The canning day is the day where the brewer takes their brew and puts it into 12 ounce cans and prepares the cans to be shipped to customers. This process also serves as a quality assurance check, to ensure consistency among a variety of factors. Once the canning process is finished, our product is ready for customers to buy the non-alcoholic beer online.
What is the Canning Day?
There are a few steps in the canning process, which comes after fermentation, maturation, and after we add the fruit to our DrinkSip Watermelon Refresher beer.
Once the beer is done fermenting, it is somewhat chilled – there are two temperature drops. One to settle the yeast out and then we would be adding hops, or for this particular beer we add the watermelon. The beer then stays at that mid-range temperature to absorb the flavors we’re adding, and finally we chill the beer again to precipitate the flavor, in this case the watermelon and get that flavor to settle and prepare it for centrifuging (spinning the liquid really fast to separate liquid from solid.) After maturation happens, the beer is ready to be carbonated, but first, we put the beer through the pasteurizer on the way to the brite tank, which is the tank that it will be packaged out of.
Beer Processing Safety Requirements
Non-alcoholic beer generally has a few extra steps for food safety – the alcohol in full-strength beer serves as an antimicrobial which helps kill organisms which might hurt the consumer. We need to aim for a certain pH, or acidity level that we need to stay below, we then pasteurize the beer as another required safety measure. We need to ensure that the beer that people will purchase is safe to drink for consumers. This is all done before packaging.
Adding the Fizz
The brite tank is equipped with a carbonation stone. The carbonation stone (similar to a pumice stone, the smaller the holes the easier the CO2 dissolves into the liquid,) is a submersible device which is used to push the CO2 into the beer, this piece of equipment is effectively what carbonates your beer. The carbonation stone is generally mounted as low as possible within the brite tank to provide a longer distance for the CO2 to travel to the head of the tank. We add carbonation to the level that the recipe for the specific beer we’re working with calls for, afterwards, we then test for the proper carbonation level within the beer, and as it may be expected, consistency is key with beer.
Once it’s tested at the proper carbonation level, there’s a big brewers hose that goes to the canning line filler into a sanitized and purged can; purging is the process whereby we push all of the oxygen within the can out in order to prevent the beer from going stale. This uses CO2 to push out the oxygen, and then you fill that purged can with beer.
There are a few more quality checks that go on throughout the process:
- Fill Temperature needs to be correct.
- Ensuring the Oxygen levels are low so the product doesn’t go stale prematurely.
- Making sure that the can is filled to the proper level (again, consistency is key.)
- The can has to be seamed properly.
- Finally, a microbial check to ensure that we did all of the food safety measures properly so that the final product can be released to consumers.
After you fill the purged can up with the beer – you seam the lid (or end). We now have a delicious, fully prepared beer for you to enjoy.