to enquire about a trial, please contact our team below.

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