The week in the Shed

It’s turning into a second job this little brewery, not that I’m complaining. It’s full of lovely feedback even when people are telling you they didn’t like a beer, although more commonly they’re telling you they do. This week I’ve bottled a little batch of the coffee smoked porter, which, last time, started off pretty unpalatably harsh and bitter, although after conditioning in the bottle for about 6 weeks, had settled into something very pleasant. Adds weight to the rule of thumb that a beer should condition for a week for each 1% of ABV.  This batch, I’ve dialled back the amount of smokey Rauch malt since my local taster found it too smokey. Unbalanced. So, keep tweaking.

Friday’s brewing was a remake of the single hop Nelson Sauvin that I made back in July. This time, it was made with Simcoe and I dialled the ABV back from last time’s 6.5% to a more session-friendly 5%. But otherwise the same, especially toasting the flaked barley, which smelled fantastic when I took it out of the oven and was still smelling good when the spent grains were delivered to Woodlea Stables: some to feed the chickens and some to add texture and a nice malt flavour to bread.

Of course, there were chores. Brewing is mainly a sequence of small tasks – moving beer off the yeast from primary to secondary where it can sit clearing for a couple of weeks, cleaning tanks, surfaces, the kettle. Some major cleaning of the plate chiller, which I’ve let get gummed up with crap. I know what the problem is but not so much how to solve it. It’s little bits of hop and protein debris building up as boiling wort gets circulated through the chiller to first, sterilise it and then to bring the temperature down below 80C for the final hop addition. I can’t see a way to avoid this stuff getting sent through the chiller so, it’s been two days of soaking in various solutions of caustic soda and/or active oxygen, which has cleared out loads of the junk. Thankfully, it’s not caused any problems and I’ll just need to be more systematic about thoroughly cleaning it in future.

And finally, delivered stocks of bottles to The Corner Shop in Crossgates, the Dalgety Bay Sailing Club and The Ship Inn. Shifted nearly 500 bottles in the last two weeks so I’ll need to ramp up production again to rebuild the stock.

The week in the Shed

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