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A Bundle of Myrrh

"My beloved is unto me as a bundle of myrrh." Song of Solomon 1:13

Brewing with the Big Boys

October 4th, 2010 by Aubri

Thanks to Jeremy of Gottberg Brew Pup in Columbus, Nebraska, I helped brew a large batch of beer.  Though it was small on the brew pup scale (more than 8 Barrels =248 Gallons = 939 Liters), it was much larger than the 5 Gal batches I do.

As the shirt says this is Jeremy.  He is the brewmaster.  But not a uptight guy as the title implies.  He studied brewing in Germany and knows his stuff.  He is standing next to the lauter grant which collects the sugary water coming from the mash of barely malt.

This cylinder holds the milled barley.  I carried about 200 pounds of grain up the stairs and poured it in the grist holder.  A flexible auger carries it into the room behind the doors in the picture.

Then the hops had to be measured out (Yes, this beer is triple hopped!!—as most beers are, thanks Miller).  I measure in onces, Jeremy measures in pounds.

This vessel is the mash tun.  Water at ~180F is mixed with the grain falling down.  The ~150F final temperature breaks down the starched into simple sugars the yeast can eat.  That is a boat paddle, by the way.

After the sugars are rinsed off the grain, the wort is pumped to the kettle for boiling.  At various times during the boil the hops are added. During mash and boil various tests are run on both the sugar content and the ph of the wort.

Brewing sounds glamorous, but it is mostly a matter of cleaning.  During the boil, the mash tun needed to be cleaned out.  The 200 pounds of dry grain weighs closer to 500 wet now.

This is master control panel.  The stitches run pumps and the temperature controllers can be read.

While all the above process is being carried out the fermentation vessel must be cleaned.  This is one floor below the brew room.  The final product and many supplies are stored one floor below this one.  That made for many flights of stairs to be climbed.  The fermentation vessel is cleaned with two cleaners, including an acid, then rinsed with a sanitizer.  Thankfully beer is close by to ease this burden.  This may be the only job where beer enhances the final product, because it is the final product.

It was a great day helping Jeremy brew.  And he does make excellent beer.  I asked a ton of questions, trying to learn from a professional.  Though the process is the same, the equipment is more expensive, complicated, and limiting.  As a homebrewer, I might not make better beer, but I have far more flexibility in the brewing process.  Sometimes there is too much flexibility, where it becomes difficult to repeat a recipe.

Thanks again Jeremy, that was a great experience for me.

One Response to “Brewing with the Big Boys”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Don’t sell your self short, Phil. You carried 390 lbs of dry malt up to the grist hopper. This comes to about 470 lbs of spent grains. Thanks for coming down. You are welcome back any time you need a workout.


    ps. Man, I look tired in these pics!