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Posts Tagged ‘Brewfacturing’

Just a quick update on the progress of the Autumn Ale, which has taken off like a rocket. It seems very happy in a room at almost exactly 20c. The constant burping of the airlocks is actually quite comforting (as well as off-putting and gas-inducing!) and I think the kräusen will hit the lids on both FVs pretty soon.

Just for fun, here’s a quick video clip of fermentation just 14 hours after pitching. Normally we’d skim all that break/trub to encourage a more vigorous ferment, but this time there’s definitely no need, and we’ll just allow it to settle out and stay behind when each beer is moved to a secondary vessel in around a week’s time:

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Good news – the upgraded brewery works a treat and the inaugural brew went very well indeed.

We collected 50L split across two fermenting buckets at the anticipated starting gravity of 1.043. It should ferment out at around 1.012 and deliver a deep brown 4% brew with a fat slice of bitterness and a pleasing hop kick. The blend of malts is intended to provide a complexity that waves goodbye to the Summer and it’s more direct pale ales. But we’ve also loaded plenty of pungent hops at the start of the boil to keep things interesting for the hopheads.

We’re pleased to say there were no problems during the brew. The new HLT is probably a little small in volume, but being able to fill it with a hose and heat liquor in situ was still so much easier and safer than hefting hot liquids around. The big mashtun has been a fixture in the Boxshed for a while now and did its job very well as always, maintaining a constant temperature over 90 minutes with ease. The real star was the new boiler, which was our biggest unknown quantity and worry beforehand. The two large immersion heater elements brought 65 litres of sweet wort to the boil very quickly, and a constant rolling boil could be maintained by using either one of the elements on its own. Special mention must go to the new hopstopper created by fellow enthusiast Garth, which coped admirably with several ounces of pellets without any clogging.

Anyway, enough words, here are the pictures already…

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It’s been a heckuver long time since my last post, and even longer since our last brewday. Our kegs are all in use (I’m still drinking Landlubber!) and there’s been no need or capacity for another brew to keep beer levels up.

Nevertheless, we’ve put some of the time to good use, and have finally expanded the brew length of the Boxshed Brewery by creating a boiler/copper with twice the volume of the old boiler! Great stuff.

The mashtun I made last year was built with the extended brew length in mind so will fit perfectly into the new setup. The old boiler, now complete with sight tube, will make a perfect HLT. All that was then required was a big pot to convert into a boiler, and now that’s complete too.

I remembered to take a few photos during the build. Sadly I missed several stages and most of the pictures aren’t great, but hey, I’m uploading them all anyway as a handy record (and because I’ll never move on with this blog otherwise!)

Really can’t wait to use this new vessel in anger – it looks so cool compared to the old one!

I’ll post future updates if I remember any more details of the build, but for now photos and captions will have to do the job:

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Just a short iPhone post after a very tricky and tiring evening of stainless steel brewfacturing!

Tonight I began cutting holes in the 70L pot as the first stage of building the Boxshed’s new boiler. Sadly, although I had a lot of fun making a big mess with power tools, I had a bit of trouble burning out the largest holesaw while making new homes for the elements. Oh dear. Lots, lots more on this project another day though!

To make myself feel better after the boiler cock-up, I fitted a sight tube (cheers again Garth) to our old boiler, which will soon become the HLT. Here it is. Please ignore the big ding around the thermostat – it was there when I acquired the Burco as a ‘graded’ product. I’m also adding a sight tube to the new boiler, hopefully, so I’ll explain what happened in more depth in a future post.

Enough for today though! Zzzzzzzzzzzz….

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Right, this idea is not intended to be useful for anything other than a stopgap situation. I made mine because I had a brew planned and all my hops were suddenly only available in pellets. I use a standard looking drilled copper pipe filter in my copper – a Brupaks style gadget attached to my tap with tubing. It would have struggled to have handled all those Challenger, Mount Hood and Willamette pellets from Down Under.

I’m soon to have a new boiler and when I do I will ask a friend to help make a proper Hop Stopper, but if you get caught short – steal a 10″ stainless steel sieve from the kitchen or ironmongers, bend up the expensive looking handle at a right angle and squish on a flat surface until you have made the sieve sit square. Get a Dremel (or kitchen scissors, razor blades, welding torches, hangnails…) and cut a small hole with side slices, so you can shove a standard squished 12mm copper pipe hop filter through it.

Anyway, you can get the idea and the sieve is still usable.

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To the layman it’s just a big cooking pot and a load of plumbing spares. But this little lot could soon become an extremely exciting new addition to the Boxshed Brewery. Not only will it allow us to boil 50L+ brewlengths sufficient to fill proper pub kegs, it will also free up the old 32L stainless boiler to become a proper HLT.

So far the brewpot (thanks Nadine), immersion elements, stainless ball valve and sight tube bits (thanks Garth) have all arrived here in a postage dripfeed, but the 64mm/20mm holesaws have yet to arrive (yeah, cheers Tool Shop Direct). The whole project will take a while to complete as time and money allows (need a new tiered stand thingy too), and we’re going to need someone to help out with the mains leccy, but it’s all VERY shiny and VERY exciting nevertheless. Woohoo!

Here’s a rapid snap. It’s quite hard to tell in this photo, because the sheer shine of the thing is obliterating the bottom half of the vessel in the sunlight, but this new copper is mahoosive. It’s half a metre in all dimensions. To give you an idea, it happily covers all four hobs if you sit it on an electric cooker. Probably not such a bad idea actually… …just kidding!

The new boiler equipment is so shiny you need to wear shades even to walk into the same room

The new boiler equipment is so shiny you need to wear shades even to walk into the same room

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