Ottertail Country

Ottertail Country
Ottertail South

September 6, 2009

more brewing


O.K., part two.

As the brew kettle filled, the water in the tun became increasingly clear as all the solids were being settled out and the colors and sugars went over to the brew kettle.

There was a little clear window in the piping below the tun where we could see that beautiful wort being transferred to the brew kettle.......

Remember the mention of co2 as a bi-product of fermentation? This is the 'blow off' tube coming from a batch of beer in a nearby fermentation tank. While the yeast is working, this gas must be allowed to escape, so a hose comes out the top of the tank and ends up in a bucket of water. This provides an air lock so no oxygen or contaminants get into the fermenting wort. When I brewed 5 gallon batches of beer at home, this air lock produced about 2-3 tiny bubbles a second, while this thing sounds like a kid blowing bubbles in their milk with a straw. Nice foam on that bucket, hey?

This was a mobile pump that was used a few times during the process. I've forgotten why we used it, but I recall that it was REALLY LOUD!!

Another view of the brew kettle, nearly full enough to put the heat to it. If I recall correctly, we had a little over 600 gallons of liquid in there... Pete, am I correct on this?

This device is the wort chiller. A series of thin plates are stacked up with every other plate having coolant running through it, cooled by a refrigeration unit. The other plates had the hot wort flowing through them, and the wort was sufficiently cooled when it came out the other side.

Just a shot of the area, you can see the big grain tank near the ceiling.

O.K., this brew kettle is full and starting to cook.....

Could not resist looking at the surface of this liquid!! Most of the delicious looking floating stuff will end up in the bottom with all the undissolved solids. This waste product is a called trub (pronounced trube-long 'u' sound) and will be left in the bottom of the brew kettle when the wort gets transferred to the fermenter.

After all the liquid was drained out of the lauter tun, it looked like a bunch of beach sand in there. All of this would have to be cleaned out of the tank and some local farmers use it as some kind of feed supplement, I guess....

I tried getting some pix of the amazing boiling action in that kettle, but they just did not turn out looking like much. It was quite amazing to watch the boiling liquid suddenly swell up a foot or more and burst into a wave of foam. Lucy, you probably remember the boiling process when I made beer in Ogema????

This tank brought some yeast salvaged from a brew in the Madison Great Dane, and we used it in this new batch.

The yeast, like the beer itself, needs to be kept free of contaminates, so the sealed tank was connected to a line of pure co2. We pressurized the tank enough to force the whole batch of yeast into the waiting fermenting tank.

Oxygen is not necessarily bad thing in brewing beer, just not the atmospheric type. At the outflow of the chiller, we hooked up a tank of pure oxygen and let a little trickle in. This provides the yeast with the oxygen they need to do their job...... making alcohol. When the transfer of the wort was complete, the fermenting tank is then sealed to the atmosphere except for that co2 blow-off hose.

Here we are at the end of the process. The yeast is in the tank, the wort is in the tank, the hose ends are in a bucket of sanitizer/water. This was a common sight, hoses or whatever in a bucket of sanitized water. When the process was done it was 7:00P.M.---- a ten hour day of brewing. I really enjoyed the process comparisons to when I did some home brewing. All the steps and ingredients and equipment were the same, only the scale was different. I dealt with about 3 gallons of boil compared to 600.. and all other items were scaled the same. I remember dumping about 3 pitcher sized containers of hops into this boiling Scotch Ale, at home I put in a packet or two the size of a coffee creamer powder single serve packet.

Visit the Dane if you get a chance, it's a great place to eat and if you like beer, it's the place to go.



Anonymous said...

I remember your brewing days at home and they were interesting altho on a small scale. Any pictures from your fishing trip to Canada??


Carlo said...

I remember Rosie wanting to cap the bottles.... actually, she did a bunch of the bottle filling and capping when she was about 10 of 11 years old.

Yes, next up is the trip to the Canadian wilderness. Well wilderness to me....

yram said...

ohhhh....that beer looks goood. I remember visiting some house in wausau to pick up goelsch bottles (sp?). Toad spit stout...yum yum.

Anonymous said...

Well, it looks harder than putting water in a bottle.

Anonymous said...

that there's pretty nifty. i should look into it meself. rustle up a batch o' beer and catch some dollars. but... seems like a lot of details:) nice pics.


bobandjanm said...

The Great Dane is a great place to stop. We went a time or two when Beth lived in Madison. Making beer this way calls for a fair amount of knowledge (of beer chemistry and the equipment) and skill. I'd like the $ involved in the equipment investment. I couldn't help musing about the amount of time you spent peeking into the access hole.

If Lucy is watching, Beth mentioned the other day that she was planning to make your chocolate cake with the coffee in it. Lots of people like that one.

Cousin Bob