Surveying Damage

Malt begins its journey through the brewing process at the top of the gravity ladder in this holding bin on the third floor, in a space that doubles as office and milling room. Here, Mel Greiser prepares the graduated grain bin to receive the malt. Hash marks inside the bin instantly translate volume to weight for ease of measurement.

On the top level was the grain storage area and office. The grain mill was in the floor of that level (the third level), with a chute leading from the mill to the mash tun on the second floor.

The design allowed for spent grains to be shoveled from the mash tun directly into a chute in the outer wall, which fed into storage bins outside. The second level was used for secondary fermentation and conditioning only. (Now it is a temperature-controlled fermentation room that contains four 7-bbl dish-bottomed fermentors, two 14-bbl unitanks, and two 7-bbl bright tanks.)

On the first floor was the 7-bbl gas-fired brew kettle and the brewery’s two 7-bbl open primary fermentors, located less than 5 feet from the keg-washing station (not exactly a sanitary arrangement). The keg cold room was also on the first floor, within easy reach of the rear door. Aside from the location of the primary fermentors, it was a well thought out brewery.

Bockmore’s first act was to get rid of the two poorly located open fermentors, thus eliminating the brewery’s biggest infection risk. Other equipment changes included the addition of glycol temperature control for all the fermentation tanks and the purchase of Zahm & Nagel (Buffalo, New York) CO2 and air testing equipment. Kegs were changed over from Golden Gate to Sankey to better match what the rest of the industry was using. A thorough cleaning of the entire brewery was all that was left before serious brewing could begin.

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