Sunday, January 6, 2013

Brewery Build - Mash Tun & Excise Number

Well, such a lot has been happening since just before Christmas I haven't been able to get much blogging done.

I got my Excise number issued by the local Customs and with that comes the right to sell beer from my premises, offsales only.

The duty isn't bad at all, 1,38 euro per %abv per 100l of beer. So on 100 litres of my Biere Artisanale - Cascade Pale Ale at 5.4% abv the duty is 7,45 euros or about 6 quid.

So, some more bits and bobs have arrived and I've started on my Mash Tun. The HLT is now insulated and ready to go.

I ordered a 500mm square piece of perforated stainless steel from Metal Offcuts UK but before committing to buying the square sheet, and having to cut it to a circle myself, I got in touch with John at Metal Offcuts to see if he'd cut it for me. He gave me a really good price for cutting the sheet to a circle for me, it arrived a few days later and is a perfect fit in my 80l thermo pot.

I've now drilled a few 6mm holes for a stainless steel handle and some bolts to act as support legs for the false bottom.

Here are some pics.

And a couple of pics of my crossover beer, a pale ale that's intended to appeal to the hard and fast lager drinkers around here. It looks like a lager, has familiar aromas of lager from the French, Aramis hops but has the body and mouth feel of a real ale.

My next problem is that I haven't even finished my 100l boiler yet from early indications of interest and feedback from customers, I think i need a 400l boiler, very soon. And bigger fermenters, conditioning tanks... oh bugger.

Happy new year to you :)

Arti Brassage 87

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Brewery Build - Hot Liquor Tank Sight Glass

Finally, apart from outer insulation, my hot liquor tank is finished! The John Guest push fittings and a length of polycarbonate tube from Rob, The Malt Miller arrived with my last delivery of grain and hops.

It was -7 outside and drilling stainless in those temps is rather distracting, I managed to cut myself a few times on various things without even realizing.

Biggest frak up, almost, was the positioning of the sight glass. Only by absolute fluke does the polycarbonate tube not interfere with the handle on the drain valve. Fully closed, the valve lever just touches the tube...


Sight glass fitted, ready to wrap the tank up in some insulation.

Oops, a bit close for comfort. Luckily the valve still closes fully.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Brewery Build - Hot Liquor Tank & Oak Mash Paddle

EDIT: Wow, I got my SIRET number today! This means my brewery is now officially registered as a business, it's called Arti-Brassage87 - arti for artisanal, brassage for brewing and 87 is the department of the Haute Vienne where I live, in the Limousin. So, in English, CraftBrewing87. I've sent a copy of my registration to the Douanes who have been waiting patiently for the Chamber of Trade to get their act together and issue my SIRET. Now they can complete my dossier and grant me an Excise Number in order that i can pay duty and begin to sell my beer! It's been months and months of long, hard slog to get here but it's finally dropping into place.

Long few days, here's photos... maybe some words along the way. Bottled another batch of Bramling Best Bitter and started work on my website for my Brasserie Artisanal en Limousin (Craft Brewery in Limousin)

So, the other day I found the remains of an old, oak shelf I'd ripped down on the saw bench a couple of years ago. I can't remember what I did with the other bit but the bit I found was just over 800mm long and about 70mm wide. So, I drew a paddle shape on it and got the jigsaw out. Bit of drilling, a lot of sanding and... voila - 2 hours, job done.

Four beers on the go at the minute, samples for gravity checks. Anti-clockwise from top-left: Bramling Special Bitter (experiment using WLP002 instead of usual SO4), Cascade Pale Ale, Bramling Bitter and a new one, Lathière Stout (pronounced La-tee-err after the hamlet I live in).

After that I got on with some plumbing in the brew house.

Above is the cold feed for the immersion chiller with quick release hose connector. I'm sticking with an immersion chiller for now. I've heard and read too many people complaining about plate chillers to go there just yet. i also still don't like the idea of going to all the trouble to get a clear beer and then dump all the cold break into the FV. I know many do it, I know many say it's beneficial but, I'm not yet convinced it's for me. The pain of blockages and worry of sanitising correctly not to mention needing a reliable 100c+ rated pump that doesn't cost the same as a small car....

Below, the T piece feeds cold water down and along to the immersion chiller circuit while the above section (with valve) is for filling the hot liquor tank. Water will come into the brewery and pass through a sediment and carbon filter first. I was originally going to split the feed and bypass the filter for the immersion chiller BUT having now gone solder free and used compression fittings everywhere, the output from the IC will be ok. So the bonus is, I can fill my HLT from the IC output and not waste gallons of precious water down the drain.

Pipe feed to the above T section, bent round and under the shelf to pass behind the fridge and along the wall at the right hand side to the cold main feed.

Bored with plumbing, back to stainless drilling. 20mm TCT BANG! High speed with a bit of oil and it's through in around 12 seconds. Much better than my previous 2 hours!

Above, float switch fitted in between the two 1.5kw elements. This will shut off the temperature controller that runs the heaters in the event I forget to turn them off manually (I will, I know I will) when the HLT is being run off.

Close up of the float switch. I had the switching circuit check (by my Dad, cheers Dad!) to find out the switch is ON when at the top and OFF when down as seen above. Some reason I'd presumed it was the other way and was going to mount the switch pointing downwards. So, with water in the float rises and the circuit for the heaters is made, as the water level drop the circuit is broken and the heaters turn off with about 30-40mm water level above them.

Top left, brass thermowell for thermometer, home made copper thermowell for STC1000 temp controller probe (the gadget that runs the heaters) and just visible below that, the outlet valve, the take up pipe is not currently fitted.

Up at the top, on the left the cold fill inlet and over at the other side the inlet from the three way manifold run off a Kaixin Pump to re-circulate the hot liquor tank to ensure even temp distribution. The three way manifold will also send HLT contents to the Mash Tun and also a hand held spray nozzle for cleaning in place.

Closeup of thermometer and STC1000 thermowells and the outlet.

As seen from the outside, minus external insulation.

And finally, for now. plumbed in. Cold feed at the right, outlet via valve to Kaixin Pump and into the manifold at the left. manifold back to HLT for re-circ. I even used blue cable ties for cold bits and red ones for hot bits.

I'm bloody knackered but loving it :)

Order due to arrive tomorrow or Saturday from Rob,  The Malt Miller and I'll be brewing - still on the little rig for now - for the next few days.