Tuesday 30 April 2013

We apologise for the delay...

We were hoping to be brewing this week, but it seems as though fate has decided we'll have to wait a little longer....

Our gas burners for the copper have been found to be woefully underpowered (it's not the gas pressure, that's fine, it's the burners) so we're on a mad mission to either upgrade them or replace them with more powerful burners ASAP.

It's also come to light that the water bath in one of our FVs leaks which means we'll have to resort to foam-filling in the hope that'll cure it - or at least make it OK to use.

Apart from that, though, almost everything is in place for us to brew - the electrics are close to being completed and we're finishing off various bits of painting and suchlike.

More news as it happens this week....

Thursday 25 April 2013

Preparing the racking area.

Today we've been mostly painting the floor of the racking area to enable us to get it kitted out, plus Gazza has been getting fluorescent orange paint over everything in a poor attempt to paint the safety railings to the extent he was mistaken for that orange bloke off that tedious antique programme....

Dai the electrician has been wiring up our pumps with fancy buttons and suchlike; it looks like Thornbridge in Hopcraft towers now such is the multitude of buttons and displays!

We've had a slight setback with our gas burners but are confident we can sort it out this week, meaning a brew next week is still a possibility!

Monday 22 April 2013

That was the week that nearly was.

I'm not going to do the usual and claim we'll be brewing in a couple of weeks this time... no, we might even be brewing this week (although I'm guessing it'll be the week after by the time we get everything ready to go).

The reason for this new-found urgency is that the gas burners have finally been installed under our copper plus the brickwork is done (minus the final "topping off" with fire cement) so all we're really waiting for now is the electrics to be done - and we've got most of the bits and bobs ready for that, too, we're just waiting on "Grumpy" Dai to sort it all out!

So keep the faith, hop lovers, the first brew is getting very close now!

Gas burners and chimney bricks... what's not to like?

Saturday 20 April 2013

Two bits of technical brewing equipment!

Technical? well, kind of...

The first one is our new 4 inch spanner which allows us to "dump" the copper once we've transferred the wort into the FV's; once this has been done the copper contains spent hops and trub (coagulated proteins, since you ask) so we simply unscrew the cap from the big outlet pipe and out it all comes....  hopefully.

Gazza with a rather large spanner.

The second one is a touch more technical!  This is a "John Guest" fitting on one of our conditioning tanks.  We will attach a CO2 gas line to this coupler at around 1.5 atmospheres  (this isn't a lot of pressure) which maintains a layer of sterile gas on top of the maturing beer, keeping it as fresh as possible (oxygen and bacteria are maturing beer's worst enemies) and as a bonus, when we come to cask up the beer, the gas helps to push it out of the tank and into the barrels!

Arty or what?

More fascinating brewing-type stuff next week...

Friday 19 April 2013

Our new chimney!

Our copper finally has it's chimney fitted.... Very shiny, eh? Next job is to weld the burners underneath, hopefully tomorrow.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

The R.A.T.S open day on Saturday.

A few photos from our first open day last Saturday when the R.A.T.S descended to watch us comically attempt brewery tours....  hope we weren't too amateurish!

All photos (c) 2013 Dave R.A.T.S, cheers Dave!

Gazza takes the final tour round... practice makes imperfect!

"See this, right?  This is a big steel bath..."

Tom explaining our elaborate copper lid.

Monday 15 April 2013

Stop me if you think you've heard this one before...

I know we say it every week, but we really are VERY close to being able to brew some beer now!  In the past week we've accomplished a mammoth amount of work, namely;
  • We hosted our first "open day" (the R.A.T.S),
  • The Stainless Steel pipework is now complete and looking fantastic thanks to AJP Process Pipework / AB Stainless of Hereford - highly recommended,
  • The copper now has it's gas burners fitted and is ready for testing,
  • The HLT has been fitted with sockets ready for the immersion heaters,
  • We've tidied up! (see photos below...),
  • The Temperature control panels have been fitted to the FVs,
  • FVs 1, 2 and 3 are now ready for use with new pipework and have been cleaned, FV4 is an ongoing project as it needs a thorough scrub and some "floor rejigging"...
  • The pipework and pumps have been tested with only one problem - the heat exchanger needs new gaskets so these are in process of being ordered.  The Lowara vertical pumps are amazing, totally over-specified for what we want but we love 'em!,
  • The conditioning room is almost complete,
  • The reception / tour area has been built with a window looking into the conditioning room (we really must clean those tanks now...),
  • We have a CIP sprayball, cask filler and various adapters/reducers/hoses ready to go.
Plus loads of other stuff I've already forgotten!

Basically, we're now waiting on spares for the heat exchanger and for the electrics to be fitted... and that's it, we can start the antiformin washing (can't wait for that...!) and then, finally, it'll be time to brew some beer!

Keep the faith, people, we're nearly there and we promise you some special stuff once we're up and running...

Here are the customary photos of us doing stuff.

Gazza takes the RATS around the brewery.

Mrs Mop cleaning the Heat Exchanger!

The finished pipework during a water test

From this.... 
... to this!!!

Thursday 11 April 2013

The news at ten.

This week has seen much activity at the unit; the stainless welders are doing a superb job and can seemingly make anything we ask them to, we've part-made a conditioning room with kingspan, the heat exchanger has been fully piped up and is in process of being stripped down and cleaned, we've done a full water run-through on all the pipework and pumps which was an almost complete success and we're painting the floor.

Plus we've picked up the first of our initial batch of plastic casks and very...  Erm... Turquoise they are too.

It all happens down in Tyla Garw!

The new cask filler
The very phallic-looking CIP sprayball.  Honestly, it is.

Friday 5 April 2013


The installation of stainless pipework is progressing well, here's a view from today with most of the hotside pipes in situ. We've also got the HLT return pipe done and loads of other bits being worked on, really good progress made this week! Gas and electric next then we're almost there.

Shiny shiny....

Thursday 4 April 2013

All happening today!

The guys are here doing the stainless pipework and getting on with it great, and our saccharometers just turned up!

So much money for such thin bits of glass.... !