A 5 barrel brew day! Warning: lots of brewery pr0n pix.

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nostalgia

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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.





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nostalgia

nostalgia

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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.



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nostalgia

nostalgia

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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.



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nostalgia

nostalgia

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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.





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nostalgia

nostalgia

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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.



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nostalgia

nostalgia

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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.



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nostalgia

nostalgia

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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.



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nostalgia

nostalgia

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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.



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nostalgia

nostalgia

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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.

-Joe
 

McKBrew

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When I can get home from work where photobucket is blocked and actually see something besides red X's, I'll echo slimer's response.
 

EvilTOJ

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Wow that is so cool! OK I have a question; what kind of sanitizer does he use?
 

thorongil

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Sweet thread! :mug:

Gives me great ideas for automation when I finally decide to go that way. Love the control panel and patch-panel for the pump...
 
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nostalgia

nostalgia

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Wow that is so cool! OK I have a question; what kind of sanitizer does he use?
You know, I didn't ask the name of it. The no-rinse stuff he said takes 15-25 minutes of contact to sanitize. Which is why when he needed to re-sanitize one of the corny kegs of yeast he mixed up a batch of Idophor, since he says that only needs 5-10 minutes of contact.

-Joe
 

ajwillys

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Wow! Thanks so much for the pics and descriptions! It's amazing how similar this is to the typical brew day that all of us have. I guess in the end, we're all just making beer.

That pipe patch panel was freakin' awesome.
 

thorongil

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Questions:

1. What does he use for a heat exchanger?
2. What about hops filter (for the kettle)?

Looking to glean ideas from one of the "big guys"...
 
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nostalgia

nostalgia

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Questions:

1. What does he use for a heat exchanger?
2. What about hops filter (for the kettle)?

Looking to glean ideas from one of the "big guys"...
1. That big blue thing with the big bolts going through it. Says, "Meuller Accu-Therm Plate Heat Exchanger" on it.

2. Nothing. I specifically asked this. All he does is whirlpool.

-Joe
 
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nostalgia

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One other thing I thought was interesting: we were talking about the fermenter bubbling into the blowoff bucket. Dave said he was going to cap it in a day or two. "Cap it?" I asked. He lets the yeast finish fermenting in a sealed vessel to partially carbonate the beer naturally.

To finish/adjust the carbonation, he uses a carbonation stone (like for the O2 aeration) with CO2 inline during the transfer to the serving tanks.

I wonder if this could be duplicated at the homebrew level? Imagine transferring your wort from primary/secondary into your keg and carbonating it en route?

-Joe
 

Bopper

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Wow! Awesome post!! Looks like you had a great day!

PROST!
 

JVD_X

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I have a question... what was used to get all the grain out of the MLT? Did you just reach in and pull it out with a shovel or something?

Also - all that wort/yeast and whatnot ending up on the floor - does he just wash it down at the end of the day? or is a cleaner used?
 

SpanishCastleAle

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That's awesome!

Any idea how much backpressure the steam condenser causes?

How is the beer in those serving tanks kept cold?
 

dontman

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easily the best photo essay I've seen on the commercial brewing process.

You also explained how breweries go from grain to glass so quickly. When I spent the day at Dock Street here in Philly they did the same thing but I was curious as to the process. They were serving big beers at around 2 weeks 3 tops.
 

red96jeep

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wow i want all of that, did he mention anything about why they have the setup placed out the way they do or anything else on the logistics of it?
 

thorongil

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Duh... I was thinking heat exchanger = HERMS coil, not plate chiller... Is the mash tun directly fired for temperature control?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thorongil
Questions:

1. What does he use for a heat exchanger?
2. What about hops filter (for the kettle)?

Looking to glean ideas from one of the "big guys"...
1. That big blue thing with the big bolts going through it. Says, "Meuller Accu-Therm Plate Heat Exchanger" on it.

2. Nothing. I specifically asked this. All he does is whirlpool.
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

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I have a question... what was used to get all the grain out of the MLT? Did you just reach in and pull it out with a shovel or something?
He just reached in the top with the stainless mash paddle and pushed it out the front door. When it was almost done he used a squeegee to scrape the rest out.

Also - all that wort/yeast and whatnot ending up on the floor - does he just wash it down at the end of the day? or is a cleaner used?
Yep, just washed it down the drains in the floo rwith a garden hose.

-Joe
 
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nostalgia

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wow i want all of that, did he mention anything about why they have the setup placed out the way they do or anything else on the logistics of it?
They had to fit everything in the space they already had.

-Joe
 

944play

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To finish/adjust the carbonation, he uses a carbonation stone (like for the O2 aeration) with CO2 inline during the transfer to the serving tanks.
You could get one of these:

And rig up something like this. 2.5g corny in the middle with carbonation lid, keg on right w/spunding valve. You'll only get 2.5g of truly inline-carbonated beer, but you asked.:cross:

inline.jpg
 

magnj

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Thanks for all the photos, I didn't know they even existed sadly. I'll have to make the trip over there some time and drop your name :p
I'm thinking of asking a local brewpub here to let me help them brew next year while I'm in between school...how did you get into that conversation?
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

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Thanks for all the photos, I didn't know they even existed sadly. I'll have to make the trip over there some time and drop your name :p
I'm thinking of asking a local brewpub here to let me help them brew next year while I'm in between school...how did you get into that conversation?
Heehee. Let me know when you're in the area and I'll buy the first round :)

I started by asking if they do a brewery tour, then mentioned I'm a homebrewer and would love to see an active brew day. I figured if it was OK, they'd offer. If not, oh well, I can still drink their beer :D

-Joe
 
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