Wednesday, July 7, 2010

R.S.B. - Day Two

The Alarm goes off, I was awake any way. World Cup Football plays on my motel room TV as I pull my clothes on, lots of them as the wind is not long from the Antarctic and set off for breakfast. The options are limited. I settle for a Steak and Mushroom Pie, a sandwich and a terrible cup of coffee at the bakery next to the legendary Inch Bar. Five years ago I drank copious pints of Emerson’s strong American style brown ale from the handpump there, so much so that our night met oblivion, yesterdays visit was much more genteel. The same regulars were in the courtyard. An hour later Richard is parked outside the Motel, excited and ready to go. So am I. At the brewery we change back into ‘action brewer’ overalls and gum boots, the Fullers Yeast hasn’t woken up so it’s an American strain to the rescue. We heat the mash tun, and Richard presents me with the smallest mashing paddle I have ever seen. The one I use at home on my 60 litre plant is about three times as big, perhaps I’m compensating. We mash in , its all action, sacks of malt are tipped in, alternating with me stirring like mad, Richard looks on intently plunging a thermometer into the grain bed every now and then and adding more hot liquor as he sees fit, Jed is snapping away with his camera, Bob the Operations manager, enthusiastic sensory analyst and all round top chap is filming it on the HD camera. We nail the temp we want. Lay a blanket of hot water over the grain and cover her up. Its time for coffee. The whirl pool and kettle are cleaned, then the run off begins, it’s not so different to the South Star Brewery in Brooklyn, more knobs and buttons. The wort is dark and a little weak, we substituted Belgian Special B for English Dark Crystal, it’s different.

The kettle is full enough to start the burner, or as Richard puts it the ‘Rocket engine’, its seriously loud, the other brewers hate it, they cant play their music, Richard loves it he can turn off his hearing aid. The kettle is full and we have a boil, the kettle sits up on the main brewery gantry and great care has to be taken that it doesn’t boil over as people could be working below, also the gas bottle and burner are below. We weigh out the hops, and boil for 90 minutes to increase the strength. Every time we adjust the burners we lose the hairs from our arms on the side of the intensely hot kettle, this is a lot like homebrewing!

The boil come to an end and we release the beer into the whirlpool , it magically and perfectly dispenses the hops in the middle of the vessel, this is nothing like homebrewing!

As the whirlpool works its magic we scrub the kettle, my arse high in the air as I scrub the bottom of the vessel, overalls prevent builders crack.

We run the brew through the heat exchanger and onto the yeast. I shovel out the mash tun, just in time to watch a farmer collect it for his livestock, I need neighbours with chickens.

The fermentor is fork lifted into the warm room, we change, action stations are over its time for the pub. After lunch its back to taste some bits and pieces with the boys, then Tonic, many beers including a fantastic Westmalle Dubbel. An Indian Restaurant, Vindaloo and 1812, a refreshing walk to the motel and sleep, we do it all again tomorrow.

Thanks to Jed Soane for the Picture, All rights remain with him.

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