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Old 04-07-2012, 09:26 PM   #1
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Default Working in a brewery...

It seems pretty obvious, but would you learn a lot? I'm wondering if you'd be too busy scrubbing tanks to learn anything...

Can working in a brewery teach anything that will be able to be applied to brewing in the house or is it all too big of a scale?

Just curious - I'd considered 'volunteering' in a brewery to gain knowledge. I don't need the money and feel like they'd be more willing to let someone come in and work for knowledge and to be able to pick their brain. I have quite a bit of time off with my job so I thought it may be a good way to spend spare time.

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Old 04-07-2012, 10:45 PM   #2
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I suppose it would depend on the scale of the brewery. At a local microbrewery I'd reckon they'd have a lot to share, working for Anheuser-Bush on the other hand where they basically operate assembly line style I'd imagine they'd teach you the one or two steps that's your job and that's it.

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Old 04-07-2012, 10:59 PM   #3
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I worked at a regional brewery for a summer. Not big national chain but still much bigger than a local brewpub or microbrew.

It was mostly b**ch work for the first month or so: using the kegging machine to rinse/clean/sanitize/fill kegs and rack and forklift them to the cold room, climbing a humongous ladder to dry-hop the super tall fermentation vessels, drag ridiculously heavy hoses around while switching them amongst the MLT/kettle/vessels/serving-tanks, carry/forklift 55# bags of specialty grain to the mill room and milling (every now and then tasting the malt... mmmmm)

OH OH! And the most fun was climbing into the hot a** MLT after sparging/lautering to shovel and hose the grain out. I have never sweat more in the entire life, and added to that I'm 6'4" and the standing room is about 3'6"


And you know what? I still have the dream of opening a brew pub. I was sore, tired, and disgusting all the time and I friggin loved it.

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Old 04-08-2012, 04:16 AM   #4
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I quit my job as a highschool teacher about six months ago to take a job as a brewer at a brewery that did just under 100k barrels last year, so far from a small operation. I have never worked harder in my life, or been happier.

In a lot of ways brewing is brewing whether its 5 gallons or 50 barrel batches like I brew now. Most of my learning has had to do with the mechanics of brewing at this scale, which of course is not entirely applicable to my homebrewing.

It is far from a glamorous job, but its a lot of fun at the same time. I say go for it, volunteer, see if you enjoy it and if you do, pursue it.

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Old 04-08-2012, 05:19 AM   #5
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Boomer....I've never worked in a brewery, so take this with a grain of salt. If you are strictly thinking of doing this to gain knowledge about homebrewing, I'm thinking your time might be better spent on sites like this and others, dedicated to homebrewing. It does sound like it might be fun to try however. If you don't like it, walk away.

Curious what you do for a living. Money is not an issue and lots of time off. Sounds like my cup of tea.

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Old 04-08-2012, 05:29 AM   #6
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Seems to me (from my zero experience doing it) that large scale commercial brewing (at least relative to my 5 gallon batches I see more than a barrel at a time as such) is a completely different ball game than home brewing. I'd think that if you're just looking to improve your homebrew and that's the extent, it's not worth it. If you have any desire to get into the pro game, then by all means do it as the experience will probably be invaluable. If you're just a kind generous person looking to help out your local brewer and make friends, then props to you and you can make that call. But I don't know how much useful knowledge for homebrewing you'll gain that you can't get either on a site like this, or from a homebrew club without the grunt work of scrubbing tanks and hauling grain.

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Old 04-08-2012, 05:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dedhedjed View Post
I quit my job as a highschool teacher about six months ago to take a job as a brewer at a brewery that did just under 100k barrels last year, so far from a small operation. I have never worked harder in my life, or been happier.

In a lot of ways brewing is brewing whether its 5 gallons or 50 barrel batches like I brew now. Most of my learning has had to do with the mechanics of brewing at this scale, which of course is not entirely applicable to my homebrewing.

It is far from a glamorous job, but its a lot of fun at the same time. I say go for it, volunteer, see if you enjoy it and if you do, pursue it.
Which brewery here in Atlanta, if you don't mind me asking?
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:28 PM   #8
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SweetWater...

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Old 01-20-2013, 02:31 PM   #9
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Hey boomer,
I saw you question and I couldn’t help but post a response. What exactly are you looking to do? Do you want to switch careers or just expand you knowledge of brewing?

I noticed that you have over 200+ posts on here, so you are defiantly on the right track to expanding your knowledge. These online forums are great for learning about brewing (new techniques, tips, etc..). Something else to consider is taking a formal class from an accredited school. But again this all has to do with end result that you are looking for.

Now if you want a change in careers, yes volunteering is the best was of getting you foot in the door sometimes. Working at a brewery you will learn things that you will never learn at home and would really be no use to a home brewer. Some of these thing: CIP of equipment, Kegging/ bottling line operation/ working a four roller mill and other things.

I myself quit my job as an accountant and pursued a career in brewing. I currently work in a small brewpub (3500bl/year). And I can truly say that I love. It is hard work though and not always fun and games. I would easily say that about 70% of my time is spent either clean or sanitizing or something other then brewing.

One of the greatest assets that I have for learning is my coworkers. We always bounce are recipes and brewing ideas off of each other. I still use this website to pick up new information and tips I use many other websites also like hopville.

So if getting a job or changing careers is your goal, yes volunteer. If acquiring more knowledge is your goal just keep doing what your doing.

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Old 01-20-2013, 02:59 PM   #10
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We toured Red Brick Brewery, the old Atlanta Brewing Company, about two weeks ago and while there I noticed an awesome single tier setup. I asked the guide if they used it for “experimental batches”. His reply was that they required everyone employed to know and understand the brewing process and this equipment was for the employees to perfect their techniques and knowledge. It would be in use at least 3 times a week, they would have tastings of the employees’ batches and the winners would have their batches featured on tour/tasting nights. We have also toured Terrapin and they also seem to have the same laid back, everyone is your best friend attitude so a smaller Micro/Regional brewery would probably fit in to what you are looking for but a large nationally distributed factory probably would not.

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