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Got a great tip for your fellow brewers?

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  • Got a great tip for your fellow brewers?

    Help us expand this great resource Jamie Martin helped us create for the brewing community. There are no Stupid Questions, and though your tip might seem like common Brewer's sense to you, it could be someone elses epiphany.

  • #2
    Always STOP! And think about what you're doing.

    From my experiences and my peers (who shall remain nameless)


    * Never dump a bag of rice hulls into an auger
    * Always remember to turn your kettle on BEFORE you reach targeted kettle volume
    * Never stick your head into a manway of a tank that has recently been purged with CO2
    * Always remember to turn off the water inlet valve of a kettle when you walk away from the brewhouse(especially when there is already preheated hot water in it....especially if the brewhouse exhaust fan isn't on... especially if the brewhouse door is wide open...especially if the fire department has installed detectors that light up quick when steam hits them!


    *Always make sure you've turned your heat exchanger on before knock out.....especially if you don't realize that your wort temp in your fermenter is 200 F....and especially if you've already pitched your yeast! (times 4!)
    * If you are priming your cask beer with sugar, make sure to add it into the cask before you've hammered the bung in...especially if you've already filled it with beer
    *When purging wort through a hose on brewday from your heat exchanger to the fermenter, make sure the wort that is being purged isn't from yesterday's brew
    Mike Roy
    Franklins Restaurant, Brewery & General Store
    5123 Baltimore Ave
    Hyattsville,MD 20781


    • #3
      Mike, those are some awesome tips and it is pretty funny knowing the background stories. One tip you may have forgotten to mention was not to sparge with wort.


      • #4
        Hot tank level

        We should take a tip from the boiler manufactures and put a stipe of paint or tape down the back side of our sight glass to make it easier to read the level in the tank.


        • #5
          Scale issues

          How many scale issues are there? A bunch I bet!

          A thought- Small scale brewers may have more interest in higher quality ingredients than large scale producers,,,,and they should.

          Unique ingredients may not always be available in scale to large brewers.

          Small can be tasty!

          Small scale folks can corner small markets?

          Why don't large scale brewers invest more in unique opportunities like small scale brewers?? Are they just comfortable in their success? Change is no longer needed? Really?


          • #6
            Remember to turn the Water tap off at the faucet and dont just leave the water hose nozzle closed before you leave work

            And make sure you put the labels the right way up in the labeler and keep the crown hopper on the filler toped up at all times .
            Last edited by matthendry; 07-31-2009, 08:25 AM.


            • #7
              • Never have your CIP pump switch "ON" while you are plugging it in (arc action!).
              • Never stand in front of a pump "output" while you turn it on.
              • Slow down and check you malt bill twice, hop bill twice, FINAL GRAVITY three times, and deliberately note the state of your valves BEFORE you turn on the pump.
              • Learn (teach yourself, get a book, bug a pro) how to fix EVERYTHING in the brewery but know when to call a professional. For me, it's usually electrical and refrigeration.
              • Learn how to do everything in the brewery. EVERYTHING. From washing kegs to brewing to running the packaging line to running the tasting room to working the books. This takes a lot of time, but it is so worth it.
              • Don't let a job title go to your head.
              • Realize it's okay to say to someone (your boss, customer, vendor, employee) "I don't know. But I'll find out for you."
              • Just because the sight glass says you have one barrel of beer left, don't always believe it. Drain it and refill to be certain.
              • Keep current on maintenance.
              • Go around the brewhouse and cellar and retighten all the triclamps. They loosen over time.
              • Keep great inventory records. Whoever has the most paperwork, wins!
              • Mop the floor once in awhile. It keeps you humble.

              Glacier Brewing Company

              "who said what now?"


              • #8
                When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

                - I previously worked for a brewer who was a Pharmacist before he started brewing. As a Pharmacist he was trained to triple check everything he did before he did it. I use this in the brewery everyday before I start processes, remove clamps, or open valves, and it has saved me much grief and I’m sure a significant amount of pain.

                Some of these are from my own personal experience; others were at my peer’s expense:
                • Always make sure the Hot Liquor Tank is NOT open before you start your whirlpool
                • Always ensure that the sample port and racking arm valves are CLOSED, and that the CIP valve is OPEN before you start to knock out
                • If you have a pre-chiller on your heat exchanger don’t turn it on too soon before knock out, the sani in your HX will freeze
                • Don’t lean over the kettle with stuff in your shirt pocket (has anyone seen my phone?)
                • Beer Stone Sucks!!! Acid is your friend, run regular acid/passivation cycles. If you stay on top of it you will save yourself a lot of grief, time, and expense.
                • Bleach + Stainless = Pitted Stainless - Leave the bleach in the janitors closet where it belongs
                • Stay sober in the brewery!! There are too many ways to hurt yourself. People already think all we do is stand around and drink beer all day, don’t fuel the myth.
                • Don’t tuck your pants into your boots (or your coat into your waders)
                • Always know where the nearest sample valve is in reference to your head, the scars on my head will prove why.
                • When carbonating beer, tie a string around your finger, set a timer, put a note at the bottom of your pint – Just don’t forget, I have seen foam 6” deep in a cooler from trying to degas a over-carbed beer

                Last edited by Jephro; 07-31-2009, 07:52 PM.
                Jeff Byrne


                • #9
                  Don't vent tank X, then accidentally open the manway of pressurized tank Y.

