Cleaning; it’s not too sexy but it’s the overwhelming majority of what we spend our time doing. If you don’t love cleaning or at least, if you can’t stand it, brewing is probably not for you.
We’ve all had it, that beer that (unintentionally) smelt like feet. A wild yeast infection here, a touch of bacterial sourness there, the quickest way to ruin a beer experience is with contaminating microbes.
Brewers have many touch-points to fastidiously neutralise to ensure contaminate free product. From the relative sanitation of the Brewhouse, to fermentation vessels, transfer pipes and hoses, brite tanks, and packaging apparatus. Rubber gaskets, hard to reach heat exchanges, soil loads in fermenters; the entire process is a veritable gauntlet of parties for prokaryotic pests.
Our cleaning process is simple, because we are small, and also simple. Caustic for biologicals (yeast rings and hop oils), Inorganic Acid to dissolve mineral build up and Hydrogen Peroxide to kill the microbes. Every fermenter used gets a Caustic-Acid-Sani combo. The Brewhouse gets a Caustic after every brew and Acid once a month. Hot Liquor and Cold Liquor tanks are now on a quarterly Caustic-Acid cycle.
For bigger breweries there is a brave new world of cleaning processes and products. Acid detergentes, cleaning under pressure and CIP skids for chemical recovery. But that’s a Clean Freak Wednesday for another day.
We also like to clean the outside of the tanks and floors once a week with Chlorinated Caustic. And by we I mean Danny. Oh yeah, this is Danny. Working Title’s workhorse and young gun Brewer. He loves cleaning.