Author Topic: Brewing on a schedule  (Read 979 times)

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2210
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Brewing on a schedule
« on: April 08, 2012, 06:46:40 AM »
On the advice of some of the guys here, I've been trying to brew on a weekly schedule, in anticipation of brewing commercial a few years down the road.

What do you do if your beer isn't done when you need the empty tank? Is this just yeast selection, where you only pick strains with quick and acceptable performance?

I haven't been monitoring fermentation progress every day. The beers are usually ready to rack within a week. Two batches ago I used Danstar Windsor for the first time, since I ran out of S-04, and after a week I was only at 33% apparent attenuation. I was boiling a wit at the time, and I needed the bucket, so I racked anyway.

If this were a commercial beer I was trying to make on a schedule with limited fermenting space, this could've been a real disaster. 
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline Thirsty_Monk

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2173
  • Eau Claire WI
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 07:15:02 AM »
You need to let your beer ferment to FG schedule or not.
You are selling a artisan quality beer.
All that said a lot of breweries are religiouse about yeast performance.
If yeast does not perform they get / made another pitch.
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 7870
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 07:22:36 AM »
When all my tanks are full I'm just done until a free one opens up. Right now I'm done brewing until Wednesday at least. Still plenty to do though. It never ends.
Keith Y.

Vote Jonathan Fuller for Governing Committee!

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2210
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 07:44:21 AM »
So it sounds like in a pro setting, I would want as many primary vessels as I could manage? How did you guys plan your production capacity? How often do you run out of product? How detailed are your production calendars?
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6035
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2012, 07:49:15 AM »
You need to let your beer ferment to FG schedule or not.
You are selling a artisan quality beer.
All that said a lot of breweries are religiouse about yeast performance.
If yeast does not perform they get / made another pitch.
I agree. At one of the presentations at last year's NHC the brewer said, "the yeast run the brewery", not you.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2210
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2012, 08:15:48 AM »
I agree. At one of the presentations at last year's NHC the brewer said, "the yeast run the brewery", not you.

How do we make good beer quickly?

When the yeast start paying the rent, I'll let them do whatever they want. Until then, I'm sure there are things the brewer can do to help them along. Rouse? Pitch at higher rates? Increase ferment temp? You can't sell beer if it's sitting in the primary. I'm not arguing to make a bad product for the sake of speed (although this seems to be exactly how most brewpubs do it), but there must be an intersection between making a good product and making a profitable and reliable product.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline markaberrant

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
  • Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
    • View Profile
    • ALES Club
Re: Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2012, 09:47:29 AM »
Most commercial breweries stick with a select number of strains and recipes*.  They know how the yeast will perform, the right temps, the right cell count, O2, etc.

I have no plans to "go pro" but I do stick with a select number of yeasts/styles/recipes/ingredients, and I manage my fermentation temps.  This allows me to fairly reliably know how a given recipe will ferment, and more importantly, what it will taste like.  Been doing this for the last 3 years or so, and my beers have taken a dramatic leap forward in terms of quality and consistency.

*although this seems to be changing with the drastic increase in seasonals and one-offs, not always for the better.  Many brewers treat these similar to "test batches," and frankly many of them shouldn't be released to the public, but there is a strong market for these products these days, and consumers are more than willing to shell out top dollar for something that may or may not be any good simply because it is rare/limited (aka white whale).  These days, I personally find myself returning to longstanding classics that are more enjoyable and typically cheaper, instead of chasing the latest/greatest hype.  /rant

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 7870
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2012, 10:14:25 AM »
Some breweries do push their beer. I have felt the pressure to do so as well but so far I have successfully resisted. Right now I am still trying to get hold of my increased capcity and filling demand but I basically have three flagship beers I push regularly. I have only one bright tank right now so it makes conditioning difficult but I can generally turn all my beers around in ten to fourteen days. A diffusion stone in the BT and fining with Biofine allows me to carb and condition in three to fine days. I crash cool prior to that in the conical. But I certainly don't brew on any fort of established schedule. I simply fill fermenters once they are empty.
Keith Y.

Vote Jonathan Fuller for Governing Committee!

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6035
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2012, 11:33:19 AM »
I agree. At one of the presentations at last year's NHC the brewer said, "the yeast run the brewery", not you.

How do we make good beer quickly?

When the yeast start paying the rent, I'll let them do whatever they want. Until then, I'm sure there are things the brewer can do to help them along. Rouse? Pitch at higher rates? Increase ferment temp? You can't sell beer if it's sitting in the primary. I'm not arguing to make a bad product for the sake of speed (although this seems to be exactly how most brewpubs do it), but there must be an intersection between making a good product and making a profitable and reliable product.

