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Refrigeration Progress

By Jaime | February 20th, 2012 | No Comments »

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Our refrigeration plant is coming together and we have to just order two more pumps and let the pipefitters and then insulator do their work, but the system will be onstream at least two weeks prior to commissioning of the brewhouse and then we’ll have all our chilling requirements taken care of. The plant has been installed for all refrigeration now, but in the future it will be mothballed and maintained as backup when we install an ammonia-system as specified by K2 Mechanical of Portland, OR (Ken Kluus) based on high-efficiency MYCOM reciprocating ammonia compressors. 110 Ton of refrigeration on this Trane system recommended to us by Bob Yates of Northern refrigeration will carry the brewery through phases I and II of our engineering design, so hoping our growth is solid so that within a few years we’ll be planning for a new refrigeration utilities room.

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A Good Read

By John | January 25th, 2012 | No Comments »

Really getting into a book (“World’s Best Beers” by Ben McFarland) that Jaime bought for me. Being in sales I’m finding out there’s a lot to learn about the brewing process so I could better inform my customers. And I say this after working fully in beer sales for a number of years! Having Jaime and Guy around, along with the book, should be a great start.

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Fred is Anxious

By Jaime | January 22nd, 2012 | No Comments »

He wants beer to sell in March, and that allows us to look at the energy reduction proposals for upgrades so we have the most efficient lighting. Some opportunities and commitments are squarely “nice to have” until we are operating and making beer, then the prioritization and opportunities adjust.

I’m waiting for our experts in malt conveyance and batch weighing to come in today so we can get the quote on final brewhouse elements. Late this week our 100 Ton refrigeration plant arrives and will be hoisted on its new pad…two independent or combinatory 50-Ton circuits. We’ll need 40 Tons for the first year or two, so we can switch circuits every month…and have the second circuit as Standby or available for peaks later on. Our CO2 tank is expected in the next day.

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My First Vacation Day

By Jaime | January 16th, 2012 | No Comments »

Back at the Hacienda in warm and bright San Antonio and tomorrow is my first personal vacation day taken at SBC because I’m packing out my closet, pulling aside stuff for Goodwill, etc. It’s a relief knowing that Guy Hagner is minding the store for the next few days. How fortunate we are to have Guy on board! Guy started his career in brewing at Pabst, and then became Master Brewer at Dixie Brewing in New Orleans. Later he moved to the Wyoming Valley when he became Master Brewer at The Lion Brewery. Four years later he founded a fine microbrewery and replicated in his brewery a delicate Pils beer from Bavaria, made by a respected family brewery.

Unfortunately the craft industry actually shrunk a little during this time, and a number of breweries, sadly did not succeed as they may have in better days… so Guy dusted himself off and founded a nanobrewery, which grew to become a popular restaurant-brewery which sold kegs to better beer establishments. Guy departed that venture after establishing steady beer capabilities and a capable brewer took on the reins. Enticing Guy to join us was gratifying. He and I are different, but we respect each other and will come to support each other’s strengths while hopefully building a shared passion. I have a Bonus in that Guy’s rich technical experience and background is matched by his innate drive to fully understand processes and protocols.

He’s more German than Germans….and that is admirable to any Brewer.

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Leave it to the Experts

By Jaime | January 11th, 2012 | No Comments »

Technical expertise is so important for our progress, and sometimes you get professionals who know a thing or two about real brewing. Walt, our carbon dioxide service provider, loves beer and local brewery history. Bob, our refrigeration engineer, loves cheap beer and remembers old breweries as they never were. Others on board have had little idea or care, and it is so nice to have them asking questions, or seeing Guy explaining and offering a context to their work and why what they do and what they can control is so important. Making sure we leave access appropriate for maintenance as piping and tubing routes are planned and implemented. And there are the good instances where a welder or electrician sees an opportunity to improve on a plan, and asks for an OK to make it happen. I may have erred in choosing a Geman 50 DIN standard for our connections instead of the US equivalent beveled seat fitting, but the DIN fittings serve hundreds of breweries so well…we shall see!

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‘Edward Scissorhands’ Innovations

By Jaime | January 6th, 2012 | No Comments »

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First week at SBC done, and we’ve decided to start a blog. I’ve always avoided creating a blog, but have no objection to a brewery one where others contribute. So this isn’t my blog, and what follows should not be construed as vetted by the organization. But it seems as if I’ll be the person kicking it off and running with the ball for a while!

On Monday Guy and I travel to Hazleton to look at the yeast weighing carts for ale and lager yeasts. They look funny, being on wheels and portable with a pneumatically-driven pumps on board and load cells and the scale. Ours is a wonderful brewery that is emerging, but it will have its ‘Edward Scissorhands’ innovations, too.

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