Brew Day No. 1

 

Finally after months of storing our brewery equipment we have had our first brew day. On the 29.11.13 we brewed a Christmas Ale which we named Ho Hop Ho Hop. A hectic brew day it was with many visitors throughout the day and various problems that seem always to occur when brewing on a new system for the first time.

Firstly I’d like to give a review on the EBClll from High Gravity in the USA. We would have liked the brewery to have undertaken a ‘dry run’ before our first batch but unfortunately we had no time. Therefor our first batch was the first time the brewery was used. Consequently, finding out that pumps were wired incorrectly inside the controller, in turn they did not correspond correctly with the controller’s external controls. Upon dismantling the controller we also found three loose wires due to dodgy soldering. Luckily we had time during mashing to fix these problems. We have not had any further issues with the EBClll and are relatively happy with its performance. However, it would be an advantage to run both heating elements simultaneously for back to back batches for a double brew day. Due to this downside and the issues spoken about we would recommend the 50A controller from The Electric Brewery even though it’s more costly.

In addition to fixing the problems with the controller during the mash we also had to rig up a ventilation system before transferring to the boil kettle. All in all, the brew day went well. The last piece of equipment needed to complete our brewery set up is a system for oxygenation. The days of shaking our fermentation vessels are over.

Here is some information regarding our system that you may find useful.

Heating Elements

We use 5500 watt heating elements for our brewery at Little Brother Brewery. Running at full capacity our HLT reaches a strike water temperature of 75 degrees for 100 liters of 8 degree water in 90 minutes.
75 – 8 = 67
67/90 =0.74
Raising the temperature 0.74 of a degree per minute. This is with continually pumping strike water through the water pump. Initially we hoped this would only take an hour but didn’t compensate for a starting water temperature of 8 degrees. However, we achieve a high efficiency from our wort chiller which saves us a lot of time at the end of the brew day making up for some of this time.

Mash Efficiency

At Little Brother Brewery we use our HLT for only heating strike and sparge water but also as a heat exchange for a consistent mash temperature. LBB-Batch-001 showed us the following.

We achieved a mash efficiency of (TBC – we’ll be updating this information shortly) %

We managed a mash out temperature of 78 degrees from a mash temperature of 67 degrees over 11 minutes giving a 1 degree temperature rise every minute.

Boil Kettle

Time taken to raise wort temperature from 70 degrees to boiling (100 degrees) was (TBC – we’ll be updating this information shortly) minutes.

Chilling the Wort

To be continued shortly…

Our brewery setup

 

Little Brother Brewery is a Nanobrewery specialising in handcrafted Real Ales and Lagers.  Our brewery is designed to be flexible which gives us a creative advantage over larger scale breweries. With our small scale system we can produce an unrestricted selection of beers without great financial risk.  This affords us the freedom to experiment with a vast range of yeasts and hops and to brew ‘one off’ specialty beers, high gravity imperial beers, as well as fruit beers.

Our brewery setup is a three vessel system consisting of Blichmann Boiler Makers (kettles). To accompany these three kettles we have opted to use an all-electric brewery to achieve greater accuracy, efficiency and consistency. We are also running HERMS, which stands for ‘Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash System’, and this also assists in maintaining consistency between batches.  In addition, we use food grade Chugger pumps, designed specifically for breweries as a means of moving hot liquor to and from our kettles.

Primary fermentation takes place within Blichmann designed conical fermenters which allows us to harvest and reuse our yeast. For secondary fermentation we use Sabco pressure vessels.  This setup is considered a ‘closed-system pressure fermentation’ method and it enables our beers to naturally carbonate during the secondary fermentation stage.  By using this method of natural carbonation we are able to categorise our beer as ‘Real Ale’.  Our last step is to transfer our beers to Bright Tanks for conditioning before tapping to kegs and bottles. The resulting beer is sediment free, naturally carbonated and rich in flavour.

It’s all new!

 

We’re brand new! That’s right, Little Brother Brewery has just been born into this world. Founded in 2013 by two brothers (Cameron and Andrew Manson) who are both passionate about craft beer. We’re going to be documenting our story about starting a craft beer brewery. Join us on our epic journey and lets make some great beer!

Cheers,

Cameron and Andrew Manson