Monday, January 20, 2014

Guest Brew Day at Fat Jack's in Laurel.

This weekend we went over to Laurel to hang out on a brew day and brew with Fat Jack's head brewer and manager Mike Soleburg. Mike was really gracious to let us come over and get involved with his brew day. Mike was making their Oatmeal Stout.

In this picture to the right, Mike is loading grain into the mill hopper. It falls down through the grinder, gets ground into coarse flour for all practical purposes, and the auger pumps it up a tube into the mash tun (pictured below.)

You can see the grain and water being pumped down into the tun near the top of the manhole. Once the grain is in the mash tun it is mixed with water at 185 degrees and the result is a mash that sits for 1 hour at 153 degrees.

After soaking for an hour, the "sweet wort" (it's called) is drained off the grain into the boil kettle (below.) There it is boiled for 90 minutes, hops are added then it is whirl-pooled for approximately 20 minutes at the end which helps clarify the beer.

There were lots of chocolate and coffee aromas coming from the boil kettle. Mike makes a great Oatmeal Stout, and this one might even be better since I helped with the mashing in. Oh, and I helped dump the hops in too.

After the hot wort is finished whirl-pooling, it is transferred through a heat exchanger (to cool it to room temp) then into a fermenter. Yeast is pitched into the fermentor as it is filling up with stouty-goodness. All we have to do now is put the airlock on the fermentor, wait two weeks and blammo! Stouty-goodness coming out of the taps.

I really would like to thank Mike and Steve Soleburg for letting me come over and guest brew on their system. It was a lot of fun, learned a lot, made some friends and got to see a great beer being made in the processs.

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