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RickBeer

Why process matters - and why you need to follow one

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Today started like any other day.  Yesterday I had taken my FG readings for my Fruit Wheat Beer (wheat beer to which I will add different fruit extract at time of drinking).  This beer, and a batch of Blue Moon, are to be ready for my younger son's graduation from grad school at the end of the month, so I'm on a timetable.  I cold crashed for one day, because I don't want my wheat beer to be clear, but I did want to solidify the trub.

 

I started on the first LBK full, and started day dreaming about also cleaning some bottles this afternoon (I have a large supply of acquired bottles that need labels removed and cleaning, and did 135 last week but have as many as 216 left).  I completed the first batch and got the second LBK out of the beer frig and brought it upstairs.  This is getting to be old hat - hell, I've bottled over 160 gallons of beer in the last 2 3/4 years.  I got the second batch well underway, with 16 bottles done, and went to give the slimline a gentle stir - when I glanced over the stove and saw the pot of sugar solution sitting there.  "Can't be", I thought to myself.  "I surely added the solution to this batch."  (Note - I actually said other words, but neither Josh will let me post them here).  I lifted the lid and saw it was not empty.  "Fiddle sticks", I thought, and said out loud, "Mr. Falcon".  

 

I glanced at the 16 bottles and immediately thought of options.  I could pour them back into the slimline and aerate the hell out of the beer.  Nope, not doing that.  I could add sugar to the bottles now, popping off those 16 caps ($.25 down the drain on those).  I went downstairs, got my trust Mr. Beer sugar measurer, and dipped it in sanitizer, shook it out, wiped it with a paper towel, and proceeded to bottle prime the already capped bottles and the remaining ones.

 

Morals of the story:

  1. Even the most experienced brewer screws up every now and then.  You are no exception, nor am I.
  2. Always follow a process.  Don't get cocky.
  3. Always have a backup plan.  Don't have the exact number of caps.  Don't have the exact amount of bottling sugar (I use table sugar).  Always have extra.
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A world without human error would be a boring place to live.  I doubt beer would have even been invented without some schlub goofing something up all those millenia ago.

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Today started like any other day.  Yesterday I had taken my FG readings for my Fruit Wheat Beer (wheat beer to which I will add different fruit extract at time of drinking).  This beer, and a batch of Blue Moon, are to be ready for my younger son's graduation from grad school at the end of the month, so I'm on a timetable.  I cold crashed for one day, because I don't want my wheat beer to be clear, but I did want to solidify the trub.

 

I started on the first LBK full, and started day dreaming about also cleaning some bottles this afternoon (I have a large supply of acquired bottles that need labels removed and cleaning, and did 135 last week but have as many as 216 left).  I completed the first batch and got the second LBK out of the beer frig and brought it upstairs.  This is getting to be old hat - hell, I've bottled over 160 gallons of beer in the last 2 3/4 years.  I got the second batch well underway, with 16 bottles done, and went to give the slimline a gentle stir - when I glanced over the stove and saw the pot of sugar solution sitting there.  "Can't be", I thought to myself.  "I surely added the solution to this batch."  (Note - I actually said other words, but neither Josh will let me post them here).  I lifted the lid and saw it was not empty.  "Fiddle sticks", I thought, and said out loud, "Mr. Falcon".  

 

I glanced at the 16 bottles and immediately thought of options.  I could pour them back into the slimline and aerate the hell out of the beer.  Nope, not doing that.  I could add sugar to the bottles now, popping off those 16 caps ($.25 down the drain on those).  I went downstairs, got my trust Mr. Beer sugar measurer, and dipped it in sanitizer, shook it out, wiped it with a paper towel, and proceeded to bottle prime the already capped bottles and the remaining ones.

 

Morals of the story:

  1. Even the most experienced brewer screws up every now and then.  You are no exception, nor am I.
  2. Always follow a process.  Don't get cocky.
  3. Always have a backup plan.  Don't have the exact number of caps.  Don't have the exact amount of bottling sugar (I use table sugar).  Always have extra.

 

I even keep enough 16 oz pet bottles around to bottle 1 batch.  In case both cappers have cataclysmic failures, or I run out of caps.(kind of a "Plan C")

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That is one reason I love BeerSmith - following the brew day instructions.  As a private pilot I've learned the value of having check lists.  And they seem to be more beneficial for the simple stuff than the difficult as when running an AG batch I have to stop and think of every step whereas MrB has become second nature.  And yes, priming is also my downfall as I batch prime large batches and bottle prime small batches so it is all too easy for me to forget the bottle priming step.

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A world without human error would be a boring place to live.  I doubt beer would have even been invented without some schlub goofing something up all those millenia ago.

Wholeheartedly disagree...

 

People don't buy new phones because their last one was bad.  The new one is better.

We don't need mistakes.  We need people trying to be better than each other.  You shouldn't get promoted because you make the least amount of mistakes among your peers.

 

I imagine a world where is everyone is in their google car texting and relaxing on their way to work.  Enjoying the beauty of efficiency without the worry of an accident.

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This beer, and a batch of Blue Moon, are to be ready for my younger son's graduation from grad school at the end of the month, so I'm on a timetable.

 

I glanced at the 16 bottles and immediately thought of options.  I could pour them back into the slimline and aerate the hell out of the beer.  Nope, not doing that.  I could add sugar to the bottles now, popping off those 16 caps ($.25 down the drain on those).  I went downstairs, got my trust Mr. Beer sugar measurer, and dipped it in sanitizer, shook it out, wiped it with a paper towel, and proceeded to bottle prime the already capped bottles and the remaining ones.

