Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 28: Tinker Toys

What a day!!! It was 7:40 in the AM, I turned on my cell phone after its nighttime sleep, here is the text message I got: "Rafting today, bring Kelly to the brewery, see you at 8." Kelly and I have been hearing that the brewery staff was going to take a day off and go rafting down the rapids of the Gallatin River since the first day I stepped into the brewery. I would estimate that the trip has been tenatively planned at least 5 times since then. We have waited patiently, watching the river reach its peak (above 3500 cfm) and now is down to below 2000 cfm. The rapids are shallow and weak now. Nonetheless, we were excited to find out this morning that today was finally our rafting day!


Our group was stood up by our guide. No rafting today : ( Steve and I ended up back at the brewery at 9:15 AM to get a start on our day (of tinkering with our equipment) about an hour later than we usually would.... A new trip is planned for Monday though, cross your fingers!

Our goal today was to transfer 20 bbl of Lone Peak IPA from FV7 into the new brite tank (BT1). After quickly finishing the glycol (chilling) lines to the dimple jackets on the tank, we had to inspect the passified surface on the inside of the tank, and outfit the rest of the parts to prepare it for holding beer. Let me spare you all the gorey details, this process took about 3 hours and involved me inside the tank (sweating my ass off) scrubbing some scungy spots; fixing and rigging up a carbonating stone, fashioning a blank for a 2" opening out of a ball valve and some elbow grease, and lots of tank rinsing (and repeating of course!) Lots of tinkering!

We started transferring into the tank at about 2:00 PM. We had no idea what to expect for how long the transfer would take, and no "full" line to shoot for!
The transfer took about 4 hours, it probably could have gone faster, but we didn't want to push our luck by pulling beer to fast and risking gunking up our "shit catcher." Consequently there was a lot of waiting to "see what happens." At about 6:00 PM the beer from the fermenter got so gummy with entrained yeast and dry hop residue we stopped the flow of beer. Tomorrow we will keg the IPA and find out what yield we got (I'm hoping for 39.5 kegs!). I will also have the opportunity to start cleaning FV7, my favorite! Below is a picture of the sight glass on the tank while it is filling for the very first time! Also visible is 1/2 of the tiny doorway that I had to use to climb into the brite tank while scrubbing it today.

Because we "wasted" most of our day tinkering with the tank, near the end of the day it was a scramble to finish all the of the other tasks we had planned. (I say wasted not because it actually was a waste, but just because it feels like one making such little progress all day) I got to harvest yeast from FV6 (Headplant Pale Ale) on my own! This was great for me because just last week I watched Steve harvest from another beer, and took notes in my notebook. Without any more guidance or practice I was able to do this task all on my own, just based on my notes! Here is a picture of the yeast harvest:

I also was fortunate enough to mill in the next batch of Lone Peak IPA that we are starting to brew tomorrow! This is the end of my day. Kelly showed up and we had a few beers in the taproom and now I am home, writing to you!

So far I have recieved two very insightful and interesting letters from you aspiring brewers out there! If you need some catching up, on Day 26 I asked for you, the readers of A Brewer's Journey, to write in to with your story about becoming a pro-brewer. I'm hoping to receive many more of these before I post my favorite of the stories in this blog. For those of you that have already e-mailed me, I am working on responding to you personally, but there are only so many hours in a day! Hopefully this weekend I will be all caught up. Thanks to all of you!

Cheers, Prosit, and Skoal

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