On the morning of Thursday 15th October, we had our first major brew day!
We’re experienced in brewing significantly smaller batches of beer so today was a bit different! Our normal brew is around 24 litres. Now we are producing thousands of litres, we were nervous and uber excited!
The grain/malt used to brew at this volume increased from 10kg to 400kg, hops from 80-150 grams to bucket loads, kilograms of Centennial and Cascade and the water is like a spa bath!
We started the brew at around 7:00 am, kicking off with putting the mammoth grain bill for our Gorgeous George Pale Ale through the mill and grinding it – breaking up the husks to expose the starchy endosperm material in order to extract the fermentable sugars.
The grain finds its way into the Mash Tun which fills up with water, heats and stirs (above). Once our stepped mashing is complete (increasing temperature every 10-20 minutes), we remove the grain, add more water (sparge) and boil at 100 degrees.
The boil (above) was vigorous, malty, biscuity and sent wafts of Gorgeous George into the air!
The grain is sent away to the farmer to feed his stock (maybe some of George’s wild mates), and the hops are guided gently into a whirlpool of hot wort.
There’s plenty of differences when making beer at scale, the dry ingredients (grain, yeast, hops, water), the equipment required, the manpower to operate etc. One element that is normally invisible as a consumer of beer, that stood out today was the chemical constituents.
When brewing in your garage, it’s difficult and mostly needless to measure and improve the chemical balance of the brew specific to the type of beer (water through to cold wort), yet at this scale, the PH, proteins, peptides, and amino acids are constantly supervised to ensure they are all in harmony, creating the perfect beer.
As the whirlpool, and bittering using our bucket of hops ends, we transfer the wort to a 13-foot tall fermenter and add close to 100 litres of liquid yeast.
Now… we wait…
2 weeks til Gorgeous George is ready for drinking!