Here is general meaning of quality, but what does this mean for a brewery? One good definition for a quality beer is simply ‘‘A beer that consistently meets specification’’.
However, the idea of specification means that someone has decided what the beers defining characteristics should be and how they should be measured.Let’s look at the term consistency. To achieve consistency requires a system of people, brewery and process that are able to repeat the same procedure each time a particular batch of beer is made. The idea of ‘consistency and specification’ as a definition of quality is based on scientific facts and analytical measurements. To explain this a different way, a person might argue that a terrible beer can be consistent and within specification, and therefore be a quality product! This means that whether or not you like a beer has nothing to do with quality.
Finally Quality Assurance in the Brew Pub!!!
Many brewpubs—and small breweries in general—fail to institute a quality control program because they don’t have the financial resources—or necessary space—for a bunch of sophisticated lab equipment. But even without the latest equipment, you can still focus on quality assurance—the proactive side— and execute the work correctly in the first place.
At a basic level, the two steps of quality for beer at your brewpub should be that it is:
1 Free from any contamination or pathogens.
2 Consistent in acceptable flavor.
You can attain this level of quality with investments in time, effort, and a small outlay of money that may not be much more than the ingredient cost of one batch of beer. To start, cleaning and sanitation will help ascertain that your beer is free from contamination. Some basic research laboratory equipment that every brewer should have can be used to help ensure beer quality from a consistent angle.
Adherence to high cleanliness standards pays dividends in the perceived and actual quality of your beer. A clean brewery is a merchandising tool, especially for brewpubs where the brewery is usually on constant display. Customer perception is a contemplation of your brand, and people will think “If the brewery is clean, then the buyer must be clean, too.” And guess what? They’re usually always right. Cleanliness in the brewery leads to clean tasting beer.
You will save money with thorough cleaning, including avoiding sending beer down the drain because of contamination leading to off-flavors. This was altogether too real for me in a previous job where we sent every batch of beer, both in the fermenters and serving tanks, to the sewers. Lack of cleaning created severe contamination issues.Had we focused better on the front end of cleaning, we would have salvaged a lot of cash? Along with preventing beer loss, a good cleaning program will also keep money on equipment. Clean equipment exposes small problems sooner, letting you to fix the issue now and reduce what might be more costly maintenance at a later date if the problem had not been detected.
Reduced labor is a benefit of making cleaning a priority. It is a good deal easier to work in a clean and organized environment versus a messy and dirty brewery. Keeping equipment and spaces clean on a regular base is much less work than trying to break through layers of dirt and scum. Clean now, because once the crud dries, much more effort is required to yield to a pristine state.
When I landed at a brewing job a few years ago, one of the first things I did was to take apart the Brewhouse equipment to inspect it. Upon removing the oxygenation stone, I was amazed at the growth of slime on and around the stone. Under those conditions, the beer was not even passed on a chance toward quality. The same held true in many other areas of the brewery—build- up of crusted and dried beer behind gaskets, braunheffe adhered to PRVs and rupture disks, a reddish-brown hue on the underside of mash screens. When you pay attention to cleaning every day in the brewery, you present your buyer an excellent opportunity to be what you want it to be.
One of the overriding rule of brewing, the first one being to keep the equipment clean. “Beer is a foodstuff and, frankly, I am appalled at the state of hygiene in many breweries. In short, the whole place should be such as to give your aged aunt a warm feeling of all things being well scoured. As for the insides of vessels and pipes, they should be pristine. A properly designed caustic or acid cleaning regime followed by good rinsing and use of a hypochlorite or peracetic acid-based sterile- ant is critical. The key is more good design and process management.
A Simple Brewery Audit
According to my Experiences most micro quality issues are sanitation issues. Four rules that one should follow during brewery audits are:
1 “Dead Legs” will kill quality. Dead legs are any section of brewery tubing that dead ends and the distance are two times or more than the diameter of the tube. When liquid flows near one of these dead legs, there is not enough turbulent flow to adequately clean the surfaces, leading to a buildup of contaminants. The simple solution is to eliminate dead legs.
2 Eyes can be deceived, yet the nose knows. Many times something may look clean on visual inspection, yet hidden sections could be harboring a build up of bacteria. So give things a sniff test. Your nose will tell you if something is falling and creating a micro issue.
3 Brush washing is important. Many portions and pieces, especially gaskets, in a brewery have incomplete flow coverage of cleaning and sanitizing solutions. Removing these parts and brushing them clean is critical to ensure proper equipment maintenance. If you need to turn a tank quickly, then have a spare part on hand so that you can immediately replace the dirty part to be brushed with a clean one.
4 Fix leaks. Wherever something leaks out, there is a potential for a contaminant to work its way back in.
What you need is a good cleaning?
One of the first things you need, especially if you are the only brewer in a small pub, is the involvement of other people. If you’re the brewer, you should be leading the ef- fort, but you shouldn’t do it alone. Ownership and management should be involved to show commitment from the top. Font of house (FOH) and back of house (BOH) employees’ involvement can help reduce the overall workload.
