Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

The brewery Christmas tree guarding the fresh batch of Yeti brought down by moonlight from Cumbria last night.

I'm Dreaming of a Warm Christmas

Blog hiatus due to being very busy making and selling the best beer in ... Knutsford. Tomorrow, The World!

Anyway, it has of course been a little chilly recently, giving us an opportunity to practice our engineering skills.

We have literally reverse-engineered our cooling system to turn it into a warming system : We add hot liquor to the cold liquor tank and switch off the chiller while continuing to pump the warm coolant around the rest of the system. This has worked quite nicely to warm up our "cold" room and a reluctant fermentation.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Where Can I Drink It?

You can usually find one or more of our beers on at the Regular pubs listed below; we will also try to keep the list of other locations up-to-date.

Regulars : 

Church Inn, Mobberley : Gold, Ale
Egerton Arms, Chelford : Best, Ale
Bulls Head, Mobberley : Gold
Rose & Crown, Knutsford : Gold

Others : 
Bulls Head, Smallwood :Gold

White Lion, Disley : Best
Bridge Inn, Chester : Gold

Coming Soon (delivered) :
Rose & Crown, Knutsford : Ale
Mill Hotel, Chester : Best, Ale
Helter Skelter, Frodsham : Ale, Gold
Cross Keys, Knutsford : Best
Albion, Warrington : Ale,Gold
Church Inn, Mobberley : Best
Bridge End Inn, Ruabon : Ale, Best

Previously :
Blue Bell, Halkyn : Ale
Falcon Bearer, Knutsford : Ale
Bridge Inn, Chester : ("Best went down very well", "very popular")

Commercial Hotel, Wheelock : ("lots of nice compliments")
Bhurtpore Inn, Nantwich : Ale, Best (starts Tuesday 6th July)
Bus Route 76, Denbigh : Ale, Best (Saturday 10th July)
Dog Inn, Peover (Beer Festival) : Best, Ale
Crown, Lower Peover : Ale
Cheshire Game & Angling Fair, Peover ( Sunday 15th August) : Ale, Gold

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Brew day again...

Brewing the gold on Friday... just grain hops water and yeast.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Happy customers at the Church Inn - Friday Evening

The Church Inn - they emptied the first cask in a couple hours - we restocked last night so they still have plenty of Best.  Please vist - Stephen runs a great pub. The second picture of course is Gregg! Thanks to Terry for the Pics.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

The first dray run...

... Ok not quite the dray. In the back of the Volvo.

The fruits of our labour ...

Thursday, 3 June 2010


We have it.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


In go the hops!   If you are in Knutsford now step outside and smell the aroma of the first commercial brew in Knutsford in over 100 years.

Mashing In.

Wish you could smell this!

Loading up the grist case for the very first time!!

Sorry about the picture quality.
It will get better throughout the day.!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Water Water Everywhere .. but not a drop to drink for another 6 days.

Warning : Chronological Anomalies Ahead

I have been trying to keep posts in order, but the lack of time to post recently means that some posts will be "retrospective" - to better serve you the customer, of course. Hope it does not get too confusing.

Water Brew today

This is the process of running through the brewhouse procedure, but leaving out any raw materials (malt, hops, etc.) to ensure that we know where we are going and have what we need : liquor, heat. pumps, connections, controls, processes, quality control, checkpoints, fun - let' see how this goes...

Splash! @%~#!

By the way, there may be a dearth of pics for the moment, as I just dropped my 'phone in the main sump.

It, Robot

Automation Step 1 : We have installed the solenoid on the steam supply to the Hot Liquor Tank (HLT), the temperature probe in the retrofitted well, and connected them up through the control panel; the temperature in the HLT is now automatically controlled. Sounds minor here, but a significant step nonetheless.

Friday, 21 May 2010

3 Inches Right, 15 Feet Up

The precisely-repositioned kettle stack fitted through the roof very nicely. Good view from up here.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Nothing exciting to add

for now.

Apologies for the hiatus; a combination of hectic activity leaving little time for anything not absolutely critical to installation, and our hosting service disabling the blog and being unable to fix it. More stuff to come shortly.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Things That Do Not Help

Sight glasses for the liquor tanks arrived today - broken. This is the second set; the first arrived at the tank manufacturers broken also :

Investigations to ensue - in the meantime we will have to settle for blanking plates on the ports and manage without volume indicators for the liquor tanks.

Somehow the bracket on the outlet port of our large sump pump broke :

Fortunately Clarke's have a replacement - all it costs is time and money.

Spot The Difference

Before :

After :

Give up?

It transpired that the kettle stack was just impinging on the line of a purling, which would make it tricky to run it through the roof - so the second picture shows the entire brewhouse moved three inches further away from the camera. Half a day spent undoing connections, shoving a few tonnes of steel into millimetre-precise positions, then reconnecting. Yes, Mr Smart-Arse, you are right - we should have spotted this before the final positioning was set - Oops! # 537, I suppose.

This "After" picture provides a better perspective :

The rest of the stack will be on site at 7 a.m. tomorrow, and will be in position sometime in the next few days - assuming good weather for roof work. Of course, after three weeks of glorious dry spring weather, we have just returned to traditional Cheshire drizzle now that the stack is ready. Oh pook.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Little things... please me

This insignificant pic means that we have full domestic plumbing - hot and cold running water and effluent pumped to drain. Complicated because there is no direct access to sewer, so we had to install a sump and pump and run the piping through the wall and along to an outside gully. Bigger things to come...

