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> Callin' just cj, We need a report
Oldfart
post Apr 20 2009, 09:36 PM
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I think that a lot of us here are waiting to hear how your transition from English teacher to Head Brewer is going, any surprises, etc? Yeah, it's only been three weeks for you on the new dream job, but we need to know!

And something I can't help wondering, though don't answer if it invades your privacy: If I left my established profession (mechanical engineering) after 20 years to be a brewer, my wife would have announced the start of NSY (No Sex Year), and my kids would be chewing on my ankles. Now somehow, you seem to have eased through this, I can't help but wonder how... (My guess is simply that you have a wonderful wife and kids.)

(IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/cheers.gif) OF

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DJ in KC
post Apr 20 2009, 10:04 PM
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OF, sounds like he is having the time of his life and finding out just what it takes to run a place taking water and a few other things to get beer to the masses. We should be thankful for brewers like Chris and drewseslu, good beer from a commercial place is a blessing.

Here's a link

http://www.brews-bros.com/index.php?showto...18&hl=tired

If brewboard.com decides this link is inappropriate and deletes it, please delete my account and posts. I've posted links before to other places, and yes, I pushed it tonight. Your call.

I hope you don't. I like this place. There's no reason we can't get along. And if this ends up being a deleted post/account in a while, been nice being here, met a lot of nice people.

dj
Reason for edit: This link is very appropriate and acceptable! Jess
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Mudd
post Apr 20 2009, 10:42 PM
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QUOTE(DJ in KC @ Apr 20 2009, 09:04 PM) *
OF, sounds like he is having the time of his life and finding out just what it takes to run a place taking water and a few other things to get beer to the masses. We should be thankful for brewers like Chris and drewseslu, good beer from a commercial place is a blessing.

Here's a link

http://www.brews-bros.com/index.php?showto...18&hl=tired

If brewboard.com decides this link is inappropriate and deletes it, please delete my account and posts. I've posted links before to other places, and yes, I pushed it tonight. Your call.

I hope you don't. I like this place. There's no reason we can't get along. And if this ends up being a deleted post/account in a while, been nice being here, met a lot of nice people.

dj


Hey DJ have you heard from CJ recently?
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DJ in KC
post Apr 20 2009, 11:01 PM
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QUOTE(Mudd @ Apr 20 2009, 10:42 PM) *
Hey DJ have you heard from CJ recently?


Not personally, but he has a response on the link that I posted. Hope it stays posted _ I started it because I knew 4/1 was his start date. And if you forgot, dresewslu is my son and now head brewer at Mattingly Brewery in St. Louis, and also brewing for Schlafly (AKA St. Louis Brewery). It was a thread that I posted on another board.
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Incomunocado
post Apr 20 2009, 11:08 PM
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"If brewboard.com decides this link is inappropriate and deletes it, please delete my account and posts. I've posted links before to other places, and yes, I pushed it tonight. Your call."

Hear, Hear. Me too
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DJ in KC
post Apr 20 2009, 11:19 PM
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QUOTE(Incomunocado @ Apr 20 2009, 11:08 PM) *
"If brewboard.com decides this link is inappropriate and deletes it, please delete my account and posts. I've posted links before to other places, and yes, I pushed it tonight. Your call."

Hear, Hear. Me too



I shouldn't have posted that. But I did. Each place has a lot of homebrewers posting. Guess I tried to make some peace tonight/ not real well either - spent a lot of time driving this weekend, meeting some brewers, old and new. And then listening to one of the truly great ones - Dave Miller. And a little thinking.

I almost feel bad draggin his name into it. But...... you know, and if you don't, buy his books or at leat google him - let's just let it go and brew something.
Not trying to stir things up but most active homebrew forum posters will cross post to links in other forums. Hopefully, an undeleted link will still be around tomorrow.

dj

This post has been edited by DJ in KC: Apr 20 2009, 11:30 PM
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just-cj
post Apr 21 2009, 01:08 AM
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Okay, three weeks in and I'm loving it. The first week I had a lot of stress, mainly from myself not wanting to push the wrong button or open the wrong valve or open a drain and either screw something up or dump a batch into the sewer. But nothing like that happened. I had brewed on our 250-liter (around 2-barrel) system around 7-8 years ago, so getting back up to speed on that didn't take very long. The bigger 1000-liter (about 8-barrel) system is more confusing and more stressful. I also found out first hand just what brewing for a small company means -- you do EVERYTHING! After you mash in, you go and dump trub from a fermenting batch, then you prepare a conditioning tank for transfer, then you sanitize today's fermenter, then you check on the mash, then you clean kegs, then you . . . It's a non-stop 7-9 hour day. Yeah, I knew that going in, but I found it very confusing the first week or two.

The second week we did three big batch brews on three consecutive days -- that helped me greatly get things straight in my mind. We also did bottling and kegging, which I found I don't mind at all. Every pro brewer I've ever talked to, has bitched endlessly about packaging, but I find it extremely satisfying, especially now that some of the beers I was in the brewhouse for are making their way to the packaging area. It also probably helps that we don't filter our beers at all -- everything is bottle or keg condidtioned. In the middle of the second week, I had a mild panic attack while watching a movie on my day off. What the hell did I do? I gave up a no-brainer career, guaranteed salary till I retired at 65, huge retirement bonus for a low-paying, physical labor and risky career? But I took a deep breath, took a huge swallow of beer (they sell beer in most theaters here), and finished the movie knowing full-well what I did.

