Does anyone here brew commercially?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by TooHopTooHandle, May 16, 2019 at 9:19 PM.

  1. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (97) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    I was wondering if anyone here brews commercially? I just started about a year ago and would like to chat with some of you. Please shoot me a personal message if you have a few minutes to spare. Just looking for some advice.

    Sorry I have not been active lately as my new job has taken up alot of my time.
    Junior likes this.
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,518) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I have brewed a few commercial batches, but have resisted the urge to do it full time. Feel free to PM me, but I'm thinking the pro board might serve you better, depending on the issue(s). That said, why not post the question(s) here too. I can think of a couple pros who post here fairly regularly.
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  3. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (97) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    So here is my dilemma maybe someone can lend some insight.

    I have homebrewed for about 3 years and started brewing professionally for a local brewery for almost a year now. I brew on a 3bbl electric system. Very similar to my home setup except only 10 gallons at home. The only beers I am struggling with on this scale is NEIPAs. I mastered them on my home setup, but for some reason I can not get the haze to stay for more than 2 weeks on the commercial setup.
    I've tried many diff grainbills. The one I mastered at home was
    63% 2row
    11% flaked oats
    11%flaked wheat
    11% white wheat
    3% honey malt
    3% crystal 10.
    Also dry hopping during fermentation any where from 1lb per bbl to 2.5lbs per bbl.
    Using London 1318 and London fog.
    Have tried anywhere from 2lbs per bbl whirlpool and up to 5lbs per bbl whirlpool at 180 degrees, but for some reason after 2 weeks the beer drops mostly clear. At home on my setup I have had haze last up to 6 weeks before keg was empty and it was just as hazy on the last pint as it was the first. I have been trouble shooting this now for 9 months and I am about to commit myself to a mental institution lol. Any tips or help would be greatly appreciated.
  4. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (97) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    The beer is fantastic out of the gate and for about 5 days, then it slow starts dropping clear which effects the flavor, aroma, and mouth feel slightly. I have tried several different salt/mineral additions. 2:1 chloride to sulfate ratio 150:75 ppm, 200:100ppm, and 100:50 ppm. Have upped the dry hops and upped the whirlpool hops (also tried ignoring the hop utilization bonus and scaled up the recipe 1:1). The beer comes out identical to my home brew, but only for about 5 days then it starts to clear and around the 2 week mark. You can see through the glass. I suspected oxidation, but I am doing co2 pressure transfers to the brite and the beer doesn't show any signs of oxidation visually or in the flavor. I am so stumped here it's literally making me insane lol
  5. Push_the_limits

    Push_the_limits Initiate (33) Feb 8, 2018 Antarctica

    Can you talk about some of the main approaches you have taken so far? Sounds like you have certainly been altering the recipe. Have you adjusted any other major variables?

    What are some of the most major differences in the home vs brewery operations other than volume?
  6. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (97) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    I've adjusted mash temps, water chemistry, whirlpool times and temps, complete recipe changes, multiple different hops, dry hopping during fermentation, dry hopping after fermentation, different yeast. The only thing that's different in the equation that I haven't tried was using the same 2row that I use at home which was breiss. We have a NY farm brewery license which requires us to use 60% NY ingredients so the 2row is from that local company so I'm not sure if there is something different with their 2row vs breiss. Also all my hops I used for home brewing were from Yakima valley hops and here at the brewery we get them from Michigan hop alliance. Also I use distilled water at home and only added lactic acid, sulfate, and chloride. The municipal water at work is very good except the HCO3 is very high like 153 ppm. So I am not sure if that would have any effect on this.
  7. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (97) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    Source Tap/Well Water (reported ions ppm)
    Total hardness 161
    Total alkalinity 130
    Total dissolved solids 251

    This is my water profile at work if this helps
    Also this report is from ward labs
  8. Naugled

    Naugled Defender (615) Sep 25, 2007 New York

    Are you serving from kegs or a serving tank? Also what temp do you store your finished beer and for how long?
  9. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (97) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    Serving from half barrel kegs. Beer is stored at 38-39 degrees ( also same temp as my kegerator at home) and the neipas get put on the same day they are kegged. Usually any where from 10-14 days grain to glass. At home I was around 10-12 days grain to glass.
  10. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (139) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina

    Are you using lupulin powder?
    In the article Researching New England IPA (NEIPA) Haze , Scott Janish writes about brewing two nearly identical beers with the only difference between them being one used pellet hops and the other lupulin powder. From the article:
    ".....the lupulin powder beer on the left is noticeably less murky than the pellet hopped beer on the right, despite everything else being the same in the two beers."
    He doesn't say how old the beer is. Here's a link to the picture:
  11. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (97) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    I am using hop pellets
  12. frozyn

    frozyn Defender (620) May 16, 2015 New York
    Society Trader

  13. Naugled

    Naugled Defender (615) Sep 25, 2007 New York

    Have you tried flipping your cloride:sulfate ratio? maybe 100:150? I use the profile using epsom salt (MgSO4) and get great haze. I'll use Mg up to 50ppm.

