Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 27: My Precious... Don't lose the precious!!!

Tonight Kelly and I went to the Big Sky Food Festival (Taste of Big Sky?)! We had an awesome time. Unlike the Taste of MN, which there is nothing wrong with in my opinion, this food festival was the finest eats from every restaurant in the area. It was $5 to enter, $1 a ticket and most food items were from 3 to 5 tickets. Kelly and I got to eat Salmon, Ahi Tuna, Duck, Jalapenos, Bison, Lobster, Crab, Carne Asada, Lamb, Ice Cream, Cookies... the list goes on! (All that food by the way was prepared in elegant forms, I just don't remember the details, sorry) The best part was sipping on Lone Peak Beer the entire time! Steve and I also had the fortune of setting up our tent, kegs, and taps, just like a beer festival, yippee! Here is the whole thing set up!

I have to keep this post short, it is late and we are tired!!!

What I really would like to talk about is wasting beer, spillage, the angel's share, whats gone for the homies...

It is obvious that beer is poured down the drain everyday at breweries. Some waste alot, some waste only a little. I would like to think that our brewery does a great job of saving "every last drop" that counts. For example, if we fill 6 pigs from a keg, I will take that keg home with me to pull that last 8 - 10 pints out that we wouldn't serve in the taproom (waste of time to change kegs that fast). Another example is after we go on our sales runs, we usually end up with 1/2 full growlers of a few different beers. Do we pour them down the drain? Hell no! We man up, take them home, and finish them off before they are too flat and skunked to drink the next day.

Other beer is wasted in the following ways throughout the process:

1) At the bottom of fermenters, after we transfer to the brite tank. This beer is either full of yeast or just unreachable by our racking arm.

2) During the carbonation testing from the brite tanks, we have to dump some and use some for the test.

3) At the end of the boil we have some beer left in the bottom of the kettle that isn't reached by our transfer arm. Sometimes it is entrained with trub, sometimes there isn't enough trub to displace the beer up to the arm. Here is what that looks like:

4) After transferring beer through hoses, we try and chase it out with CO2 or sanitizer... but you can't get it all!
5) My least favorite, kegs that come back partially full. The worst part about this is that usually these people bought kegs for parties or weddings... they don't bring them back for days... they used a hand pump (air) to displace the beer... it is skunk city!!! FINISH YOUR BEER!!!

6) My second least favorite, in bars from improper pouring. Often bar tenders pour the beer wrong, over-pressurize the kegs, have dirty lines, etc. which results in foamy beer that bartenders just let pour down the drain! This actually wastes a ton of beer. Clean your systems and get them tweaked right! It will save you money and make happier customers.

Today, Steve and I improved our beer conservation practices. I decided this morning that it was out of the question to waste some of our Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout while taking the carbonation test. As a result I showed up with a pint glass and Steve and I "caught" the beer whenever possible during the test. The photo below shows Steve even pouring the last of the beer from the Zahm & Nagel, our carbonation tester, into the pint glass to finish off a perfect pint. Yum yum, I love bourbon ages stouts at 9 in the morning!

Life is great! Cheers, Prosit, and Skoal!

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