Archives For Open Source

Eventide Tap Handle Just the other day I was at Haley and Nathan’s house and couldn’t help but notice something new. There, in the window sill of their kitchen, was a little clipping of a plant Nathan was trying to have spring roots. Seeing that just further reinforced that it’s little things like this which make our team who we are, and is the reason behind why we do what we do. We absolutely love to make things.

This goes for our brewery, our beer (of course), and even the tap handles which are used to serve our beer. For us, craft isn’t just in the beer or the building, it’s in everything we do. The tap handles are a great example of this, and they were crafted in a collaboration between our head of marketing Mathew Sweezey and many volunteers.

We thought it was so unique to us that we wanted to make sure it was recorded for everyone to see. With that being the case, we made this short film documenting the making of our tap handles. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did making it.

Mat S.

Crowd Funded Breweries

NathanCowan —  October 18, 2012 — Leave a comment

Undoubtedly, unless you have been under a rock somewhere, you have heard about crowd-funded projects through sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Fundable.

However, what you may not have known is that there are many micro breweries sourcing their seed money through this process as well. If you love craft beer you should check these sites out and see what you can do to try to bring a new brewery to your area or help someone else bring one to his or hers.

In the world of craft beer we are all in it together, and here are a few new start ups that seem promising:

The Brew Gentleman – PA

Brenner Brewing Co. – WI

The Hoppy Dwarf – GA

Horseshoe Bend – MO

The FreshCap 

 

 

Victory Brewing Co.

NathanCowan —  August 30, 2012 — Leave a comment

Here are Eventide we like to keep you in the loop on how we are doing, what we are doing, and why we are doing it. In other words, we like to provide as much Open Source information about our start-up plans and processes as we can.

There is not much new here at Eventide this week. We are still whittling away on the same old stuff; funding, location, and equipment specifications. However there is some good information out there for those who are interested in breweries. Victory Brewing Company is in the process of expanding their facilities and you can read all about it a their expansion news page or at BeerPulse.

Thank you, Victory, for keeping it open source. And to everyone tracking our progress, thank you for your support and we hope to share more information with you soon.

Nathan C.

 

 

While this may not be the first reason for opening a brewery from an enthusiast’s perspective, the simple law of supply and demand is a big reason that we feel confident in what we are trying to accomplish in the Atlanta, GA area.  The graphical representation of Craft Breweries Per Capita (US), 2012 indicates that there is lack of supply for our region of the country. Atlanta, GA is almost in the dead center of the lowest area of beer production per person in the entire united states; even Alaska is banging out more  brew per drinker than Georgia!

So we are weak in the area of supply but how to we rank against the rest of the country in demand? Well, if you do a bit of research you will find that this number varies greatly source-to-source and year-to-year, however, one major determining factor for quantifying demand is the continuous beer drinking on average for the United States. This generally hovers around 21 gal/person/year and our region is usually very close to that number.

So, if the southeast is average when it comes to beer consumption per capita with the rest of the US and super low when it comes to production per capita, it is a safe assumption that this region is poised for growth in the Craft Beer Market. Some suave analyst may even conclude that our average beer consumption in the southeast could be attributed to the lack of locally produced beer and that it would go up if more beer was produced in our region. Unsure? Well, there’s only one way to find out.

 

 

 

There are a lot of factors and/or constraints that go in to designing a brewery but they mostly revolve around how much beer you plan to make. That question comes in two forms: how much do you want to make now and how much do you want to make later. Note: In the brewing industry in America, beer is measured in barrels (BBL) and one barrel is equivalent to 31 gallons.

The other big factor in designing a brewery is determining when you want to become profitable. Now, you would probably think that this would fall under the same umbrella as the first question of quantity and, to a certain extent, it does, however, profitability moves largely independent of quantity in that there are ways to make large amounts of beer and no profit at all.

The driver behind these two questions comes down to a few inputs; fixed costs (e.g., equipment and rent), variable costs (e.g., raw materials, utilities, and employment), unit sales, and unit profit. As the size of the brewery increases so do your fixed cost, and brewing equipment is expensive. If your fixed costs go up you have to produce more to recoup the expenses. Producing more increases variable costs and also expands your market which may drive you to need additional packaging options which means more capital investment and more fixed costs. The positive side of this is at some point you can make enough beer to breakeven and then move in the direction of making enough to become profitable.

