Tale nO 0275
“Construction” or “How to build a brewery in 31 steps.”

Kris Parker | 8 January, 2016

2.5 months. It has been 75 days since this blog has been updated. So long. Saws, welders, hammers, tape measures, checks, repairs, delays.

It’s amusing how near we felt to completion in October. This takes blind enthusiasm. Construction delays murder the soul. And you learn patience.

This blog post will be dedicated to construction and the challenges that come with it. 75 days of construction in 30 photographs or so. Building a brewery is a terrifying, exhilerating rite of passage.

We have done all kinds of exciting things over the course of the past 75 days. Including:

1. Welding together a new stand for an old mill. What you’re seeing here is a master teaching his craft.

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2. Toured progress with Jeremy from the Bruery and sent him South with 5 gallons of Ice Riesling Juice for Bierbara 2.0. (We spend an inordinate amount of time gazing into the rafters.)

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3. We put a few things on the roof. Condensers, glycol chillers, air compressors. There’s room on the roof.

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4. We took breaks on occasion, admired the view and thought, “this is one of the better places to sit on the Earth.” (This is likely to become a daily occurrence.)

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5. Halloween happened. Excellent.

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6. Varnish continued to make amazing art for us. This is our symbol for passion, borrowed from the lore of St. Barbara and one of our mission towers.

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7. We wired everything. We used approximately 10 million miles of wire. Tore that wire out and used approximately 10 million additional miles of wire. No one anticipated this. Not a single person.

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8. We managed to find/fix enough ancient parts to get the royal and ancient direct fired kettle working again. (And left enough room – only just, for the heat exchanger.)

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9. We built a cold box. We ordered a pre – fab coldbox. We returned the pre-fab coldbox. There are a number of reasons for this, all of which are a complete bore. So it goes.

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10. We wired the control panel to the RTD’s. The control panel to the control panel, (this is not a typo.) RTD’s to the control panel. The valves to the control panel. Replaced the malfunctioning control panel. Repeated the wiring steps above. Something about DC and reverse polarity.

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11. We returned to school.

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12. The final piece of equipment to arrive to the brewery was the grist case. Blame Canada. But not Specific Mechanical – they build amazing.

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13. We learned the internal wiring of actuated valves while discovering the subtle differences of AC vs. DC wiring.

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14. Jim Gallion and Todd built a water system capable of filtering by the means of RO, Carbon, any combination of the two, and completely unfiltered. Equipure, like specific mechanical and Pinoli built Third Window.

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15. At one point there were four welders on sanitary lines at any given time. (Don’t look at the blue light.)

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16. We learned to drive a forklift while unloading kegs on a busy, crooked street. There was an argument. No one was killed.

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17. The grist case was lifted to the top of the mashtun and affixed. All plastic protective tape was removed after installation. (We recommend removing said tape prior to installation.)

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18. Our camera was stolen by a child and used to photograph a rug.

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19. The kegs were organized in our storage area. They are ready for washing.

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20. We installed 3^3 faucets each of which is 3 inches apart. Symmetry is beautiful.

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21. We re-built with love an old grain mill and placed it in a building that housed a mill 100 years ago. (The original door of the old mill hangs outside our mill room on the left.)

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22. Cat on a something or other. We were checking the chiller on the roof and thought we should take a picture.

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23. We started a pump and de-scaled three on demand water heaters that supply water for our hot liquor tank. Squeegee often.

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24. BEER! There was beer! On December 4th we released our feast day collaboration with the Bruery. Bourbon barrel aged quad with house made candi sugar; co fermented with Riesling Ice Wine and a touch of holiday spices.  Punctuation be damned. We’re proud of our efforts and on our way.

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25. The malfunctioning control panel was removed, and replaced with a new control panel and power converter. The new power converter was replaced with another new power converter because – electricity! (It works now.)

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26. Friends from elementary school made us amazing lamps. It inspires us to find local artists and experience their perspective on what this thing is. They built Third Window.

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27. We toured 24 blackbirds chocolate and met Mike and John. They lead a team of constantly improving craftsmen. The gentlemen in the blue gloves is separating the husk from roasted beans by hand. (We have something special planned for those beans.)

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28. There was a flood, a thunderstorm, and a double rainbow. We had tanks to clean. It was good.

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29. This kegwasher. The first piece of Third Window Brewing equipment. It belonged to Stone, Stone sold it to the Bruery, The Bruery sold it to Cismontaine, Cismontaine sold it to Third Window. Third Window fixed it (the second time for Tyler,) – and looked pretty damn sexy doing it. It runs.

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30. This is Daniel. Daniel is a local artist that builds furniture in an old greenhouse on one of the last pieces of untouched coast line in Goleta. He delivers his amazing tables in an old German Firetruck. He built Third Window.

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31. We sampled the crush of malt from our mill, found it a bit too course, and adjusted it accordingly. Step 17.

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So that’s building a brewery. It starts with seemingly endless construction. Construction that lasts so long you forget the creation of beer happens at its conclusion. Then, the beer returns, bit by bit, and the construction cedes to the job of constantly improving beer.

2 bits of news: We will be blogging more frequently as it was determined that a construction angst blog would be far less interesting than a blog about the journey toward amazing beer.

We’re happy to announce the royal and ancient returns to her work next week. On to perpetuity. Beer.

We’re off.