    I'm not professionally brewing, but I do brew on a similar size system and I've never had a problem not being able to make a beer hazy, I'll BM you.
  14. minderbender

    minderbender Aspirant (213) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    You might try dropping Mike Tonsmeire (@OldSock) a line, he is brewing plenty of hazy beers at Sapwood Cellars and he has always been really generous with advice.
  15. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Defender (605) May 29, 2011 Florida

    Have you tried keeping hardness low? Reducing gypsum and CaCl additions or swapping them out completely to NaCl and MgSO4 to get your desired Cl & SO4 levels. Lactic acid to hit pH targets.

    Also, what is your fermentation schedule including cold conditioning? Are you crashing the beer too cold, too long before packaging?

    Have you tried upping DH additions to 3-4 lbs per barrel?

    From what I’ve read so far, my recommendations:

    - lower hardness of water if possible
    - increase DH rate a bit
    - agitate dry hops
    - gentle, short cold crash
    - use inline coarse filter from FV to BT to catch hop trub that would otherwise have dropped out better at harder crash temps

    Are you agitating dry hops or are they just settling to bottom of cone? How much pressure does your tank hold?

    You should be able to, towards end of fermentation, add dry hop charge, keep blowoff open for 24 hrs to purge any O2 introduced, then close blowoff, blow CO2 up through bottom port to rouse any settled hops, repeat daily with short bursts until your head pressure is around 5-10 psi or dry hop schedule is over (whichever occurs first) then go into your cold conditioning with gentle, short conditioning (40-42F) before transferring over to Brite.

    Maybe you do this already? If so, there is no value added from my post lol
  16. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,947) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I have never heard/read about using a higher amount of sulfate than chloride when brewing a Juicy/Hazy IPA. The 'conventional' wisdom is to utilize something like a 2:1 ratio of chloride to sulfate with amounts typically along the lines of 200:100. Where did you get the idea to use a greater amount of sulfate vs. chloride?

  17. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,668) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Unfortunately I have no answer to this, everything seems right. I'm even using Chico/California ale yeast and having no problem.

    I have had hefeweizens go clear in 15 bbl bright tanks over time but with kegs that shouldn't be an issue. My NEIPA is stored in kegs at 36F and 11 kegs will hold for 6 weeks without issue; nor is there a drop out of protein/yeast that needs to be pulled off when a new keg is tapped.

    I can't imagine an electric system cranking out a boil that would really separate the proteins that much, and there's a lot of protein in that recipe! I like the touch of honey malt, BTW, I use that myself at a similar rate (3.6%).

    I have medium hard water and haven't done anything with it so I can't suggest anything there.

    I do use more hops in dry-hopping than whirlpool, and that might help. The only other thing I can think of is trying a no-boil but I've never done one myself and it's just a guess, or perhaps just a limited whirlpool and rest.

    Sorry I couldn't have been of more help.
    #17 NeroFiddled, May 17, 2019 at 5:07 PM
    Last edited: May 17, 2019 at 5:14 PM
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  18. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Defender (605) May 29, 2011 Florida


    Just saw your total hardness is 161.
    That is pretty high.
    If you are adding salts to this water then your hardness may even be extremely high. This could be affecting your haze drop.
    TooHopTooHandle likes this.
  19. Naugled

    Naugled Defender (615) Sep 25, 2007 New York

    I first tried it after reading this guys blog.
    I've brewed some of his clones, they do come out really nice.
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  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,947) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

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  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,947) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    How does water hardness impact haze (protein-polyphenol complexes) staying in suspension? Do you have any technical articles you can reference (e.g., link) on this topic?

    TooHopTooHandle likes this.
  22. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (97) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    Yes I do add salts to my mash. I was thinking that might be the problem. I might buy 130 gallons of distilled water and give that a shot and keep everything else the same to see if that fixes it. Will a water filter help with the hardness or would RO be the only way to fix it.
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,947) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    A water filter will not remove water minerals.


    P.S. I have homebrewed Juicy/Hazy IPAs using my filtered tap water which has a hardness of 324 mg/L with no issues of the permahaze settling. I should caveat they are 5 gallon batches and I bottle condition vs. keg.
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  24. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (97) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    Also have no problems at home with the permahaze, just at work
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,947) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yeah, I gathered that. Needless to say there is something(s) different going on and hopefully someone will come up with the answer(s).

