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Messages - anthony

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Going Pro / Re: Beer Smith, Scaling, & Going Pro
« on: February 11, 2013, 09:32:05 PM »
The biggest things I've noticed are hop utilization and specialty malt contributions.

Going Pro / Re: Business Plan
« on: February 10, 2013, 09:48:32 AM »
Good discussion but i have to dissagree on a 3BBL system costing as much as a 10BBL system , the systems have quite a price gap and that doesnt include the space to put it in, the price of grain etc....., unless im pricing equipment somewhere different.

Yes and no. If you start with jacked fermentation vessels, so you're doing glycol anyways, and you have to do work to get gas/electricity/water to wherever you're putting the system, the difference in 3BBL and something like 8.5BBL isn't going to be as dramatic because the equipment cost is a small percentage of the total cost. Paying trade labor to run a 1.5 million BTU gas line costs the same whether they run it to a small 3 BBL brewstand or a skid mounted brewhouse. Ditto on things like floor drains, hand sinks, and all the other associated BS that may be required for your locality.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Anybody familiar with BRY-97 by lallemand?
« on: February 07, 2013, 09:58:08 AM »
The lag time significantly reduces upon repitch. I've used the yeast a few batches at my tiny nano brewery. When the yeast is still in suspension, there are lots of bready/doughy characteristics. It drops out about the same as US-05 in my estimation. Not sure that this yeast is as sensitive to mash temperature as it is specialty grain percentage, but that might just be specific to my setup.

Both of those strains are notorious sulfur producers. You can take measures to reduce it during fermentation (increase gas exchange surface area of the beer i.e. ferment in more shallow container, make it as easy as possible for the blow off to actually blow off). If you have to rush the beer into being ready, there are sometimes things you can do post-fermentation too. Like employing copper during a racking process, etc.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The Mad Fermentationist's Top 10 Myths
« on: February 06, 2013, 10:49:04 PM »
Surprised everyone is so fixated on the kegging comment and not #5!

Going Pro / Re: Product costing and overhead application
« on: February 04, 2013, 12:23:27 PM »
I think folks are getting bogged down in specifics, the general idea is that many start-up breweries are using simply the cost of the materials to manufacture the beer. But a more accurate way to price the beer might be including the other activities involved (milling the grain, racking the beer, bottling/kegging, cleaning/sanitizing vessels, etc.)

For the barrel aged beer example, you could take a barrel aged beer and subdivide it into discrete sub-activities so that instead of just including grain+barrel, you would include storage costs, time for babysitting the barrels, etc.

If you're a one-man show brewing a few different ales at a nano-brewery, this isn't going to be that worthwhile of an exercise. If you have 4 or 5 employees of different salary levels working on different beers with some non-interchangeable duties assigned, you're going to learn a lot more from the exercise.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fun fermentions!
« on: January 30, 2013, 11:28:21 PM »
I too would be curious for more details on the fermenter.

Reminds me of those old pictures you see from breweries that were using shallow, rectangular porcelain tile lined fermenters.

Going Pro / Re: Anyone Attending the Craft Brewers Conference in D.C.?
« on: January 30, 2013, 11:26:51 PM »
Finally got around to registering. Great excuse to take the family to DC.

Going Pro / Re: Recipe Scaling
« on: January 30, 2013, 11:25:43 PM »
For grain, it depends on the beer and the recipe. For hops, it depends on the equipment (what sort of utilization are you getting?) and your technique (how long are you whirlpooling? how long are you letting it settle? do you have a hopback?)

Going Pro / Re: "House" Yeast Strain
« on: January 25, 2013, 01:08:25 PM »
Equipment limitations could also be a factor. In one brewery, I had to switch to a top-cropping strain (1332) because there was no way to reliably harvest yeast from the dish-bottom fermenters.

Was there a manway on the top?

Going Pro / Re: "House" Yeast Strain
« on: January 25, 2013, 08:19:08 AM »
We've only brewed a half dozen batches, so for whatever its worth... but I used BRY-97 for all of our initial beers. Coming to a new system, a new scale, at times new ingredients, etc. I wanted to eliminate as many variables as possible, so the ease of using dry yeast was hard to pass up. For our British/session beers, we are using the Timothy Taylor yeast from BSI.

