Bottling – Capernaum Black

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On the Ordnance Survey Six Inch map series, what is now known as Capernaum Pier is simply called Pier forming the basin of Bruce Haven. The Brucehaven Brewery above is no more, the area now covered in houses.

Screenshot 2016-02-29 21.46.08.pngIt’s not clear when the brewery closed. It was advertised To Let in the Aberdeen Chronicle in 1826 as a going concern with eight working tuns and the “good will of the present extensive business established in Edinburgh, Leith, Glasgow, Stirling and also Perth Aberdeen and other towns in the North”.

The map above was surveyed in 1854 and while it doesn’t suggest that the brewery was closed, a case reported in the The Scottish Jurist, in which Lord Elgin seeks repossession of an inn and bakehouse let to a William Beveridge, suggests that it was closed by 1831.

Following Beveridge’s sudden death in 1828, the inn was sublet by his widow. The inn had a local monopoly of trade in spirits, malt liquors and bread and was tied to the Brucehaven Brewery, from which Beveridge was “bound to take his malt liquors”. A Dunfermline brewer, Auld, who sublet the inn, subsequently sublet it to a Dunfermline builder in 1831, with the condition that the builder, Walls, should “purchase from Auld the whole ale and beer used in the premises, so long as Brucehaven brewery should remain empty”. This suggests that the brewery was closed some time after being offered to rent in 1826 and before the sublet of the inn in 1831.

Brucehaven was in the news 10 years later, in 1864, when the mallster, George Ainsley, was fined £150 (around £17,000 today) for cheating the tax man. But the record of the court case doesn’t actually refer to the brewery, only the maltings so it might be that while the malt house was rented in 1826, the brewer was not. By 1880, the Dunfermline Journal, in its Historical Notes of Limekilns and Charlestown, writes that “…there was an extensive brewery and malt barn. The first has long been discontinued, and only at the latter, are reduced operations now continued”.

The next set of maps, surveyed in 1895, the site of the brewery was marked as disused and the pier now has its current name – Capernaum Pier.

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By 1929, the publication Limekilns and Passagium Regimae refers to “the ruins of a large brewery, formerly famous for its Elgin Ales”.

Capernaum Black

Capernaum Black is a hybrid of the hoppy American style IPA, with a small amount wheat (5% of the grain bill) and another 5% from chocolate malt, giving a light roasted taste after the initial bitterness of the hops has passed. The hops are magnum, which gives most of the bittering over the 60 minute boil, with equal amounts of Galaxy at 15 minutes and one minute providing the remainder. Some Styrian Goldings at the end and as a dry hop for seven days before bottling, ensures there is plenty of aroma. The stout flavours really come through if the beer is served around room temperature rather than very cold from the fridge.

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Bottling – Capernaum Black

One wort, three beers


A little bit of an experimental day in the Brew Shed. I wanted to try a two-stage infusion, starting the mash at 50C before raising the temperature to 70C after 30 minutes.  This also meant I could try out my new STC1000 temperature controllers.

I had one controller attached to the hot water kettle, which was also on a timer. With the temperature probe in the water, the controller spends the night trying to heat the water but the timer prevents the heat from actually coming on. At the scheduled time – 7am – the timer switches the heater on and takes the water up to 60C, when the controller switches it off and then keeps it at 60C until I turn up to use it.

This setup also allows me to try out the big insulating jackets I made yesterday (from an old duvet covered in waterproof fabric) to minimise heat loss from the kettle. That worked well.

Turns out that 60C wasn’t hot enough to start the mash at 50C. The grains were so cold that added water at 60 only took the temperature to 46C. That would need to be enough.

The next problem was that I now had 30 litres of water at 60C, having taken off 30 litres to start the mash. Now I had to get that water to 100C to minimise the amount I would use to raise the mash temperature to 70C, which took longer than 30 minutes. But we get there and adding another 10 litres to the initial 15 litres took the temperature to 67C at which the mash sat for another 30 minutes while I got the sparge water up to temperature.

So that was a bit of a learning experience. Next time, heat the water more – 80C maybe so that the temperature of the mash water can be adjusted  to be just right (and it won’t take to so long to boil it for raising the mash temperature.

Sparging and boiling proceeded as normal and I ended up with 55 litres of wort (90% pale and 10% crystal, hopped with Cascade, Amarillo and Chinook). Staying on the experimentation theme, I’ve split it in three and added different yeasts to each: Safale No 5, and American ale yeast, Mangrove Jack’s Belgian Ale and Mangrove Jack’s Bohemian Lager.

The temperature controllers are set to keep the two Mangrove Jack’s yeasts stable in the middle of their recommended range – the Belgian Ale between 26-32C and the Bohemian Lager between 10-15C. The Safale just has a heating plate and no controller.

Blip 2015 - 03 22-5
Blip 2015 - 03 22-5
One wort, three beers