Saturday, 12 January 2013

Breaking Beer

     I’ve been helping put together a brewery.  A real brewery that, at some point, will make lovely craft beer to be enjoyed in boutique bars, while Elbowskin play on the sound system. Yes that’s right. I do this for a living now.

     And it hasn’t lost its charm either, like many warned me it would. 

The truth is: making delicious beer just doesn’t get old. 

     I worked in a florist shop once, and the first day I walked in, it smelled amazing. I had no idea what most of flowers were called, but it didn’t matter.
“Wow, that smells incredible,” I commented to a co-worker.
“What smells?” She looked quite confused. Then the look of comprehension dawned.
“Ohhhh the flowers. Right. I can’t even smell it anymore, you get used to it,”
And sure enough, after a month I didn’t notice it anymore either.

     Making beer, you never become immune to the smell of malt. Instead you find the ability to pick out ever more complex and subtle notes of aroma, you begin to understand why a certain malt works in a particular style of beer.

     Hops jump out at you in surprising and unexpected ways. Put your face in a 5 kilo bag of Motueka hops, inhale deeply, and tell me you don’t feel utterly uplifted. It can’t be done.

     Hops. They are lovely things. I’m developing favourites now. Here I’m adding a generous helping of Tettnang hops to a 50L test brew of the Electra. I decided to spice up the recipe by adding some monk tea on the finish. My associates were skeptical at this point (“Tea in beer? Who ever heard of that being any good?”), but the speed with which it was guzzled justified my choice I think.

     So, the new microbrewery consists of these two 500L kettles:

 Lit by two of these handcrafted burners:

Connected through a wall and some very clever plumbing to this 1,000L mash tun:

     Today, we put acid through the entire system and now it’s all clean and ready to go for the first of many mammoth brew days tomorrow.

                                                                     I’ll drink to that.




  1. Awesome, Wish you the best and hope to one day move on to bigger systems myself.

    1. Thanks, I hope you get to try one too! It's pretty great.

  2. Nice brew system there. How did the first batch turn out?

  3. It turned out pretty well, though we only ended up with about 280L of our planned 350L test batch. There were some issues. You can read all about it in my latest post.