Space, the final frontier. It’s what any brewery runs out off second, just after money. Hot liquor tanks, mash tuns and kettles all take up a finite space, and not much time of the overall brew time. You can get from start to fermenter in about three hours depending on the type of beer you’re brewing and the equipment you’re brewing it on. But it’s then got to sit fermenting for two to three weeks, longer for stronger beers, and then a bit longer for conditioning once it’s casked, kegged or bottled.
The more fermenters you have, the more beers you can have fermenting at any time and the less redundant the rest of your brewing equipment is. So breweries tend to fill up with fermenters as quickly as they can, usually just before looking for larger premises. For more fermenters.
We’re getting to that stage now where we need more fermenters, and whilst we have the reclaimed eco-kegs to convert into them, we’ve run out of space. Which means getting on with reorganising the brewery to free some up. But what beer have we got taking up space?
We’ve just sent out bottles of Lowry, the lapsang souchong infused pale ale to bottle shops, and if you can make it to New Mills Beer Festival next weekend you’ll be able to try our first ever cask, Satanic Mills.
Currently conditioning in bottles is Lite Wit and Saint Ella. Lite Wit is a lager – wheat beer hybrid, brewed with 50% lager malt and 50% wheat, traditional lager hops Saaz and wheat beer yeast. As you’d expect, it’s not as heavy as a traditional wheat beer, the lager elements make it a lot lighter and easier to drink, but the wheat parts give it that bit of heft you don’t normally get in a lager. Whereas Saint Ella is a lager through and through, apart from the hops. A fair few years ago a new hop came out of Australia, Stella. It was a wonderful hop, similar to the Galaxy with big flavours and alpha acids, but with less of an aggressive nature. Unfortunately a rather large lager manufacturer took an objection to the name and the hop changed its name to Ella. It is this sort of stupid litigation in the beer industry that we can’t stand, anyone mistaking a beer brewed with such a flavourful hop for the other stuff is out of the question. So Saint Ella was born as a bit of a pointless kick-back. It’s all lager malt and lager yeast, but uses
StElla to give it a big, crisp hop flavour.
In the fermenters we’ve got another batch of Prestwich Pale, our light session ale. The first batch of this beer went into bottles and flew off the shelves. This batch might go into a cask. There’s also two wheat beers fermenting, following Turing and Lowry in our range of beers influenced by people who are associated with Manchester we’re currently brewing Marx and Engels. Marx is an oak smoked wheat beer with a subtle smell and taste not unlike bacon, and Engels is a peat smoked wheat beer, with a delicate peat whisky style aroma and flavour. And souring we’ve got a small batch of Lambic’d Lowry, our lapsang souchong infused pale ale, with lambic yeast, along with Totes Craft Amazeballs, a Citra and Mosaic hop-forward whisky barrel aged soured lager.
So there’s quite a few beers on their way, but we’ve got even more planned that need brewing. Firstly there’s a collaboration brew with Browton’s of Ashton, we’re still finalising the recipe of this, but it will be a strong, dark rye beer with Citra and Equinox hops. We’re also brewing a special beer for our local football club, Prestwich Heys, which will be a red rye beer. And Turing, the passion fruit and sage pale ale went down so well in bottles that we’re now going to brew it for cask.
We’ve got two clear fermenters, and need another two just to meet the immediate brewing needs let alone the beers we’ve got planned to follow!