Saturday 19 November 2011

Tanks a lot

It's been an interesting couple of weeks. To start with Ted, from Oregon, flew over our brewery early on the Monday before last on his way to Manchester. That very same afternoon, whilst Ted was being ignored by Simon in The Marble Arch, some tanks arrived. We've been waiting for them for such a long time that we now feel some sort of loss that we can't now say "when the new tanks arrive"

After much scurrying around for a forklift truck that had forks long enough, we finally got them off-loaded just in time for yet another radio interview with BBC Cumbria. They are good to us, the local BBC, but their timing could have been better.

The last week has been about interfacing SMS, Tri-clamp and RJT fittings. Despite my best attempts to avoid it we now have a ridiculous combination of pipe fittings in the brewery. The week has also been about putting as much wort into these tanks as possible. There is a risk that quite a lot of it now classes as beer.

These new tanks open up so many possibilities for us. We can now brew, condition, lager, dry hop and carbonate all in the same tank. The primary fermentation is close to being finished on both the inaugural beers and I'm now playing with the pressure versus temperature allowing the natural CO2 to be absorbed into the beer. No force carbonation. A question for the future is: if I drop the beer bright in tank and fill cask under counter-pressure is it still real ale? Would anyone care?

Either way, these babies are a significant step forward for Hardknott. To the best of my knowledge we are the only Cumbrian brewery using such technology on the main production beers. Early indications are that they will significantly improve our ability to get more beer out to more people more often.

Above is the Hardknott team. I'm the handsome one on the left. In the middle is the youngster of the gang, Alex. Ann, of course, is on the right, getting worryingly close to Alex.

The tanks are 2000l total volume and 1650l working volume. One currently holds about 12hl of Code Black which we brewed on Tuesday and the other very close to capacity of Continuum, which we brewed on Wednesday. Thursday Ted brewed a double imperial red beer which got crammed into one of our old 5 barrel tanks.


dredpenguin said...

Bright beer being Real ale? ...all depends on how bright it is ;-)

You are correct the very brightest of beer (drinkers) will not care.

Phil said...

Inject it with a homeopathic dilution of active yeast and you'll be fine - cf the recent GBBF debacle with The Scottish Brewery*, in the course of which they maintained that what they wanted to serve wasn't real ale & someone from CAMRA said he'd checked and it was, so there.

*It's bad luck to say the name. At least, it lets the blighters get even more publicity on other people's blogs, which amounts to the same thing.

But that wasn't what I wanted to say. What I wanted to say was this:

double imperial red beer

Whassat then? "Red" seems to have taken on a whole new meaning in the last year or two, and I'd be really interested to know how you define it.

Unknown said...

Phil, it will be red, be above 8%, hopefully, and have shed loads of hops in it. I'm not sure after that what you need to know.

On the other matter, I'm not sure I know which Scottish brewery you are referring to........

StringersBeer said...

"Real Ale" eh? Not a term widely used in the industry. Why not? We know why not.

I'm sure you're aware of the (pending update ?) SIBA handbook "suggestion" re cask beer:

"Cask Conditioned Beers - should ideally contain between 0.4 and 2.0 million cells per ml when racked to cask.".

Why would anyone care? I believe you should care, at least, because you wouldn't want to be making false representations as to the nature of your product, would you? What with it being against the law and that.

Unknown said...

"If I drop the beer bright in tank and fill cask under counter-pressure is it still real ale?"

It's cask ale.

And there's plenty of bright-cask round the circuit. Same as there ever was.

And it's a pleasure to learn exactly who I was inadvertently ignoring at the Arch. Next time, I'll turn my phone on.

Tandleman said...

Nobody cares provided the live yeast count is good enough. (It is a matter of correct judgement at which point you rack it.)Nothing wrong in removing some trub from beer by settling before racking.

Real ale? Cask ale? It is not served by extraneous CO2 and as long as it has the potential for secondary fermentation that's fine. Alex Brodie does it and his beers are great. No problem from me.

Mind you I'd submit that is different product from bright beer as used to be sold in pubs under a C02 blanket and under CO2 dispense and we shouldn't confuse the two.

Phil said...

Dave - I've had three different styles of beer which called themselves "red", and none of them were red in colour by any stretch of the imagination. So saying "it will be red" doesn't help much! But I'm guessing this is "red" as in Dark Star Carafa Jade or Hawkshead Red (which I described as "a prickly, aniseedy hop bomb"), rather than "red" as in "malty, tannic session bitter", or for that matter "red" as in Rodenbach.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

The version of this recipe brewed at our wee little Oakridge brewery appeared red (darkish) when light passed through the pint jar and stimulated the retina. Some substitutions were made in the grain and hop bill for the Hardknott versionl. Over here they would call it a Red IPA, since it has a lot of hops in it and is pale. I mean red. I mean pale.