Day 394

Brew day! After three weeks, it was finally time for Team A’s return to the Teaching Brewery. Alas, the two of us from Subteam A1 who had brewed up our Vice Populi hefeweizen last time were relegated to non-brewing chores, which would include packaging the Vice Populi.

Filter being cleaned

No, this is not a Dalek, but backwashing the filter with scalding water does produce enough steam for an episode of Dr. Who.

Before we could get to that, first we had to filter 1100 litres of beer while transferring it from Moe (one of the large fermenters) to Shemp (the bright beer tank). Once that was finished and the filter backwashed and cleaned, we then cleaned Moe and prepared him to receive another batch of beer.

Those chores out of the way, yay, it was time to bottle our hefeweizen. We filled one bottle for each 2nd-year student — for sensory evaluation and feedback — then filled a half-dozen growlers with the remaining beer, to be sold in the campus beer store. (The Vice Populi has proved to be a popular weiss — one of the growlers was bought before it even made it to the store cooler.)

Blow-off pail

Speaking of sci-fi, this is The Thing from The Grundy Tank. Note the 2″ hose required to handle the blow-off.

One thing that constantly amused us through the day was watching the fermentation action of the 1st-year students’ graduation beer. They had come up with the concept of an Imperial stout that they would barrel-age until their graduation in 18 months. So yesterday they brewed up an enormous batch of wort, complete with 35 kilos (80 lbs) of Belgian candi sugar — yes, 35 kilos! — then transferred the wort into our old Grundy fermenter. With all that sugar, the yeast went into overdrive, producing prodigious amounts of CO2–apparently too much CO2 for the usual blow-off tube, since sometime last night, the pressure of the CO2 removed the blow-off tube with enough force to leave splash marks on the brewery ceiling. Today, the narrow blow-off tube was replaced by a piece of 2″ hose, which seemed adequate to handle the CO2. Nonetheless, we spent the rest of the day watching the blow-off pail in fascination as this monster burbled and grumbled away. That is going to be some beer.

After school, I dropped into my summer job brewery to check on the black lager I had brewed up a few weeks ago as a base for a smoked chipotle schwarzbier. Although the yeast still has some sugar to eat, the beer tasted pretty darned good already just on its own–so good that I may have to reconsider whether to add the chipotles or let the beer stand on its own. And it now has a name: “Call of Brew-ty: Black Hops”, suggested by the brewery owner. I laughed and laughed…

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