Top 3 Fu#$-Ups At The Brewery

So I’ve worked at Iron Horse for right around six years and I have seen some shit happen that makes you want to walk away and cry in a corner.  There is a lot that can happen when working with beer.  Spills, wrong mash-in’s, valves being left open, the wrong tank being packaged… the list goes on and on.  These are the top three fuck up’s that I witnessed.

  1. This one was a doozy. I was walking around minding my own business when I heard a loud pop and a shit ton of liquid hitting the ground.  This is never a good sound and makes every production worker immediately stop what they are doing and look around.  So I start to look and I see one of the brewer’s standing in shock with their hand over the mouth shaking their head and I know immediately it’s bad.  So I run around the corner and see Irish Death shooting literally shooting 20 feet out of a conditioning tank halfway across the brewery.  The sample valve got pulled off because of a mix up on which tank was getting cleaned.  We had to open a valve, shove it onto the tank and close it all the while being sprayed with 32 degree Irish Death. Beer showers are not as glorious as one might think.  When it was all said and done we had about 20 bbls (620 gallons) of beer on the floor to clean up after that and I smelled like Irish Death for the next couple days.
  2. Back at the old production facility we only had one tiny drain and it was a giant pain to keep clean so we were constantly mopping.  To get into the production area we had to walk through the tasting room which was pretty small and into the back where all the brewing equipment was.  One morning I roll up to the brewery at 4:45 in the morning open the door to start brewing for the day and all the lights are off and it’s dark because I am the first one there.  As soon as I open the door I hear splashing and when I take a step it’s in water.  I seriously considered closing the door, locking up and going home at this point.  I didn’t and ran inside to find someone had left the filling valve open to the cold water tank.  It had an overflow built in so the water just kept dumping out for about nine, that’s right NINE god damn hours.  The whole building was flooded and there was water absolutely everywhere.  It took the whole damn day to squeegee and mop the water up.  Needless to say our water usage for that week was a tad bit high.
  3. This was a fuck up that we were able to fix with a lot of time and effort but a fuck up none the less.  Back before we had the centrifuge we would transfer beer from the Fermenter to the Bright Tank just using C02 after crashing it to 32 degrees and dumping all the trub and yeast that settles out.  This is a very important process that got skipped.  We transferred beer that was supposed to be crashed but wasn’t so it was a nice 70 degrees when it was transferred into the cooler.  Why is this a problem you ask…. Well, Fermenters have a nice cone shaped bottom so that when all the yeast and trub settle out you can pull it out without creating a funnel that leaves leftovers on the side.  Conditioning tanks do not have a nice cone on the bottom as they are a dish bottom tank.  So all the yeast and trub settled out in the conditioning tank.  Now what happens when you try to package anything out of said tank is you pull out a big chunk of yeast and create a funnel that pulls beer but also chunks of yeast and trub.  So for around a month we had to slowly pull yeast out of the conditioning tank until we got the roughly 150 lbs of yeast and trub out of the tank.  It took forever and screwed us on how much we could brew so we had to play massive catch up once it was empty. It was really just a pain in the ass that frustrated the hell out of everyone involved. Every day you poured some off you thought “this might be the day we can empty it.”  Then your hope was crapped on and thrown back at you every shit kicking day. 

 Those were just some of the top fuck up’s I have seen over the years.  There are more and I am sure there are more to come that will make us want to punch kittens… not puppies because who the fuck could punch a puppy at least you know kittens turn into ass hats as soon as they get old enough.

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