the ablution block

10 June 2007

The Brewery at Wigtoft

The brewery gets a work out with a double-batch of birthday bitter (a Maris Otter base, a little Caramalt and Munich, with a good dose of East Kent Golding hops and a sprinkling of Willamette).

The stainless kettle on the left is where the sweet malty wort is boiled with the hops. This wort (pronounced "wert") is obtained by mixing crushed grain and hot water (67c, in this case) in the chilly bin on the right (mash tun). It sits for an hour, converting starch to fermentable dextrins.

The chilly bin in the centre, aka the hot liquor tank, holds more hot water that is showered (sparged) through the hot grainy mixture to extract fermentable sugars. This process is slow, to enable maximum extraction of fermentable sugars, and takes around 90mins.

Here's the sparge in action (plenty more room for grain, if I was planning on brewing a barley wine!):

And here is the sweet unhopped golden wort, which is running out of the mash tun:

The wort usually runs straight into the kettle, which I then lift. But seeing that this is a double-batch, and that the kettle is a bit hard to lift when it's got over 25L in it, I run the last 15L or so into jugs before transferring into the kettle.

A picture of the finished beer, a hoppy 4.5% golden bitter currently fermenting at 18c in two sepearate fermenters (one of which will be dry hopped), will follow in three to four weeks.

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05 June 2007

Drunken Monkey

Frankie does his best drunken monkey interpretation. This walking style and a highly strung dog are a dangerous combination.

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01 June 2007

Last Friday

Last Friday turned into an impromptu strong ale tasting at Wigtoft. I took this photo as we sipped on a very young version of my own XXX Porter, a dark fruity 7% winter ale brewed for Kieran Haslett-Moore's solstice gig. We'd already worked our way through a 2L rigger of Twisted Hop's scrumptious new Amercian-style 'Poplar Brown Ale'.

From left to right, above: Sierra Nevada Celebration (6.8%), then four Twisted Hop ales: Epiphany (10.5%), Raspbiery (7%), Raspbiery Lambic (6%) and Plum Duff (6.66%); and, finally, two Emerson's 2006 Bourbon Porter (9.2%) and 2005 Taieri George (6.8%).

The Raspbiery Lambic has to be one of New Zealand's most interesting beers, right now. A lovely brett character that will definitely appeal to any Orval fan.

We also decided to try Brendon's Prison Apple Wine (unknown %) and my little own 'accident': the 1968 Strong Ale (8.5%).
The last thing I remember is getting out the first whisky...
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