Posted tagged ‘Ontario Craft Brewers’

Ben Johnson asks the question we all should have: Why does sexist marketing still exist?

February 2, 2017

Ben Johnson is a beer writer who twice (2014 and 2015) was voted “Best Beer Writer in Ontario” at the Golden Tap Awards. His blog, the aptly named Ben’s Beer Blog, should be required reading for anyone who makes or drinks Ontario craft beer.

Ben has posted a significant piece about the ever-present sexism in our craft beer industry, Let’s Talk About Sexist Beer Marketing in which he beards the lion in its den by contacting offending brewers and asking them why they have taken the low road.

Read his blog. Contact the breweries mentioned and tell them they are creatively sterile and lazy. Drink someone else’s beer.


OCB Conference: Part 2

October 29, 2013

I’m  falling behind again. Who knew working around beer would take up so much of my time?

Alrighty, fuelled by another coffee, I was ready for the rest of the OCB sessions:

3. Advances in Brewhouse Design (Stephen O’Sullivan, Steinecker/Krones)

This was the part of the program where brewmasters salivate and brewery owners finger their empty wallets. Stephen O’Sullivan first showed off the new lauter tun they just installed at the Guinness brewery in Dublin: 1,000 hL capacity, 16 metres (55 ft) in diameter. Amazing.

However, that wasn’t what he was trying to sell us. He was there to talk about a shiny new line of brewhouse systems, ranging in capacity from 50-100 hL, that use a frame-mounted modular “snap together” approach. The modules are pre-frabicated in Germany, shipped to the brewery and just join together like a Lego set. Snap your system together, hook up the steam, electrical and water lines and you are ready to rumble. They come in various configurations from 3- to 5-vessel.

I was interested to see that the 3-vessel system was a mash tun/kettle + lauter tun + whirlpool, which is a bit different than what I have seen elsewhere which is mash/lauter tun + kettle + whirlpool. The difference is that in the “traditional” systems, the mash stays in the mash/lauter tun, the wort is extracted and moves on to the kettle. In this new system, the wet mash in the lauter tun/kettle is moved to the lauter tun, where the wort is extracted and sent back to the lauter tun/kettle to be boiled before it moves on to the whirlpool. This means instead of being able to start a new batch while the kettle is boiling, you have to wait until the boiled wort is removed from the kettle before you can mash in a new batch.

I’m sure a dedicated lauter tun is way more efficient at wort extraction than a mash/lauter tun, due to design compromises, but having to wait for the boil to be finished before commencing a new batch has to really cut back on the number of brews you can do per day. Sure enough, Stephen told us that the system will do 5 brews per day. Does a few more percentage points of extract make up for such a low number? I’m pretty sure if I was the brewery owner looking at these systems, I’d scratch around for the extra cash to upgrade to the 4-vessel system (mash tun + lauter tun + kettle + whirlpool), which can do 10 brews a day (because you can mash in a new batch as soon as you’ve moved the previous batch to the lauter tun.)

The other thing about this system is that it is designed to be used with wet milling. Traditionally, dry barley is fed between two rollers, which is supposed to crack the husk and expose the starchy innards inside the barley kernel. The problem is that due to the dryness and fragility of the barley malt, often a lot of the barley husks are completely crushed into powder. On the plus side, this means all of the crushed starch is more apt to be completely converted to sugar and dissolve very easily in hot water, increasing your extraction efficiency. However, on the minus side, you have fewer intact barley husks to form an efficient filter bed for lautering, the flour formed from the powdered husks is more likely to gum up your lautering, and polyphenols from the barley husks will be released into the wort, which can give a harsh astringency to your beer.

In a wet milling system, the dry barley is steeped in warm water for about five minutes, softening the husks. The barley is then fed through rollers, where the softened husks merely peel back from the starchy innards, leaving them intact while the starch is completely crushed. The wet-milled grain then falls directly into the mash tun. Because the starch is crushed into powder, your extraction percentage will be high. Because the husks are intact and there is little or no flour from crushed husks, your filter bed will be highly efficient. And polyphenols will remain in the husks where they belong. It seems to be a win-win-win scenario.

Of course the system is highly automated, with fancy touch screens. Stephen didn’t talk about prices, but I can’t imagine a system pre-built in Germany is going to be very cheap.


Next:  The break-out sessions

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