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Old 04-02-2007, 07:53 PM   #11
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I know that they have all the Celis recipes, and use the name on them. The Gran(d?) Cru (7.5% IIRC) is quite popular, as is the White. I haven't ventured into the Celis offerings myself, yet. I like the MBC stuff A LOT.

I have heard that the Celis name carries the place (heresay, but understandable) and that leaves them free to do the MBC stuff, which IMHO, does not make them much money, but the beers are GREAT.

The established distribution of the Celis stuff is much higher volume, although many local restaurants and bars carry the MBC IPA.

They just moved into a huge new place directly behind the old place. I have been beating on the Operations guy to update the website, and apparently they just started. It has a new look and slightly different/new URL than I had saved as a Favorite. It is not yet complete though, as there was much more info before this change. It will probably take some time to complete as they have an in-house HBS, Things Beer, as well, so a lot of info to redo.

New website home:

http://www.michiganbrewing.com/

Link to the Celis White info:

http://www.michiganbrewing.com/downloads/beer.pdf

The 'On Tap' menu is best seen here as the logo downloads page, until the rest of the site is upgraded. Only the MBC beers are listed with descriptions on the actual "On Tap" page, and it is limited now, compared to before.

http://www.michiganbrewing.com/downloads.htm

As to the kettles, they have acquired a lot SS fermenters and stuff, the old site showed a huge number of them laying on their sides, but that pic is not available now. I do not think that they use any copper, now, but I will be finding out for sure. The old brewery location had only SS.

They have acquired a lot of stuff from other sources over the years. They bought an old traditional carved wood bar, from Ohio IIRC; full back bar with huge mirror, bar counter, and even brass tubing and stanchion foot rest-full length of the bar, for The Pub. It is BEAUTIFUL.

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Old 04-07-2007, 04:07 PM   #12
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Sounds like a nice place to visit. I just hope that someone bought those kettles or they made it back to Belgium. We only have a couple of microbreweries in Austin now and they too have gone all stainless but these establishments are quite small. St. Arnold's is in Houston and they have a few very nice beers and a short tour; for the upcoming Texas summer I like their Lawnmower Beer,.........uh is it wrong that I reach for it instead of gatorade or powerade? My biggest disappointment for tours comes from the Dublin Ireland tour of the Guinness. The tour took on more of a carnival feel than an actual Q&A tour like I've experienced from smaller breweries. At the end I think all the tour guide wanted was for us to spend money in the specialty store which you had to walk through to leave the tour.

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Old 04-12-2007, 08:40 PM   #13
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WOO-HOO!

Tuning up (home draft IPA) to take the tour. Had a huge hunk of steel taken outa my iris last week; put me outa the mood to play. Friggin' huge crater from having to 'burr' (Ophthalmologist's die grinder) the rust ring out. Had LASIK last year (20/15) and I haven't remembered to wear eye protection, since I wore glasses for over 30 years... I'll remember from now on.

Gonna try to concentrate on 'method' as the scale is gonna blow me away. I did find out last nite that the copper Celis MLT and Boiler are still there, they are ancient and they feel it's sacrilege to sell them, but really only use the SS stuff since its so forgiving, and easy to clean. 13 SS fermenters, IIRC.

Tried the Celis Grand Cru; sweet and syrupy, don't care for it at all. Gonna 'taste' everything today, only had about 4 beers so far. Probably get trashed and not remember chit...

Taking the camera; if I can use it, I don't know. Brewmaster is cool and real helpful, I'm gonna hold off on asking about getting a yeast freebie because I'm still a ways from being equipment-ready. I think anyway he could help me in the future, he will. He uses Pro-Mash Pro, and Plato, and that's gonna make assimilation awkward, too. :P

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Old 04-13-2007, 01:53 PM   #14
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Life Changing. That's how it feels.

I had free reign to see everything, go everywhere, ask anything, take pictures of everything. It was just the Brewmaster and me, for as long as I wanted to be there. I may mis-state or poorly describe some stuff, but I'll try to give you the feel of what I saw and did.

