This past Friday we had the pleasure of having the winners of our homebrew competition (Brian Simons and Bruce Baldwin) spend the day at the brewery to oversee the brewing of their winning brown ale recipe ,”Dirty Hippy”. An event such as this is as informative, I think, to us in the brewery as it is to the home brewers involved. For them it is a chance to scale up from a 10 gallon batch to 220 gallons and to see their product on tap and cask at bars and festivals alongside other professionally brewed beers. For us it’s a chance to play with something that we would not normally have thought of doing, to work with some new ingredients and so on. It was a fun day!
We started at 7.30 am with preparation of the hot liquor (treating it to balance its chloride and sulphate contents and to adjust its pH) and the weighing out of the grain which included Canadian pale ale malt, Crystal(65) malt, biscuit malt, chocolate malt and caravienna malt. Once the grain was loaded into the mill the mash was started in earnest and was completed at 8.15am.
We set taps @ 9.45am and ran off wort to the kettle over the course of 3 hours whilst sparging the remaining hot liquor. The wort run-off was a beautiful clean deep brown color giving way to a deep amber towards the end of run-off. The initial gravity of the run-off was 1.084 and the last runnings were 1.013. The wort was hopped with Challenger and later Fuggles.
After the wort boil was complete the wort was allowed to rest for 45 minutes before transfer to the fermentation vessel. The hot wort was passed through leaf Fuggles that had been steeping in hot liquor prior to passing through plate heat exchangers and onto fermentation vessel # 8 where yeast was pitched.
Wort was collected at a final gravity of 1.058 and is currently fermenting @72F, having dropped thus far to 1.020. The fermentation will be allowed to attenuate to a gravity of about 1.014 at which time it will be crash cooled and excess yeast skimmed from the surface.
As I said, an educational day for all involved. I can’t wait to try the finished product. Kudos to Brian and Bruce for an excellent home brew which I’m confident will translate into an excellent commercial brew!