I'm subject to the same limitations that majorvices mentioned. I could decide to just brew something using a random yeast but a pitch of yeast isn't cheap so it has to be used on an entire series of beers to really fit into the budget. One brick of BRY-97 was about $150 and had enough yeast to be directly pitched into two batches (one 12P, one 17P). The only way to make that more economical is to re-use the yeast.

Keeping a pitchable quantity of the yeast in good condition is another trick. If you switch yeasts mid-stream, your original yeast may sit around for a week or two and lose viability. Right now, I don't really have a good setup for a yeast brink and so I've just been trying to keep the yeast going with new batches of beer.

I will likely switch away from BRY-97 once I have a good handle on all the other things there are to worry about. Ultimately, if you're starting out with fewer than 3 or 4 fermenters, you will need to pick a yeast that is versatile. Something that will flocculate out either with or without some fining encouragement.

I don't know that specifically being familiar with a strain is a pre-requisite as long as the strain is consistently well-reviewed. You will become familiar with the strain within a couple batches as long as you keep decent notes, follow the same temperature regimen, etc.

Ingredients / Re: Gambrinus Pale Ale Malt?
« on: January 21, 2013, 01:05:13 PM »
We use it as our domestic base malt. I think it has a nice more full flavor than a regular 2-row from Rahr or CMC but it is comparable to their pale offerings.

Going Pro / Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
« on: January 18, 2013, 05:30:10 PM »
I just discovered that the material I posted was proprietary.  I have deleted my post.  I apologize to the BA for posting it.

I didn't care before but now I have to find out...

It came from the BA members list. I'm guessing their blanket policy is that things posted there are proprietary to the BA. I didn't get the impression that the information Mr. Dornbusch shared itself was secret, but I imagine the BA doesn't want to make a habit of having emails from the list published into public forums because often times you have brewers from various breweries asking questions, etc. and its supposed to be an environment of trust, no stupid questions, etc.

Going Pro / Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
« on: January 18, 2013, 04:57:35 PM »
Even if you happened to walk into a German brewery where you were all setup for batch sparging and then decided not to decoct because 4 out of 5 Dennys agree that it doesn't make a difference, you would experience some serious problems because the system was designed around decocting (again just as Mr. Dornbusch shared).

Well, not necessarily. I know of at least two American brewpubs that have German-style, decoction-designed brewhouses but just use single infusion mashes.

How exactly is an American brewpub a German brewery?  ;D

It depends on the manufacturer, but either way if you have a lauter/whirlpool combi (like ABT makes) instead of kettle/whirlpool (like Premiere makes), you have to make adjustments, you may be doing a single infusion but you probably have to do some form of a step mash (i.e. fire up the kettle to take you to a mash out temperature) to compensate for heat loss doing the sparge. Again depends how much rock wool you have on your lauter vessel I suppose :)

Going Pro / Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
« on: January 18, 2013, 03:27:49 PM »
Just to be clear, I wasn't advocating one way or another. And I wasn't saying the efficiency change would be large, but I said it would add up. On a 15P beer, on a 15 BBL system, 3% is somewhere in the realm of 15-20 pounds of grain. Every 3-4 batches you would be using up 1 more bag of grain than you needed to. If you have a tasting room, the beer prices can easily absorb that, even if you're just a distributing brewery, you can likely absorb that.

Yes, it is completely dependent on equipment. It will depend on how much deadspace there is in the lautering vessel, etc. I was simply expressing the opinion that walking up to any random brewery's brewhouse and deciding to batch sparge has a high chance of having a lower efficiency than is normal with that system because the overwhelming vast majority were designed for continuous sparge, obviously there are exceptions, like the folks who have Meura setups.

I was echoing the sort of sentiment Horst was expressing in his anecdote about attempting to brew an American style ale on a German system and experiencing a 20% efficiency drop.

Ultimately, if you're buying a new brewhouse, you want a system designed around whatever technique(s) you have adopted in your brewery. If you're stuck with an existing system, your technique choices will be somewhat bound by what the system was originally designed to handle. Continuous vs batch sparging is only one of those decisions, pellet vs whole, already milled grain vs milling on site, cleaning under pressure or not, caustic or alkaline+acid, etc.

Even if you happened to walk into a German brewery where you were all setup for batch sparging and then decided not to decoct because 4 out of 5 Dennys agree that it doesn't make a difference, you would experience some serious problems because the system was designed around decocting (again just as Mr. Dornbusch shared).

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