Carroll, Ohio’s Outerbelt Brewing jumped into the craft beer market this past June with the opening of a brand new, 5,500-sq-ft taproom and a goal of 5,000 bbls a year as soon as possible. The company is still driving its deliveries, but with an experienced brewmaster at the helm and a closet full of chemicals that do the grimy work for them, Outerbelt will be well on its way.
Outerbelt has four 30-bbl tanks and two 15-bbl tanks and had 10 beers on tap for its recent opening. Now that it’s up and running, the draught list tops out at sixteen beers, including the West Coast Outerbelt IPA, the NE IPA Gravel Donuts and Olaf, which uses a Norwegian Ale yeast. The list is hop-heavy with IPAs, but some lagers make the cut too — after all, Brewmaster Dan Griffin worked at Gordon Biersch for years and knows his way around a pint of lager. Griffin also ferments beers with fruit components like peaches, pineapple, raspberry and strawberry.
The taproom is years in the making, but the actual brewing didn’t start until May 2019. Once construction was finished and brand-new kettles were installed in April, Griffin needed to line up a supply of chemicals that would keep everything looking as clean as the day the kettles were installed.
Just like starting a new brewing company and taproom, brewing is a messy business. When yeast, hops and other additives are boiled together, they leave a thin brown film on the inside of kettles. Deposits can create problems for cleanliness, flavor and uniform heat transfer and can only be removed with hours of scrubbing and soaking with caustic chemicals.
Griffin put the call out to local chemical suppliers for quotes. Within hours, Madison Chemical’s Representative Scott Penley reached out. Madison Chemical is a chemical formulator providing cleaning and sanitation products for the craft brewing industry.
Griffin was no stranger to brewing, but owning a taproom was a whole other pint. Gordon Biersch had a large contract with a large chemical supplier at a price tag that would have put Outerbelt on the out and out. Madison Chemical meanwhile offered effective solutions that were cost-effective too. Madison Chemical had the industry knowledge and experience to support Outerbelt from the very first pour.
Hard water, easy fix
You need water to brew beer, but when Griffin turned on the tap in the brewpub, he was greeted with a hard-domestic water supply. Carbonite began building up on the hot liquor tank and other tanks that used heat, despite the use of a filter designed to soften the water supply. Because the hot liquor tank is jacketed with a steam jacket, it took the brunt of the carbonite buildup, to the point that Griffin started to see a dip in heating efficiency.
Penley recommended MadBrew STONE-ACID, a liquid, inhibited acid blend for the removal of hard water deposits, scale and other stains in breweries as a treatment prior to caustic cleaning. Outerbelt runs the MadBrew STONE-ACID in a normal CIP cycle for an hour and the tank looks brand new.
With the hard water rings softened, the next project was its 3-barrel system, which had leftover manufacturing residue from the welding crew that appeared to be black soot. Madison Chemical offered Griffin a free sample to try and when that didn’t work sent another sample.
The solution that finally worked was DART 191 run through a CIP cycle with spray ball and pump, which returned the system to the state it should have been delivered in the first place. DART 191 is designed to deoxidize and desmut steel and stainless-steel, aluminum and alloys.
After consulting with Penley, Griffin also brought in MadBrew ACID-HD for the hot liquor tank and fermenters. MadBrew ACID-HD is a liquid, heavy-duty nitric/phosphoric blend designed to penetrate and remove films, oxides and oxalates. Outerbelt uses MadBrew ACID-HD on the cellar tanks — the fermenters and brite tanks — as a post-caustic CIP cycle. It neutralizes any residual caustic soda and helps minimize the beerstone buildup.
Griffin noticed Madison carried some of the same products as other chemical suppliers, but the service stands out to him.
“Madison has very quick shipping, and Scott is a great Sales Rep. I even text him for questions or help sometimes,” he said.
Outerbelt’s kegs, cellar tanks and hoses get sanitized with OXYWAVE, a peroxyacetic acid-based sanitizer. Anything that beer or wort would potentially touch in the process gets a blast of OXYWAVE, an excellent bactericidal and fungicidal activity against a wide range of microorganisms in cold or warm water.
Outerbelt is a passion project, started by Griffin and grown by a team that likes beer and wants to share it with their community. Madison Chemical products, coupled with an experienced team led for service and support, help Griffin keep his focus on the brewing, not the cleaning. Griffin knows that the chemicals are working for him, saving his team from hand scrubbing or using caustic chemicals. After all, it’s the IPAs that should be hazy, not the insides of the kettles.