You should never deprioritize sampling
The right equipment ensures the good sample, but finances shift the focus
“It takes many years to build a good brand, but only one tank of bad beer to destroy it.”
It's that simple if you ask Allan Poulsen, chairman of the Danish Master Brewers Association, about the importance of representative sampling in the brewing industry. With his 13 years as brewmaster at Ørbæk Brewery among other breweries, he knows what he is talking about. He has seen with his own eyes the ignorance of sampling that has permeated the industry for many years:
“Sampling is not something we talk about and it is something we should talk a lot more about,” he says.
The right equipment means everything
As chairman of the Danish Master Brewers Association, Allan Poulsen works with breweries of all sizes, from the largest Danish producers to the smallest microbreweries. And there is no doubt where the focus on the good sample is missing:
“The very small breweries that have to look at the economics of buying new equipment often deprioritize equipment for sampling, because they can see that it's easy to save money here,” he explains.
But while there may seem to be savings to be made on sampling equipment, the savings often end up backfiring:
“The small breweries will in many cases lose a lot of money because they throw out something that was fine. Therefore, sampling is definitely something they should focus on more than they do today,” says Allan Poulsen.
According to Allan, it will always make sense to invest in proper sampling equipment because you avoid throwing away an otherwise healthy product:
“There are many different places in production where things can go wrong, but if you have the right equipment, things very rarely go wrong”, he explains and continues:
“I know the big brewers have switched to Keofitt. They use them because they are the best.”
Sampling is not something we talk about and it is something we should talk a lot more about
It is ultimately about consumers
In addition to being a brewmaster, Allan Poulsen also has a background as a chemical engineer, which is why he, more than most others, knows the importance of representative sampling. Allan's background is very similar to that of Kai Ottung. Kai invented the first Keofitt valve 40 years ago and then founded Keofitt.
What Kai knew back then, Allan also knows today. For the consumers, only the best is good enough, and therefore it is important to ensure the good sample in the production:
“You have to remember that what you are sampling goes directly to the consumers. That means, if you don't have the proper sampling valves to take the correct samples, you also can't be sure that what the customers are getting is good enough,” explains Allan Poulsen.
Representative sampling is ultimately about ensuring that the product the consumer receives is of the right quality. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. Because as every brewer knows, there are many critical points in the sampling process where things can go wrong:
“A critical point, for example, could be when the wort has been cooked and cooled down. Here we are in a critical phase before the yeast grabs hold, and this is a vulnerable time,” explains Allan.
But even though there are many pitfalls, you can get a long way by having the right equipment that can provide reliable samples. And here the brewmaster in Allan has no doubt. He knows which equipment he would choose:
“It is a good start when you have Keofitt’s valves in the house. There is no doubt about it,” emphasizes Allan Poulsen.