Winchester Brew Works

IMPORTANT BEER THOUGHTS

By in beer, brewing, equipment 0

The day we had all been waiting for…

I suppose I have a lot to catch you up on. More information to come on the really exciting stuff like our chilled water loop, construction of our walnut bar top, and getting our business license!

For now, I’ll clue you in on a big nugget of juicy malty info: we have *finally* brewed on our 3 bbl system!

There was a lot of work leading up to it, mostly because we did not purchase what is known as a ‘turnkey’ system (aka ready to run as soon as it is installed). We had no professional installers and even insisted on wiring up a control panel for the brewhouse ourselves. We bought the tanks used and brought them down from Pennsylvania way back over a year ago (before we even had a location!). We bought them off of another new brewery who had been holding on to them just like we did for the last year (Thanks Theo at ZeroDay Brewing in Harrisburg! Check them out). There was a lot of learning along the way, but overall I think that the time that we spent really understanding how everything works in our brewery was time well spent.

And it was the coldest day. ever.

Picking up the brewhouse in PA. Good thing our tanks fit into a U-haul.

One big step was getting tri-clamp ferrules (a sanitary way of connecting things to your tank) welded onto the boil kettle and hot liquor tank to make them ready for electric brewing. We briefly considered ‘weldless’ fittings, but I am so glad that we splurged on the welding work because it came out so nice and is way easier to clean. Many larger breweries use natural gas or steam to heat their tanks, but since ours were small enough, we thought we would try all-electric. Having now done small batches with propane and our big batch with all electricity, I think electric was a great way to go. Ask me again in 3+ months when our heating elements have gotten scaled… 😉

Arthur also fits in the tank. No, it was not against his will.

Our superb welders. Sometimes they had to get inside the tanks.

And they liked beer. Who knew.

Those incomparable welders. Really fantastic work.

 

By dumping water into the tank 10 gallons at a time. It was messy. Thanks Dad!!!

Yes, they are sticks. Carefully calibrated.

So then the day finally arrived. We had been testing our equipment and calibrating our volumetric measuring devices (aka sticks) and installing our cooling system. All the ingredients were here. We went for it!!

Arthur and I started the batch and Jeff and I finished it up. It is one of the beers that we expect to make nearly year round, a cream ale. It’s made with some corn for sweetness and it has a nice biscuity finish. Not too hoppy, mostly refreshing. Its name is Canoe Love.

Yes, it was a huge pot of oatmeal.

Doughing in the mash! So exciting (and a little dusty).

Other than putting a variety of liquids on the floor (none of them were wort, thank goodness), the brew went basically as expected. I’m still in shock. Then, the next day, I was overjoyed to see that indeed our yeast found something to eat and were making tons of carbon dioxide (bubbling in the bucket). So, assuming that the rest of the batch goes well, this is officially our first BIG batch to sell to YOU! Stay tuned for pics of … yes, that’s right – us OPENING! And save the date for our big party for ourselves, our Grand Opening, set for Saturday, May 7.  See you there!

 

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