Finally! Feb 11th, 2016 was the day that Kris, Reno and Scott had been excitedly awaiting since they signed a lease at 53 Santa Felicia Drive in Goleta over a year ago - it was BREW DAY! As we all gathered around the brewhouse to begin the brew, all of us had huge grins that remained on our faces for the rest of the day.
We decided to brew our "Meat & Potatoes Porter" first because this beer style benefits from a longer aging process. Inspired by the classic All-American dinner favorite, the name of this porter pays homage to the home cooked family meals we all had growing up.
Unlike many breweries, our mill is set up to be moved around the brewhouse. Space in our brew area is pretty limited and the only way we could figure out how to move the grain out of the mill, up the augur and into the mash tun was to make the mill mobile and put our augur on a pulley system. Keep an eye out for the long, white PVC pipe hanging from the rafters of the brewery - that's our augur.
That being said, our mobile mill arrangement means a little extra set-up before brews. Once the guys dialed in the mill, it was time for the heavy lifting. Scott and Kris were ready for the job.
We all know what the easiest jobs are in any brewery (ahem, quality assurance and research and development...) but do you know what the most grueling job is? It is mashing in the grain as it comes out of the augur. Imagine stirring a gigantic pot of thick oatmeal while standing directly over that same steaming pot for 40 minutes. If you're not tired and sweaty by the end of it, you're insane.
Once we completed the mash in, the wort was sparged, drained off of the barley and transferred to the kettle where we then brought it to a boil. After our wort finished boiling, we started the whirlpool. The whirlpool aids in settling solids to the bottom of the kettle. Essentially, it helps to avoid any unsavory bits from transferring with the wort. As we transferred the wort into the fermenter, we had to run it through our heat exchanger to cool the beer. This allowed us to pitch our yeast right away.
The yeast seemed mighty happy with the wort - our Meat & Potatoes Porter was bubbling away when we walked into the brewery the next day! Bubbles = fermentation = one step closer to BEER.
A necessary part of brewing is the clean-up. All the grain that was milled and dumped into the mash tun needs to be raked out. But don't worry, this spent grain doesn't just go into the trash. We at Draughtsmen Aleworks are actively trying to reduce our footprint while benefiting the local businesses around us. All of our spent grain goes to a local farmer to feed his livestock. Lucky, lucky livestock.
And that's it! Now it's just a waiting game. The porter has to finish fermenting before we can carbonate it, keg it out, and drink... I mean, sell it.
With that, I leave you with dreams of a pint full of tasty porter on tap at our microbrewery and taproom.
Cheers for now!
Here are a few extra pictures from our first brew day: