saving time on the back end

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Owly055

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I've put a lot of time into discovering ways to save time on the front end of brewing, and managed to consistently accomplish a complete brew in 2.5 hours including getting things out and cleaning up. Considering that I've brewed 9 batches (2.5 gallon) so far this year, and expect to brew number 10 this weekend, that savings is significant. I'm "filling the pipeline" so to speak. I increased the number of bottles in my stock, and added a fermenter (for doing lager)...... Which has increased my rate of brewing..... I'll soon drop back to about once a week.

The back end consumes significant time........ bottling, cleaning bottles, cleaning out fermenters for the next brew day, etc.... even organizing brews so I maintain a "first in first out" sequence..... It all takes time. I'm now working on cutting down back end time. The recent purchase of a "clean bottle express" was a good investment in this regard.... I don't know how long the fabric will last, but it does a good job and does it fast. I can see where a bottle washer, a bottle sanitizer, and a bottle drying rack where I could store empties between fills would significantly streamline things. In a perfect world I would have a bottle conditioning chamber with a conveyor.... new stuff goes in on one end and conditioned stuff comes out on the other....... Don't laugh....By "conveyor", I merely mean a piece of canvas on a metal surface, a roller on either end, and a hand crank. The unit would be a temperature controlled box large enough to hold all my bottles, with a door on either end... put them in on one end, take them out on the other.......

The problem is that I have very limited space...... Every living space.... house, apartment, etc should have a brew room just as they have a kitchen a bathroom, living room, and bedroom....... It's time architects took the need to brew into account as a fundamental human requirement.

H.W.
 
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Owly055

Owly055

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Tldr

I would not purposely try to limit my time on her back end, or make it go faster.[/QUOTE

Why on earth not??? Perhaps I'm different from other home brewers..... I have a life, and many hobbies and activities. The same thing applies to back end time as to front end time. The primary reason people don't brew is because it takes too much time. I'm trying to fit my passion for brewing into my life in a reasonable and rational way..... I don't want to be faced with the choice of racking or kicking back with a good book, or going fishing, or working on my pickup. When I meet some cool gal, I don't want to have to say...."how about coming over and washing bottles". I want my back end processes to be quick and efficient so when I get home from work I don't feel like I just don't have the energy to do it tonight........ It's no different from front end time. The last two brews I was able to do in the evening after dinner easily.... 7:00 to 9:30. The last brew I broke up, crushing grain in the morning, doughing in during lunch hour......... I start with hot tap water 130F, which is about 120 after adding it to the mash tun. With my cranked up kitchen stove and 2500 watt floating heater, it takes almost exactly 10 seconds per deg F.... That's less than 7 minutes to heat to 158 which was my strike temp. I was able to fill the mash tun and heat it to strike temp while I fixed my lunch. I then added the grain to the brew bag, slapped the lid on and wrapped it up with foam, and ate lunch...... When I got home in the evening I had dinner, made a few phone calls and then, I lifted the bag out and squeezed it, cranked up the burner and dropped the floating heater in, and was at boil in very short order.

Few folks brew the way I do... and that's OK.... I want brewing to fit into my life, NOT take it over.


H.W.
 

brick_haus

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I can brew four 2.5 gallon batches ( one 10 gallon batch)in 4.5 hrs. That's how you do it. Increase batch size...
 

Onkel_Udo

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The simple answer is kegging or larger bottles. the more complicated is do everything immediately.

All bottles get a hot water rinse twice and flipped over to drain immediately after pouring. No washing required.

For 2.5 gallons, a small bottle tree, the sanitizer pump and some Star San should have you bottle sanitized in minutes.

Capping...with only 48 bottles I would not both a it, but a bench capper is a huge time saver if working alone.
 
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Owly055

Owly055

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Whoosh! Swing and a miss. Don't worry - I saw what you did there. :D
Oops.......... That one flew right over my head ;-)......... I saw "the" when he wrote "her".... I saw what I expected to see........ Cute.... I flunked that one!!


