Friday, May 16, 2014

Global Polymer Solutions - still shit three years later

 Dear brewer,

A few years ago I wrote about my experiences with Global Polymer Solutions from late 2010 to mid 2011 and what an utter shambles their service was as a warning to brewers who might be thinking about purchasing casks from them. Much to their annoyance that post has sat as the second hit in a google search for their company ever since. I know it annoys them because they took the time to track me down and phone me at work. They asked, very politely, if I'd consider removing it from this blog as they feel it's costing them sales and damaging their reputation. They even sent me a free box of shives to use in the casks of theirs that we still own.

Last year we were approached by a local producer asking if we had any spare casks they might borrow as they didn't have enough. As our GPS casks were just gathering dust and taking up space in the brewery we agreed that they could use them along with our complimentary box of shives, a shive tool, and a torque wrench. Those friends of ours are not exactly pleased with the casks because, as you can see from the picture above, the shive closure has started to leak under pressure. We checked with them that they closed them to the spec supplied by GPS and, it seems, they've done everything correctly. Not all casks are leaking but, as I've seen personally, at least 20% have failed to fully contain the contents.

Fast forward another few months and a number of emails sent to the address in the sidebar, detailing the problems other brewers are having with GPS, have dropped into my inbox.  One is a plea from a brewer, broadcast to their network of peers, in Feb 2014 who is desperately trying to contact GPS about their failure to deliver casks that were paid for up front. That brewer said
I have attempted to contact them for the past two months for delivery of a back order and have not received one single call back from more that 50 voice messages I have left.
The reply that was sent back to them by one respondent was, as is often the case, one of shared pain and a 'we now use Brewery Plastics and they're not as bad as some people tell you'.

I have also spoken to one local peer who, when GPS failed to deliver within the promised window earlier this year, was forced to seek casks from elsewhere and is, as far as I know, still trying to get his money returned.

Then there are communications from brewers who've tried to build a cask population around GPS casks who have encountered the same shive problems as shown in the photo. GPS even admit there is a flaw in their product design
The conclusion being that if the threads are undersize the flats make matters worse. Added to which, if the flats line up at 90 degrees to the mould part line, the possibility of failure is greater.
and that they have been experiencing quality control issues

shives had excess flash on the mould parting line in the gasket seating area. This, in combination with a slightly softer gasket than normal, meant that as the gasket was tightened, the flash dug into the gasket not allowing it to move at that point. As the shive was tightened further, with no adjustment/movement possible, the gasket rucked up creating a leak path.
which could further exacerbate the problems of leakage. Did they recall the faulty shives? Did they warn their customers that there might be a problem?  Have they implemented a rigorous quality control program so they can ensure the shives they supply will work with the casks they supply? It doesn't seem that way. If anything their response seems to be complete indifference.

I'd never be so bold as to tell you what to do but, before you make your decision over which casks to purchase, I would strongly recommend you talk to people you know who have had dealings with GPS. It might just save you from the troubles that many others have faced.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Reduce the chance of death?

I've just seen this article on the BBC News website and chuckled loudly.
Lead investigator Dr Oyinlola Oyebode said: "The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die - at any age."
 Correct me if I've misunderstood but, unless there's evidence to the contrary that I've missed, there's a 100% chance of death. One might go as far as calling it a certainty. How eating more fruit and vegetables reduces that I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Part-time Vaper

Bloody hell has it really been over a year since I last wrote anything here? I'm going to go and inhale repeatedly on my e-cig until I'm calm again as I can feel an uprising of angry bilious rage surrounding the attempt to introduce minimum alcohol pricing disguised as "Alcohol Floor Price" (.pdf file).

I may be a while ..... 

Friday, January 18, 2013

tickers paradise

A few months ago I was approached by, first one then the other half of, Pig and Porter looking for help with setting up the brewing side of their outdoor catering/events company. Their brewer had been refining his skills on a homebrew kit and needed a little help scaling those recipes up to commercial sized brews. Over the final months of last year those ideas reached fruition and their inaugural brew called Red Spider Rye, which I was honoured to be part of, reached a fermenter in the afternoon of the 31st December 2012. And it's fucking amazing.

Their situation was similar to mine 18 months ago, after the events of the abyss, where I was looking to start the brewery but couldn't find anyone who would rent me their spare capacity to brew into. It seems that some breweries are lacking confidence in their product so they're not prepared to help a potential competitor. We say "bring it on"! The larger the number of strong breweries producing high quality, full flavoured beers, the better.

The first firkin of their beer was delivered to one of our regular customers, The Selden Arms Worthing, in preparation for their winter beer festival (24th - 26th Jan) alongside some other casks of hard to get hold of ales. Among those are the Maple Porter (5.0%) from Brighton Bier Co and my Pyecombe All Ye Faithful (7.4%).

If you want to be part of a small select group who have tried these beers there's only one place to be next weekend ........


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Art of Darkness

Beer is such a subjective thing. What you like and what I like may be completely at odds but having tried The Art of Darkness for the first time this evening it left me needing to comment.

It's not that it's a bad beer. This lower strength black beer is full of hoppy flavours in the style of a black IPA but without the higher alcohol content you'd normally associate with that type of beer. It is, as all beers that come from Dark Star, a well crafted, technically good, product.

It's just ....... it's just ..... missing that vital quality that so many of their beers have. The thing that makes you down the last third so that you can have another one. It's missing the thing that stops you looking at the other hand pumps to see what else is available. Revelation has it in spades as did the Hophead Galaxy that I was fortunate enough to drink copious quantities of a few weeks ago.

Far be it from me to know where to start to improve the beer. All I know is that, for me, it was fun to drink but not fun enough to go back for more. Which sort of leaves me feeling a bit disappointed.

Monday, November 19, 2012

comment moderation is on

Getting fed up with ridiculous levels of spam so comment moderation has been switched on for the foreseeable future. Normal blog rules regarding commenting still apply for those times I can be bothered/ have time to post ........

Friday, November 9, 2012

very gump

A screenshot taken from Dara O'Briain's Science Club. Good to see the BBC is keeping standards high.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

google image searches I'm proud of

First AND second out of 77,000 image search results but only third of nearly 13 million page searches ........

Monday, October 15, 2012

anniversary message*

Those of you that have been reading these ramblings for a while will know a little more than you might want to about my personal situation. Back in May of this year we sat down with a Family Mediator to discuss the financial aspect of the divorce and reached a settlement that we both agreed on. For some reason my wife has ignored her solicitor ever since therefore holding up the divorce proceedings. Hopefully the text I sent her this morning will get things moving again.

*18 years ago today

Friday, September 28, 2012

piss up in a brewery

Downlands Brewery are having one on the 29th September 2012 from 12-4pm as part of their official launch celebrations .....