Friday 27 June 2014

A few photos from the week...

Not a regular feature, but I thought we'd share these to show what happens down here at Hopcraft Towers!

US05 yeast starts it's ferment atop "Blanc Expression"

The state of play as told by the brewery "gen board"!

Gazza during Monday's "meet the brewer" at Port Street Beer House, Manchester

Jay digs the copper

Our new roof so we can wash casks in the rain !

Mad busy!

This week has been mad busy; we've brewed two beers, loaded and sent two pallets, a vanload to another wholesaler and another to one of my favourite pubs the Craven Arms in Birmingham, plus the usual casking up, cask washing, tidying up, admin, paperwork and suchlike....

The beers were "Blanc Expression" which is a golden one with German Brewer's Gold and Czech Vittal hops and will be dry-hopped in tank with the new highly sought-after German aroma hop Hallertauer Blanc which promises some of the white wineiness of Nelson Sauvin; we'll see!  The other was "Day of the Lords", the latest installment in Gazza's Joy Division series where the lusciously fruity Citra hop is paired with others of equal magnitude, in this case New Zealand's amazing Nelson Sauvin, plus a bit of help from Dr Rudi and Centennial to give extra complexity.

Statement of Intent is chilling down in FV1 and smells gloriously fruity, whilst in the conditioning room we have more Citraic, Sungrazer and Spanish Main plus Tidy Chinook and Deliverance.

Next week we're brewing two old beers with upgraded recipes; "Mosaic Plus" is always a good seller as the blackcurranty Mosaic hop appeals to a wide spread of drinkers, then we'll be making "Reign of Terroir" which uses the under-rated French Triskel hop (in addition to US Cascade and Centennial) to give an extremely citrussy pale golden brew, just right for summer!

Keep the faith, lupulin lovers....

Friday 20 June 2014

Pennine Mild in cask

Today we - myself, Julie and Daigy Thomas - casked up the latest version of Tidy Bitter (version 7 if you want to know, probably the final version too!) and our Pennine light mild "So Much to Answer For"... we've also got a new "Bang Tidy" in the tanks now, although I've not yet decided what to hop it with... !

Don't forget my Meet the Brewer at Port Street Beer House in Manchester Monday; you have to ring them to book a ticket, £13, but you get food and beer plus get to listen to me ramble on about brewing and beer until everyone gets bored...  you know you want to.

Next week sees the brewing of a new beer featuring the new German hop Hallertauer Blanc, plus another new beer with lots of hops in it... surprise surprise!

Monday 16 June 2014

First birthday brew!

It's our first birthday on Wednesday and so, to celebrate, we are going to re-brew our first ever beer, "Statement of Intent"!  

It's a kind of IPA-type thing and full of lovely US and Aussie hops although, as the first brew was a bit of a learning curve and didn't come out exactly right, this version 2.0 edition will iron out all the problems with the first one and, hopefully, result in something pretty damn special!

Look out for it at the usual places, hop fiends... happy birthday to us!

Tuesday 10 June 2014

RIP whisky cask....

Sad news is that our "double hogshead" Islay whisky cask is no more!  It failed it's pre-filling checks today with a couple of minor leaks one of which developed into a bigger one, so I think that's the end of that; my lack of knowledge in keeping wooden casks alive (i.e. wet) looks to have been exposed here.

Hopefully we'll be able to acquire another one... and I wss looking forwards to putting some Spanish Main into it, too.

Friday 6 June 2014

Clean floor! And next week's brews

Yesterday we gave the floor a massive steam clean as it's not been done for a while... OK, some paint came off, but just look at it!!  And we cleaned and flushed out the drain which has needed doing for a while, all the exciting stuff happens here....

Next week we turn into a CAMRA brewery as we're brewing Tidy Bitter and a Pennine Mild!  it's just coincidence that brewing these two has fallen on the same week, but it's still quite a turn up for the books!  The week after we hope to be returning to normality with some hoppier stuff....

Clean floor!

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Do not adjust your sets...

Don't take this too seriously... ;-)

"This is the Brown Beer society, we are in control of this transmission. Do not adjust your sets.  Next week, under our direction, Hopcraft will be brewing a bitter and a mild - we think this is about time, who wants these golden "beers" that taste of lemon fairy anyway? End of transmission"

Gazza here... unfortunately the statement from the BBS is true, we're being forced to brew beers under threat of colonic irrigation with fuggles, so as you can see we have no option but to comply... So, next week sees Tidy Bitter (version 7) and "So much to Answer for" Pennine Mild being produced under the watchful eye of the twig police. Please, send help....

OK, so we're brewing Tidy Bitter and a Pennine Mild next week!  I thought that called for some piss-taking of CAMRA who probably wish we would brew them all the time...  Tidy is now into version 7 although it's just small tweaks to the recipe now, whilst the Pennine Mild is Gazza's baby and isn't traditional... as you'd expect from him!  It contains lots of strange Belgian malts plus the best UK hop, Admiral, for flavour... this should be interesting!

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Big day today!

Tom's first day back meant lots got done today despite Gazza (and Ash!) being hung over and of not much use to anyone at first....

We racked 75 casks of beer plus two kegs, namely "Simcoe Plus", "Santa Muerte" and "Diggin' up the King" which were all tasting pretty good in their different ways, plus we washed all the casks first (a big job no doubt about that) before washing/rinsing/sterilising/gassing the conditioning tanks into which "Oceanic" and "Citraic" were transferred and dry-hopped... I must say the Oceanic is tasting even better than the first version and that's before dry-hopping; this season's Nelson Sauvin are the best I've ever had!

Tomorrow we're brewing "Deliverance APA", an old Pixie Spring beer which has had it's recipe totally revamped along the new policy lines, so look our for it in a few weeks; a golden beer with a soft hoppy, fruity flavour says my guess at how it'll end up!  It's full of lovely hops like Cascade, Chinook, Centennial and Citra so you can kind of guess the flavours it'll have...

Casks off to the cold store