At Black Hops, we take great care to ensure that our beers taste fresh, maintain a consistent level of quality, and are free of contaminants every time they leave the brewery and enter the marketplace.
In most cases,
defining your recipe and adhering qualitys to a rigorous brewing process and quality control will get you there. But having a strong beer quality program is the “next level” barometer for making sure you get it right.
In this blog post, we’ll expand on a recent blog post about our beer sensory program and let you know about the development of our new quality lab. This is where we are making scientific progress in ensuring that our beer meets qualitys standards every time.
As a craft brewery, we don’t go down the path of pasteurizing beer (like the larger breweries do), but prefer to take a holistic view qualitys and use a risk management approach. We want our beers to taste as fresh as possible.
Therefore, we make sure we have a rigorous testing process and maintain perfect standards of cleanliness and sanitation throughout the brewery and at all stages of the entire brewing process.
To date, we have been fulfilling our qualitys responsibility for beer quality through
Good manufacturing practices
Our new laboratory, as well as our developing beer sensory program/panel, form part of our analytical resources and provide qualitys us with information on our practices, processes and control implementation.
Our beer sensory program/panel assesses beer quality from a qualitative perspective.
It includes regular and ongoing testing of beer samples from a taste, odor and mouthfeel perspective to ensure they meet “true brand” standards before leaving the qualitys brewery. You can learn more about our beer sensory process here.
From the first day the brewery opened, we have worked hard to maintain strict quality control procedures at every stage of the brewing and canning process.
We have proper qualitys processes in place to prevent problems such as oxygen absorption, chemical contamination and low fill. We also follow sound sanitation procedures.
Canning personnel play an important role in maintaining our quality control standards, ensuring compliance with key criteria and maintaining best practices. This includes regular quality checks on beer temperature and carbonation,
head pressure, dissolved oxygen levels, clarity and fill levels. They are also responsible for our can integrity testing, which includes checking and measuring qualitys precise lid seam tolerances and maintaining brand compliance standards around lids, labels and date stamps.
At the quantitative level, we take random samples of beer for chemical and microbiological analysis after each can and package. Since we now have the tools to conduct our own in-house testing, we send out random samples once a month as a quality assurance test to validate our testing process.
We test and analyze our beers for the presence of any microorganisms that would damage the beer. We perform a “bacteria check” on every batch of beer we brew.
We test for beer spoilage bacteria at several key points in the brewing, fermentation and packaging process.
Quality testing is not just qualitys for problems either; most of our quality analysis is done to ensure that we are achieving all desired outcomes (such as gravity, pH, temperature,
yeast health and fermentation characteristics) throughout the process.
The Vintessential Lab has helped us with this to identify any potential issues such as secondary fermentation.
Now that our quality lab is fully operational, we will be able to qualitys perform all of these tests ourselves. However,
there will be a transition period during which we will continue to use Vintessential Labs to validate our test results until we are satisfied with the accuracy of our findings and we have our own processes in place.
We have just completed the construction and set up phase of our in-house quality laboratory where all of our beers will be scientifically analysed at every stage of the production process to ensure standards are met every time.
The quality lab is located in our large production brewery, BHII, located in the north end of the Gold Coast at Bigera Waters.
Below are a few photos of the construction phase and final renovation.
If you really want to establish a beer quality program at your brewery, then you need a designated person to run it. That’s why we recently hired a Quality Manager,
Louise Keane. reporting directly to the brewer (me), Louise is responsible for managing and implementing our quality control system, performing regular testing,
analyzing data, and ensuring the brewery is safe and clean. She has a strong background in lab work and testing and fits in seamlessly with the operational side of our business.