Yes yes, it's been a while, but it turn's out a lot has been going on that generally leaves me far too tired to blog, or even think about blogging.
Whilst most of my work has seen me working quietly in the background, all being well it will soon come to fruition and I can talk openly about it. But mostly I've been busy with home-based things, like having a beautiful women move into the house. And learning to enjoy the smell of horse.*
So onto today, I'm brewing. First brew I did, years ago, was with Buster Grant, then head-brewer of Breconshire brewery. As a young manager of a free-house who saw a gap in the local market for a pub with a lot of good ale and cider, naturally I spent one day off a month at the local brewery, learning more about beer and it's preparation. This naturally developed into a house-beer for the pub, Kilvert's Gold, that I enjoyed brewing each month.
It's been a long time since I've brewed, so today I've come down to see Buster again at his own brewery, Brecon Brewing. 2 years old and going strong, the brewery has turned out some absolute cracking beer I'm happy to report, from limited edition Genesis series of beers to a one-off Bock (that I didn't get to try), the heart of this brewery is a good quality core range - beers not designed to be delight hop-heads or Belgian-lovers, but for the average man in the pub. Something personally I applaud - strong and special bottle beers have their place around the dinner table or next to the cheeseboard, but good pubs need good local beer at sensible a.b.v.s and prices.
Today's beer is Orange Beacons - a clear summer wheat-beer, infused with oranges and with a mix of US and UK hops. And it's brewed with a Saison yeast, so not quite as simple as I thought I'd be brewing one of the core range I mentioned earlier.
I'm writing this blog at the brewery so I don't miss any bits out, so here goes...
8am: Brewing Day starts. I'm not there yet.
8:20am I arrive and jump straight in, tipping the various bags of malt into the mash tun as Buster doesn't have a grist case. I soon remembered that I'd forgotten that Buster's brewery is 20BBL, the old one being 10BBL. Buster grins as me and reminds me about digging out the mash tun...
|Mashing in complete|
11am - start the transfer of wort from mash tun to copper. Again a process that takes longer than I remember it taking before. 20BBLs is a lot...
13:30 - fire up the copper to bring the wort up to a rolling boil
2pm Lunch :)
4pm: Not sure what's happened to the time, but a massive mash tun has been dug out, hops and oranges added to the copper and we're currently re-circ'ing the contents of the copper before transferring it to the FT through the heat exchanger. Buster let's me brew by myself for a bit
5:10pm pitch yeast. Starting to dawn on me how long a day brewing on this scale is - the transition times for liquids is so much longer than smaller breweries
6pm: Cleaning down
A cracking day - I miss brewing full days like today. Got me thinking I might pull out my old home-brew kit one day soon :)