Richard & Stacy's Round the World Trip 2001

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Heineken Brewery
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TOP SECRET HEINEKEN BREWERY PHOTOS!

Owing to some bizarre behavior of the S100 Digital Elph camera, these pictures of the Heineken brewery were in the camera when it was checked after the tour. Don't tell anyone we have them...

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The brass kettles are used to turn barley, hops and water into wort (pre-beer). It is VERY hot here, around 45 degrees Centigrade.   On display in front of the brass kettles are the various ingredients of beer, including several kinds of barley and hops.

The Marketplace is the name of the area where automatic pipe switching allows the various kinds of wort (pre-beer) to be routed to fermentation tanks - that's right, this is a big, mechanical beer router (I wonder what kind of subnet it uses):

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The Marketplace wort switching area...   At the back of these pipes you can see orange manual routing pipes.

Next stop in the tour is the fermentation tanks, where wort is made into beer... fermentation is what puts alcohol into beer and it also generates a lot of carbon dioxide (which is what makes beer fizzy). There is actually excess carbon dioxide, which is captured, cooled to liquid and used in other beer operations as well as sold for soda making, etc.

Click to see a larger version...   You would NOT want to fall into one of these fermentation tanks, full or empty... there's so much carbon dioxide generated that there's no breathable air in these tanks. In fact, the whole area is sealed off from the rest of the factory and has CO2 sensors to detect any excessive carbon dioxide leaks.
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Above - an empty fermentation tank.

Below - a full fermentation tank. Beer is kind of like sausages - you don't really want to see how its made.

  Arr Billy, want a really BIG TANK?

After fermentation, the beer is now beer - but its a bit grubby, full of bits and such. Lagering filters the beer and makes it look like the fine drinkable stuff you think it is.

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A lagering tank cover.   The pipes that move beer from fermentation to lagering and then off to bottling...

Final stop of the tour was the bottling and canning area - definitely a land of big toys. The entire process of washing, preparing, checking, filling, labeling and packaging bottles is completely automated, and an awesome sight to behold:

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The bottle washing machine is in the background, this is the sorter...   Disaster! Bottles jammed on the line start falling by the dozen into the broken glass bins...
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This XRay scanner examines every bottle for flaws and directs them to a bottle dump if it sees anything wrong - at a rate of six bottles a second!   Bottles are pressure fed beer at high velocity before being sent off to labeling...

The canning area was equally amazing - there was no indication of where the cans were made, but they arrived with no tops, already labeled. The system then filled the cans and put lids on them in one move, followed by sending the cans off to be gathered and packaged for shipping - at a rate of 90,000 cans an hour: 

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A can sorter, where cans are organized to be moved onto pallets.   The can filler, where cans are loaded with beer and lids are put on.
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Bundles of aluminum blanks are ready to be pressed into lids.   Two lid presses make the lids and ship them over to the filler...

At the end of the tour, we were loaded back on the bus and saw a couple of other Heineken related sites:

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The Heineken dump, full of aluminum and other now useless beer-making paraphernalia...   Pallet after pallet of finished beer...

As stated before, all pictures on this page are TOP SECRET, so don't tell Heineken we've got them...

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