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nostalgia 04-07-2009 07:18 PM

A 5 barrel brew day! Warning: lots of brewery pr0n pix.
Almost 40 pix here. I'll let you know when I've run out. Please wait to post until then so we get uninterrupted flow.

I visit a local brew pub from time to time - Krogh's Brew Pub in Sparta, NJ. Last time I was there the food and service were above and beyond, so I wrote them an email. Long story short, I met the owner of the business, Bob, and convinced him to let me join his brewer, Dave, for a brew day!

I showed up at 8 this morning to an empty restaurant, walking in with the milk delivery guy. I sauntered over to the entrance to the brewery in the corner.



Dave had already mashed in and was in the process of recirculating the wort to set the grain bed and start to clear the wort. I headed up to the control center to peek in on the MLT.




nostalgia 04-07-2009 07:21 PM

As the wort recirculated through the grain, the wort ran clearer and clearer in the sight glass.


At this point Dave started to fly sparge and slowly transfer the wort to the brew kettle at a rate of 1bbl/20 minutes. He tells me he's found this rate to give him the best efficiency - 95%!! Note the high tech volume measuring stick...



While the kettle was filling, we took a walk to the garage next door to mill grain for tomorrow's brew - a wheat.



nostalgia 04-07-2009 07:23 PM

He showed me the old consumer mill they used to use for specialty grains when they bought their grain pre-milled.


They now use this bad boy to mill the 200# grain bill.


Dave told me how they use rice hulls to prevent a stuck mash/sparge. He said 5# of rice hulls to 250# grain is plenty.


He then set about to milling. Here's the crush he got on his base grains.



nostalgia 04-07-2009 07:26 PM

And here's the crush on the wheat.


Back inside it was time to add the bittering hops. I think about 1# of pellets went in.


The owner stopped in during the boil to tell us it was turning into a rainforest in the main restaurant. So of course, we climbed up onto the roof to turn on the big vent fan. Here are a couple of views from the roof.




nostalgia 04-07-2009 07:29 PM

Now it was time to prepare the fermenter to receive wort. It was already sanitized and rinsed. He uses a no-rinse sanitizer but rinses it thoroughly. The tank next to the one we were filling was merrily bubbling away into its blowoff tube. You think your fermentation is vigorous? This thing was a fire hose of CO2. It looked like the water was at a rolling boil.


The chill plate was sanitized and rinsed. Eat your heart out over this monster.


A corny keg was put to good use supporting hoses for the pump.


Speaking of pumps, here's a better shot of the control panel.



nostalgia 04-07-2009 07:36 PM

And a better shot of the plumbing patch panel. Any of these pipes could be connected to one another via a jumper pipe. It was pretty cool.


It turns out Dave puts the yeast into the fermenting tank and adds the wort on top of it. He puts the wort in at 70-80F, then the glycol jacketed tanks bring the temp down to fermenting temperatures. He generally uses 1056 dry yeast. He pulls yeast from each batch and keeps it in corny kegs in the fridge. He'll re-use a batch up to 10 times.

This time he didn't have enough yeast in stock for this brew (he needed around 6# of slurry). So he had to pull some yeast off the stout that had finished in another tank. Hooked a tube up to the valve at the bottom and opened her up. First came the dead yeast and trub off the bottom.


Then the delicious, creamy yeast in that middle layer. That went right into the sanitized corny.


He stopped when the yeast started to thin out. He then pitched a whole bunch of this into the fermenter for the batch we were brewing. He says a 5bbl batch costs about $40 in dry yeast. It'd cost about $200 in liquid.

After the second hop addition it was time to pump the wort through the chiller and into the fermenter. During the transfer he injects O2 through a big aquarium stone in - the clear plastic line is O2 and the stone is before the sight glass.



nostalgia 04-07-2009 07:38 PM

The initial gravity of pre- and post-boil wort are taken. You can see the post-boil wort still chilling in a bowl in the sink.


Then of course, cleanup time. First the remaining wort in the MLT is poured down the drain.


Then out with the spent grains.


Here's the MLT's false bottom. These three plates were enormous and appeared to weigh a ton.



nostalgia 04-07-2009 07:41 PM

Everything got a good hose down.


And then it was done! I went out to the pub for lunch and a few pints of beer - the seasonal Irish stout, the Krogh's Gold (which is what Dave was brewing today) and the pale ale. All were wonderful. I had a fantastic time and can't thank Bob, Dave and Krogh's enough.

Here are a few more random pix for ya.

Hop cone after a 10 minute whirlpool.


Mash paddle, sample dipper and grain chute.


Steam condenser for the boil kettle. Cold water sprays in and condenses the steam from the kettle so it can just run into the drain instead of smelling up the neighborhood.



nostalgia 04-07-2009 07:44 PM

Another shot of the brew kettle and fermentation tanks.


MLT and HLT.


Bucket o' sanitizer with random bits n' pieces in it. I shot this because I'm sure most of us do the same thing.


The serving tanks where beer is held for the taps out front.


Ok, I think that's it! Any questions, feel free to ask. If I can't answer them I'll pass them along to Dave.


slimer 04-07-2009 07:45 PM


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