Saturday, 17 October 2009

My first double brew: Wedding ale.

As many may have guessed a double brew is the act of brewing twice in the same day. At home (my Panda & Frog home brewery) a typical brew day lasts between 5 and 6 hours and this was expected to be a long tedious effort requiring a full Saturday. For a change I decided to conduct this operation using my own kit at work (Daleside brewery). Sure this meant changing water treatments and lugging lots of kit down to Harrogate by car, but the advantages, including the availability of hot liqor on tap, better cooling systems and the use of water hoses to clean down equipment made it worthwhile.


In fact if this was a normal brew day it would have been the easiest ever, but this was a double brew, the theory being to start a second brew whilst the first brew was already in motion. This meant that once brew No 1 had runoff onto the copper and the mash tun emptied, brew No 2 could then be mashed in (thus setting brew No 2 in motion). This was a little trickier than I anticipated with the further risk that by the end of mash for brew 2, brew 1 would still be in running off from the copper. So I had to make sure brew 1 was fully ran off into the fermenter, and the copper empty before sparging the mash of brew 2. But my main problems included electrical faults and timers (for the copper) switching themselves off at critical moments.


Runoff of Brew No 1 from copper to fermentation vessel.

Left to ferment: Both brews took around 5 days to ferment to terminal gravity.

Despite this both brews went well (except brew 1 was a couple of liters short) and fermented down from gravities 1051.7 to around 1012.4 before being transferred to only just fill a 9 gallon cask. Only once have myself and Daleside head brewer Craig Witty tried this fairly fruity, slightly malt balanced pale ale which will be served at my wedding in December alongside a couple of other Daleside beers. Let us hope the 70-72 pints of wedding ale get shared round as many guests as possible, but don’t leave the cask so quickly that some late arrivals don’t get any.


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