My last home brew batch was about 8 months ago; I had decided to brew as much beer as I could in one weekend so it would last while we were opening the brewery. One of the batches brewed that weekend was a 10 Gallon batch of what has now become “Snow Drop”. As I look back at the differences between that 10 Gallon system and our current 10 BBL system I am amused at the results. Most of the things that would keep me up at night, and I thought would be a huge adjustment turned out to be minimal to nothing at all. On the other hand, some of the menial tasks we do now, turned out to require much more thought than I had anticipated.
Probably the biggest change on our commercial system is getting the malt into the grist case. As a home brewer, this was as simple as loading up a bucket with the malt, milling it and pouring it into the mash tun. Now, we have to hoist all 800 pounds of malt up to a grist case using a glorified bucket and pulley. This does give us the desired results, but the effort and time that goes into this makes me look forward to the day we get an auger.
A typical brew day at the brewery takes about as long as a brew day on my home brew system. From start to clean up, we are running about 6 hours. Our mash, sparge, and boil all take just as long now as they did then. When I counter flow now, it is a jet of wort emptying 310 gallons in 30 minutes, compared to 10 gallons in 30 minutes on my home system. And most importantly our fermentations take just as long, the yeast will make the beer, just let it do its thing.
As I think about the old home brewer’s mantra, “Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Home Brew”. I have to remind myself, to have patience. This is my dream, and while I may hit stumbling stones along the way, I need to be flexible and adapt. Most importantly, at the end of a brew day, I just need to relax, don’t worry, and have a Snow Drop.