So, how much do you have to make to become profitable? This has been the big question for Eventide for some time and we think that we have settled on a number. We are estimating that we will start with a 30 BBL brew house and 90 BBL fermentation tanks. We plan on entering the market at 180 BBL per month production and grow that to 24,000 BBL per year before we max out the system.  At that size system we will have to make 400 BBL per month just too breakeven, so it will be a bit of a struggle for the first couple of years. But, once we build a larger market base and stabilize our cost/profit flow, things will be looking up. Way up.

Cheers.

In brewing there are many different types of systems that are used. The most basic is a two kettle system comprised of a mash/lauter tun and a boil/whirlpool. In order to speed up the brewing process you can break off different parts of that process in to designated vessels. For example, a stand alone whirlpool will remove an hour from the process.

There are also various ways to heat your vessels, the most popular of which (these days at least) is steam. In the past people used direct fire, wood or gas, and there are still gas fired brewing systems in use today. Steam is more efficient but some people hold to the thought that direct fired kettles physically modify the starches and give the brew a better flavor.

Our R&D system at Eventide is a two kettle, direct fired system with a heated re-circulation loop for the mashing tun. The re-circulation loop is  heated by passing through a worm in the hot liquor tank. The system is both gravity and pump operated utilizing gravity for mashing in and for sparging out. For our future brewery, which is currently in the design phase, we are planning to use a two kettle, steam fired system. Due to the size constraints this appears to be the best route for us. However, future plans will involve a multi-kettle system to expedite the brewing process and allow for a large increase in production.

Pictured below is multi-kettle brew system which is similar to what we’ll eventually hope to have on site.

 

Where to start? Well, let’s start at the beginning….

Beer is the product of fermented malt sugar. Traditionally brewers only had one option when it came to making beer, they had to malt the grain and then mash out the available sugars into wort. This wort could then be condensed (boiled) and have different flavors added to it to make the un-fermented base for beer. Once done they would introduce the yeast, wait for fermentation to finish, and then enjoy.

These days we can buy grain already malted which saves a great deal of time by allowing us to forego the whole malting process; this is the route that most breweries take today. You can even go one step further and buy the grain already malted and mashed. This product is known as Malt Extract and it comes in both liquid form (a thick syrup) and as a dry powder. Each is essentially condensed wort.

So which is the best, all grain or extract?  This is a topic of much debate on the homebrew front, but at the brewery level it is a no-brainer. Malted grain is the most cost effective way to produce beer, and it gives you a wide range of variables which you can manipulate. For home brewers the cost is less of an issue (being such a small amount) and the choice, in most cases, is decided by the available equipment and personal preference. As you can see, there are pros and cons to each.

Dollars: Are you a brewer on a budget and, if so, are you handy? All-Grain brewing uses about twice the equipment as extract depending on how creative you are. The equipment can be pricey but the raw goods in extract brewing also cost more that malted grain. This decision will boil down to initial cost vs cost over time, and will involve the individual’s commitment to long-term brewing.

Smarts: Too what degree do you wish to learn the particulars of brewing science? Most home brewers do not know that there is a lot to do with your water profile in the brewing process. If your water is off in alkalinity and/or pH you could end up making something that tastes more like band-aid tea or extremely bitter coffee than beer. One of the neat, and comforting, things about malt extract is that it already has the correct water profile “cooked” right in.

Time: Anyone who has brewed a batch of their own beer understands that it takes time to finish. There is no way around that, not even for the major players. The good news, however, is that most of the time is spent in waiting for fermentation, lagering, or conditioning. In all-grain brewing you almost double the brewing time due to the need for a mashing step. This process alone takes about 1.5 hrs then you have to lauder and sparge the mash, and sometimes additionally boil the wort to hit your target OG.

What it all, really, boils down to, and this is the major consideration at even the production brewery level, is how close do you want to get to your craft? How much of the end product do you want to have under your control? Some brewers like to malt and kiln-dry their own grain so that they can produce the exact profile that they are looking for. Others use the most readily available malt sugars and hop essences which are extracted in a lab somewhere. The bottom line is that you can make beer by mixing partially finished ingredients together; it is a great place for everyone to start (we did, but only for our first 2 brews). However, to truly appreciate everything that brewing has to offer, the jump to all grain brewing must be made. We feel that is where the true understanding and enjoyment of brewing is hidden, and the great thing about it is that anyone can find it.

