Quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) are incredibly important to the Grimross brand. Brewing great craft beer is our #1 priority, and the pairing of QA and QC is what allows us to achieve just that.
The quality management program at Grimross Brewing is both qualitative and quantitative. Parts of quality are determined by human senses (sensory panels), while other parts of quality require instrumental analysis in our on-site laboratory. Our QA and QC processes complement and inform each other, so we get continuously better with every single brew.
Quality Assurance at Grimross
QA at Grimross involves all the raw ingredients that go into our beer, our brewing and sanitation processes, and regular examination of our beer. The Grimross brew team follows a defined brewing process for each beer—while allowing room for a little experimentation. Learn how we keep our beer flowing all year long in this blog post.
High-quality craft beer starts with high-quality grains, malts, hops, and yeast. We take care to safely store our ingredients so they stay fresh and don’t deteriorate over time.
What We Measure in Our Craft Beer
Since yeast is a living organism, our lab technician, Devin Kearney, uses microbiological analysis to ensure the yeast strains remain alive and healthy throughout the brewing process. He examines the rate and extent of yeast growth, which greatly affects beer flavour. He measures cell counts and the percentage of living cells. By applying the yeast to a slide and
using special dyes, Devin can detect things that shouldn’t be there like bacteria.
But yeast isn’t the only thing we’re measuring in the Grimross lab. Oxygen also affects flavour stability. We want as little oxygen as possible in the final product, so we take a sample of beer from each canning run and measure oxygen content.
Right before packaging our beer in cans, kegs, and bottles, we also test for:
CO2 content a.k.a. carbonation
IBU (International Bittering Units)
DMS (Dimethyl sulfide), off-flavours or smells (we also test this during the kettle boil)
Diacetyl, the “buttery-ness” of the beer
Type of Equipment in the Grimross Lab
The Grimross lab is home to advanced equipment, including our Laxco SEBA PRO 4 microscope, which is one of the highest-quality microscopes in the Atlantic Canadian beer scene.
Our lab also includes a magnetic stir plate to mix contents and make samples ready for testing, and a centrifuge, which spins at high speeds to pull solids to the bottom for sampling. Our UV-spectrophotometer is used to test alcohol percentage, CO2, IBU, DMS, hazyness/turbidity, among a variety of other things. It does so by shining a laser through the beer where a percentage of the light is absorbed by the sample; the amount of light absorbance compared to the control is indicative of the amount of a specific parameter is present.
Naturally, we document the results of our testing for comparative purposes over time. This “control charting” helps us navigate how our current brewing process compares to our historic process, and allows us to scale our brewing operations without sacrificing quality.