|Curtis in front of the brew system and filling the |
red wine barrels with Flanders Red
A couple months ago, I took a "day off" work to do a double brew day and fill 4 wine barrels. The goal was to fill 2 Gewurztraminer barrels with our standard Saison base and 2 red wine blends with a Flanders Red. We expecting the Saison to be ready in the heat of the summer and the Flanders will probably be our 1st Anniversary beer.
The morning started off with filling the mash-tun. Since we have a relatively small brew system it made sense to use an on demand hot water heater instead of a dedicated hot liquor tank. The on demand hot water heater has a few settings that we can control to hit the correct strike water temps. As with any new system it took a little time to figure out the amount of heat lost to the mash tun, but once up to temperature the thermal mass of the tun/grain keeps the temperature very consistent (one advantage of a larger system). As we mashed in we also added lactic acid to drop the pH down into the 5.2 range. (since this batch we have switched to phosphoric acid for better economy. I prefer to aim for the lower pH range for Saisons as I feel this gives the beer a more "crisp" and refreshing flavor. Along with a very dry finishing gravity the low pH helps to make this beer disappear off your palate quickly.)
|Recirculating the Saison mash through the grant|
|Sparge arm in the 3BBL mash tun at Council Brewing|
|Transferring wort from the mash tub into the direct fire boil kettle|
|Whirlpool Vessel being filled at Council Brewing|
|Curtis getting the ice bath and chiller ready|
for knock-out into the barrels
|Me up on the ladder watching the fill level on each barrel|
1" 4d smooth common nail – 316 stainless steel McMaster Carr #97990A102
2” 6d smooth common nail - 316 stainless steel McMaster Carr #97990A104
|Adding Saison yeast to the|
We added our nails after the barrels were filled. Curtis used an old carpenter trick and used the SS nail with the head torn off as a drill bit (or you could use a 7/64 drill bit) . It worked easily and was actually much less exciting than either of us were expecting. The barrels will actually swell quite quickly, which caused us to drill a few times till the beer poured out nicely.
Hopefully that provided a semi detailed look into filling barrels on the nanobrewery level. Future posts will focus more on new lessons learned and more details on each batch. If you have questions please feel to ask in the comments or let me know if you want to check it out in person.