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Craft brewery quality control / laboratory set up

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  • Craft brewery quality control / laboratory set up

    Hi all,

    I’m starting a small craft brewery in Europe for which I would like to buy a basic lab / testing set up that will last for years to come. I have read what is there to find online but the resources seem to be fairly limited for small craft brewery. My knowledge in this space is nonexistent hence any advice / recommendations on set up and specific products would be greatly appreciated.

    although I do not have a specific budget, I wouldn’t mind spending USD / EUR 1k for good set up, or more if worth the spend.

    Digital PH and refractometer are the obvious items to start with, but I would also be keen to hear if there are any other good items to consider, or even a more expensive ‘all in one’ type solution?

    many thanks,
    Peter

  • #2
    HI Peter, This article from the Equipped Brewer is a good place to start: https://www.equippedbrewer.com/produ...ty-control-lab
    Give me a shout if you need more help. Doc White, Brewing & Distilling Center; e: todd@getbdc.com or ph: 865-622-7511. Cheers!

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    • #3
      If you are starting out small, and I assume since you are in London, you are setting up in London, the absolute basics are
      pH meter plus calibration solutions
      pH test strips (not litmus - not accurate enough)
      Starch testing solutions
      Assuming you use PAA as a sanitiser - PAA test strips - not perfect by any means but better than a kick up the bum
      Analysis solutions for acid and caustic detergent solutions - again, only really essential if you are re-using and topping up
      A range of saccharometers accurate to 0.1 degree SG - see stephenson reeves in Edinburgh though others such as staffordshire brewing supplies also have SRs saccharometers - warning - these are not cheap. You need to be able to accurately measure the OG and FG of you r beers to be able to calculate the ABV routinely (don't forget you will have to send samples away to Murphys, Brewlab etc for periodic analysis) - see HMC&E notice 226 for details - and make sure you adhere strictly to the instructions - risk of closure, fines etc if you do not. A hand held refractometer is not accurate enough to be able to calculate ABV to the required standard
      If you re-pitch yeast, a suitable microscope, slides, haemocytometer, stains (normally methylene blue as a minimum).
      Suitable lab accuracy scales - single or preferably double digit decimal point
      Suitable scales for small amounts of malt and hops
      For quick checks on cleaning / sanitisation performance an ATPase swab/test kit - not particularly cheap, but worth their weight in gold
      Accurate alcohol in glass thermometers for lab use and for help checking calibration of digital thermometers

      Ideally straight sided glasses for beer sighting and tasting. If you can get hold of clear glass, tungsten filament bulbs (very doubtful unless you can find someone with an old stock) these are great for beer clarity sighting.

      You will need shelving in cool, dark storage conditions to check the shelf life of you beers by retaining samples in sterile containers - polypins, fresh PET bottles etc.


      After that - accurate record keeping of everything for traceability, and samples for phys/chem and micro analysis to say Murphy's.

      Forget an oxygen meter for now as they cost thousands and if you are producing cask and bottle conditioned beer are less critical than good brewing practice and particularly meticulous attention to detail and consistency when cleaning.




      dick

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