Tuesday 26 May 2015

Warmer climes...

No, not Wales (although it is today...) but Gazza is off to Mauritius for the rest of the week so Jay is in charge of Hopcraft Towers!  All the usual stuff will be happening; bottling, casking, transferring and suchlike... so it's business as usual as far as we're concerned.

Next week will see two brews with the much-requested return of "Mate Spawn and Die" plus another brew of "Citraic" as we've sold the lot in a week!

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Double it, maybe double it again?

That's what is happening with our bottling at present!

We started by bottling a single cask into 330ml bottles (we get about 120 bottles per cask) but soon decided that this just wasn't enough and so went to two casks of each beer, or about 240 bottles which gives 13 cases of bottles.

We're now at the point, a mere 4 months into the project, when we may have to start bottling at least 3, maybe 4, nines of each beer; this is 162 litres or 1 brewer's barrel (an eighth of the total batch) and will be getting on for 500 bottles!  We'll probably try 3 casks first, but even so the growth of sales in bottles - and, to be fair, kegs too - has surprised us immensely, although several people did say we'd soon be overwhelmed with demand... Sue from Waen Brewery was right!

So, expect to see more of our bottles around very soon as they're now on their way to wholesalers, but even so they'll still remain  a fairly small part of our output... albeit a growing one which we're keen to encourage.

Saturday 16 May 2015

Two more favorites return!

Here at Hopcraft towers we've got rebrew fever!

Put that down to lack of inspiration in new recipes if you want - you'd be wrong! - but the fact is that drinkers and customers have been asking for some of our beers again.  Top of the list seems to be our gloriously fruity display of the luscious Vic Secret hop "Mate Spawn and Die" (which will re-appear shortly, we promise) but, first, we have two very different beers in case you missed them first time around or liked them so much you want them again...

First up is a variant on Graveyard Eyes (our chocolatey Sorachi Ace porter) "Gazza and Jay's Maple Porter" where we take a 700 litre tank of Graveyard and then add Maple Syrup flavouring to it as well as, when casking/kegging/bottling, yet another squeeze of maple syrup goes into the containers (although not the bottles, that would take way too long....)

If there are any requests for rebrews then let us know, and we'll consider them!  Some beers will never be brewed again for various reasons, but there are plenty we are either planning to make again or are in the "maybe" pile so are ripe for suggestion!

Something old, something new.

That's what we have brewed this week!

Well, okay, this new brew of "Deutsch Projekt" is the same recipe as the previous two, but this time it will showcase the third new German hop, the exotic-sounding Hallertauer Blanc, which promises Nelson Sauvin-esque nuances; I'm not convinced, having used a small amount before, but this time there is a lot more (150% more to be exact!) in the conditioning tanks so we'll see...

The other is a beer which always sells really well when it's released, probably owing something to it's sessionable strength and uncompromising hop character!  "Temple of Love" is a golden brew with Cascade, Chinook and Summit hops (we couldn't get any Belma which were in the original brew but hey ho, Summit and Chinook are a good alternative) and should give equally as good a result.  Temple has been so popular that we may even make it a permanent beer... although maybe that's going a bit far for a brewery which never wanted a permanent beer range! 

Next week we'll be brewing up another repeat, this time it's the super-pale and super-citrussy "Party Line", full of Cascade and Centennial lemon/limey goodness... 

Thursday 7 May 2015


Yesterday we completed a mammoth bottling session of "Sunday League Relegation Playoffs", "Oceanic", "Deutsch Projekt Huell Melon" and "Midnight in Antarctica"... long day, but 700+ bottles now conditioning in their boxes!

Now all we have to do is label them and sell them.... 

Friday 1 May 2015

Brewing next week!

I'm happy because next week we're brewing one of my favourite beers, one which is still pretty unique from my experience, and one which always goes down well.

What is it you ask?  It's Graveyard Eyes, our Sorachi Ace porter, that's what! I've been playing with the recipe as I don't think we had the bitterness and hop flavour right last time, so hopefully I've nailed that with the lovely Polish Junga hops rather than the slightly too hedgerowy Green Bullet.  The malt grist is pretty much the same as last time, although we're using Propino malt this time, along with loads of lovely Weyermann Carafa Spezial 1 and 3 de-husked chocolate malt.  We owe a gratitude to Dean Roberts, long-time friend and beery colleague, as Gazza copied the idea from one of his homebrews!

Also, as it went so well last time and people have asked for it - plus I quite liked it too! -  we're extending the brew to 12 barrels (around 2300 litres) to make a tankful of Gazza and Jay's Maple Porter!  This will be available first as it isn't dry-hopped, and will also be available in keg as we think that dispense suits it very well.

Have a good worker's weekend everyone, keep the hoppy faith...

Organised Chaos

.... is what it's been at Hopcraft Towers today!

We've racked 3 tanks of beer (Deutsch Projekt Huell Melon, Sunday League Relegation Playoffs and Bang tidy Sorachi) plus Citraic and Sharks against Surfers are in tank and dry-hopped. All tanks are cleaned down, that's two FVs and 3 CTs, floor washed, everything put away....

Time for a coffee and a sit-down I reckon!