Thursday 29 October 2015

Big brew today!

We're doing a "big" (12BBL) brew of "Temple of Love" today, which means we get an extra third more beer from a brewday for not a lot more time - but obviously pro rata more hops and malt are required!

Anyhow, we have 2300 litres of wort in the copper, 16kg of Summit, Columbus, Cascade and Chinook are broken up ready to add, and we're just about to dig out the 300kg of wet grain from the mash tun.... happy days!

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Busy week...

Damn right it is.  This week Gazza has been out delivering beer to the Birmingham Beer Festival, the marvellous Craven Arms in Brum and the incredibly good Cotteridge Wines shop in King's Norton, south Brum, as well as collecting empty casks from a wholesaler in Stoke whilst Gav has been washing 60+ casks to fill with lovely beer.

Today we filled said casks with beer - Mate Spawn and Die, So Much to Answer For, No Pasaran and Corazon de Oro - which has meant our coldstore is full for the first time in well over a month!

We're brewing twice this week; first off is a "remix" of Oceanic with a slightly different hop grist in the copper and it's dry-hopped with Galaxy instead of Nelson Sauvin to see what happens, then we're doing a big 12BBL brew of Temple of Love as whenever we brew it the whole lot vanishes pretty quickly...

We're also about to start building our warm room for bottles and an office out the back of the brewery (in the area which was to have been the tap room but that's never going to happen!) which means lots of planning as to how much wood and insulation board we need... all good fun.  There may also be deliveries to Bristol although that's not confirmed yet, depends if anyone there wants anything!

Friday 23 October 2015

Apologies for the quietness!!

Basically, just that.... Gazza has been away on holiday and we've been mad busy, so that's our excuse for a total lack of posts in the last few weeks...

Normal service will resume next week as we're brewing twice (Temple of Love and Oceanic remixed), then racking 4 beers (So much to answer for, Corazon de Oro, No Pasaran and Mate Spawn and Die) to add to the two racked today (Dark Underbelly and Deutsch Projekt 6 Record) plus lots of delivering and other stuff too.


Busy week....

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Cold Break!

So, for those who don't know what a cold break is (apart from a holiday in Murmansk) I suppose I'd better tell you.... it's a bit technical so just switch over now if that's put you off!

When the wort is boiled with the hops we add a set amount of "protofloc" tablets, which are ground up seaweed.  The idea behind yet another aquatic process aid to beer is that the gloop contained therein causes proteins in the wort - which need to be limited to produce clear beer - to clump together (much the same way sturgeon swim bladder flocculates yeast into clumps) and become trapped in the hop bed at the bottom of the copper when the wort is run off to the fermenter.  Rapidly cooling the wort through a plate chiller makes this process happen a lot quicker and more efficiently and is pretty much essential to create clear beer in the end!  Not all the break material gets trapped and some gets through, but this then flocculates in the fermenter and all is well...  

The specific gravity test is done before the yeast is added and gives you an exact reading of the sugars in the wort you are about to ferment and, thus, when a reading is taken before the beer runs off to conditioning tank, with the aid of a clever spreadsheet you can work out the exact alcohol by volume of the beer; simple, eh?

Never one to do one thing when I can do two at the same time and thus expend less energy I could then use pissing about on the internet, I leave the wort in the sample tube to ensure the "cold break" has occurred properly... which, as you can see, in this case it has!

Thursday 1 October 2015

Old man's beer...

Gazza has a deep love of mild; it's what he used to drink as a lad back ooop North, and is also fascinated by the extremely rare (and getting rarer) sub-style of Pennine Light; years back there were many of these: Webster's Green label, Bass Light, Robinson's Mild, Hydes Light, Taylor's Golden Best and a few others I forget.... wind forwards to the modern era and the only one remaining is the Taylor's (their best beer IMO, much better than the over-hyped Landlord and one dimensional bitter) and a few new-wave examples.

So, last year, when we brewed this it took many people by surprise; "aren't you the Gazza who loves hops?" I heard quite a few times, to which I replied yes, that's me, but I like other things too!  

This is a beer which had an elephant-esque gestation period and the recipe was rewritten many times until the discovery of Castle Maltings from Belgium and their Biscuit malt which was the missing piece of the jigsaw; crystal malt was out as an ingredient so something else was needed to depose it... and here it was in all it's crunchy, biscuity loveliness.  

It also has a very unusual mashing regime; in most beers the grain is steeped in hot water at around 66c for over an hour, but here the temperature is more like 70c and the mash takes a mere 15 minutes to keep a good dose of unfermentable dextrins for body and mouthfeel, which are essential in a mild.  The other departures from "old school" UK milds are the hops - Polish Marynka, leafy and grassy - and the yeast, our standard US05 American ale yeast, which imparts none of the esters UK beers are famous for but instead ensures a clean, smooth fermentation and flavour with enhanced hop character.

This 2015 "vintage" has had it's recipe amended from the original in several ways, all for the better, and Gazza is hopeful that his modern Pennine mild will challenge and surprise drinkers who thought that all mild was dark and full of fag ends and "pour backs".... 

And the name?  Well, only the Smiths could provide the name for such a Manchester tradition...