Ramble On

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Shakedown Brew

The pilot system gleaming in the sun
of an early spring morning.
While the brewery is still in developmental stages and the licensing process is underway, we cannot brew beer and we certainly cannot sell it.  Meanwhile we still have some work to do on getting recipes together and perfecting all the steps needed to make beer, so we bought a pilot half-barrel brewing system and shopped it out to a local home brewer for all these shake down activities.
The malt for the first pilot brew.

After unboxing and assembling the system a few weeks ago, there was a lot of preparation for the first brew.  A brown ale was selected, and since it was brewed in a barn, the name for it was Brown Barn Ale. 

Local Fuggles and Cascade hops were used,
provided by one of the neighbors.
In true shakedown style, the grain was milled and then went into the mash tun.  The brewing process flowed from there – pumps and hoses and plate chillers and all.  At the end of it, the beer went into the fermenter at a good pitching temperature – just about 70 degrees. 

The fermentation process was carefully monitored over the course of about two weeks.  A northern English ale yeast was chosen for fermentation on this, but some recipe substitutions had to be made on the hops bill. 

Pitching the northern English ale yeast.
The product ends up just a little more bitter than what you might expect for a brown ale, so our brewing team promoted it – it’s now an extra special bitter. 

True to form in brewing, where you might find your taste tends more towards aroma hops than bitter hops, this will appeal to some but not all.  But it is still very drinkable and I’m sure that every drop will be consumed as the recipe development and equipment shakedown processes continue.

And the best part is it was our first one, made on the pilot system that eventually will become part of the brewery.

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