Sorry everyone I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything but I’ve had some exciting new developments and thought I needed to share with everyone! On Christmas I became the proud new owner of some new stout tanks 1 barrel kettles! My partners (aka my parents) surprised me with these shinny beauties on Christmas morning! From left to right in the picture there is the Hot Liquor Tank (HLT), Mash Tun (MT) and the Boil Kettle (BK). Also there is a pile of sanitary tri clamp fittings! There are extra ports in the HLT and the BK for installing hot water heating elements so this will be 100% electrical heated system. Everything will work on 1 1/2″ TC fittings. It is set up for reducing down to 1/2″ hose but we are going to look into possibly sizing everything to be 1″ and upgrading to butterfly valves instead of ball valves. Inside of the HLT is a stainless steel HERMS (Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash System) coil. While mashing this gives me the flexibility to to change the temperature (or hold it constant) of the mash by pumping the wort through the coil while there is hot water in the rest of the HLT.Sorry for the blurry picture but this is the inside of the MT. There are 3 ports on top for recirculating wort and attaching a sparge arm. The sparge arm will sit above the grain bed and after mashing is done it will sprinkle hot water evenly over the grain bed to properly rinse and collect as much wort as possible. The bottom has a perforated false bottom for separating the grain and wort. I should probably not be so excited for the bottom of the MT but it has a center drain which will eliminate dead space and allow for more wort to be collected.
The BK has a fancy tangential outlet (the one on the side) that is used for whirlpooling. This allows for the wort to be pumped out and back through the tangential outlet that will cause the wort in the kettle to rotate. This whirlpooling helps clarify the wort before its transferred to a fermenter, its also allows for a great time to add more hops!!
Now that the bulk of the brewing systems there is a wide variety of additional things to get before the inaugural batch of beer can be brewed. Since there will be a electrical heating elements installed in the kettles components for a control panel need to be purchased so it will be easy to control the temperatures of the water and wort during brewing. There will also be pumps, hoses, chillers, fermenters, kegs, filters, fittings and a whole host of other things to purchase so stay tuned for more updates hopefully fully of shinny stainless steel Things. Cheers and happy new years!
During my last-ish visit to Broken Oak Brewing (sounds cooler than saying my parents’ house) I took some pictures to share some of the motivations behind the name. So while this isn’t THE stump at the end of the drive way its an oak tree that fell down a couple of years ago.
You can also see some shots of the barn in the background. The barn itself is pretty massive. The barn is T shaped and we affectionately call the two different sections the yellow barn and the blue barn based on the color of the walls. The section closest in the the pictures is the blue barn and it is 100ft long and 50 ft wide. The yellow barn is 85ft long and 35ft wide… I think. Please forgive my poor photo editing skills but here is a Google maps overhead of the area.
In addition to the blue and yellow barn sections there are two rooms attached to the yellow barn. The current plan is to have the brewery located in the yellow barn and have the tap room and seating in the front two rooms. Below are a couple of pictures inside the front two rooms where we are currently ferment/aging wine.
The room has both an outside door and a large door leading into the yellow barn. Inside the barn there are trenches running throughout the whole barn so adding floor drains for the brewery shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. The only downside of the barn is the low ceiling height. If/when Broken Oak expands ceiling height will be a limiting factor on the size of brewing equipment that could be installed. The ample square footage does have lots of room for other possible projects I’d like to implement. Someday I’d like to have space setup for processing farm grown hops, malting farm grown grains and other things grown on the property! If anyone has an creative suggestions, ideas or questions please e-mail/Facebook/comment or whatever is easiest for you. If my poor ms paint editing skills are any indication any graphical suggestions would be much appreciated.
Thank you everyone who has been following along and the kind words and support you’ve already offered! I thought I would try to elaborate a little on what my initial timeline is looking like. Also I am happy to report that I’ve filled articles of organization for Broken Oak Brewing LLC and have registered with the IRS for an Employer Identification Number!! Having an EIN allows me to do fun things like pay taxes and open a bank account!
The next step toward being able to sell beer is working towards getting approval through the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Getting approval through the TTB requires compliance with of lots of different regulations regarding the physical structure where you are planning to have the brewery, environmental impact and how you are going safeguard your beer for proper taxation. Part of submitting for a license is having complete plans for the layout of your brewery, including the equipment you going to use.
