VIBRANT EXPANSION - WEEK 15 PROGRESS
What a week it has been and we are now making beer!
Yesterday I dropped my phone and the damn thing no longer powers on (I have tried all sort of tricks) and at one point I thought I would have no photos to share but after many hours of research I have found some phone recovery software and have managed to obtain some of the weeks progress photos. Unfortunately I seem to have lost the non-taproom photos so apologies for the lack of photos this week. My phone is well and truly broken though so it is time for an upgrade….
Also yesterday we brewed for the first time and just about everything worked as hoped. However, one of the heating elements did trip a few times so we need to look at the reason why shortly. The welder turned up this week and made the necessary modifications to the stainless steel pipework and the electricians came and built our brewery control panels. Significant progress was also made on our taproom which opens on 1 June. Things have really gone to plan, which is something that does not happen nearly enough!
Even though we are using our existing brewery equipment at our new site (except for the addition of a few new vessels) it does feel like a new brewery now. The brewery environment is fantastic and I really believe it is a lot of money well spent. It is not just about having a much improved hygienic space but also about making process more efficient. We made some tweaks to the equipment so brewing is now easier and more efficient and these improvement will continue to evolve over time. Our first brew is Pupa and we are doing a triple brew of this (3 x 7 hour shifts back to back) right now to fill one of our new 6000L fermenters. Most of this beer is planned to make its way in to Can later in June.
The mash tun and copper were put in to position this week and the mashing yesterday was spot on. The copper chimney was installed and perhaps the nearby Hardley folk could smell boiling wort this weekend! Is this the first ever commercial brewery the area has seen? Perhaps.
The next planned brew after Pupa is a triple brew of Summerlands. Hopefully if all is functioning well we will then see the return of Kaleidoscope’s big brother - Gyroscope. Both of these brews will make their way to Can hopefully. We have to expect some issues in the coming weeks so these will be addressed when necessary. If we do see manjor issues then these beers may not be brewed or postponed.
We have now transported 2 of our 2000L fermenters from Lymington to Hardley and this week we hope to transport more fermenters over. We will then get the “cooling guys” back at some point to plumb them all in to the glycol pipework. Lymington is now looking a little sad and after the tanks are emptied this week and moved the place will be of little use to us except for a bit of storage. At some point in the near future we have the joyful task of putting “right” the unit. Money not well spent.
We finally got around to starting our taproom build this week and apart from beer dispense (the most important thing right?!) we are not far from being ready after a massive tidy up. The bar has just about been built, beer taps are on the wall, our new sink has been plumbed in and we have just taken delivery of a bespoke stainless steel back bar. We have our Can fridge up and running, our illuminated taproom sign is up above the door and our merchandise wall has been clad in old reclaimed scaffold boards. We took delivery of our beer tables and benches so there should be ample seating inside and outside in the yard. I am really excited about the opening of the taproom on Saturday and hopefully you are as well. Just wait until you see the taproom sign lit up at dusk!
Next week you can expect a report on the opening weekend of our taproom as well as the continued news on the efforts in getting up and running. There is still plenty to do, such as dismantle and rebuild our cold room for the storage of our hops and cans. This will take a fair bit of time I think and we have to carefully transport 6M long insulated panels over to Hardley. Best keep your distance!
See you next week
Founder, Vibrant Forest Brewery