    Your idea of brewing with distilled water (and salt additions) is a worthy experiment to see whether the cause is the commercial brewery's water source. If that batch also has issues with the permahaze settling too quickly then it is onto step B (whatever that is).

    Needless to say but the best solution is to sell all of your beer in less than a week! :wink:

    TooHopTooHandle likes this.
  26. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (97) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    Next step after water will be switching grain supplier for a batch. Most of the time we do sell it in about a week, but we distro stuff and sometimes the distro stuff sits at places and I'm not happy with how the product is after a couple weeks. Want to give people the best I can do and I wont settle until I fix this lol
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  27. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Defender (605) May 29, 2011 Florida

    No, not directly.

    Working from general concepts and anecdotal observations with my own brewing.

    “The calcium cation is the principal ion that determines hardness. It promotes clarity, flavor, and stability in the finished beer. The magnesium cation also contributes to hardness and affects the mash pH, but to a lesser extent than the calcium. The sodium cation doesn’t contribute to water hardness. In small amounts (<100 ppm) it is benign, but at larger concentrations, it can cause the beer to taste minerally or metallic”.

    I’d like to find something material but have not been able to find anything technical.

    What we do know is Calcium aids in hot break, precipitating carbonates and oxalates. Hard water is also associated with dryness as opposed to roundness in mouthfeel.

    So when it comes to brewing NEIPA, I would think, and have had good success lately, with using filtered water with low hardness and using NaCl and MgSO4 for salt additions.

    Just my .02
  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,947) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    If you ever locate a technical article that specifically addresses hard water and brewing Juicy/Hazy IPAs I would be interested in reading it.

    I have homebrewed Juicy/Hazy IPAs using my filtered tap water which is not soft and I have not had issues with the permahaze dropping out.

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  29. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,668) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    That's what she said.
  30. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,668) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    It would certainly make sense that more minerals in suspension would lead to more precipitation of proteins.
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  31. wasatchback

    wasatchback Aspirant (299) Jan 12, 2014 Utah

    Get yourself some Tanal A...
  32. thebriansmaude

    thebriansmaude Initiate (74) Dec 16, 2016 Alberta (Canada)

    In the mean time rock them kegs back and forth a bit
  33. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,790) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    This won't directly solve your problem, but if you listen to the latest episode of The Session on the Brewing Network, towards the end of the show a pro brewer relates how he struggled to get haze to persist in his IPAs. The guy's name was Vinnie something or other. It seemed like he was a pretty talented brewer. Perhaps you are in good company. But what do I know? If you had the audacity to serve me a clear beer, I'd probably respect you in the morning.
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  34. ECCS

    ECCS Initiate (182) Oct 28, 2015 Illinois

    What if you try taking some source water from your commercial brewery back home to homebrew with? If the haze drops out of that homebrew batch, it would seem the water is the culprit. If the haze stays in that homebrew batch, it would seem the commercial equipment/process is the culprit.
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  35. TheHumanTorch

    TheHumanTorch Initiate (62) Jul 19, 2013 Connecticut

    I can write a lot on this subject, but it's not conclusive. After writing this whole thing, I want to apologize in advance about the formatting and info dump.

    I brewed on a pilot system for a summer and never had the ipa dropping clear issue.

    On our 10 bbl brewhouse, different story. Ferment beer, dry hop, looks hazy, gradually goes clear. I have 2 dissolved oxygen meters in house. One reads ppm for pitching, one reads ppb for all things post fermentation. We purge all vessels post fermentation down to the lowest reading on the DO meter. Generally seeing ~40 ppb in the can. The issue has persisted with 3 different yeast strains (wyeast 1187, wlp 007 and wyeast 1099), but gets progressively worse as yeast generations go on. All of these were actually sourced from the Brewing Science Institute in liquid form.

    Our dry hops are dosed through a valve on top of our fermenters from a purged vessel. We've tried different methods of recirculation at various temperatures. Let's say there is no doubt we have good contact between the hops and the beer.

    I have 2 theories that I don't have the ability to confirm. I'll just add quickly that we try to take very good care of our yeast. We dose zinc into wort in the fermenter. Our yeast is harvested, fed and cleaned right around final gravity. The yeast is stored at 34F and reused within 2 days.

    1. There is excess oxygen being dosed into the wort prior to pitching, causing oxidation and somehow impacting haze stability. Problem: I've tried lowering our oxygen dosing to no avail. At a certain level (low) the beer will remain hazy, but fermentation does not go to completion.