After submitting the paperwork to the TTB you then have to wait to hear if you are approved which is on average a 90 day waiting period. It seems that there is a wide range of experiences with the TTB both good and bad so cross your fingers that when the time comes I end up having a positive experience with the TTB agent.
Once paperwork has been submitted to the TTB I will also file to get approval through the Oregon Liquor Control Commission which carries its own specific requirements. Currently the plan is to file as a brew pub because in Oregon this allows you to self distribute beer as well as sell beer on premise for consumption regardless if you are actually planning on serving food or not. Oregon is one of a handful of other states with reasonable regulations where this is possible which is another reason why the nano industry is so successful here.
In addition to both the TTB and the OLCC to open a brewery you also have to file with the Food and Drug Administration. Filing with the FDA is pretty straight forward and free (yay!) but its another hoop to jump through. The TTB and the OLCC both collect excise tax on any finished beer that is sold so even after getting approval through both agencies they will be actively involved during the life of the brewery.
After the these steps are complete then it will finally be legal to brew beer commercially. Add a couple of months after this for to have beer ready for drinking then bring on the grand opening! Looking at it all seems daunting and figuring out all of the specifics needed to make everyone happy is headache inducing but in the end it will be well worth it.
As far as when all this will get accomplished is hard to pin down. Our immediate goals are to figure what we are going to need to do to the barn to get it up to code for brewing. We are going to reach out to local OLCC officials and the county planning office to see advice and information they might be able to provide. Some other major obstacles we’ll have to overcome is the lack of water and sewer available to the barn and bringing the electrical up to code. Ideally while we are working on improving the barn we’ll keep an eye for used brewing and restaurant equipment that we can pick up.
So I thought I’d try to expand a little more on what I had in mind for Broken Oak Brewing. The plan is to start a nano brewery. The loose definition of a nano is a brewery that is 3 barrels or less. A barrel (bbl) is 31 gallons so a 3bbl system would produce 93 gallons of finished beer which is currently the size of system I’d like to start with. Now there is a lot of info out there that says this is a bad idea and most people will tell you that if you want to start a brewery (not a brew pub) it needs to be at least a 15bbl brewery if you want to be successful. If you want to open a brew pub then it drops to at least a 7bbl brewery but either way anything under 7bbl is a waste of time and money. The reasoning for statements like this is that it takes the same amount of work and time to make 90 gallons of beer as it does to make 500 gallons. With the assumption that you will be distributing your beer (or using a distributor), it is easy to see why people say going small won’t work.
The nano model works by having a tasting room to sell beer directly to customers either by the pint or by the growler and by cutting as much overhead as possible (small system, no bank loans, macgyver skillz, ect.). There are several reasons that I believe a nano brewery will be the best fit for my vision of a brewery. First, the biggest reason is, location. Oregon is unique in its appreciation for alcohol as well as getting that “local farm fresh” experience. Additionally the tasting room experience is something that Oregonians are intimately familiar with. The plan is to open the brewery at my parents’ house in Yamhill, Oregon. I am fortunate to have amazing parents that support and believe in me enough to partner with me in this crazy endeavor. The name Broken Oak refers to the broken oak tree that used to be an indicator where the driveway is. Just before the pavement ends turn left at the broken oak tree. The property, in addition to being in the middle of beautiful wine country, also has history as a large turkey and pig farm so there is a large barn that is begging to be used again.
Another reason to go the nano route is the flexibility it provides. It gives flexibility in brewing and flexibility in schedule. Part of the charm of going to a nano brewery is trying things you can’t get anywhere else and potentially tasting something that won’t be made again. Small batches of beer allow for experimentation and, if anyone knows anything about my brewing habits, than they know that I have a hard time brewing the same recipe more than once.
Lastly another reason to start at the nano level is to be able to start small and grow the brewery organically. Hopefully, maybe with a little help from friends and family, we’ll be able to open Broken Oak Brewing with minimal debt and lots of hard work. In the beginning I expect to continue working during the week while brewing and running the tasting room on the weekends. Also for more exposure I’d like to sell at farmers markets throughout the area. Hopefully as things start to take off I can extend hours and focus more on other brewery projects (hop farm, food, events, bottles, ect.).