Plenty of healthy yeast, O2, Temp management.  I have been known to blow the yeast off the bottom of my 14.5 gallon conical with 2 PSI CO2 if they are sluggish to take off or maybe trapped by trub.  This years CAP was done with the D-rest in 5 days from being pitched.  Fast enough for you?
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3568
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2012, 11:36:13 AM »
How did you guys plan your production capacity? How detailed are your production calendars?
Much better to set a desired production capacity and size the system and cellar appropriately. Say you're starting a brewpub with a target capacity of 2,000 bbl/year. With two brewers you can probably brew comfortably three times a week, so your batch size needs to be 13.3 bbl. In practical terms, you need a 15 bbl or 20 hL brewhouse. If your average turn-around time on a tank is 20 days (to account for the occasional lager) you need: 3 brews/week * 2.85 weeks/tank = 8.6 fermenters.

My brewhouse calendar lists everything I have planned for each day for at least the next two weeks. Brewdays with FV#, transfers with FV/TDV, cleaning ops, yeast crops/counts, etc. right on down to which days I'm squeegeeing the floor vs. a full scrub-down. IME that's the only way you'll *ever* be able to schedule a day off (assuming you can at all).
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
seanterrill.com/category/brewing
twomilebrewing.com

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 7870
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2012, 05:23:15 PM »
Wow. There is no way I could be that anal .... I mean organized. ;)
Keith Y.

Vote Jonathan Fuller for Governing Committee!

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2210
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2012, 06:40:44 PM »
Much better to set a desired production capacity and size the system and cellar appropriately. Say you're starting a brewpub with a target capacity of 2,000 bbl/year. With two brewers you can probably brew comfortably three times a week, so your batch size needs to be 13.3 bbl. In practical terms, you need a 15 bbl or 20 hL brewhouse. If your average turn-around time on a tank is 20 days (to account for the occasional lager) you need: 3 brews/week * 2.85 weeks/tank = 8.6 fermenters.

My brewhouse calendar lists everything I have planned for each day for at least the next two weeks. Brewdays with FV#, transfers with FV/TDV, cleaning ops, yeast crops/counts, etc. right on down to which days I'm squeegeeing the floor vs. a full scrub-down. IME that's the only way you'll *ever* be able to schedule a day off (assuming you can at all).

That is really interesting. Thanks for the detailed response.

I've been reading through threads over on the probrewer forums about brew scheduling and grain-to-glass timelines. It seems like the consensus (as much as there is one) is 10-15 days for ales, with some people saying 15 days for them would be an impossible luxury, and others say they can turn around their "house" beers within 7 days, grain-to-glass.

One guy who had worked at a brewery in Germany said a lot of lager brewers there are using high pressure fermentations at like 90*F to ferment in 3 days, and package in another 3 days. The "traditional" breweries are going under or being bought-out because the high-speed guys are so much more profitable, and the consumers don't notice or care.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6035
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2012, 06:44:10 PM »
Much better to set a desired production capacity and size the system and cellar appropriately. Say you're starting a brewpub with a target capacity of 2,000 bbl/year. With two brewers you can probably brew comfortably three times a week, so your batch size needs to be 13.3 bbl. In practical terms, you need a 15 bbl or 20 hL brewhouse. If your average turn-around time on a tank is 20 days (to account for the occasional lager) you need: 3 brews/week * 2.85 weeks/tank = 8.6 fermenters.

My brewhouse calendar lists everything I have planned for each day for at least the next two weeks. Brewdays with FV#, transfers with FV/TDV, cleaning ops, yeast crops/counts, etc. right on down to which days I'm squeegeeing the floor vs. a full scrub-down. IME that's the only way you'll *ever* be able to schedule a day off (assuming you can at all).

That is really interesting. Thanks for the detailed response.

I've been reading through threads over on the probrewer forums about brew scheduling and grain-to-glass timelines. It seems like the consensus (as much as there is one) is 10-15 days for ales, with some people saying 15 days for them would be an impossible luxury, and others say they can turn around their "house" beers within 7 days, grain-to-glass.

One guy who had worked at a brewery in Germany said a lot of lager brewers there are using high pressure fermentations at like 90*F to ferment in 3 days, and package in another 3 days. The "traditional" breweries are going under or being bought-out because the high-speed guys are so much more profitable, and the consumers don't notice or care.

A local brewpub uses this for some lagers.
http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/strains_wlp925.html

I prefer the other that uses 833 or the Mexican Lager yeast, as the beer is better.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 7870
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2012, 07:13:49 PM »
As far as fermentation goes, you can push it to 7 days on flagship beers, as long as your flagship beers are 6% and under (and ales). If you really need to push it you can carb and fine in 3-5 days in a bright tank with a diffusion stone - 10 lbs of pressure on top and 15 in dif stone at 38 degrees will get you carbonation very quickly allowing for a decent amount of head space. Aside from my white ale ale and IPA and IIPA I like to ship beers as close to crystal clear as possible. I'd love to be able to condition everything at 32 degrees for at least 2 weeks, but it isn't in the cards right now. But I do "lager" some of my beers for at least 5-7 days.
Keith Y.

Vote Jonathan Fuller for Governing Committee!

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2210
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing on a schedule
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2012, 10:33:54 AM »
I think I'll bump up my primary time to 14 days, and see how that goes. I'll also try to get down there more often to check on fermentation progress.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.