Thursday, April 21, 2011
eXiled: Part two - The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick maker
Brad Called me on my lack-o-blogging I am a day late with Part two so here it is:
Transfer to the kettle was smooth and we waited while we filled the kettle to roughly 1,200 gallons of wort to begin boiling. As the wort filled the kettle, the steam jackets in the kettle are turned on in stages in the hopes that by the time our volume was reached we were close to a boil (and then I could add more hops by the 5 gallon bucket). To obtain the gravity we were shooting for we planned for 2 hour boil and the addition of 4 sacks of Rice Syrup Solids which are a 100% fermentable rice powder the same consistency of dried malt extract. Once to a boil and under control I went back to helping Bo Clean some kegs and help myself to half glass of beer that was on tap in the office. It turned out to be the remainder of a vintage keg of Bourbon Barrel Aged Black Jack Stout. It was like velvet but knew that too many glasses and I would be of no help what so ever. So I only had another 3-4 half glasses. I also had brought with me the next pilot batch that Kurt had came up with for me to brew. It was a unique beer that was good and think has a lot of potential but Jim and the Big Boss Man(Dave) make the decision if it sees the light of day. I also took this time to pull the 2 late additions hops for X5 in poundage's of 11lbs. and 12lbs. I also sampled some Black Lightning (APA) and Mayhem (weizenbock) off of the fermentors while we waited to whirlpool the beer as it finished. As we started moving the beer to the fermentor we took a sample and the beer was great color. The color was one of the things I really liked about the pilot batch. When they filter this beer it should be a brilliant straw color perfect and refreshing for back porch summer drinking. While we were wrapping up the maintenance guys stopped by and climbed a ladder I would have never stepped foot on and a push of a reset button the Auger sprung back to life and the batch of Belgian Wit for the next day was saved and Jim could relax (a little). We tested another couple bottles for quality control and began getting the grains ready for the following day. As my luck would have it the grain silo was empty and awaiting delivery so all the grain had to be dumped by hand 50 and 25lbs at a time to the magic number of over 2100lbs. So just when you think the day is over you find yourself in a blast proof room the size of a large bathroom lifting bags of grain in the mill and sweating out Black Jack Stout. It felt good to do manual labor I have sadly been behind my drafting table for too long pushing buttons. So with the beer in the fermentor and grain ready for the next day I helped myself to one more half glass of Black Jack and said goodbye and left with a hand full of bottles of Venom, Sawtooth and 13 Degrees to QC at home. Not a great day brewing but sure as hell beat being at my real job. I learned a valuable lesson that the bigger you get in the production side of beer the bigger smaller problems affect everything else. If I ever had to ditch a brew of mine I would be out 50-60 dollars and morning of my time. These guys need everything to go smoothly daily because one hitch in your auger or the like and that could have potentially pushed back an entire day to a week in production time....and time is Beer Money! My time at the brewery is always fun (minus all that bullshit manual labor)!
Watch for eXile 5 to hit the taps some time in June.