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The taste of digitalization

Brewing beer with the help of an algorithm: a new multi-sensor system models the fermentation process in real time. The live feed from inside the tank is made possible by a combination of various measurement methods with IIoT technology.

Text: Christine Böhringer
Graphics: 3st
Zwei Hände halten jeweils ein Glas Bier und stoßen an


Fermentation is a key process in brewing, not to mention one of the most dynamic. In a fermentation tank, yeast produces alcohol from the sugars in the wort, along with carbon dioxide and a variety of aromas that together give the beer its fizz and flavor. Brewers must keep a close eye on the process to ensure that everything works as it should. They regularly monitor parameters such as residual extract, alcohol content and the degree of fermentation by taking samples, checking density using a hydrometer or laboratory analysis.

The new QWX43 fermentation monitor from Endress+Hauser makes all this effort a thing of the past. The system provides precision measurements of four parameters from directly inside the fermentation tank. The QWX43 uploads its data straight to Netilion, the Endress+Hauser cloud-based IIoT ecosystem, where an algorithm calculates all of the relevant fermentation parameters and enables real-time fermentation monitoring. “We developed a multi-sensor system and combined it with IIoT technology,” says product manager Julia Rosenheim. “Only then could we realize easy-to-use inline monitoring, accessible from anywhere.”

The fermentation monitor keeps the process under complete control without the brewers needing to be on site. And that’s not all: brewers can set alarms for each distinct stage of fermentation for different types of beer. They can even use a perfectly brewed batch as a reference. The system will then notify the brewers should the fermentation process deviate from the reference values. “Our system puts data in the brewers’ hands to optimize their fermentation process,” Rosenheim adds. “Now they can be certain that all their beer tastes just as good – exactly how their customers expect it to taste.”

A look into the fermentation process

Monitoring the fermentation process is all about taking measurements, and that’s exactly where the QWX43 fermentation monitor comes in. It is operable inside a range of tank systems and does not require adjustment or calibration.

Hand hält ein Gerät

The multi-sensor is immersed directly in the beer. The system then uses two tuning fork sensors (a), an ultrasonic pulse generated by them (b) and a temperature sensor (c) to continuously monitor four parameters: density, acoustic velocity, temperature and viscosity.

Grafik von einem Gerät mit Sensoren

The QWX43 contains a web server that securely connects to the user’s wireless network and sends all its measurements to Netilion, the Endress+Hauser cloud-based IIoT ecosystem. There, an algorithm calculates a comprehensive set of fermentation parameters, such as wort density, residual hop extract, alcohol content and degree of fermentation.

Grafik von einem Gär-Fass und Cloud

The Netilion Value digital service enables brewers to access the data from anywhere. Alarms can also be set.

Grafik von einem Computer und einem Handy

The more data the better: Netilion Value also allows brewers to compare values against previous fermentation batches for data-driven process optimization.

Grafik von zwei Händen die mit einem Bier jeweils anstoßen

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