Brewing and Small Children

You know how little boys can be (or boys in general. If not… read on). Its funny to watch them play with things. They start out playing with, say a toy hammer. Its so cute to watch them hammer away while you work in the garage ( I mean brewery) You think, “My son is clearly mechanically inclined and super smart for his age, just like his father. I should have him tested.”. Ego swells. You take your eyes off of them, because clearly you are able to trust a two year old with tools.

Next thing you know,he has raided your tool chest, and is “tuning” up the brewhouse by jammed every screwdriver, wrench, socket, nut and bolt into every nook and cranny of your brewery. This includes pumps, chillers, burners, ball valves, etc. (Which I’m told was like me when I was his age… which can’t be true… I was an angel who always listened and obeyed…or was that my sister…?). Any who I managed to clear out the Brewhouse, REORGANIZE all my tools, and I learned an important lesson. My son had to be more like his Mother than he was myself, because I would NEVER have done something like that at his age.

Order was once again restored to the galaxy.

Fast forward a few weeks later. Its my first brew day since the move. It’s been THREE months since I’ve done ANYTHING beer related (I mean… besides drinking it. You can’t stop R&D. Its rough sometimes, but someone has to do it). I am PSYCHED! I’m also brewing solo today without the rest of the Brew Crew. It’s very stressful to run the brewhouse by yourself, but I need to work out the bugs and processes in the new place before asking them to make the incredibly long journey out to the new home.

The brewday started out great. Burners fired right up, nothing leaked or exploded, and the day started out cloudy, which helped keep the outside temperature down.

Suddenly, one if my transfer pumps started having problems. I’m transferring hot water from the Hot Liquor Tank over to my Mash Tun to start mashing the grain and the pump quits. Just stops. I’m 15 minutes into my first brew in MONTHS, and I have a major mechanical breakdown already. Clearly I have angered the god of beer (Ceres, what have I done to offend thee so?).

I switch over to my secondary pump, and proceed to take apart the failed pump to troubleshoot it. Very quickly, I see the problem. It would appear during my Son’s “tune-up” of the brewhouse, he jammed a small screw and a piece of rubber into the pump shut off valve, which got sucked into the impeller.

Easy fix, and I was able to clear the jam and continue on with my day pretty quickly. It was amazing how much brewing is such a process dependent thing, that one small glitch can completely halt the brewday.

Lesson learned? I need some redundancy built into my processes and systems.

Especially since my son takes after his mother.

Now that we are brewing again, hopefully the brewing god will be appeased.

Leave a Reply