Over the last month or so we decided to begin working on testing recipes, so Kevin designed a pilot brewing system that could be used informally for this purpose - it arrived last week and the team got together to assemble it over a couple of weekends.
It is a half-barrel system, so it is designed to brew 15.5 gallons per batch. We chose an electric system, and since the power we need for it is available in David's barn, that's where it will spend most of its time.
One of our key assumptions on this system was that it should be modular, and work well within the ultimate brewery when we are in operation.
That's the reason we picked electric, but it is also the reason we selected a conical fermenter. It even has a coil inside of it so that we can use it with the glycol system we'll be installing in the fermentation area of the brewery.
There's a tower with electric controls to go with all of this hardware - so we'll be able to precisely manage mash termperatures and boil times. There's a pump and plate chiller to go with it all.
While I wasn't out there to help with final assembly, it didn't slow the team down. Honestly, I know I'm not much help on this part. But I look good in team photographs.
Next weekend we'll be putting the system to the test. First with a water cycle to make sure everything is hooked up correctly.
If that goes well, the first batch will follow on Saturday. I don't know what the fellows have in mind for that - but I'm looking forward to it!