Monday, 19 April 2010

Oops! #2

Yes, it does seem unlikely that this is only the second mistake that has been uncovered so far - perhaps it would be better numbered as i.

Anyway, this shows the back side (fnarr fnarr) of the diverter panel, with the pumps fitted. The route to one of the 2" ports is blocked, and we need to modify the supplied kettle wort-out pipe with a couple of 45 degree elbows - a tricky alteration as the point connects at three separate points. Ho hum.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Final plumbing design - probably

This details the various connections and pumps between the brewhouse, liquor tanks, heat exchanger, & grist pump; all the internal brewhouse plumbing is already in place and not included here. If you spot anything missing, do let us know.

Old-fashioned tools in a new-fangled brewery?

Just run the old washing machine successfully for the first time in 16 years - compliments to Hotpoint. We use this for washing cloths, overalls, yeast, etc.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

A Banner and A Beast

No longer hiding our light behind a bushel.

The beast is the pump for pre-mixing grain with hot liquor and pumping the wetted grist into the mash tun - it is a combination of Steel's masher and progressive cavity pump. I placed the cardboard box to give an indication of scale; useful, huh? 1.75m long, for those who like precise figures.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

And now for something completely different

Number 17 : The Grain Store

Very clean and shiny - for now. Not quite hermetically sealed, but definitely rodent-proof. Particularly pleased with the custom-built sliding door, thanks to a certain Texan gentleman.

There appears to be a box on legs in this picture; not a rodent, but certainly a pest of some sort.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Brewhouse plumbing part 1

Most of the brewhouse internal plumbing has been connected up. Took most of Sunday, and I only stabbed myself a couple of times - our last two butterfly stitches saved a trip to the hospital. Detailed instructions & labelling by Specific Mechanical made the job fairly straightforward, though a few complications arose aligning the vessels because of the sloping floor.

Fabricators in on Monday to start work on external connections : grist case, hot liquor tank, heat exchanger, etc.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Brewhouse arrives

Nerve-wracking but unloaded safely, thanks to the generosity and help of various neighbours. Now to connect it all up...

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Liquor tanks delivered

These 4000 litre tanks, hot (err... and cold) from the factory will hold brewing liquor (hot water) heated by steam, and cold water (for wort cooling) cooled by glycol. They are twin tanks, each jacketed and insulated for efficiency.

We managed to manoeuvre them into the brewery on the flat-bed truck, and unload with our fork-lift. Manoeuvering these tanks around and trundling them up the ramp onto the brewhouse floor was a little exciting, but completed without drama.

The brewhouse floor is starting to look a little crowded, but my carefully-planned drawing and repeated measurements assure that we will be able to fit everything - probably. Just hope we have none of those embarrassing metric-to-Imperial conversion hiccoughs.

Thanks to Tommy Stafford for his patience at both ends of the delivery, and his help unloading.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

All metered up

In terms of utilities at least. New water meter (our neighbours will be glad they are not sharing our water costs), and new gas meter for 400 kW supply. Next stop steam.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Gas dig started

Ironically, too soon - had been told they would start on Friday. Not quite a pleasant surprise, as they had been asked to dig only on Friday to avoid disrupting traffic. Fortunately this has not been a problem - yet - and the landlord has been very accommodating. Watch this space...

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

What a mezz!

Ha! I should write headlines for The Sun...

Anyway, last major construction work underway - the mezzanine floor is going up. The area with the smart red floor will be the grain room, and adjacent will be lab & kitchen. We needed to level the floor in the grain room to avoid 1-tonne pallets rolling downhill, and the mezzanine pillars had to be adjusted to compensate. Fortunately Alf was on site with his cutter and welding kit to save the day.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Ugly Duckling : a magical transformation

Well, we cheated. We were recommended to talk to JBJ Insulations, and their quote to custom build a cold room was not much more than it would have cost us to clean up and insulate the Ugly Duckling. Not to hurt her feelings, but this is more handsome and much better insulated,. so she is now unwanted, available to a good home - well, any home, so if anyone wants a tatty, weatherproof lockable 20 ft. container, do get in touch.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Loaded for shipping

The brewhouse has been loaded and is on its way; all fits rather neatly in a 40 ft. container. Now we have to start on the logistics of unloading it. I doubt our fork lift is up to it; anybody have a telescopic crane truck we can borrow for a day?

Monday, 1 March 2010

From paper to reality

Just-about-final versions of the brewhouse drawings....


...and the real thing starts to take shape.

Excuse the brevity of recent postings, but I am starting to experience the reality of the old cliché "not enough hours in the day" - and as the other old cliché has it, a picture paints a thousand words, so complaints on a postcard to Anyone But Me.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

First plant on the new floor

Used the forklift to move a couple of the fermenters onto the brewhouse floor. A little tricky but completed without incident - apart from the nasty rubber tyre marks all over the lovely new tiles. Still, should only be a few days work to cut out the marked tiles and replace with new ones - fortunately we have some in reserve. Somebody suggested just cleaning them, but I hate half-hearted bodges.

Photographic note : The flash is reflecting off dust particles in the air in some of these photo's; a good illustration of why the beer vessels should not be opened after being sanitised.


Managed to have a little fun this weekend also - in what we hope is the last snowfall this winter.
 The picture shows our snow sculpture designer and resident brewery graphics artist astride her lastest creation - the snow caterpillar. It was kicked down by some little yobs shortly thereafter; we managed to catch them and bury them under the caterpillar remains, but unfortunately the snow melted and it looks like they got away before expiring. Hanging's too good for 'em.