 

Behind every great beer is a large amount of time dedicated to the perfection of the recipe. Many brewers use their gut, intuition, and memory to try to make consistently good beer. There are others that are at our stage in the game that spend $100’s of dollars of software to track and produce their recipes. Here at Eventide we live with the idea that Great Doesn’t Have to be Complicated. To aid in that philosophy, we custom built our own brewing spread sheet which has allowed us to tailor it to our exact needs and improve upon it as needed. We understand that one day we will out grow our brew sheet but we intend to keep a version in operation in the R&D lab. After all, the brew sheet is the heart of our brewing operation so shouldn’t it remain a major component in the R&D process? It helps to be flexible with the design of recipe and allows our variables to be almost limitless.  In short our brew sheet has worked very well for us and in the interest of brewing fellowship, we would like to share a user friendly version with you.

First, a little background on what the sheet is used for:

Brewing is a complex science incorporating Chemistry, Biology, Thermodynamics, and Materials. The use of each has spawned a new list of variables and units which are specific to the brewing industry, yet all have their roots in the classic sciences. Some of the variables which are frequently used, and should be accounted for in projecting a beer recipe, are SRM, IBU, SG, FG, AA (Alpha Acids), Attenuation, pH, and Temperature, just to name a few. Our intention has been (and is) to integrate our process with the base sciences and account for as many variables as possible.

This sheet is built for our HERMS system so you may have to make some adjustments for your system. It utilizes excel and was made using standard functions, so feel free to modify it in whatever was you see fit. Most of the ingredients options have to be selected from a drop down list so it pulls the correct variables from the tables, but if you do not see the item you want to use you can simply add it to the list.

 Eventide Recipe Builder

The sheet allows for documentation of all aspects of the recipe from inception to the finished product, and one of the most important rules of brewing is to precisely document everything. Be it a success or failure, make sure it is all on paper.

If you find any critical errors with the sheet or just have a general improvement that you would like to share with up please send us an email.

 

 

 

 

If you have studied beer for anytime at all, or if you live in a reasonably educated and modern part of the world, then you know what yeast is and why it is important to beer. This is not a post about what yeast is or which of the many strains are best for this purpose or that, rather it is about how many of those little guys you need and how to get them.

One of the easiest things that you can do as a home brewer to improve your beer is to provide the correct amount of yeast to the sweet wort. The correct amount a yeast is a widely debated topic and is dependant on many factors such as volume of sweet wort, the amount of available sugar in the wort, how “stressed” you want the yeast to be for ester production, etc.  A good resource for information on this topic is Mr. Malty, and they even have a handy Yeast Calculator available at the website. However, all this being said, a standard rule of thumb is that you want active fermentation within 12 hrs. The reason being is that yeast changes it’s environment from aerobic to anaerobic during the process of fermentation which makes the environment (the beer) un-inhabitable for all the other little microbes. This ability to change the environment and survive the switch is unique to yeast (as far as I know) and is the major contributing factor as to why beer was the safe drink of choice for thousands of  years.

So how do I get enough yeasties to start the party in less than 12 hrs? There are two ways: you can simply buy more yeast or you can “make” more yeast.  In my opinion, the making more yeast approach at this scale of production is highly preferable. It is significantly cheaper, provides you with greater flexibility in yeast selection (you can “re-purpose” the yeast in the bottom of your favorite hefe for instance), and yeast from a starter is much more active than that out of the vial.

Making a yeast starter is much the same as making beer except the emphasis is on making healthy viable yeast instead of great tasting beer. Your starter should be similar in food source and strength to the intended use. So, if you are making a regular beer, use maltose as the food source. If you are going to be adding large amounts of other fermentables then add a proportionate amount to the starter. This will allow the yeast to become accustomed to eating those types of sugars. Do not worry about adding non-fermentable components of the final recipe, like hops or cinnamon for instance, because the yeast will not really care if it is there. A good recipe to follow for a regular beer is 1 gram of DME per 10 ml of water, so for a 2L starter use 200 g of DME. This should give you close to a 1.040 OG starter.

 

 

Our favorite tool for the job is a stir plate because it increases the yeast yield per quantity of starter medium used. Above and below are pictures of our stir plate made from a cigar box, a couple computer hard drive fans and some rare earth magnets.  Check back soon for a step by step build of your very own stir plate.