I spent the evening wandering thru about 66,000 sq ft of Brewery. I have pictures of anything and everything there is. I saw the whole process, all the equipment, all the backup, spare, and redundant stuff. There's enough stuff in there to make about 4 breweries, and 3 Pubs! The owner has bought out several smaller breweries (including Celis), a LHBS, and 2 different, complete bars. There is about 1/4 of the floor space devoted to just spare parts, huge pumps, racks of SS piping, valves, tanks, 10 gallon cornies, kettles, boilers, LT's, pub bars, you name it, it is there sitting in piles! There is a distillation system, a 100 year old tooled copper and glass German distiller(INCREDIBLE THING!), an ancient, huge fruit pitter, several SS double wall tanks, and assorted other processing stuff from MSU that will be used to teach distillation classes to MSU students. This takes about 1/8 of the floor space .

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Old 04-13-2007, 01:55 PM   #15
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Stuff that is set-up:

About (14) 60 barrel conical Fermenters, about (6) 100 gallon conical Fermenters (unused), 4 'Brite Tanks', used to rack to and keg from, DE filter, Centrifuge, caustic soda cleaner system, Glycol system, Steam system, Compressed Air system, base grain silo tank, the Mill and Flexible Auger feed system going to the 'Brewhouse', the 'cell' of the Brewhouse (Mash Tun, Lauter Tun, and Boiler. All batches are step/rest mashed, then boiled and later 'whirl-pooled' in the boiler, while drained by a port slightly offset form the center of the boiler, and separated from the center drain port by a 'fence', a semicircle of SS about 5 or 6 inches tall that allows the wort to drain free, leaving pellet hops in the center and drained and rinsed out afterward), which is where a recipe is processed. I saw the Effluent Tank, where brewing wastes are stored temporarily until the pH of the contents is neutralized before discharging out to the sewer system. Since the trub and rinse water are acidic, they are stored temporarily until a cleaning of something in the place puts caustic soda into the Effluent tank. When the accumulated mix is pH neutral it is safe to just release into the normal waste system; the cleanest industrial operating system I could ever imagine. Sometimes just adding water is enough to make it safe to discharge, sometimes it has to wait for a fermenter or the boiler to be emptied, sometimes it has to wait until something needs to cleaned with soda. All the floor drain system is connected to to the Effluent System, and the place is hosed and squeegeed down into the drains every night. I saw the Production board, where batches and logistics keep everything utilized. Yeast is only bought a couple or three times a year, and is reused constantly, always active. Spent grain is sold to area farmers. Fermenters get a 1/2 gallon drain of the bottom of the cone every morning. There is nothing cooler than seeing a 1 or 1 1/4 inch SS blow off pipe going into a 6 gallon bucket of water fro a 60 barrel conical! LOUD and VIOLENT!

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Old 04-13-2007, 01:58 PM   #16
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I saw the on-site cooler, which houses filled kegs, and the kegging system that feeds the Pub. It is a pretty fair distance out to the Pub, maybe 80-100 feet, and the system uses beer gas and CO2, and glycol to cool the lines' run. 14 beers on tap at any time. I saw the bottling line which takes palleted empties from a pallet, sends them thru an air blast, cleaning, sanitizing, filling, labeling, and corraling into 6's for setting into 6 pack cardboard carriers, all automatic. Most grain is used straight from the #50 sack; but there is the immense silo system installed that will be put into use soon for just holding 2 row, as it is the main ingredient in most everything. And there is still unused empty space to grow. They could increase their production by about 8 times and still not be crowded!

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Old 04-13-2007, 02:00 PM   #17
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The biggest thing; the best trick that I learned: Whenever you make a batch of anything, after you think your recipe is ready, before the milling takes place, before you just launch into activity, STOP and grab a small handful, maybe 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of every separate type of grain, pop it into your mouth, crush up all the kernels, then suck the juice of the grain and taste the flavor. Then spit it into the trashcan. You want to see what the difference is between a 2-row, and a Maris Otter? Crunch up a bit of each and taste and you'll KNOW what the finish flavor will be when a specific grain is used in your recipe. Thats what they do, for every batch, for every grain. That lets them know how fresh their stock is, and is a way to tailor recipes by being able to fairly easily assess their ingredients' qualities, on a constant basis. Simple and real effective, but I have never seen this mentioned in any way in all the research I have done on HBing. I urge you to try this, and it should be a big help to you. Ask at the LHBS to TASTE any grain that you are contemplating. If they are truly a sincere shop and not just a retailer, they will let you try out the grains that you wish to use.

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