Sunday, 23 January 2011

A day in the life of... Me

A lot of people in the past have asked what I get up to all day in a brewery. Here's some typical goings on....

6:11: Arrive at work, switch boiler on, assess and contemplate tasks of the day.

6:15: Boss man Craig arives and Brewer Matt turns up to prepare mash tun for the daily brew.

6:20: Check progress of all ongoing fermentations.

6:40: All transfer apparatus is assembled. This involves assembling the pipework to transfer fermented beer from fermentation vessel to secondary vessels.

7:30: Dray men Draymaster Steve and Number 1 Dray Dave arrive, have a coffee and commence loading vans.

Steve and Dave load vans using the Daleside cask elevation system (DCES) shown right, some people call it a ramp.

As some may remember, I mentioned Draymaster Steve way back. His 18 years of training still serve him well. Rumor has it he once navigated his van through the city centre of Leeds blindfolded. Guided only by his Chi Dray senses, Steve managed the one way system and executed his 27 drops within 1 hour without error.

Thats what I heard anyway. Dave uses a sat nav.

07:35: Our resident caskwasher Matt AKA Ice Box, master of the cask, turns up to commence a long day of cask washing.

Knocking out clean casks faster than a Japanese hamster with a sample can up it's ass. Ice Box works this ghetto style.

07:40: With vans loaded and cast out into the world, the daily transfer of beer can begin.

08:00: Any forward orders are prepared and/or malt or other materials are received and put in stock.

09:00: Breakfast time; toast and coffee normally. This is also a good time to check if anything exciting is going on in the beer blogging world.

09:30: Completed transfer apparatus is cleaned out and put away. The empty fermentation vessels are subjected to CIP (cleaning in progress) which involves more pipes, a pump, and cleaning agents such as hot caustic.
10:15: Mash tun ready (meaning the mash/grains are finished with). Spent grain from the mash tun is discarded into our spent grain skip via a large metal shoot. Here it is in action.

 Ice Box (in da house) separates the spent grain in the skip with a rake.

12:00: Lunch time. Have lunch, check again for anything new and exciting happening in the beer blogging world.

12:30: This is about the time when my casual blog browsing stops and I ring the office to see if the all the orders for the following days deliveries/collection are confirmed and on the system. Stuart (below) is the  man with the scores for this one.

Office staff sometimes come over to visit us. Here Stuart boasts with joy about how he had just cracked level 14 on space invaders 2 at the desk. Happy days.

12:31: THE PICKING LIST IS READY! This is our cue to move to deathcon 4. Casks out, pipes out, sample glass ready.

12:32: Some go outside for a smoke to ease the tension.

13:30: Racking in progress. Meaning casks are filled with beer ordered by customers.

14:45: Racking complete. Pipes are washed out, floors cleaned down.

15:00: Our brewer has usually completed his transfer to the fermentation vessel by this point, its time to start wrapping things up.

15:00: Dray men Dave and Steve return from long hours of vegging out in lay-by's to pass the time delivering beer drop after drop, pub after pub after shop.

15:15: All ongoing fermentations are checked again.

15:20: It's around this time the farmer turns up in his truck to collect his spent grain. This gets used as feed for his cattle. Sometimes however he runs a bit late and does't make it till the next day, in such cases head man Craig sends a gentle reminder text to help things along.

Craig texts:"Get your fat, black, lazy carcass off the Virtual Agriculture 4 and get down here to collect your grain. Bitch!"

It's ok, Nigel doesn't read this blog. (I bloody hope not!)

15:30: Our brewer finishes things off up in the brewhouse (or as I call it, theatre of beer). The copper boiler is cleaned out, floors are cleaned down and kit is pre-prepared for the next days brew.

15:45: Staff room cleaned.

16:00: Ice Box finishes up on the cask washer. It'll be back to the ghetto for him soon.

16:15: With everything switched off and cleaned down, it's time for a bit of a natter, mostly about Dave and Steve's daily encounters.

16:25: Go home.


The Hearty Goodfellow said...

This is great stuff, Rob.

Mark N said...

Indeed, good to know what the professionals get up to.

Rob said...

Glad you found it informative

arn said...

Good post there rob.
Nicely trimmed nasal hair to. :)

James Rosen said...

Hi Robert,
I am the friend of Vincent's son Andrew, who works with you at Daleside. I have a few images of equipment i know the use of, but could do with knowing the quantities the vessels can hold and if possiblea ruff estimate of the sizes of the equipment. Any other information about brewing would be great as well.
James Rosen

pdtnc said...

Not so far off my day... usually 4 people in the brewery, 1 cask washing, 1 racking, 1 transferring a beer from fermenter to conditioning tank, 1 brewing. And either 1 or 2 dray men.
1 drayman is always a drayman and the other sometimes cask washes or racks.
The regular 4 of use rotate tasks through the week, so each day is generally different with either Wash, Rack, Transfer or Brew.


kevin blumer said...

my ex lass would of loved to be in brery ive only been to one brery newcastle brewrys who make newcastle brown ale very more popular in america than it is in the uk it was really intresting to see how complicated the brewing process was