This week, the boss is off to Boston for the craft brewers conference, so the assistant brewer and I are here alone -- today's his day off, so I'm doing major keg cleaning (around 110 kegs). Yesterday was my first solo commerical brew in around 7 years -- it went pretty well, although I cooled the wort a bit too much and the fermentation is a bit slow in taking off. Tomorrow is packaging again along with more keg cleaning (we do that whenever we have time), as well as preparing for Thursday's big brew day. I'll also be brewing on Friday on the small system, then my day off on Saturday -- yea!

Overall, this new job is exactly what I expected -- hard work, challenging, and fun. I have been very stressed out the first three weeks, mainly because I don't want to let my friend (principle owner Bryan Baird) down and just because I'm frustrated when I can't remember how to do something. But that's getting better and will continue to get better in the coming weeks. This brewery is very small -- just three people right now, Bryan, me (lead brewer) and Tetsuya (assistant brewer). Tetsuya is great at everything other than manning the brewhouse, which is what I start teaching him as soon as I'm comfortable with it myself. We have a pub restaurant nearby where I can eat and drink any time for free -- great fringe benefit. And sometimes while I'm cleaning kegs, I have enough free time while the machine is processing to post on the forums! All in all, life is great!

And Oldfart, you asked about my family. My kids are old enough that they realize their dad is nuts and they can't do anything about it. Besides, I've been talking about starting a brewery or becoming a brewer for years and years, so they just thought it was inevitable. My wife is scared as hell, but because we have invested in the brewery as well (making me an owner-partner as well as brewer), things are going to work out. This change is really hardest on her since we're living apart right now (she had just started a new job when I got offered the lead brewer position and didn't want to give up the opportunity) -- we still see each other every week, either she comes and stays with me or I go and stay with her. She's a great woman, and I couldn't -- wouldn't have done it without her help and support!

And now my keg cleaning is done. Time to clean up, shut down, and go home -- my 30-second commute to work is another joy that I couldn't have imagined before when I was spending 100+ minutes on four trains every morning and every evening.

Any questions? (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/cool.gif)
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chuck_d
post Apr 21 2009, 01:21 AM
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Sounds like a rockin time CJ. What parts of the process are the most difficult to get back into the swing of doing on the large system? Are there any pieces of equipment that are especially a pain to readjust to?
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just-cj
post Apr 21 2009, 02:11 AM
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Chuck, there really isn't anything that's so daunting that I'm starting to hate doing it. It's just the whole thing is a huge adjustment from my sedentary former lifestyle as a university prof. As long as I'm in the flow and have my mojo working, nothing is difficult -- it's just that I have to remember, and my memory isn't what it used to be when I wasn't 50. (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/wink.gif) I guess if I had to choose something, it's the manifold system. It's just too easy to open the wrong valve and then cold water goes rushing into the spray ball in the mash tun -- or the wort that you just boiled goes down the drain -- or the sanitizer in the heat exchange line flows back into the wort before you can rinse it out. I almost did all those things yesterday. (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/blush.gif)
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chefmiller
post Apr 21 2009, 07:03 AM
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My favorite local beer store carries your brand, let me know approximately how long I should wait before I can sample your personal handiwork here in the states please. It would be enormously gratifying to know that what I was tasting was a product of all of the grunt work and life changes you have described.
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just-cj
post Apr 21 2009, 07:58 AM
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I'll keep an eye on when our next container will be sent out. The boss is in the States now, schmoozing with the Shelton Brothers (our importer), but with the dollar to yen rate not in favor of exports right now, it probably won't be till later this year. When it does happen, though, the beers will definitely be the ones I've been grunting on. Err, that doesn't sound quite right -- they'll be ones I toiled over. (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/biggrin.gif)
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blktre
post Apr 21 2009, 08:29 AM
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Yup Cj, its all about juggling. Give it some time. You will find some techniques to make things easier and faster. You know that tho. Glad things are heading in the right direction with this endeavor. Living the dream!
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Barley
post Apr 21 2009, 10:10 AM
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QUOTE(just-cj @ Apr 21 2009, 03:11 AM) *
Chuck, there really isn't anything that's so daunting that I'm starting to hate doing it. It's just the whole thing is a huge adjustment from my sedentary former lifestyle as a university prof. As long as I'm in the flow and have my mojo working, nothing is difficult -- it's just that I have to remember, and my memory isn't what it used to be when I wasn't 50. (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/wink.gif) I guess if I had to choose something, it's the manifold system. It's just too easy to open the wrong valve and then cold water goes rushing into the spray ball in the mash tun -- or the wort that you just boiled goes down the drain -- or the sanitizer in the heat exchange line flows back into the wort before you can rinse it out. I almost did all those things yesterday. (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/blush.gif)

Yup CJ, When I was the assistant at a local brewpub, those were the things that caused nightmares [all the plumbing, lines and valves]. I was only there one day a week and at 57, you're right the memory aint what it used to be. Also, the back and hips wouldn't take all the close to the floor work.

Good luck,
Brew on, (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/cheers.gif)
jeff
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sdeweese
post Apr 21 2009, 11:03 AM
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I envy you cj. Not just for the dream job you have acquired but also for the courage to pursue your dream with the loving support of your family. Just flippin' outstanding, man.
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BrewingDan
post Apr 22 2009, 10:03 AM
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Awesome,

You gotta toss us homebrewers a few simple recipes we can brew in honor of you!!!

This post has been edited by BrewingDan: Apr 22 2009, 10:05 AM
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