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April 22, 2012

Lots to Say (nothing to tell)

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to work with Andrew and Ben up at Federal Jack's in Kennebunkport, Maine for a day of brewing their Blue Fin Stout.  They use a 7 barrel system, and we were brewing 14 barrels of the stuff... so half on Wednesday, half on Thursday (for the latter I was not around).
  • What are some of the things I learned about?
  • PH: I need to get me one-a them there water filters, some phosphoric acid and litmus paper.
  • Yeast: Find one that works, and stick with it.
  • Consistency: Never ever ever ever surprise the consumer.  PH, Gravity, Grain Bill, Carbonation Rate, and Color need to be the same - every time.
  • Waste: Goats will eat just about anything... including spent grains.
  • Aroma: With a french press and whole leaf hops.
  • Mashing: Different grains work better on the bottom of the mash tun to help filter during mash-out... primarily your base grains will be better like the two-row I use because of the thickness of the husk.
  • Output: A small brewery like that does between 7 and 14 barrels/day.  That's between 217   and 434 Gallons... it would take me between 44 and 88 days with my current system to brew that.  I will hopefully be cutting that down to 11-22.
  • Contract Brewing: It is a possibility.  Chris over at Notch does it.
  • Recycled bottles: They come from the mid-west somewhere.
  • Taxes: They only come into the picture when there is a transaction.  Such as handing over your kegs to a distributer. 
  • Corrections: It is possible to correct a gravity that is too high by adding water, but only up to 3% of the total volume.
  • Water: Breweries use way more water than you might even believe.
Then on Thursday it was up to Shipyard Brewing in Portland, Maine.  We took the "behind the scenes" tour of the facility from soup-to-nuts.  What a great place!  Can't wait until that Monkey Fist hits the shelves!

Back in Bevtown we found out that there is a possible location on Elliot Street that is zoned correctly and available... so - keep your fingers crossed!

Next week... I'm going to brew three... count 'em... THREE batches in a row, and I'm going to see if I can get the consistency that we need to be successful.

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