It’s been a busy couple of months at the brewery. We’ve been working hard to get out recipes dialled in and perfect for sale. The first couple of batches haven’t been up to scratch so we have had to pour it down the drain. It’s hart breaking to throw beer, but I couldn’t sell beer I’m not happy with. If I wouldn’t drink it I wouldn’t expect anyone else to. Because we are brewing on a brand new system there were a few kinks to iron out. With anything new it just needed fine tuning.
On our first couple of brew days we had a couple of issues. There were a couple of leaks on the brew pots, which was easily fixed. The biggest problem was with the fermentation. This is where we add the yeast to create alcohol. The yeast eats the sugar and burpees out alcohol. Yeast is very fragile. Everything it touches needs to be sterile and it need to be kept at a specific temperature. We add the yeast into the fermenter at 20° C. If the temperature goes below this the yeast will die before it gets a chance to eat the sugars. If it gets above this it eats the sugars to fast and that creates off flavours. Most off flavours in beer come from unhappy yeast.
On our first brew the temperature went too low. When the yeast eats the sugars it gives out a lot of heat. We were hoping that this was going to be enough to keep the temperature where it needed to be. But it’s been so cold the last couple of weeks the temperature went down to 12° C and it killed off the yeast. Batch ruined! We soon fixed the problem by installing heating coils.
Our second brew didn’t go quite to plan either. This time the heating coils did such a good job the temperature went to high. This gave the finished beer a bit of a sour taste. Most breweries would have sold it, and hope and prayed that no one would notice. To solve that problem we put in cooling coils. When the beer gets to warm the cooling coils spring into life, and when it gets to cold the heaters will arm it up.
As Goldilocks said “the third one is just right!”. The temperature held at 20° C and the first signs are good. Yesterday we dropped the temperature down to near freezing. This help clear the beer ready for bottling.
Over the next couple of days we will carbonate and bottle our Old Castle Pale. Keep following for updates of when and were to buy our first batch!