Today started with doing some rearranging in the Grundy Room and restacking the full kegs, including moving a few into the cold storage in the back of the house. We put a few feet of water in the kettle to heat, got the keg washer pulled out, and hand-trucked a pile of 14 kegs from the back door up to the Grundy Room.
During all the walking around, I said something to Bryan about noticing how much the brewery smelled like hops today, joking it must be leaking out of the fermentors with the fresh IPAs from Friday. Turns out….yup, literally. FV1 hasn’t been used in some time because the coolant coil in the top half isn’t working right. We only put a half batch of HFR IPA in it, so the lower coil was just fine (as we found out, unfortunately, on Friday) – however, the heavy rubber gasket around the manway door had torn a bit on the side (and the fill level is currently well above the bottom of the manway door). Bryan actually sounded relieved that a small amount of IPA was appearing in the edge of the seam around the gasket (which is why we could smell the hops so much). He pointed that he first noticed the blowoff tube wasn’t bubbling and freaked out that the beer still wasn’t fermenting after nearly 3 days – after spotting the leak and pulling a sample to test gravity, he was much relieved to find it was fermenting just fine.
Once the water was up to temp in the kettle, I got to work running kegs through the keg washer cycles (something that continued through the early evening). During waits for cycles to finish, Craig and I took the empty metal cask of Apple Cobbler offline, cleaned it, and pried the bungs out. We took apart and cleaned the beer and gas lines, as well as the cask breather.
Later on, we brought out a metal cask of Pumpkin Bread (a sour pumpkin ale blended with a portion of dark porter), set it up on the stand, and installed the saddle (a specially-designed cooling coil that drapes over the top of the cask under its jacket). Craig hammered a soft spile (porous wooden peg) into the hole in the center of the plastic bung to allow some carbonation to escape through the pores of the wood. After judging sufficient pressure had off-gassed, he pulled the spile out and screwed the attachment to the cask breather into the bung hole. While the cask was allowed to rest, a line cleaner solution was mixed up and pulled through the hand pump for a bit before allowing to rest with flooded lines. The hand pump was pulled periodically for an hour or two before clean water was pulled through to rise. Craig hammered in the tap, installed the hop filter, and reconnected the line. We pulled the hand pump until the water was replaced by beer, then poured a couple of samples. It was lightly sour (but my palate might still be wrecked from judging the sour category at the Boston Homebrew Competition two days ago) and tasted like gingery pumpkin cookies.
Cask Breather Spigot on a Cask
We carbonated a keg of the house root beer (non-alcoholic) and put it on tap, kicked the last keg of oatmeal stout, and replaced a keg of American pale ale. We taste-tested the Hopzilla from last Friday: still very yeasty, quite bitter, very piney hops up front (lots of Simcoe in this one) and took gravity readings of the oatmeal stout in the fv (which, of course, ended with tasting….quite roasty). We took apart, cleaned, and pressure-tested 3 older 5-gallon corny kegs that are used for yeast – then dumped a bit of trub from the fv (fermentation vessel) full of stout and filled two of them with fresh yeast, leaving a fair amount of head space. After settling, we will pull another 5-10 gallons tomorrow too.
After cleanup and putting the keg washer away, I did some more keg re-stacking in the Grundy Room and pulled most of the freshly-washed Sanke kegs back in. It was getting late, so before I left, I helped Craig start filling kegs from one of the large holding tanks. It was acting as a serving tank and had about 6.5 barrels left, so the first keg filled was stacked and tapped immediately to keep the barfront functional. As I left, Craig was filling the rest of the kegs and planning to rinse out the tank before he left.
Tomorrow is planned to wash that holding tank, fill it with oatmeal stout from the fermentor, and clean out the FV once it’s empty.