    2. Something about the health of the yeast (good or bad) is causing strong flocculation, which is pulling the hop oils and polyphenols down to the bottom of the tank.

    Other tidbits (randomly ordered)

    At the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver this year there was a presentation on "the secrets of the NEIPA." The presentation was great in some ways, but lacking in the fact that it was given by a researcher, with no supplemental info from brewers. He found that the majority of haze in 12 different ipa samples could be attributed to proteins typically found in wheat and oats. Majority of haze being ~90% with yeast and polyphenol making up ~5% each, and the exception of one sample that was very yeasty. These samples were shipped directly from breweries all located in New England.

    My talks with other brewers basically conclude, add more wheat, flour, oats. While I agree that will make the beer more hazy, I don't think it makes the ideal ipa (based on my favorite IPA brewers) and I also don't think the people I spoke with are outstanding brewers.

    Our recirculation involves pumping beer, which shreds the hop material. I've looked a lobe style pumps that are more gentle. I'm considering adding hops to a separate vessel and moving the beer on top of the hops. This is more similar to the method I used on the pilot system. I preferred the hop character I was achieving using the transfer on top method. On a pro scale we are talking a lot more work and more oxygen, so I prefer if I don't have to go that route, but I'll be trying it soon.

    Last bit, which originally made me think about O2 levels pre pitch is that I don't have this problem at all when using dry yeast with no O2. Right now, for hoppy beer, I use dry and only reuse once. Our haze is as permanent as any brewery I've seen this way.

    Hope this shines some light on the issue. I don't think the answer is simple and I know from CBC that a couple of the big breweries (Bells and Brooklyn) don't have all the info on the subject. If I were you, I'd look at pitching fresh dry yeast.
  36. ECCS

    ECCS Initiate (182) Oct 28, 2015 Illinois

    Great post, great insights.

    The quoted part above was interesting and contradictory to my experience. I’ve eliminated all oats/wheat from my homebrew recipes and I’ve seen an improvement in the color, haze retention, and hop flavor.
  37. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (97) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    Excellent info and I really do appreciate the time you took to write all of that! Cheers!!! I also get my yeast from BSI, but also used white labs (london fog and 007) and wyeast (1318). I also am harvesting and resuing yeast around 5 to 6 gens before starting again with a fresh pitch. You are definitely right about the farther along the generation the faster it drops clear and the clearer it gets. I did suspect oxygen as an issue, but I honestly dont think the beer is oxidized one bit. In the beginning stages of homebrewing neipas I was having oxygen issues until I started doing close pressure transfers. None of my commercial neipas have any flavor/aroma/appearance issue related to oxidation (got pretty familiar with that problem at home on my first couple batches) I aslo eliminated o2 during knock out just to see if that was an issue and it didnt change anything except adding time it took for fermentation to get ripping. I also get a pretty strong whirlpool going to ensure good contract with wort, but have also tried multiple different flow rates and temperatures to see if that changed it and it didn't. I am really intrigued on trying the dry yeast that you are talking about. What dry yeast are you using? Do you mind sharing a grain bill to see how much different it is from mine? At this point I am willing to give anything a shot. I am glad to hear that I'm not crazy and not the only person having this issue. It's just driving me crazy because I've brewed them at home with no issues and they are fantastic and would stand up to most commercial neipas on the market. Once again thank you for your generous reply.
  38. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (97) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    Have you used it before? If so could you provide some feed back? I read about it a while ago before brewing commercially, but I wasn't having haze issues at home so I dismissed it.
  39. wasatchback

    wasatchback Aspirant (299) Jan 12, 2014 Utah

    Same. It’s totally unnecessary. American 2row, touch of Carafoam, and a small amount of something for color is all you need. There’s plenty of protein in your typical American 2row. Have you looked at the COA from your maltster? I know many of the craft maltsters in the US shoot for lower protein content than the stuff coming from Rahr/Briess.

    Dry hopping after fermentation is complete and soft crashing to pull as much yeast before adding hops also for me creates better haze stability. The more yeast you can remove then more likely the good stuff is to stay in solution. The more flocculent the yeast the better as well.

    How are you dealing with all that bicarbonate? Got to take a decent amount of acid to get that town to a manageable amount no?
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  40. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (97) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    Have not looked at the COA yet, but I am going to look into Monday. Wasnt even thinking the grain may have an effect on it till the other day. Also I have not done anything to deal with the bicarbonate. What are my options to deal with the bicarbonate? I usually have to use any where from 80-120ml of lactic on a 3bbl batch to get mash ph into desired range.