Archive for October, 2009

No new brewday reports must signal that it’s time to start planning the next brew. We also need to plan keg and bottle capacity with the Christmas break in mind. It’s been a hectic year away from the Boxshed, and we’re looking forward to a nice chunk of downtime over the Christmas holiday. We’re plotting to get on a bit of a cooking and pickling buzz too, so we need a few beers on tap to offer anyone popping over for some seasonal cheer.

We’ll reserve our keg of Timmy’s Original for December, and perhaps some Dark Garden too, but will be tapping the Brown Corduroys this weekend and drinking it over forthcoming Bonfire nights. Ideally we’ll brew twice more over the next three weeks to create a Boxshed Dry Irish Stout ’09 (yummy with port!), plus an-all new Premium Pale Ale, maybe with a twist.

This means paying bills for old supplies and restocking with Marris Otter and one or two other speciality malts, ordering up some liquid yeast and preparing a starter for the stout, fixing two poppet valves in two faulty kegs, getting hold of some new sanitisers, cleaning a lot of bottles and other vessels, devising a new recipe for a fun pale, and seeing the Timmy’s Original safely into kegs.

All we’ve managed to do this weekend however is move the Timmy’s Original from primary fermenters to clean secondaries. It reached 1.012 with no problems, looks clear, smells great and just needs to be cared for this week prior to racking. Dry-hopping is also an (unlikely) option, but we’ll update if we go take that route.

In the meantime, for no good reason, here are a couple of photos of the Timmy’s transfer, leaving all that once-frenzied trub nicely behind.

PS – There’s an Autumn beer and cider festival going down every day this week at The White Horse, Edwardstone, Suffolk, culminating in a blue grass shindig on Hallloween itself. If you’re in the area, you really ought to pop over there for a pint or six. Here’s the brew list.

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Like many aspiring brewers, Matt Nadeau started brewing beer at home – in his basement in fact – honing his craft before eventually growing that hobby into an exciting microbrewery venture in Vermont, New England.

Rock Art Brewery now employs himself, his wife and seven others, all busy mashing and marketing innovative heavy-hopped beers for American microbrew lovers. But now Matt is subject to a cease and desist nuisance order from a billion dollar corporation and overnight his business aswell as the livelihoods of his employees are suddenly at stake.

Hansen blends the MONSTER brand energy soft drink in California, is worth over a billion and has global distribution agreements
Matt brews a 10% ABV anniversary barley wine called Rock Art Vermonster for a small loyal customer base

There is clearly no brand infringement case here, but in US law a cash-rich company like Hansen can appeal court verdicts repeatedly until the smaller company that is often in the right, can no longer pay up the $65k a time it takes to fund those court appearances.

We realise that UK pubs and breweries are having the rugs pulled out from under them every day, and quite rightly these issues feel closer to home because they affect us more directly. Like many of you, we do what we can to support local breweries and our community pub. We even remember to pay our fees to CAMRA and force ourselves to drink more than we probably ought to at its festivals. But we couldn’t help feeling frustrated by Hansens’ treatment of this New England microbrewer and thought we’d share. It’s, well, its just not an obstacle the guy would have thought about while brewing in his basement – like us, he was probably more concerned that he’d remembered to switch all his taps off.

If we were American, we’d say the situation sucked big time. As Brits, we still think it’s a poor show, and hope you’ll join us in supporting Rock Art brewers – they need your clicks and emails, even if we can’t place beer orders from outside the US. Shame.

****UPDATE : 22nd October 2009****
We’re delighted to say that for once sense prevailed and Rock Art won this round of the battle against corporate America. It’s all official, The Vermonster is free, and everyone can stop writing to Hansen and get back to their beers. Good stuff.

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Brrrr! It’s damn cold in this corner of East Anglia right now, despite the clear skies and sharp sunshine. Good weather for conditioning beer though, so it’s time to stick on some warm clothes, put a lame pun in a blog post headline, and get to grips with cleaning endless vessels and moving beer between them.

The Boxshed Dark Garden ’09 has dropped perfectly in secondary and now needs to continue its journey towards 80 or so pint glasses. Later today it will be moved into a Cornelius keg, ten swingtops and a King Keg. The Cornie and most of the bottles will stay here, but the KK will go and live in my brother’s own shed, conditioning for the festive season.

We’ve been very pleased with the smells emanating from the Boxshed Timmy’s Original FVs over the last week and have high hopes for this well-hopped Best Bitter. It’s already hit 1.014 in primary on its way to a 1.012 final gravity, so it can also be moved now, this time off the yeast and trub and into clean secondary FVs.

Clean. Now that’s a deceptively evil little word. After the day jobs today, we need to clean at least one crate of bottles, two Cornelius kegs, two King Kegs, four FVs and a bundle of assorted pipes, jugs, connectors, taps and bottling doo-dads. I won’t be the last brewer to complain about it, but cleaning is no fun at all in any circumstances, and especially on a cold day with season old beer stone doing its best to resist the brush, bleach and iodine treatment.

Ah well, if you want to get a beer on, get a warm hat on.

This is why it’s very, very important to remember the time spent freezing alone with a hose and a bottle of Iodophor when you finally get to drink a few cosy pints with friends. And of course it’s precisely why that same beer means so much more when you created it yourselves from raw ingredients in a breezy shed.

And it could most certainly be a whole lot worse – just ask ‘brew from 592’.

Anyone brewing this week?

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This is a bit of an unusual Brewday Update bonanza, so undoubtedly we’ll now forget to post for weeks, but we finally discovered why there was no photo of the Styrian hops being thrown in to steep for yesterday’s brewday – I’d taken a video clip instead, then only half remembered doing it.

So here are a couple of slightly embarrassing clips of me fiddling with the Boxshed Timmy’s Original while listening to 6Music (which, by the way, always gets a lonely mention on the brewsheets under the ‘assistant brewer’ column!)

Remember everyone, never drink and brew (too much, anyhow) – there’s every chance you’ll spill either the refreshing pint or the boiling brew. And who’d want to waste a glass of BHJ?

First up, it’s the obligatory rolling boil following the addition of the chiller, auxiliary finings and late hops:

And finally the missing Styrians, in to steep. These always smell a treat, and should lift the aroma finish of Timmy’s Original:

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The morning after the brewday before is always a mixture of grogginess and excitement. Tired, but happy at the malt and hop aromas seeping from the Boxshed, we’re still waiting for that explosive fermentation S-04 brings, but pleased to see plenty of bubbles a-rising.

Here are the remaining photos from the session, following the mash. It was good fun, as all hoppy recipes are. All went well once again, which is great as long as we’re not storing up fortune for a gigantic cock-up somewhere along the line! But hey, nothing stuck or broke, we didn’t drop anything in the wort, and we ended up hitting our target of 1.046 and securing 50L of the good stuff in two fermenters.

Can’t ask for more than that really:

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