Join with us on our adventure as we build East Alstead's first brewery and what is quite possibly the only off-grid commercial brewery in the United States. We feel that what we brew and how we brew it are equally important. If you would like to help out with this project, contact me at:

The Belgian Mare Says Hello!

Monday, April 11, 2011

One In the Keg - Working on the Brewhouse

Deep in the dungeon...

So I decided on which beer to brew and it is already in the keg!  The best idea may have been to make a tried and true recipe, so that I could tell if force carbonating made much difference, however, I was in the mood for something different.  I found a recipe in the original Clone Brews for a "Wit Dark".  Essentially, this is a stout with dark wheat malt completely replacing the dark roasted barley.

After one week in the fermenter, I ran it into the keg and hit it with the recommended 40 pounds of pressure. After two days I decided to give it a try.  Being new to force carbonating and kegging, one would expect that I might miss a few points on the first attempt.  One would be right.

The point I missed was that while 40 pounds pressure is needed to carbonate a beer, 10 pounds is used for dispensing.  So without turning down the pressure on the regulator, I happily put tap to mug and pressed the lever.  The result was a blast of black fluid that hit the bottom of the mug and erupted in a geyser of foam.  Worse yet was that the pressure coming through the line was more that the spring in the tap could handle.  I could not turn off the beer!

As beer was spewing about our small cellar, I had to think fast. Turn down the regulator pressure! I reached for the regulator, but it does not have T-handles, a screwdriver is required. What to do?  In desperation I grabbed a coin from my pocket and turned down the regulator pressure until the flow of beer stopped.

In retrospect, I realize I could have just turned off the gas at the tank, but that did not occur to me at the time.

But how was the beer?  It was, and is, excellent.  At the first tasting it was very smooth with a goody buttery roast flavor. As it has matured, the butteriness has faded and it has a bit more bite on the tongue. So there is still some conditioning going on in the keg.  Anyway you cut it, this is a good beer.

Brewhouse Update

This past weekend proved a good one weather wise.  I was able to get out for a bit and do some work on the brewhouse. I managed to get the studs put in on the gable ends yesterday and put in the last of the collar braces today.  I was also able to get the benches put up in the greenhouse. Keep on the lookout, I will be setting up a work party soon!

Round 3 of Operation Monster Chicken has hatched.  Here is a picture of one of the little boogers: