Thursday, July 13, 2006

Summer Ale

At the brewery where I work, we brew a beer aptly titled "Summer Ale". It is a saison style of ale with a decent body, light orange colour, fairly malty, crisp clean while slightly floral hopping, plus citrus orange, grapefruit, and black peppercorns. A fairly complex brew.

And a complex brew means more stuff added to the boil kettles (we add the oranges, grapefruits, and peppercorns right at the start of the kettle boil).

Unfortunately for me, this also means that these extra ingredients need to get out of the kettle somehow after the boil is done. Naturally, the crushed oranges & grapfruits clog the drains, and the peppercorns seems to coagulate things in the drains to cause quick clogs.
The only solution... cool the kettle down as much as possible, jump in, and remove all of the oranges & grapefruits by hand. But even then, if you mis a small peice of orange skin in the truby muck it clogs together with the pepper and hop trub to clog the drains. So I have to backflush again, climb back in again, find the peice, and basically repeat until the drains run for more than 3 seconds and actually empty the kettle.

This is my fourth (and fortunately last) time doing this now... anyway, just a little grumbling, I'm sure it doesn't even really make much sense. But if you take one lesson away from reading all the way to the end of this, let it be:
"If you put ~40 L of oranges + grapfruits crushed with a wad of peppercorn in 2400 L of boiling sugar water with hops, be prepared to get dirty getting them out".
Yeah. Good lesson for all I say.


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't an industrial sized pool strainer work for that task.

headlessbob said...

i imagine it would, but investing in one just for a couple of brews (i think we're only doing this once) seemed too much :(

Anonymous said...

How about grinding up everything in really small pieces?

headlessbob said...

hm, perhaps.
Although maybe the worry there is getting too much surface area on everything and get way too much extraction of compounds.
And perhaps the small peices would still conglomerate into drain-blocking chunks.
But might be worth a try next year :)