                  When you are ready to CIP a fermenter, don't dump your trub only to realize moments later (because you were dumb enough to walk away to the storage closet to get something) you had 10 Bbls of fermenting wort in there.

                  Don't accidentally pump caustic into your HLT because you didn't close a valve before cleaning.

                  Don't "work" at the Spring Brewer's Fest on a completely empty stomach, on the hottest day of the year.


                  • #10

                    • Don’t transfer 3 ton of a 20 ton ale malt deliverer, then realize you are actually putting it into a pilsner malt silo, even if it is 5am, you are going to look pretty stupid.

                    • Don’t try to CIP a tank with 200hl of pilsner in it; it’s very hard to get a 3 inch tri clover blank and seal back onto a tank full of very, very cold beer.

                    • Don’t leave the kettle drain valve open, and then transfer in 50hl of wort from the wort holding vessel, its not so cool when you realize that all the foam in the brewery drains, is the wort that is meant to be in the kettle.

                    • Don’t yeast off a tank and walk away, its very hard to then filter that beer if the cellar hand has dumped 50hl of a 50hl batch down the drain.

                    • Don’t forget to set the cooling to the right temp after you have finished your brew day, just turning the cooler back on and not checking is asking for trouble, i.e. the next morning the 200hl of wort is at 0 degrees C, or it over the next to days hits 30 degrees C.

                    • Do buy a cheapish digital watch with a 20 min count down timer function, its great, you just set it going and because 20 minutes have pasted and have been distracted by 20 other jobs you remember what you where doing 20 minutes ago, saved my bacon a lot of times that $100 watch.


                    • Don’t put the wrong labels on a bottle, sound pretty obvious, but when you have body, neck and back labels, it can happen, so check them at regular intervals, because it’s not much fun putting a few thousand bottle in water to float of the labels, then relabel them.

                    • Don’t run hot liquor through any lab or portable brewery equipment like a CO2 gehalt meter.

                    Cheers and Beers



                    • #11
                      All very good tips, brettles.

                      I'll add one to it... if the bottom of a tank is stuck with yeast or trub, be very careful how you unblock it. There's nothing quite like leaving a person-shaped yeast silhouette on the wall behind you.


                      • #12
                        Hop Time!

                        Great tip for brewers?

                        Hop harvest time is right around the corner.

                        Are you planning to make a Fresh Hop Ale? Better order your hops now! Take your staff to the fields and have an educational day picking hops! Take the time now to learn more about hops!

                        Get yer hops!!
                        Get yer hops!!

                        'Tis the season!!


                        • #13
                          1. Always ask if they will work for beer. You'd never believe how many tradesmen will help you out for just material cost if you run them a bar tab for their labor.
                          2. Check your yeast viability BEFORE you start the brew.
                          3. You will need four times as many taphandles as you think you should. When taphandles get to a distributor, every salesperson will grab one just to stash in their car for when they might need one.
                          4. You can freeze the water in the lines of a jockey box if the ice you used came out of a deep freeze. And it's no fun trying to thaw the lines out when you have a line of people waiting on beer. Run beer through the lines first before putting the ice in.
                          5. Make sure your glycol percentage is right in your chillers. It needs to be right for the suction temperature of the REFRIGERANT not the temperature you expect to hold the glycol/ water mixture at. If not, you will have ice building up on your heat transfer coils, lowering the cooling capacity of the chiller. Took me three years to realize that.
                          Linus Hall
                          Yazoo Brewing
                          Nashville, TN


                          • #14
                            Dry Hop- magic info

                            Ok, let's try sharing this info here!

                            You want dry hop magic at the pub?,,listen up!


                            Cheat it all.

                            Option 1- 2 large water filters in line to the tap with one packed with whole leaf KILLER FLAVOR hops,,and the second to catch particles. 1/4 # per 5 gallon dispense. Use really good hops! Advertise the special option.

                            Option cheat big-
                            You may not like this answer and you can doctor it to perfection.
                            You can brew your own brews or even dispense even Natural light to win this one.

                            Here's the big ez magic,,,yet seasonal? (Fresh is the game,,,but dried works ok,,,it's just got flakes and chunks in the glass and a different flavor.)

                            One fresh cone of really good hops in even 12 oz of Natural light is a whole new animal,,sometimes over the top in hop flavor. Use super good fresh hops,,,maybe from the freezer or fridge or field.

                            Imagine a fresh hop cone floating uncrushed in your pint of brew at you own pub with your beer as the base.

                            Do you think folks that like fruit chunks in their fruity bev might want to try a beer with a fresh hop cone in it? I know they do!!!!!!!!!! Want another market share?

                            Hello out there!

                            'Tis the season!!

                            Get yer hops on!!!!


                            • #15
                              Speaking of hops

                              Dry hopping in a fermenter that was closed off.

                              Pellets up the nose while you try to reattach a PRV 15 feet above ground always ends up with stitches and ruined clothes.

                              Oh, if you happen to have a toilet that was piped into the brewery drains, just smash the thing before it becomes a kitchen folks have to number 2 without holding up the restaurant bathrooms. Never had more fun with a sledgehammer.