Thursday 22 December 2016

Final brew of the year is done!

Well, today we brewed gyle 228.  We weren't planning to brew again this year but good sales in the last few weeks have meant that we'd be struggling for beer in January if we hadn't and, remembering last year, that's not something we want to do as it causes all manner of stress!

So, we cooked up our latest beer, so new it doesn't have a name yet, which is a pale with a variety of hops as we were using up the open bags we have lying around the conditioning room because, as any brewer worth his salt knows, open hops = cheesy hops.  And no-one likes cheesy hops...

All normal then, but at the dry hopping stage we'll be using a new test dwarf hop from the US, descriptively named ADHA-529, which promises in the hyperbole aromas such as "coconut, lemon and mint".... we'll be the judge of that methinks!  Hopefully it'll be similar to the mighty Sorachi Ace but not as dill-like, although we'll see how it pans out next year.

So, all that remains is to rack the final beers tomorrow (Golden Pixie, Grudge Match 7 and Temple of Love) then we're running out the clock until 2017!

Here's hoping next year is better for the small craft brewer than this one has been, but somehow I can't quite see it.... but we'll try and stick around and, more importantly, brew the beers that we - and hopefully you - want to drink.


Gazza and Gavin
The brewcrew.

Friday 2 December 2016

New HLT element installed.... eventually!

Therein lies a story....

Our HLT (hot liquor tank, which supplies hot liquor (water) to the brewing process) has 3 x 9kw 3-phase heaters installed.  During spring - so long ago now I can't remember when exactly - one of these elements began to trip the electrics, then when we ignored it and reset the trips it began to noisily blow the main fuse on the control panel... so we isolated it, because in summer we don't need 3 elements to raise the temperature, 2 will do fine.

Wind time on to September and we are beginning to wish we'd had the work done earlier as mains water, and the ambient temperature, are dropping meaning the HLT has to be put on earlier to reach 82c in time for the brew, costing us more money outside the economy7 tariff!  
So, Gazza ordered a brand new element which duly arrived... and then sat in it's box for a month as we tried to arrange for it to be fitted.  The problem was our original electrician who set up the brewery had retired and next door (an electrical training place) was too busy to do the swap at the times we needed it done!  This may seem strange, but remember that to empty the tank of hot water costs money and is wasteful, so it's best to do the job on a Monday or Tuesday when the water has cooled down... which was the problem, as Iain couldn't do those days and at other times the tank was either heating up, being used in a brew, or full of hot water we didn't want to throw down the drain...

We considered doing the job ourselves, but one look at the 3-phase wiring put us off; mains is OK, but make a mistake with 3-phase and it's potentially fatal!  Luckily for us Dai, the retired electrician, happened to pop in one day this week and, in ten minutes, the project moved on further than it has during the last 3 months!  The new element is in, it now simply needs wiring up when Dai comes back... watch this space for more exciting element news!  

Here are some photos of the broken element, which is clearly very poorly....

Thursday 1 December 2016

Two more Waen beers brewed!

Well, strictly speaking one is a collab between us and Sue, but there's no denying that Snowball, which we brewed last Thursday, is a Waen beer and one which is very much in demand going on the requests and hype which it's launch is generating... bloody hell, we'll be in the craft beer glitterati premier league at this rate!

First up was "Psycho Gene", a new beer concocted by Sue and Gazza to show a "down the middle" line between the two brewers' styles.... half and half Crisp best ale malt and Muntons propino, then a dab of German coloured malt and lots of our favourite hops from around the world before it was dry-hopped with the rare, expensive and deliciously fruity (blueberries!) Mosaic hop.... this should be a very flavoursome and tasty little number, weighs in at 4.6% and we can't wait to try it.

Next up was, to quote a well know "comedy" programme, something completely different....

Snowball is Sue's big imperial stout but one with a difference; this one contains cacao nibs, carob powder and coconut, making it quite a complicated brew!  Plus, Snowball has a reputation for misbehaving during the brewing process by sticking up filters, frothing over fermenters and suchlike, so you can imagine the brewday was seen with much trepidation!

Luckily everything went smoothly.... smoothly until the beer was in the fermenter and the final addition of sugar was made whereupon it went absolutely crackers and frothed all over the floor for ten minutes; well, it had to do something to live up to it's reputation!