Jindabyne Brewing takes production to new peaks with Brew 20 centrifuge
Karl Veiss, owner and head brewer of Jindabyne Brewing, talks about his journey around the world as a skiing instructor which led him to reinvent the way that Jindabyne’s community in the Snowy Mountains enjoys their beer.DATE 2020-03-19
1. When did you start on your craft brewery journey and what did you do before?
I got into beer through my work as a skiing instructor. Jindabyne is a popular skiing area. As a ski bum, I travelled and worked in America and Europe and fell in love with the beers there. Especially the lagers in Austria and the Czech Republic, and I also lived in Munich where they have amazing beers. I actually never thought of brewing beer before, but when I came back to Australia, the idea came to make my own. My family grows fruits and veggies, which gave me the inspiration to make my own beer from scratch. My home brews quickly grew popular with family and friends, and I started supplying parties and weddings.
Beer became a hobby that just never stopped growing in the last ten years. One of the local cafes asked me to put my beer on tap. I was only producing 200 litres at that time. People urged me to get the legalities done. It took about 18 months to set up the business. More venues started to stock my beers, and we began to search for bigger premises and bigger equipment. We opened our current venue in June 2017.
2. What is makes your brewery and beers stand out?
Jindabyne Brewing is all about our prominent location with a spectacular view of the lake and mountains, and 80 per cent of our business is local. We are a big part of the community and want people to be proud of their local brewery. People want to be connected to where they are in that present time, a trend we’re also seeing in the popularity of farmers markets. We address that demand for hyper locality with beers and food a homely atmosphere.
3. What are some of the major trends in beer consumption that you’re seeing in your area?
Unlike than most craft breweries, we mostly brew lagers. Three beers out of our core range are lagers. Not only is lager the most consumed type of beer in the world, but it works well with the soft waters from the mountains, and leaves people refreshed after outdoor activities such as skiing and mountain biking. We find that the hoppiness of ale doesn’t work well, lagers are more refreshing. It’s all about being in tune with our environment, offering the right beer for our customers and the surrounds.
4. What were some of the challenges you faced when deciding on the right equipment for your brewery?
Finding what’s right is a big gamble. Finance was the biggest challenge. We set up the brewery on a small budget, much smaller than most. It was my dad who allowed me to start the business by investing part of his superannuation in the business, after seeing me come second place in the People’s Choice awards at the Orange beer festival. So it’s a family business.
5. When did you start thinking about getting a centrifuge?
At the time, we were using an earth filter and it was old and in need of repair, and we didn’t want to spend more money on it. We have an experienced brewer who helps out during the busy season, and he was the one who recommended a centrifuge. He said that’s what you need to reduce beer losses. I then went to BrewCon in Melbourne, and met Alfa Laval representatives at the show, saw the Brew 20 centrifuge at the stand and learned about the technology and benefits. Alfa Laval also offered a flexible repayment plan which is really important for a young business still paying off debt.
6. How did the installation go?
The installation of the Brew 20 was very smooth, an Alfa Laval technician came to set it all up for us. He ran two batches and made some adjustments to the bolster. After just 2.5 weeks of use, it’s done all that it said it would do, and it’s already been a great pay back.
7. What are some of the main benefits from running the centrifuge?
The Alfa Laval centrifuge is very simple to use, pretty much a fool-proof machine. Once you set the volume and flow rate, it’s pretty much a set and forget when it’s running. With the earth filter, you had to watch it very closely, especially as our fermentation tanks don’t have a racking arm, and this could stir the solids and spoil the batch.
The earth filter also got clogged up easily and it took all day to run, time we didn’t have during the 4-months peak season in winter. We didn’t have the time to chill the beer and would pour out the losses to keep up with demand. Not anymore with the centrifuge, it gets it done very quickly and we don’t have to wait for the beer to chill.
8. How much beer are you able to recover from each batch?
We do have two double lengths tanks with 1,200 litres each. On average, we increased our yield by 10%, but we have seen instances now where we recovered 15%, even 18%! Our beer has a high solids content. Before with the filter, we would only recover 20 hectolitres from a 24 hl run. With the Brew 20, we lose as little as 100 litres (down from 400 litres) from a 2,550 litre batch.
That’s a significant reduction in beer loss, which translates to greater profitability. Our venue doesn’t fit another tank on premise, so the only way to increase production is to recover more beer. The waste reduction also means being more environmentally friendly, something really important to us.
9. How important is it to have local support for your equipment?
It’s very important to have local support for the centrifuge. We know that we can pick up the phone and talk to someone in our timezone who can help and trouble shoot over the phone.
Check out Jindabyne Brewing’s best selling beers
Inspired by travels through Europe and crafted with our local soft snowmelt water. Our Pilz has a spicy, earthy aroma of traditional Saaz hops followed by a bold malt flavour with a clean and dry finish. Perfect after a day of activities on the mountain… or anywhere for that matter!
Clean and fresh like the mountain air in the old goldfield town of Kiandra.
We use Australian Vic Secret hops grown on the southern side of the range which gives our Golden Ale a fresh slightly fruity flavour and aroma. Vienna and Toffee malts then give it a golden glow worthy of a gold rush!
A new world dark lager, our Red is a little bit of everything - just like the weather in the mountains. It’s a little bit malty from full flavoured specialty malts and a little bit IPA from multiple doses of mosaic hops. It’s a little bit stronger, but still clean and dry making it a big bit more-ish!
At a glance
10% more yield on average per batch
Reduction of beer losses from 16% to 4%
'Set-and-forget' automated operation
No wait times for beer to chill during peak season
Sustainability ingrained in brewery operations
Sustainability is very important for Jindabyne Brewing. The brewery prides itself of being environmentally friendly, and the business thrives to operate in harmony with its pristine surrounds of mountains, lake and nature. Karl Veiss explains that the Alfa Laval centrifuge is an important investment to cut waste. “Now we’re not pouring any more waste beer down the drain.”
To achieve zero waste, Jindabyne Brewing also supplies farmers with the spent grain and lightly fermented beer cordial for their livestock, and Karl recently got three cows at home.
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