Thursday 30 May 2013

Our first boil!

Ok, so it's only water, but we now have working gas burners! We're testing the hot water path and will be using the water for caustic washing tomorrow... Downside is our wort pump has a leaking seal which can hopefully be fixed quickly.


Tuesday 21 May 2013

Today is a good day.

Loads done today, including, but not limited, to....

We have 1.25.tons of malt
Our "spot" hop stash is sorted
The copper sight glass is marked up to 3000 litres
Our new gas burners are here!!!
The CO2 installation is complete with all CTs having a supply.
Our sparge arm has been cleaned, refurbished and tested
Almost everything that moves (and stuff that doesn't) has been labelled up
The FVs have been cleaned on the outside (inside tomorrow)
We have lots of new stainless bits and bobs to play with

And some other stuff I've forgotten already! We're hoping to brew this week for sure if the gas burner installation and testing goes to plan, you'll be almost the first to know!

Sunday 19 May 2013

The week of reckoning...

This week is a big week for us.

Theoretically we may be brewing by the end of of the week with a fair wind and good luck, we really hope that's the case!

Tomorrow we should have our new gas burners installed and therefore, once that's done and we have our malt (also tomorrow) we can brew some beer...

We're also having our CO2 installed tomorrow so we can blanket pressure the conditioning tanks and also having a few bits made for us by our mates at AJP stainless of Hereford too!

Updates as it happens on the Facebook page and Twitter and less frequently on here!

Thursday 9 May 2013

Two more testbrews!

We've been beavering away at Hopcraft towers today brewing up two new testbrews.  One is a 4.2%ish pale & hoppy little number called "Auf Wiedersehen Boyos" with Summit, Cascade and Mosaic hops; all very nice, but the other is a little bit more interesting....

Inspired by the sour wheat beers of Berlin and talking to brewers in London last week (cheers guys, huge thanks for the info!) We've had a go at low alcohol (around 4%) half wheat, half pils malt concoction mash-hopped with Bobek then intentionally soured by natural bacteria and yeast from some fresh malt.  After 5 days in the fermenter it'll have mango pulp added then fermented with ale yeast as normal...

As you can imagine there are a million things that can go awry with such a beer style, especially when it's a first try at said style, but armed with knowledge from those who've done it before and a touch of the pioneer spirit we're willing to give it a blast.

Both beers should be available at Tom's "leaving do" at the Wheatsheaf, Llantrisant next weekend (along with beers from Kernel, Alpha State, Brodies, Wild, Steel City and others) so come on down and give them a go!

Pontycluner Weiss in the new FV...

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Work continues!

Work on the brewery continues apace here at Hopcraft Towers and we've now got an almost complete electrical system in place thanks to "Grumpy" Dai the electrician; we have power to the HLT elements, sockets to plug things into, wired-in pumps amongst other stuff electric.

We're still working on getting our current nemesis, the gas burners, working (it's almost enough to make us wish we'd gone for electric elements but not quite) which should hopefully be sorted out this week or maybe next; the good news is that once we've got these in place we simply need to do a thorough caustic wash and we're good to go!

We also tested the fermenter cooling coils and, despite a slight problem with the lack of non-return valves on the python ends, we successfully managed to bring the interior tank temperature down below 8°c meaning we can brew no matter what the temperature (although we still need to fix the water baths for optimum cooling performance).

So, the news this week is that gas burners aside we're almost ready for action, so close are we now that we have drawn up a list of ingredients required for our first five brews....

Keep the faith, hopheads, and we shall reward you!

The fermenter chiller units in place and ready for use after the coil test.

Checking the interior temperature of FV2.

Heating element 1 on the HLT all wired in and tested.