Quality Labs for Small Brewers: Building a Foundation for Great Beer

Quality Labs for Small Brewers: Building a Foundation for Great Beer

by Merritt Waldron
Quality Labs for Small Brewers: Building a Foundation for Great Beer

Quality Labs for Small Brewers: Building a Foundation for Great Beer

by Merritt Waldron


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Quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) is both a system and a state of mind. In Quality Labs for Small Brewers, author Merritt Waldron walks you step-by-step through the process of establishing and writing a quality program for your brewery. Your quality policy should align with your company values and inculcate a quality-first culture throughout your brewery. Building an effective quality program will empower staff to directly influence the consistent production of safe, quality beer from grain to glass. A good quality program has many moving parts but it is underpinned by good manufacturing practice (GMP) and food safety requirements. GMP covers every aspect of a brewery’s operation, not just how personnel comport themselves, but how goods in are handled and stored, how beer is held in the warehouse, and how equipment, plant, and the grounds are maintained. Learn how to set standards and critical control points, and how to effectively monitor your process so that any deviation is quickly addressed. Discover how policies, procedures, and specifications can help ensure quality throughout every process. Involve your staff in establishing standard operating procedures, corrective actions, and improvements. Learn how to effectively delegate responsibility and also ensure that management is armed with the information they need to ultimately make what may be some tough decisions. If the worst happens, understand that being able to make a tough call and having a robust recall procedure in place means you can move quickly to rectify matters, which helps your brewery retain the confidence of your customers and distributors. Brewers will see results through the application of GMP and food safety prerequisite programs. Your quality manual laying out standard operating procedures, product specifications, and corrective action plans will give your staff the confidence to implement your quality program. With these programs in place, the author then takes you through each area of your brewery operation and breaks down how key parameters are measured and analyzed at critical control points. Sampling plans are outlined for monitoring density, temperature, pH, yeast viability and growth, alcohol, carbonation, dissolved oxygen, titratable acidity, fill height, and packaging integrity. Explore setting up an effective sensory panel, even a small one, that will help ensure each beer remains true-to-brand. Waldron outlines building your brewery laboratory and looks at how to implement an in-house microbiology program. Throughout this, the focus is on scaling your efforts to the size of your operation and always being ready to expand your quality program as your brewery grows. The author makes it clear that no brewery is too small to implement QA/QC and discusses pragmatic solutions to building out your capabilities. Beyond taking meaningful, accurate measurements, the author also explores how to analyze data. Learn some basics of statistics and data organization and how to apply these techniques to continuously monitor processes and spot when corrective action is needed. These routines will help pinpoint any risks or areas of improvement and ensure that only quality beer reaches the customer, time after time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938469633
Publisher: Brewers Publications
Publication date: 08/03/2020
Pages: 277
Product dimensions: 8.42(w) x 10.92(h) x 0.65(d)

