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Barrel Reconditioning and Sanitization with Dry Steam FAQs from CBC 2019

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  • Barrel Reconditioning and Sanitization with Dry Steam FAQs from CBC 2019

    Hi all,
    Steamericas specializes in commercial/industrial dry steam cleaner line called the Optima Steamer and its accessories.
    We have received repeated questions from CBC attendees on the subject in Denver last week.
    We are sharing most frequently asked questions in hopes that it will help more brewers understand benefits of dry steam over using boiler (wet steam), hot water or ozone when it comes to sanitizing barrels.

    Q: How is dry steam used in breweries other than for swelling barrels or foeders?
    Using dry steam is not only a very efficient way to hydrate barrels, but also an excellent tool to sanitize anything especially barrels. Unlike stainless steel, barrels are very porous surface inside and out. Dry steam (a.k.a saturated steam) is in a gaseous state, which is able to penetrate through wood and deliver sanitizing temperature 5mm beneath the barrel surface in minutes. Many yeast strains live inside the wood, not just on surface. Using wet steam, hot water, chemical (including ozone) + water is a good regimen for surface sanitizing, but not beyond that. The best part is steam hydrates and sanitizes barrels at the same time!
    Beyond barrels and foeders, dry steam is used for general surface cleaning such as floor, racks, drains and various CIP/SIP applications such as pipe line, keg, bottling line, tank, fermenters, mixers, cool ships and more.

    Q: How long does it take to steam a barrel?
    With a 3 phase electric unit or a diesel burner unit (when used with the barrel wand tool), it takes about 3-5 minutes and 1/4~1/2 gal of water to reach above 200F inside a 60 gal barrel.
    When you steam with saturated steam barrels, you are hydrating and sanitizing barrels at the same time. These are not separate steps.
    Most Optima Steamer models are able to support multiple steam lines at the same time.
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    Q: Can I hook up Optima Steamer barrel wand tool to my boiler?
    Our barrel tool is designed to be used with dry steam generated at 350F, 125psi with the flow rate of 0.08gal per minute. It is compatible only with dry steam generators (with similar psi, temperature and flow specs).

    Q: What temperature should I reach to properly sanitize barrels, foeders or tanks?
    This depends on your preference, but for sanitization purposes 200F is recommended. For wooden vessels, you must be careful not to reach too far above 212F inside the barrel as pressure starts building at 212F with saturated steam. On the other hand, at least 176F should be reached where unwanted microorganisms are hybrenating (e.g. brettanomyces under 4mm in barrel). Steamericas has independent lab study results showing the Optima Steamer when paired with the barrel wand tool effectively delivering the sanitizing temperature beneath the barrel surface. You need high temperature saturated steam with consistent flow and the right tool to deliver the steam inside the barrel to do this job.
    Our barrel wand tool is designed with a temperature and/or pressure gauge to help you monitor barrel's internal temperature and pressure.

    Q: What are the requirements to run a commercial steam cleaner like the Optima Steamer?
    Most brewers prefer an electric steamer. The most popular and time efficient models are SE II and XE 18kW and up. These require 3ph power and 208V, 230V, 480V or 600V. If you have very limited usage and do not have 3 phase power can opt for the single phase EST model. Diesel steamers (quiet and intermittent clear exhaust) are good for those who want to avoid high voltage power requirements and have a proper ventilation system (or run hoses inside and run machine outside).
    The Optima Steamer has an onboard water tank (10~19gal), which will sustain up to 4 hours of continuous steaming, and a direct water hook-up inlet. Water faucet availability is optional. No Drains needed.

    For any questions, please reply below. You can also call 844 US STEAM or visit our website.
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