If you thought that pasteurization was only for milk, it’s time to think again. Pasteurization is important for beer and other beverages, too!

The reason why this is so important is that pasteurization heats the beverage up to temperatures of at least 145ºF. At those temperatures, bacteria and microbes die, leaving a clean and safe beverage. 

The question is, what is the best pasteurization method for beer & beverages? In this guide, we’ll take a look at a few different methods for the pasteurization of beer & beverages and their benefits. 

Why Pasteurize Your Beer

Before we start examining different beer pasteurization methods for microbreweries or large breweries, let’s talk about why you should pasteurize your beer in the first place. After all, this isn’t a legal requirement. 

When making craft beer, a beverage maker has to decide whether he or she wants to pasteurize their beer or not. Unpasteurized beer is actually safe for human consumption, making this step an added bonus for anyone who does it. 

The reality is, however, many breweries don’t sell their products immediately after production. That means the beer sits in bottles on shelves for a considerable amount of time.

When a brewmaster chooses to pasteurize beer, he ensures that the beer lasts for a longer amount of time. That makes for a higher quality product and helps reduce costs on expired products that can’t be sold. 

Benefits of Pasteurizing Beer

Aside from increasing the shelf life of beer, pasteurizing beer has several other benefits. Let’s take a look at them in a bit more depth. 

Kills Germs

One of the most important reasons for pasteurizing beer is that the process destroys pathogens and bacteria that can grow in beer. That ensures that a company’s packaged beer is safe for drinkers and won’t go bad quickly.

Prevents Yeast Growth

Sometimes, the brewing process leaves yeast residue in the beer. If left unchecked, that yeast can begin to grow wild, altering the flavor and freshness of the beer. 

Pasteurizing stops the growth of that yeast. The result is a beer that tastes better and lasts longer. 

Reduces Refrigeration Needs

Pasteurized beer kegs can last for six to nine months at room temperature. On the other hand, unpasteurized beer will only last for about 45 to 60 days

In addition, pasteurized beer can go back in the refrigerator after it’s been opened. You cannot place unpasteurized beer back in the refrigerator after you open it and will have to use it all or throw it away. 

Allows for Greater Expansion

As you might imagine, since pasteurized beer lasts longer, brewers can ship their beer greater distances. They can cut back on the cost of producing more beer and can help eliminate waste in their processes. 

Tunnel Pasteurization vs Batch Pasteurization

Now, there are a few different pasteurization methods out there. Two popular methods are batch pasteurization and tunnel pasteurization. Let’s take a look at each of these methods in a bit more detail.

Batch Pasteurization

Batch pasteurization has long been a popular pasteurization method for beer and milk products alike. With this pasteurization method, the brewer places the beer into a temperature-controlled vat. 

Then, the beer inside the vat gets slowly warmed up to a temperature of at least 145ºF. From there, the beer will sustain its temperature for about half an hour. 

When the time is up, the brewer cools the beer back down and pumps it out of the vat. From there, the beer can be bottled and prepared for sale and shipment. 

Benefits of Batch Pasteurization

Batch pasteurization offers brewers a couple of different benefits:

  • Effective at killing bacteria and pathogens
  • Can be used for kegs of beer rather than bottles and cans
  • Offers consistent pasteurization quality

Thanks to these benefits, this type of pasteurization makes sense for brewers who want to process kegs of beer. The process takes place before the beer is bottled and is relatively fast, making it a convenient pasteurization method.  

Tunnel Pasteurization

Tunnel pasteurization is a process where brewers run cans full of beer through a stainless-steel tunnel. In the tunnel, the machine sprays hot water onto the finished product. 

The tunnel method heats the beer to temperatures of 140ºF and holds it at a set amount of time. Then, the machine moves the beer down the tunnel to a different section where it is cooled down again. 

This method usually works best for cans and bottles rather than for kegs. That’s because the size of the kegs makes it tough for the machine to effectively heat and cool the beer quickly. 

Benefits of Tunnel Pasteurization

Tunnel pasteurization has a few key benefits:

  • Extremely effective at killing harmful bacteria
  • Extremely effective at preventing yeast growth
  • Ideal for brewers with a national/international presence
  • Not work-intensive

Thanks to these perks, it’s becoming a popular pasteurization method for larger-scale craft breweries. 

What Is the Best Pasteurization Method for Beer & Beverages? It Depends

So, what is the best pasteurization method for beer & beverages? The truth is that the answer depends. Both tunnel pasteurization and batch pasteurization have their benefits for breweries. 

What does matter is that you use a pasteurization method at all. By pasteurizing their beer, craft breweries and largescale operations alike can keep their customers safe from harmful diseases.

If you’re in need of a batch pasteurizer or tunnel pasteurizer, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch with PRO Engineering / Manufacturing Inc to place an order today.

For more information on tunnel and batch pasteurization contact PRO Engineering/Manufacturing, Inc. at[email protected]or call(414) 362-1500 and ask for Ed Michalski, CEO.   

Edward A.Michalski Bio  
Ed Michalski started his career in the beverage industry by designing stainless steel, higher flow, spray headers for Pabst Brewing. Along with the header design, he also developed a process to produce the new headers.   Ed, along with his brother David, formed PRO Engineering/Manufacturing, Inc. 

Based on what they learned by re-designing and refurbishing other manufacturers’ pasteurizers, Ed and PRO started to offer the pasteurizer marketplace superior new pasteurizers.  

PRO Engineering/Manufacturing has been designing and manufacturing tunnel pasteurizers and batch pasteurizers for over four decades.  

PRO Engineering and Manufacturing was established in 1977 by Ed and Dave Michalski as a steel fabrication shop. For more than 40 years, PRO Engineering and Manufacturing, Inc. has been delivering solutions for beverage product shelf stability and consumption safety. As leading innovators in post-fill pasteurization, our skilled team offers the best in high-quality pasteurization equipment.

Phone: 414-362-1500 | Email: [email protected]

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Location: 11175 W Heather Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53224, USA