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Old 08-21-2007, 05:12 AM   #1
photogscott
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Default My Brew-pub field trip. part 1

Ever wanted to leap over the bar or somehow transport yourself Star-Trek style to the other side of the glass at your local brew pub to gaze in reverential awe at the massive steel tanks-to gently place your hands on the smooth walls of the kettle or mash-tun and fantasize yourself as the brewmaster of such a setup? Well I just got that experience last week...sort of.

Belmont Brewing Co. in Long Beach CA serves up consistently tasty and varied styles of ales. With 4 hours of "happy-hour" food & beer, you're likely to find me there on a monday, tuesday or wednesday. (not all three).

People at HBT have said that brewers are more than happy to donate yeast to HB'ers. With a pint of Long Beach Crude in hand I asked the bar-keep if the brewer was around. Minutes later he came to our table and I meekly asked if he "donates" yeast to homebrewers. He said come in anytime before noon with a jar and its yours. He remarked how he hated dumping so much of it. I walked out the next morning with a full 1l flask of creamy trubless german ale yeast. I pitched part of it and had to put in a blow-off tube after 6 hours! 4 WL vials crammed with washed yeast sit in the fridge for future brews

part two next


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Old 08-21-2007, 06:04 AM   #2
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Default My brew-pub field trip part two

I desperately wanted to make brew-talk with him but he was busy of course. He asked if I go to Stein-Fillers for supplies which I did and then mentioned that every once in a while they do group brews and that one was coming up Aug 18. At the HBS I paid $40 and got my choice of WL yeast in the fridge.

It was kind of odd showing up at the Pub at dawn half asleep with an empty fermenter in hand but 20 others were doing likewise.

Some of us were tottaly in a trance eating up every word our brewer spoke and peppering him with questions. Others looked like they were just waiting for their bucket of wort. Most were somewhere in between.

Our brewer did most of the delicate work such as temp adjustment, twisting ball valves to move liquor and wort etc. Our right of passage was to climb the steel scaffolding and dump our own sack of grain into the mlt and stir with the 6ft long wooden paddle!! In all, about 500 pounds of crushed malt and several pounds of pellet hops for an american brown ale.

Hel talked about all aspects of brewing eager to answer any questions. After "breakfast" beers were on the house and of course with brewing there's a lot of down time. The ocean and sand below us was barely lit by the morning sun and I'm pouring a pint of Top Sail Ale! Very odd and potentially dangerous

There isnt much for a crowd of homebrewers to do in a small brewhouse except for some of the grunt work which we were eager to do. Dumping grain. Scooping out spent grist with a gigantic hoe. Hosing the inside of a mash tun. Rites of passage I guess

Oh well it was fun to see this equipment come alive unlike sitting there dormant at the 8:30 happy hour.

5 1/2 hours later we lined up at the outlet wort hose with our buckets like a cafeteria on pizza day! Amazing how the boiling wort is cooled instantly through a plate chiller oxygenated and gushed out at high pressure through a miniature fire hose! Our buckets were filled in seconds and those with forethought brought spare buckets and ended up going home with 10 gallons! Enough to go around.

coming up. Some insights into being a brewmaster of a small 7bbl setup


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Old 08-21-2007, 06:49 AM   #3
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What a great way to "brew"!!!! Sounds like a lot of fun.
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Old 08-21-2007, 01:20 PM   #4
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Now that sounds like a kick a$$ time! Thanks for sharing your experience.
Now you have to tell us how the beer turns out. It will be interesting to see how a wort made in a brewery and fermented at home tastes.
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