It’s been a little quiet on our social media and this blog recently.
Following the fantastic news of Andrew starting brewing at Rammy Craft just is the way with life when you least expect it – a sequence of curve ball blows.
One of the biggest difficulties with a brewery that doesn’t use dried yeast for brewing is keeping the wet house yeast in good condition. We rely upon good systemic hygiene and accurate pitching rates. We do not have a lab on site and that is a big weakness when you are only a small brewery. It is very useful to be able to conduct in house yeast activities. All’s well and good when you are running smoothly but when a problem occurs it is better to have this in house to save down time and to get back on track quickly.
When we found we had a problem somewhere within our equipment it would have been helpful to be able to sample different stages to identify the culprit and analyse them. It never occurred to me to do this level of check having not had any issue like this before. It would have been pretty straight forward to get a load of dipsticks from our lab contractor and send them all off for analysis. However as a result of deluded positivity and a complete unfortunate set of events the problems propagated long enough to result in a very painful prolonged duration of non production.
Call it a pincer movement of issues! A combination of
-over ambitious brew schedules.
all resulting in beer that was not good enough for sale and destined only to be destroyed. Quality must be maintained though. No second chances with your reputation.
It takes quite a while for the lab to grow up enough of our house yeast to pitch into 2.5bbl of beer. And then if the courier screws it all up all that delay is doubled as another batch is prepared.
There were two fleeting moments when I thought …. “couldn’t I just get some dried Nottingham yeast in and keep brewing something?” It just didn’t feel right. And after all I have never even brewed with dirty dry yeast anyway. Loyal followers would be able to taste the difference. Nottingham gives a very generic ale flavour – nothing like the flavour from our yeast. I wouldn’t think of using another local brewery yeast. Rammy Craft stands for something different and to use another local brewery’s yeast would be totally at odds with this philosophy.
There have been some real positives out of this apparent complete nightmare. Only appreciable now I am looking backwards ;o)
Brewer Andrew has learnt first hand more about yeast in 8 weeks than he could ever have hoped to learn when he started. Even I have learnt a few more pages in the book of how to treat our house yeast. It is rather temperamental.
In problem solving to find the original issue I have done a complete strip down and clean of the entire kit which counts as my (now annual) shutdown clean. I found beerstone I never even knew I had – though it wasn’t actually a cause of any problems (yet…). We have new better parts to the process which will save time and generally make life easier. The kit has never been cleaner. New procedures are now in place to ensure even better quality beer and we are back on the trail and brewing more different brews than we ever have before.
The second half of 2016 is QUALITY DRIVE. We are revising any recipes that have not quite hit the mark and are looking to maintain cask and bottle stocks that can cope with unexpected surges in demand. We hope to have no ‘Out of Stock’ situations going forward so you can always get your Rammy Craft fix be you a publican or a consumer.
So you know what we did with those curve balls – we hit home runs.
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