H.W.
 
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Owly055

Owly055

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I can brew four 2.5 gallon batches ( one 10 gallon batch)in 4.5 hrs. That's how you do it. Increase batch size...
Larger batches are not an option for several reasons........ I'm well aware of the economy of size but it's out for me. I don't have the space to so it for one thing, for another it means that the joy of brewing would be diminished for me........ Much of that joy is experimentation. As it is I get to try something new once a week.........How many people brew weekly??? Please raise your hands ;-)

H.W.
 
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Owly055

Owly055

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The simple answer is kegging or larger bottles. the more complicated is do everything immediately.

All bottles get a hot water rinse twice and flipped over to drain immediately after pouring. No washing required.

For 2.5 gallons, a small bottle tree, the sanitizer pump and some Star San should have you bottle sanitized in minutes.

Capping...with only 48 bottles I would not both a it, but a bench capper is a huge time saver if working alone.
I don't see kegging...... I don't want keg beer or a kegerator, so it would be merely a way to carbonate. The bottle tree and sanitizer are at the head of my list..........

Unlike most homebrewers I use clear bottles. Some beers leave a haze on the inside surface of the bottles........ It is faint, and you will NOT see it using brown bottles. I see it, and am not satisfied until they are crystal clear....... If you don't believe me... try bottling in clear bottles for awhile!! Brown hides a multitude of sins. My bottles are all EzCap swing top bottles. I and my friends ALL rinse with hot water immediately, and shake well to get the sediment out........ They are trained, or they don't get beer!!


H.W.
 

Onkel_Udo

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If you don't believe me... try bottling in clear bottles for awhile!!
No thanks...gave up bottling for the most part and gave up making my life more difficult for the sake of "aesthetics" in my 20's.
 

masskrug

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I use one liter screw-top bottles (leftover carbonated water bottles). 18 bottles per batch instead of 48, no capper to fiddle with. Can you drink one liter in a sitting?
I rinse bottles thoroughly after use and store them upside down.
On bottling day I spray the inside with Starsan and proceed to bottle.

I can bottle a 19L batch in a little over an hour.
 
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Owly055

Owly055

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What do you use for lids on the screw top carbonated water bottles??
 

masskrug

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The lids that came with the bottles. They are reusable.
 

Calichusetts

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If you are against kegging, then definitely go with larger bottle sizes, bombers should still net 12-16 bottles off a 2.5 gallon batch. Half the time and work.

I hear ya on batch size limitations, so 2.5 gallon sizes should be fine. Consider a partigyle on a brew day, one large barley wine or something with a session or pale ale/mild all done in one brew day. It will only extent your brew day an hour or so and worth it in the end.

As for the back end, clean clean clean. Bottles should be cleaned as you use them...thoroughly. That way, its simply sanitize and go on bottling day. Prepackage bottling sugar to lowest common denominator or consistent amount. That way it is grab and go. Grab caps and "back end" needs on brew day so there is no extra visits to the LHBS.

Consider the day/time you brew. If you are down to under 3 hours consider a low-key weekday night instead of the weekend. Won't eat into "fun time" or interfere with other plans. Connect your schedule. Bottle during the boil so that you can simply pitch your wort onto the cake. Consider yeast population. Use a low OG cake to pitch with a high OG wort/beer.

This may seem counterintuitive, but consider longer boils, 90-120 minutes. This gives you extra time to do the "back end" needs during the boil: bottling, transfer to secondary, cleaning, etc.

Finally, consider wasted time. I don't know your hobbies and schedule other than what you posted, but if you have 5 minutes, bring up equipment to do a yeast starter. Next commercial/free time, set up a starter, next time, boil, next time, ice it, next time, pitch it. This can easily apply to the back end. Bring up bottles when you have a minute, sanitize next, boil sugar water, finally bottle. You don't need to make every event in brewing a singular activity, split it up.

Hope this helped
 
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