Greetings Dear Readers,
Much has happened since last I posted. The first batch of supplies has arrived and the first beer was brewed. This past weekend, that first batch was bottled and the second batch cooked up.
Things went well, though not always smoothly. Sometimes equipment did not function as hoped and had to be reconfigured or repaired on the fly. I have found it advantageous to keep my tools and a box of extra fittings and such near at hand at all time during the brewing process. This is all part of the learning process and was not an entirely unpleasant experience.
Already the experience is starting to pay off. The first brew day lasted, if you count gathering up supplies, from 9:30 Saturday morning to 1:30 Sunday morning! The boiler was fired at 10:30am and was out at 1:00am Sunday morning. Any way you look at it , it was a long day. By contrast, the second brewday went from 9:30am to 7:30pm. A big improvement.
Once things had cooled off, I ran the wort into one of our custom built (read: homemade) fermenters. The wort was still a bit on the hot side, but the yeast I use is high-temperature tolerant. Still. I was worried. I need not have been. I pitched the yeast about 8:00pm and by the next morning I was witnessing the biggest blowoff I had ever seen. Better to have a mess to clean up than have the yeast die and the beer go bad.
The first bottling session was also an adventure. I started by tasting a bit of the beer. It tasted good, and if it tastes good going into the bottle, it has been my experience, it will taste good coming out of the bottle. Due to ice outside the cellar doors, things got started a bit late. Yet once the bottler was up and running I was able to crank out the bottles rather quickly. Those Italian gravity/siphon bottlers are sweet machines but one must be willing to take the time to understand how it functions and get set up properly. In our era of ubiquitous plug-and-play devices, this is an anachronism.
So now I have one batch nestled in its bottles, slowly conditioning. Another batch is in the fermenter awaiting its date with the bottler. We are well on our way to having some real product and being a real business.
We are looking at a target of late April or early May for being open to the public. As this date is finalized, I will be sure to let you know!