Tuesday 30 May 2017

Festival deliveries....

Festivals, eh?  It's the season for 'em!

Fire in the Mountain is held in the middle of pretty much nowhere near Aberystwyth in mid Wales and, thanks to our super sales bod Ms Hayward with the important contacts, today we dropped 21 casks off for the thirsty festivalgoers to get stuck into!

Delivery was surprisingly painless which isn't always the case at such events; obviously they have people who really know what they're doing... so, within 15 minutes, I was back out onto the narrow lanes to brave oncoming tractors, sheep and all manner of other hazards!

Monday 22 May 2017

There's worse jobs....

Picking gorse flowers for our spring collaboration beer with Sue Hayward of Waen brewery, "Bumper to Bumper", is a bit of a mixed bag of a job... it gets me out of the brewery for a while into the country but, even wearing rigger's gloves, the gorse still managed to inflict some nasty holes in my hand!  As you can imagine, some choice words were uttered in the bush's direction on more than one occasion....

Anyhow, here's a few photos of me in action as it were.... and the beer is lovely too, we're brewing another batch this week as the first went so quickly and we're being asked for more!  Result....

picking at Pencoed common, South Wales

View from picking site on the Waen, Trefeglwys, Mid Wales

Sunday 21 May 2017

1825 litres of milk stout...

Ask any old bloke about milk stout and, generalising vastly here, his eyes will twinkle as he remembers drinking Mackesons from cask when "he were a lad", but will then probably bemoan that it's not available any more on draught and rarely in bottles....

Well, tell him from me that he knows sod all.... milk stout is currently one of the trendy styles and is popping up everywhere from small brewers eager to brew something without a load of expensive hops in for once!  All you need is a sack of lactose.... and to know how to brew it, which obviously helps.

We're finding the demand for "Profits of Doom", our milk stout, growing each time we make it and so, just as we are selling the final few casks from the last brew we did a few months back, we're making it again!  Gazza has tweaked the recipe yet again but has been heard to say that we're almost there with this one.... which is, in itself, a rarity as he's always fiddling about with the beers trying to get them "just right".....

We're going to be releasing variants of the brew as is our way; "Campania", our famous Neapolitan milk stout, is flavoured to taste just like a pint of Neapolitan ice cream; yes, really, it does!  We also do a maple syrup edition and this time there will be a very limited cold steep coffee one as the test keg went down so well at our tap takeover at the Craft Beer Company in London the other month....  These last two are by special order so you'll need to be very lucky to catch them!

Adding the lactose

A very full fermenter!

Friday 12 May 2017

Help on call!

This week has been a long, hard one.  Fnarr.

Gav has been away since last Thursday and so I've been prepared for a week of hard work with Sue Hayward helping out with the two brews planned - both Waen beers - Lemon Drizzle and Snowball... but then, on Sunday afternoon, Sue's knee decided to throw a knee-shaped spanner in the works meaning I'd be all by myself on a week where lots and lots was planned...... not good, for either of us! (get well soon Sue!!!)

So, being the ever resourceful and lazy person I am, I decided to ask for some help in order to complete the veritable mountain of stuff planned for the week.  At one point I thought we'd have to abandon one (or both) of the brews but, as I write this on Friday evening, everything which was planned for the week was accomplished in a more or less perfect fashion!

So, to recap, this week we washed 50 casks, filled them up with beer, had a good chat with Colin from West by Three brewery, brewed 2400 litres of Lemon Drizzle and 1700 litres of Snowball and completed the beer duty return... plus lots of other stuff too numerous to mention.  

I was lucky to have the help of Alex Oliver (who is setting up Space Cadet brewing in the near future) for the Lemon Drizzle brew - that was one busy day! - and then Wil Wild (who worked for Waen) for the Snowball one; I couldn't have done it without them so thanks guys!

Luckily, Gav is back next week, so some sense of normality will (hopefully) return!

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Beginner's mistake....

Concentrate.  Do it properly or don't do it at all..... yeah, yeah......

Late evening cleaning of conditioning tanks is all well and good, but when you're tired and put the bucket under the wrong tank when you're flushing out the spent hop pellet sludge isn't really a position of strength.  Then, to compound it, don't listen to what's going on (in my defence, the chiller unit is bloody loud....) so you don't hear the gunk splashing all over the floor until the chiller goes off, you look down, and see the floor is swimming with green goo.....  yeah, lovely.  Just what I needed.

(and I know it looks brown but that's the lights!)