The Grundfos Hilge MAXA is a long-coupled end suction process pump with a low pressure seal flushing arrangement.
The Grundfos Hilge MAXA is a long-coupled end suction process pump with a low pressure seal flushing arrangement.

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The Shepherd Neame brewery in Kent is the oldest brewery in Britain and can trace its official history back to 1698. However there are many indications to suggest that brewing was taking place in the vicinity for many hundreds of years before then. This is perhaps no real surprise, as the area around Faversham has always been famous for the excellent hops that are grown there.

The original roots of the brewing industry are however, much older and actually date back well over 5,000 years. The brewing process itself has changed little over all the intervening years and the four basic ingredients that combine to produce it - water, barley, hops and yeast have also remained unchanged.

Perhaps it is just the simplicity of the recipe that has meant that beer has not only survived, but is today the world’s 3rd most popular drink after water and tea.

Wort its value

The brewing process itself comprises of a series of stages: malting, milling, mashing, lautering, boiling, fermenting, conditioning, filtering and finally packaging. The liquid that is extracted from the mashing process during the brewing process is called wort and this contains the sugars that will be fermented by adding brewing yeast.

Many aspects of the various brewing production processes have benefitted from modern engineering advances in recent years. So when Shepherd Neame contacted Grundfos Pumps and explained that they wanted to discuss what options were available to them with regard to a 35 year-old wort pump that had reached ‘end of life’.

MAXA design

Grundfos Pumps suggested that they should use this opportunity to review the system as well as to upgrade to newer technology. Following discussions, a Grundfos Hilge MAXA which is a long-coupled end suction process pump with a low pressure seal flushing arrangement, was decided as the ideally designed solution to gently pump the mash and wort within beer filtration (hot side).

This Grundfos pump has now been operational at Shepherd Neame as a casting pump within the hot wort circulation in the copper vessel when the hops are added in the brewing process for some time and is continuing to operate to the highest standards.

Grundfos Hilge has a long tradition in producing a wide range of single and multi-stage end-suction sanitary pumps, rotary-lobe positive displacement pumps as well as these end-suction process pumps. These products are perfectly engineered to meet the exacting standard and high temperatures that are demanded within the brewing and dairy processing sectors for example.

The success and longevity of the Shepherd Neame brewery can partially be attributed to the water used in the process that is drawn from an on-site aquifer. The water is naturally filtered through a layer of chalk on which Faversham sits, and this purifies the water, which also gives the beer its distinctive flavour. Grundfos are now playing their role in the process and the brewery is very pleased with the result, and has commented that “this is the best performing pump we now have on site”.

Whether beer will still be as popular in another 5,000 years remains to be seen,  but if it is,  Shepherd Neame is an excellent candidate to still be a leader in the brewing business.
 

The digital edition of the magazine is distributed free of charge to readers who meet our qualifying criteria. You can apply to receive your free copy by completing this short registration form.