Wednesday 11 July 2012

Brains get crafty with their beers

Brains New Craft Brewery

Wales' largest real ale brewer SA Brain celebrate 130 years of brewing this year and have recently installed a smaller 'craft' brewery in the Victorian tower that houses their main plant. The minimum brew length of the old plant, installed in the Bass/Hancocks days some 40 years ago is 108 barrels, this new plant has a maximum brew length of 15 barrels and so a range of one-off specials can be brewed on this pilot plant, which, if they prove popular, can be brewed on the larger plant.

There was much discussion on Facebook when this new 'Craft' Brewery was revealed, with lots of guesses as to where this new bit of kit was going to fit in in the old Victorian Tower brewery, built in 1889. Only the building is original though, over the years the brewing equipment has been replaced and updated, the last major refurbishment occurring after the Bass/Hancocks takeover and the stainless steel coppers were moved outside, although in the last 10 years Brains did put lids on the 1950s open fermenters.

The new Craft Brewery was fitted into a place where a mash tun used to be, in the photo below, taken last year, the place it was fitted into is on the far left of the photograph.
The view today
Yes that is Simon Martin in the photograph!

The new Craft Brewery has a capacity of between 10-15 barrels and can utilise whole hops, as opposed to hop pellets which can only be used on the bigger plant. The new plant will also be used to brew trial brews, popular beers can then be up-scaled on the larger plant.
Above: SA Brain Head Brewer Bill Dobson explains something to Simon who has already brewed his 'Barry Island IPA' on the plant!
Above: The new Craft Brewery plant on the left, a tenth the size of the mash tun on the right

The new mash tun and copper sit side-by-side, with the fermenters on the ground floor below. The malt comes from the silos on the floor above and the copper is heated via steam, as in the main brewery.
Above: The new 15 barrel copper, the circular outline on the floor is the space where the old mash tun fitted, the new mash tun is on the right of it

Above: The new mash tun with a grist feed from the hopper on the floor above

Above: The new fermenters on the floor below

The beers brewed on this new brewery include:
Details of all the Brains Craft Brewery beers can be found on their website here.

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