Tuesday, April 19, 2011
eXiled: Part One - You Want The Good News or The Bad News?
Yesterday was the brew day for eXile 5 at DuClaw Brewing. I did the pilot batch for this beer in February and it turned out to be very close to what Jim was shooting for and with some minor tweaks it came to life yesterday as a 36 barrel batch of beer. Now anyone who has brewed beer knows that there are good days brewing and bad days brewing. I believe you need to have a bad brew day or two to know what a good brew day looks like if it ever happens. Yesterday was not a great one. Right off the bat, first thing in the morning we needed to mill in some more grain since the grain hopper would not hold it all that was need the day before and as the switch was thrown and I about to lift the first 50lbs bag of grain to the mill it made a hell of a noise and the auger and mill all shut down at once. Now this may not sound so bad, but the auger is what moves the grain after it is milled out of the blast proof grain room, up a tube system to the rafters and then to the top of the brew house where it goes into the funnel shaped grain hopper (see top picture)to be dropped into the Mash tun. Sadly this not just a couple pounds of grain we are dealing with. We a talking about thousands of pounds of grain needed to make a 40 barrel batch of beer. Now the beer we were making was not too badly impacted. We ended up grinding the remaining grains and adding them to the mash tun by hauling them up the stairs by the bucket full. This issue with the auger was going to severely impact the batch of 'Sawtooth' that was to be brewed the following morning much more. So we needed to get our brew going and it was going fine, but Jim was preoccupied with not knowing how to fix the auger issue for the next day so he troubleshot the auger between our brewing of X5. I'm sure when you brew all the time it does not seem like a big deal but even after all the times I've brewed with them at DuClaw I still think it is cool as hell to add hops by 5 gallon bucket. As the beer brewing went on when we had down time I helped Bo clean some kegs and check out the new 12oz bottling line. On a side note...to clear up any confusion the bottles are indeed twist off tops and bottle caps for beer bottles are universal so the beer is just as fresh in these bottles as pop or pry off tops. A ton of research was done to make sure that these bottles were going to be able to house and deliver the product to consumers in brewery form. To prove it, while there we checked a good number of bottles to make sure the beer was fit for consumption and each one we opened was in good form.
Now I'm thirsty...
Part Two Tomorrow!