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Breakside’s Guide to Institutional Beer Quality | Brewing Course

Ben Edmunds, cofounder and brewmaster of Breakside Brewing in Portland, Oregon, shares his insights on how to build and maintain a methodical quality program that can take your brewery’s beers from consistently good to consistently excellent.

Ben Edmunds May 13, 2024 - 3 min read

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Breakside Brewing in Portland, Oregon, has established a strong reputation for its flavorful IPAs as well as its approach to quality, consistently winning medals from the Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup, and other competitions.

In this 72-minute course, Breakside cofounder and brewmaster Ben Edmunds goes beyond the available texts on beer quality to share his experiences and perspectives on how to take a brewery’s beers from good to consistently excellent. Using detailed anecdotes, examples, and practical tips, Edmunds outlines the philosophy behind Breakside’s data-driven quality program.

Among other topics, he discusses:

  • going beyond the shelf stability baseline to maximize great, consistent flavor
  • establishing an institutional approach to quality that lasts, even when great brewers come and go
  • knowing your brewery’s limitations to establish a framework for success
  • understanding your brewery’s strengths and leaning into those
  • carefully adding beer styles or fermentation profiles with intention
  • key metrics to ensure excellence in quality
  • closely monitoring raw materials and working with suppliers to ensure consistency
  • quickly testing different permutations of new-crop hops to stay true to brand
  • standardizing a manageable number of water profiles for better troubleshooting
  • a systematic, purposeful approach to new recipe development
  • methodical risk mitigation with new recipes
  • planning a fermentation “recipe” for each beer
  • focusing only on data points that have a purpose
  • minimizing the “brewhouse flavor” contributed by specific equipment
  • prioritizing yeast health and tracking fermentation data
  • monitoring VDK to better time dry hops and defeat hop creep
  • tips on how smaller breweries can de-aerate water to minimize oxidation
  • packaging tips for better shelf stability
  • knowing your own brewery’s ideal DO levels
  • heat-testing beers to better understand their degradation flavors
  • getting team buy-in to a data-driven approach to improving flavor

And more.

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