One of the most important aspects you need is easy. If you are a brewery in planning or will be adding capacity to your existing brewpub, then design into the same process to help create consistency. My previous company has highlighted a system called “5S” for “sort,set in order,sweep/shine, standardize,and sustain.” Using this arrangement, they realized benefits including better organization, use of less space, and getting things accomplished with less effort. Their systematic approach led to a higher level of both internal and external cleaning and organization.
Another system that I leaned from my previous big brewery is HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). While this system might seem overwhelming and only for large producers, the concepts behind it are a good starting point for developing your quality system. That inspired me to develop a menu of HACCP templates specific to brewery operations that will be available to everyone and can be used by breweries of all sizes.
Everyone should understand that HACCP is about food safety, not quality . Certainly, the same concepts can be used for quality items. There is a definite connection between the two efforts. The mindset that goes along with gaining a detailed understanding of your individual processes and its food safety risks forces you to look at each step and determine if it has a risk and if it does, is it a risk to the consumer or a risk to the quality of the beer.
How to Make Cleaning Happen!
As mentioned earlier, brewers can’t do it alone and they need second set of eyes for sanitation in the brewery. Some Chemical vendors in India like Ankit Sethi are specialists in cleaning, so it makes sense to tap into their help.
In one Brewpub One of my bartenders handles all of our tap line cleaning , so at that time I had another employee who knows how the tap system works as well as the importance of clean beer lines. Interns can also be really helpful—one of our former interns, got us started with written procedures for the tasks that we do every day.
Focus on cleaning every day to really make it happen. Walk into work every day with this question in your head: What needs to be cleaned today that is best for the beer? Remaining focused every day keeps cleaning a priority. You’ll do cleaning tasks in small increments instead of letting them build up to an overwhelming pile of tasks. Use your checklists and SOPs to help you focus.
Follow 30-second rule: It’s easier, cheaper, and requires less time to get the extra 30 seconds right now to clean than to re-brew because you did not clean. I developed this rule after learning that, under American regulatory parlance, Sanitizers must kill 99.99% of specified test bacteria within 30 seconds under conditions of the Official Detergent Sanitizer Test.
So if a gasket falls on the floor, drop it in sanitizer for 30 seconds. Whether it takes 30 seconds or 30 minutes to get something accomplished, that’s way shorter than an eight-hour day to brew again, not to mention the cost of dumping beer down the drain.
Finally, track your advancement with an audit. To construct an audit, divide the brewery into distinct areas and do a walk-through self audit with other people (include your chemical vendor and/or someone who is not in the brewery every day—that “fresh set of eyes”). When listing the items you want to include, follow a key component of quality assurance: only list it if you will do something about it after measuring it. As for makeup, keep it simple. Assign 1 point for items that meet the standard, 0 points for items that do not conform to the standard, and -1 point for items that still have not met the standard since the previous audit. For certain critical points, assign higher point values to indicate their importance.
Ideally, audit the space monthly and at a minimum quarterly. Performing the audit at more regular intervals ensures that potential issues are found sooner. A person who is not specifically responsible for doing the actual work should be the scorekeeper. Incentivizing the audit is the best means to ensure follow-up and follow through. Put a minimum expectation and reward for surpassing. Include the audit scores in regular performance assessments. And while money is the most standard reward, use your imagination and ask what would be of value to your brewer.
Cleaning well is within the realm of every brewer regardless of fiscal resources. Doing so will achieve the first basic expected quality measures of your beer being contamination-free. Of course this goes hand- in-hand with acceptable flavor, the second basic quality measure. Some basic laboratory equipment can help you attain the consistent acceptable flavor.
Beyond Cleaning to the Lab
If you’ve cleaned well enough to avoid contamination and its associated off-flavors, then maintaining flavor consistency is the next key. To help achieve consistency, you probably already keep a record of various Brewhouse processes—ingredients, recipe, temperatures, gravities, and pH to name a few. If you are going to invest in one piece of lab equipment, purchase a microscope and use it for counting yeast cells to increase your beer’s consistency.
Lots of variation comes in fermentation depending on your pitch rate, Under pitching is bad and while over pitching might be better, it can be bad as well for consistency. Dialing in pitching rates goes a long way toward creating quality beer.Brewers of all levels should spend as much time and money on the cellar, side of treating the yeast correctly as they do on the Brewhouse side of tracking the process.
We are control freaks when it comes to the Brewhouse, yet often when it comes to fermentation, many brewers simply don’t treat the yeast with the care it needs.To create the best and most consistent beer you can, you need to pay attention to the yeast.
Microscopes are not out of the financial realm of brewpubs when you think of it in terms of the cost of a batch of beer. All you need is microscope With a hemocytometer and some basic glassware, and . Then you need to find is a little bit of tabletop work space.Once you starts doing cell counts and viability tests to achieve a correct pitching rate, our flavor quality went up.”