The best breweries are a clean ones. Cleaning and sanitation are such an integral part of everyday life in a brewery. Beer is unsanitary environments can easily be overrun with bacteria, fungus, and wild undesirable yeast. To battle these dark horses, I must maintain a sterile environment to produce a clean and quality product. Is there such a thing as the brewery being too clean? Hell no.
I have a joke among friends to why I am a competent brewer. “To be a great brewer,” I declare proudly, “you need to have a fine mix of ADD and OCD.” It allows me to multitask on various projects and focus on precise cleaning protocols at the same time. Regularly working alone in Blasted Barley’s Brewery space, I need to perform a multitude of tasks daily. I can schedule my days accordingly, but the beer does the scheduling for me. Fermentation is fairly predictable, but to be certain of its completion, I must check the progress daily of each beer in production.
Hydrometers and refractometers become brewers best friends. They are the tools that allow me to measure the “weight” or gravity of the wort turning into beer. Before fermentation, the wort is packed full of delicious sugar that the yeast want to eat. Once the yeast convert sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide, the converted beer weighs less than before. The original gravity is measured alongside the final gravity and an alcohol percentage can be calculated.
Numerous chemicals are used in the brewery daily. The cleaning process involves two distinct steps, cleaning and sanitizing. Concentration of chemicals, temperature, time, and agitation all integrate into the equation of how to make sure components are cleaned to their fullest potential. To get various items cleaned, I cannot use simple chemicals to do the job. Many of the chemicals in the brewery are actually quite harmful if not handled properly. Safety is always a priority, always. A few small encounters with these chemicals earlier in my career set the precedence for safety. Burn yourself with chemicals once, shame on you, burn yourself with chemicals twice, shame on me. Let’s just say that i learned quickly to always wear sturdy gloves and protective eyewear. A few third degree burns on my right leg taught me to always check the trip-clamp fittings tightness, but that never stopped me from brewing and it never will.
It takes a great deal of effort to maintain cleanliness in the brewery. Every extra hour of work to clean is more than worth the effort. There are a thousand ways to mess it up and only a few ways to get it right. It is the drive to do well that pushes me forward everyday. Why even make craft beer if your heart is not into it? You shouldn’t…
Ask yourself a tough question. Was that the best you could do? I always will do my best to be able to truthfully answer yes!
There is always a moral to the story right? If you are obsessive compulsive, attention deficit, or both, never fear because there is a special place in this world for you too. Don’t seek help, go make it happen.
Cheers until next week Ya’ll!!