About the Author

Combining his passion for science and craft beer, Merritt Waldron grew the quality program at Rising Tide Brewing Company in Portland, Maine from 900 to over 5,000 barrels. An avid homebrewer for 15 years, Merritt holds a degree in physics from the University of Southern Maine. He is highly active in the brewing community and speaks about quality at the Craft Brewers Conference, MBAA district meetings, and the New England Craft Brew Summit. Merritt is currently Quality Director at Baxter Brewing Co. and resides with his wife in Portland, Maine.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents Introduction About the book What I assume about the reader What’s this Quality Control Thing About Anyway? Quality Control Quality Assurance Quality System The Structure Part I – Building a Solid Foundation Chapter 1 – Food Safety Modernization Act Introduction Food Safety Terms What FSMA Means for Craft Brewers What if My Facility is a Brewpub? How Do I comply? Chapter 2 - Good Manufacturing Practices What are Good Manufacturing Practices? GMPs vs. SSOPs Familiarize Ourselves with GMP Requirements Personnel Plants and Grounds Sanitary Operations Sanitary Facilities and Controls Equipment and Utensils Warehousing and Distribution Holding and Distribution of Human Food By-Products Defect Action Limits Culture of Food Safety and Quality First Writing a GMP Manual Next Steps, Auditing Chapter 3 – Food Safety Program Common Food Safety Hazards Around the Brewery Physical Hazards Chemical Hazards Biological Hazards Control Points and General Control Methods Assemble Your GMP/Food Safety Team Put it in Writing Monitoring Principles Critical Control Limits Recall Planning General notes About Your Recall Recall Plan in Seven Steps Things to Add to Your Food Safety Program Chapter 4 – Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) Writing an SOP Supporting Components Using a Template Implementation, Training, and Upkeep Chapter 5 - Cleaning and Sanitation Cleaning Sanitation Application Variables Part II – Starting Your Quality Program Chapter 6 – Starting Your Quality Program Planning Your Program Safety Identifying Quality Control Points Sampling Plan Pulling it all Together Chapter 7 - Writing a Quality Manual Quality Policy Quality Governance and Management Standard Procedures Specifications of Finished Products Consumer and In-house Complaints Corrective Action Plan Master Sanitation Schedule Good Laboratory Practices Calibration Plan Conclusion Part III - Measurement Chapter 8 - Weight, Volume, Concentration, and Dilution Equations Basic Volume Calculations Area Volume Volume and Temperature Relationship Volume, Density, and Weight Problem Solving by Dimensional Analysis and Unit Conversions Making a Standard Solution Serial Dilution Mixing Equation Scaling Chapter 9 – Density Specific Gravity and Plato Where to measure Sampling Plan Troubleshooting Chapter 10 – Temperature Temperature Scales How to Measure Where to Measure Sampling Plan Troubleshooting Chapter 11 – pH pH: A Closer Look Hydrogen Ion Sources Buffers How to Measure Where to Measure Sampling Plan Troubleshooting Chapter 12 – Yeast Yeast Management How to Measure Microscope Basics Getting to Know Your Hemocytometer Viability & Methylene Blue Limitations and Counting Rules Serial Dilution ASBC Yeast-3 Craft Brewers Quick Method Pitch Rate Where to Measure Sampling Plan Troubleshooting Chapter 13 – Sensory What is Sensory Analysis Sensory Program What We Measure Practice Developing Brand Recognition – True to Brand Getting Formal Data Collection Forms Data Collection Flavor Standards/Off-Flavors Goal Setting Conclusion Chapter 14 – Microbiology Concerns of Brewers Ingredients Environment Sterilization Aseptic Technique Traditional Plating Culture Choosing the Right Media Building Confidence in Your Results Plating Methods I Have Growth on My Plates! What’s Next? Yeast Identification Bacteria Identification Document Results Next Steps Advanced Methods Bringing PCR Into Your Brewery Chapter 15 - Packaging Quality Receiving Packaging Materials Fill Height Closures Can Seam Measurements How to Measure Can Seams Sampling Plan Bottle Seals Secondary Tests Date Coding Container Lot Tracking Labeling Chapter 16 - Carbon Dioxide Henery’s Law Units Where it is Measured How is it Measured Where to Measure Troubleshooting Chapter 17 - Dissolved Oxygen Where to Measure Sampling Plan Troubleshooting Chapter 18 - Alcohol How to Measure Where to Measure Sampling Plan Troubleshooting Chapter 19 – Titrations Preparing for a Titration Titration of a Strong Acid with a Strong Base How to Measure Where to Measure Troubleshooting What is it used for? Chapter 20 – Spectrophotometry Principles of Measurement How to Measure Where to Measure Chapter 21 – Turbidity Units How to Measure Where to Measure Part IV – Getting To Work What Every Brewery Should Measure and Document Chapter 22 – Setting Up Your Brewery Lab One Goal, Different Approaches The Retro Fit Approach The Collector Approach The Build Out Approach Budgeting Lab Safety Chapter 23 – Introduction to Analysis Variables Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycle Conclusion Chapter 24 – Data Collection Accuracy and Precision Sources of Error Mean, Normal Distribution, and Standard Deviation Normal Distribution of Data Chapter 25 – Data Organization and Analysis Developing Brew Logs Analyze Your Data Getting Data on the Spreadsheet Charting Best Practices Moving Range Chart Chapter 26 – Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycle PDSA Example Case Study Setting Product Specifications Chapter 27 - Continuous Improvement Where do I Start? Continuous Improvement in Your Future Chapter 28 – Conclusion Final Words of Advice Appendix A – Basic Good Manufacturing Process Example Appendix B – GMP Audit Checklists Appendix C – Food Safety Plan Templates Appendix D – Recall Planning and Procedure Appendix E – How to Write an SOP Appendix F – SOP Example – Equalibriated Package Dissolved Oxygen Samples Appendix G – How to Use a Hydrometer Appendix H – ASBC pH Fishbone XXb Appendix I – SOP Forward Pipetting Technique Appendix J - SOP_Forward_Pipetting_Technique
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