 

 

 

Michigan State???

 

I'm surprised with adding the sugar to the bottles after the beer was already in them that you didn't get some small eruptions due to nucleation of the dissolved CO2 in the "flat" beer.

 

When I bottle, I create stations...  (1) Empty bottles, (2) Sanitized bottles, (3) Sanitized bottles with sugar, (4) Capped bottles with beer in them.

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An MSU grad would not have realized he had not added the solution, and in 4 weeks would find a bottle was flat. He'd open and try another. Then another... Until all 23 bottles had been sampled.

Bottle position has nothing to do with batch priming, ya gotta add the sugar solution to the slimline.

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So Michigan has so much smarter students that they don't have an athletic program?

 

Did Chris Webber know about this smartness requirement when he tried to call timeout when the team didn't have any?

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So Michigan has so much smarter students that they don't have an athletic program?

 

Did Chris Webber know about this smartness requirement when he tried to call timeout when the team didn't have any?

 

Rick,

 

As easy as it would be for me to pile on, as a Buckeye fan, I am going to give you a little advice (from experience). 

 

Just leave this one alone, it really isn't worth the trouble.

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Full disclosure: I went to Illinois where we haven't won anything... ever.

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Rick,

 

As easy as it would be for me to pile on, as a Buckeye fan, I am going to give you a little advice (from experience). 

 

Just leave this one alone, it really isn't worth the trouble.

Awww, it's so fun watching Rick retaliate.  Ruined my day Dawg....

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An MSU grad would not have realized he had not added the solution, and in 4 weeks would find a bottle was flat. He'd open and try another. Then another... Until all 23 bottles had been sampled.

Bottle position has nothing to do with batch priming, ya gotta add the sugar solution to the slimline.

As an MSU grad, I take exception to this!   :P   

 

Obviously, you were so distracted by the Spartans' NCAA Tournament run (how far did UM get?  Oh, that's right ...) that you lost concentration.  It happens.  Better luck next time!                  ;)

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Rick,

 

As easy as it would be for me to pile on, as a Buckeye fan, I am going to give you a little advice (from experience). 

 

Just leave this one alone, it really isn't worth the trouble.

 

I went to Clemson and we've never lost to the Buckeyes in football.  It's a gimme win on the bowl game schedule.

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As an MSU grad, I take exception to this!   :P   

 

Obviously, you were so distracted by the Spartans' NCAA Tournament run (how far did UM get?  Oh, that's right ...) that you lost concentration.  It happens.  Better luck next time!                  ;)

 

Didn't Michigan basketball lose to NJIT back in December?  And a few years ago they lost to Appalachian State in football?

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Good post Rick.  Being diligent about going through a process does have it's rewards.

 

It's somewhat reassuring that even the seasonal professionals can have a bad day.  Makes my feel justified about my anxiety when brewing the couple batches I've started.

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On 3/31/2015 at 5:57 PM, Vakko said:

Wholeheartedly disagree...

 

People don't buy new phones because their last one was bad.  The new one is better.

We don't need mistakes.  We need people trying to be better than each other.  You shouldn't get promoted because you make the least amount of mistakes among your peers.

 

I imagine a world where is everyone is in their google car texting and relaxing on their way to work.  Enjoying the beauty of efficiency without the worry of an accident.

I like your Beer Recipes but I don't Like this. We are all different and learn from mistakes not google.

 

My phone is going bad but I do not want a larger updated one. I am capable of fixing it myself which is is not likely of the latest generation of skill seekers we have behind the computer screen. The skills of tradesmen coming into the field is poor.

I don't believe entirely the mass of the universe was created by mistake but we will never be perfect enough to understand the concept.

 

Lets Make Beer

Cheers,M

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Yes. Process is important, and being prepared.

Each of us will surely work out the best process for us personally.

Having a good template initially is important, then as we become comfortable, or we make mistakes, we can make our own customization.

However, even with process, like commuting to work, one can get to be on "autopilot", so you have to pay attention.

There have been occasions (and surely will be more) when I wonder if I actually did the bottle priming, and I have to hold the bottle up to the light to make sure I see sugar cube corpses at the bottom of the bottle. On some occasions - I have failed to see any, so added cubes.

I generally use a mix of bottles, some 1L some .75 L and a couple of 12 oz.

My process is to bottle the 12 oz somewhere in the middle of the batch to get best quality for "give-aways".

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7 hours ago, Nickfixit said:

My process is to bottle the 12 oz somewhere in the middle of the batch to get best quality for "give-aways".

What's all this give- aways talk? I don't understand that language. 

I drink every drop of what I brew. Becides, I made it! I waited for it to ferment and condition. Who are you to indulge in the fruit of my labor?

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1 hour ago, Ron Howard Dawson said:

What's all this give- aways talk? I don't understand that language. 

I drink every drop of what I brew. Becides, I made it! I waited for it to ferment and condition. Who are you to indulge in the fruit of my labor?

LOL.  I get your point, but I love sharing my beer with friends and family.  A few years ago I built a bar in my Man Cave (a year and 1/2 ago I built a 4 tap keezer for it as well) to be able to have fun sharing beers with friends and family.  #GoodTimes

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5 hours ago, Ron Howard Dawson said:

What's all this give- aways talk? I don't understand that language. 

I drink every drop of what I brew. Becides, I made it! I waited for it to ferment and condition. Who are you to indulge in the fruit of my labor?

Aw... I generally only do 2x 12 oz. - my point being I don't care if I don't get the bottles back.  The PET ones I want back!!

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