Sorry everyone I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything but I’ve had some exciting new developments and thought I needed to share with everyone! On Christmas I became the proud new owner of some new stout tanks 1 barrel kettles! My partners (aka my parents) surprised me with these shinny beauties on Christmas morning! From left to right in the picture there is the Hot Liquor Tank (HLT), Mash Tun (MT) and the Boil Kettle (BK). Also there is a pile of sanitary tri clamp fittings! There are extra ports in the HLT and the BK for installing hot water heating elements so this will be 100% electrical heated system. Everything will work on 1 1/2″ TC fittings. It is set up for reducing down to 1/2″ hose but we are going to look into possibly sizing everything to be 1″ and upgrading to butterfly valves instead of ball valves. Inside of the HLT is a stainless steel HERMS (Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash System) coil. While mashing this gives me the flexibility to to change the temperature (or hold it constant) of the mash by pumping the wort through the coil while there is hot water in the rest of the HLT.Sorry for the blurry picture but this is the inside of the MT. There are 3 ports on top for recirculating wort and attaching a sparge arm. The sparge arm will sit above the grain bed and after mashing is done it will sprinkle hot water evenly over the grain bed to properly rinse and collect as much wort as possible. The bottom has a perforated false bottom for separating the grain and wort. I should probably not be so excited for the bottom of the MT but it has a center drain which will eliminate dead space and allow for more wort to be collected.
The BK has a fancy tangential outlet (the one on the side) that is used for whirlpooling. This allows for the wort to be pumped out and back through the tangential outlet that will cause the wort in the kettle to rotate. This whirlpooling helps clarify the wort before its transferred to a fermenter, its also allows for a great time to add more hops!!
Now that the bulk of the brewing systems there is a wide variety of additional things to get before the inaugural batch of beer can be brewed. Since there will be a electrical heating elements installed in the kettles components for a control panel need to be purchased so it will be easy to control the temperatures of the water and wort during brewing. There will also be pumps, hoses, chillers, fermenters, kegs, filters, fittings and a whole host of other things to purchase so stay tuned for more updates hopefully fully of shinny stainless steel Things. Cheers and happy new years!
Early in March I assembled the fellowship of funk and ventured forth to the dark summit of Mt. Doom and cast “clean” and “safe” brewing practices into its fiery chasm. I was lucky enough to secure a couple of vials of East Coast Yeast’s (http://eastcoastyeast.com/) BugFarm or for short, ECY01. East Coast Yeast is a fairly small producer of yeast and generally Al, the owner/yeast wrangler, doesn’t have the time or facilities to keep up with the demand from homebrewers. I’ve had success getting some ECY01 by joining and e-mail list and waiting to see when there is yeast available and then trying to be one of the first few people to respond with what they want. ECY01 and some of the other sour/wild blends that Al puts out have the reputation of creating some of the most complex and delicious sour ales achievable on a homebrewing scale.
The blend contains a handful of different species of Brettanomyces, lactobaccilus and pediococcus. Brettanomyces is commonly referred to as wild yeast because it is often found naturally on the skins of fruit. Brettanomyces aka brett can create a wide range of flavors some of the favorable and many of them not. In the wine world brett can be a real problem because of the off flavors it produces in wine and its ability to survive normal cleaning and sanitizing procedures. Lactobaccilus and pediococcus are both two different strains of bacteria that produce lactic acid. Lacto and pedio are responsible for the majority of the sourness produced in sour ales. Additionally lacto and pedio both can take a long time to really develop acidity and are some of the reasons that sour beers take much longer than normal beer to produce.
I was shooting for crafting a traditional lambic with hopes of aging a portion on some yet undetermined fruit and continue aging another portion for use in blending with another sour beer in the future. There are a lot of literature online and published on what your grain bill should be and how you should mash your grains to get the best wort for lambic production. Through it all most people agree that you wan a simple grist composed of pilsner malt and wheat. Also you want a fairly dextrinous (wort full of complex long chain sugars) so your brett and bacteria have things to work on after most of the simple sugars are used up in the first few weeks of fermentation. I decided to keep things simple for my first attempt, my grain bill was:
- 58% French Pilsner
- 37% white wheat malt
- 5% acid malt
I mashed high at 158 degrees Fahrenheit to help create a dextrinous and generally had a pretty uneventful brew day. Traditionally aged hops are used as they still provide some preservative effects and flavor contribution to the beer but not so much so as to inhibit the beneficial bacteria. I didn’t have any aged hops but I had some crystal hops that were hanging out in the back of my freezer that are very low alpha acid hops so I used two ounces of crystal hops in the beginning of the 90 minute boil for 14 theoretical IBUs.
After the 90 min boil I cooled and transferred close to 7 gallons of wort to my fermenter. If I was a more daring soul I would rig up some sort of coolship to transfer the hot wort to and let it cool overnight and expose it to the natural microflora of my back yard but maybe next time!
Overall the day went really well and I hit my original gravity of 1.048. My plan for this beer going forward is to pretty much leave it be for the next year or so and then I would like to transfer a portion to age on some yet to be determined fruit, bottle some straight and continue aging another portion for blending with another batch I hope to get going soon as I was able to procure 2 more vials of ECY01!
Thank you everyone who has been following along and the kind words and support you’ve already offered! I thought I would try to elaborate a little on what my initial timeline is looking like. Also I am happy to report that I’ve filled articles of organization for Broken Oak Brewing LLC and have registered with the IRS for an Employer Identification Number!! Having an EIN allows me to do fun things like pay taxes and open a bank account!
The next step toward being able to sell beer is working towards getting approval through the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Getting approval through the TTB requires compliance with of lots of different regulations regarding the physical structure where you are planning to have the brewery, environmental impact and how you are going safeguard your beer for proper taxation. Part of submitting for a license is having complete plans for the layout of your brewery, including the equipment you going to use.
After submitting the paperwork to the TTB you then have to wait to hear if you are approved which is on average a 90 day waiting period. It seems that there is a wide range of experiences with the TTB both good and bad so cross your fingers that when the time comes I end up having a positive experience with the TTB agent.
Once paperwork has been submitted to the TTB I will also file to get approval through the Oregon Liquor Control Commission which carries its own specific requirements. Currently the plan is to file as a brew pub because in Oregon this allows you to self distribute beer as well as sell beer on premise for consumption regardless if you are actually planning on serving food or not. Oregon is one of a handful of other states with reasonable regulations where this is possible which is another reason why the nano industry is so successful here.
In addition to both the TTB and the OLCC to open a brewery you also have to file with the Food and Drug Administration. Filing with the FDA is pretty straight forward and free (yay!) but its another hoop to jump through. The TTB and the OLCC both collect excise tax on any finished beer that is sold so even after getting approval through both agencies they will be actively involved during the life of the brewery.
After the these steps are complete then it will finally be legal to brew beer commercially. Add a couple of months after this for to have beer ready for drinking then bring on the grand opening! Looking at it all seems daunting and figuring out all of the specifics needed to make everyone happy is headache inducing but in the end it will be well worth it.
As far as when all this will get accomplished is hard to pin down. Our immediate goals are to figure what we are going to need to do to the barn to get it up to code for brewing. We are going to reach out to local OLCC officials and the county planning office to see advice and information they might be able to provide. Some other major obstacles we’ll have to overcome is the lack of water and sewer available to the barn and bringing the electrical up to code. Ideally while we are working on improving the barn we’ll keep an eye for used brewing and restaurant equipment that we can pick up.