The First Brew!

Yes, you heard right!  After passing our Health Department inspection last week, then scrambling around to get ingredients ordered, we managed to pull together our first brew session this past Saturday, the 14th of November.

Being our first batch on this system, we figured it would be a very long, hard day of work, and we were certainly right about that…From start to finish it took us 19 hours!  Somehow though, there seems to be just a little bit less stress knowing that we have beer in our fermenters.

Here’s a few photos of the day.  We were scrambling around so much for the first half of the day though, we didn’t manage to get any pictures of the mash-in.  Oh well, there’s always next time….

Here’s my dad setting up to do some transfers.  The pump he’s working on is receiving the mash run-off and transferring it into the kettle.  The pump in front of him is pumping the hot water into the mash tun for our sparge.

You’ll notice most of these pictures look a little hazy…We were surprised at just how humid it got in there throughout the day.  Downright tropical even.

And here’s part of the source of the humidity…our sparge arm (on the right).  For those who don’t know, sparge is a German word meaning “rinse”, so we’re basically just rinsing our mash with hot water.

Here’s a better shot of the sparge arm in place and in action.  I’m looking on, getting a nice steam bath…

Actually, I’m just watching the sparge level to make sure the grain bed isn’t getting too exposed and dry as the wort flows out of the mash tun and into the kettle…

Ah, the first wort flowing into the kettle…a beautiful sight!

Ting watches as the kettle fills…

…and then…

…the boil begins!

Here’s the spent grains in the mash tun, after all of the wort has been run-off.  I know it doesn’t look like much…but remember this is a mild, so you really don’t need a whole lot of malt…

Either way, you’ll notice there is no “grain shute” from which to eject the spent grains.  So in other words, climb in and start shovelling!

Okay, well, skip ahead a few steps (because we didn’t manage to get any pictures taken in-between) and here’s our yeast pitch, ready to add to our chilled wort as it flows into the fermenter.  Pretty cool to have a giant package of yeast with our name on it!  7.5 liters worth of yeast in fact.  The homebrewers out there will recognize the 1098 number on the yeast package too…

And finally, here’s a picture of our finished wort!  Yeast pitched and ready to begin fermenting.

And the exhausted brewteam, ready to call it a day!  Until next time…

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17 thoughts on “The First Brew!

  1. I cannot imagine how excited you must be. I’m quite excited just reading about what you have accomplished. If you don’t mind, I’d love to come down to LA and watch/help-out in a brew session on your equipment, since our upcoming Minnesota brewery is most likely going to use equipment quite similar to your equipment. Congratulations on getting your brew on!

  2. Thanks to your posts and pictures i have never felt more a part of brewing local beer. I’m anxiously awaiting the tasting and learning more about independent craft microbrewing. A giddy schoolgirl-like cheers to you all from a grown man. lol

  3. Just read through the whole blog. Awesome work. Truly inspirational. Thanks for documenting the process from planning stage to the first brewday. It was very interesting to see it all come together. Good luck with the new business!

  4. Pingback: The Beer Seach Party links you over to Eagle Rock Brewing

  5. You are amazing. I wish I was closer to patronize your amazing establishment! I really enjoy seeing your Dad working his tail off to make beer – seeing the family working together gives me a greater hope in world in general! No kidding, without trying to be trite. I hope CA falls in love with every brew you produce.

  6. congratulations on the first brew, cant wait to try it! (hopefully there will be some left at the verdugo by the time i make it over)

    though being a classics geek i do have to note that sparge is actually a latin word, not german.

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