I’ve had a few brewers ask me about our engineers and suppliers from Germany. Frankly I never heard of BrauKon until some time ago when Eddie shared that their Principal (Markus Lohner) had made many trips to see them at this site and he had worked up quotes for turnkey breweries and specific brewhouses in different sizes. In late December 2010 I took a few days off of vacation time on behalf of my friends here and made a trip to visit them, and combined that with some brewery visits in Austria and Germany, a Ug99-related grains meeting, and I also brought along my son José who had just finished his first semester at Drexel University. I enjoyed two full days with BrauKon’s team in Truchlaching and at a Bavarian brewhouse they installed whose owner, Thomas Kaiser, was the nicest and most welcoming fellow. Thomas’ girlfriend runs the packaging line of the brewery that’s been in his family for generations.
BrauKon were fully behind the odd requirements we brought in: the need for a decoction kettle but also for enhanced upward infusion mashing, the need for a hopjack/hopback, the changes needed to accommodate endosperm mashing with a foremasher at the mash mixer and a husk drop into the lauter tun but also second drop to mash mixer for future uses. The biggest challenge was that we were deploying a small but unique pdx wort heater fabricated in Cambridge and shipped from England to BrauKon…it represented a complex change, but they managed it well.
Ed, Fred and Mark committed to BrauKon in January 2011 and the systems arrived in November. At key times the brewery has enjoyed having their professionals visit us to answer questions from ourselves and our installation professionals managed by Pickett Construction and Apollo Electric. The nicest folks, too. As we get towards commissioning and dialling-in, BrauKon will be on the scene working alongside pdx and Buhler and leading the efforts as Guy, Mark, and our maintenance staffer (to be announced soon) I get trained up.
First we have to commission the boiler this week and the primary refrigeration system in maybe 10 days. The secondary system is tested and will be cooling the hop room when all our US hop bales and pallets of pellets arrive late this week and the European shipments arrive in three weeks. We have enough German and Czech hops to start us out in brewing before the rest arrive. Our Lead Brewer starts his first day next week and the maintenance pro starts up 2 weeks later. But without BrauKon leadership, nothing would be happening. We’re looking forward to welcoming some visiting brewers form the midwest who recommended to us the chain-drive vendor we selected for the husk system…they want to see a BrauKon brewhouse up close.