Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Drankin Foul Beer... For Knowledge!

I attended my first Cap & Hare Homebrew Club meeting as an official member last night. The meeting was held at Rahr Brewery, so it wasn't hard to make it. I worked a little late and just happened to be early. Good folks and great beer... but then there was the foul beer. They purchased a sensory training kit from the Siebel Institute with samples of different infections to add to good beer, so that tastes and smells could be identified. Along with each picture was a description of the infection and explanations of what causes it. Very good stuff to know if you are home brewing or working in a brewery (like me) or just for the knowledge. Most of the beers smelled worse than they actually tasted, but a couple were very bad on both accounts. The great thing about a Cap & Hare meeting is that there is always great home brew to help wash away something like infected beer samples. As I read the descriptions, it was hard to believe I was drinking these on purpose. Glad to have had the opportunity though. For the record, the Indole smelled more like Outdo, if you catch my drift.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Beer Plumbing

The bottling line at Rahr Brewing is new... and I-talian. It came with a manual, also in I-talian. We've just kinda had to figure it out, as many breweries do.

In the breaking-in period, we have had to make some adjustments and modifications. Being the Master Plumber, I get to do a lot of it. Being an I-talian machine, nothing was standard, so I had to improvise. And since it was custom, I signed it with solder.

Beer is sticky and filling bottles with it makes a mess. We needed to rinse them off as they came out of the capper. Easy business... I just tapped into the water feed that runs across the top of the unit, added a valve, then another tee with a couple of drops which I drilled small holes into and PRESTO! Rinsed bottles.

I didn't love it, but it was functional. A few weeks back, we had an intern at the brewery who suggested using shower heads like he had seen at another brewery. GREAT idea! And very easy to put into place, plus giving me the opportunity to make it look prettier. Sometimes, even if it works fine, if it's ugly I hate it. I have to look at it all the time. So.... about $20 in parts and now we have a much better, more sightly bottle rinser. Next up, air knife to dry them.

Bottling line is in full effect now, pumping out up to 1200 cases a day. It's a fantastic thing to watch, just wear ear plugs. And be thirsty!