Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Small Batches Of Beer

   For the most part, brewing commercially is a series of repetitive motions that mostly involve cleaning.
In the midst of it all I occasionally get to brew some special batches of beer to keep my spirits alive. The first picture below is a five gallon batch of Belgian Strong Ale fermenting away happily.
   We have been brewing multiple large batches of this beer for the Cerveceria Dos Aves anniversary beer to be released in late November so I took the occasion to pull off enough wort to re-pitch a different yeast that I salvaged from a beer that was brewed last year that I really liked. This is a very pleasant Belgian yeast Wyeast Belgian Ardennes but some of the bottles ended up with some acetobactor and these bottles I expecially liked. I want to try and duplicate the results and I'm making an assumption that the entire batch was infected and that the salvaged yeast includes some of the bacteria I want but that's a big assumption. Chances are it was a single keg or maybe just some bottles. With any luck, the bacterial infection that improved the beer is present and I'll have a nice stash of an awesome albeit personally enjoyable sour beer.

Special yeast for a Belgian strong

   The three other seen below are a trial batch that I brewed to see if it's possible to get a viable small beer from the second runnings off an imperial stout. The idea was to gain five gallons of mild (in this case an English brown ale) after pulling 10 gallons of R.I.S. from the mash.
The process I used was mashing in as normal for our R.I.S. but only collecting until the runnings were reading 15 brix. I was able to collect 9 gallons of wort. I then topped off the kettle with enough water to achieve 11 gallons total at the beginning of the boil. This would allow for a one gallon boil off in 60 minutes to achieve our normal starting gravity which will result in a 9% abv. stout.
In the mean time I continued to sparge and collect for the second (small) beer harvesting 6 gallons that I would boil down to 5 for a starting gravity of 9 brix.
   This technique worked for the most part but I will need to fine tune it in the future so that when we brew a large batch we can be precise in our collection quantities and gravities
After chilling and aerating I pitched an English yeast in the small beer and Whitelabs 001 in the imperial stout.

Two Imperial stouts and a mild

   The following day I had activity in each fermentor and am anxious to find out the results on the mild. I'm hoping that the English yeast doesn't ferment down too far as this lower gravity beer (o.g. 1.036sg) will need some body to be enjoyable. I'll keep you posted on the results of this one.

English yeast on far right

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Saturday, September 5, 2015

3bbl kettles for Cerveceria Dos Aves

Each year we continue to grow. Slowly. It's a struggle to make a small brewery profitable and it's an incredible amount of work just to break even. But, with our recent gold metal wins in a national competition against professional brewers throughout Mexico the hard work is rewarded with a sense of validation. This is encouraging and the pride of the achievement has energized me to keep at it. We took first place for our Am. pale ale and R.I.S. 
Last year we took 3rd. place for our Belgian tripel and two years ago a gold medal for our barley wine. Needless to say, we are making some good beer now we just need to make a lot more of it.

We have commissioned a local welder to manufacture a set of 3bbl kettles that we hope to put into use by the end of September. This will reduce our current work load of eight back-to-back brewing sessions in a 17 hour period down to one in 8 hours in order to get our fermentors half full. As our sales increase we can then go to brewing two back-to-back sessions to completely fill the fermentors (6bbl). 

The next hurtle to overcome is the cumbersome bottling system we have in place. Filling corney kegs and force carbonating, chilling and then bottling is very labor intensive, not to mention a tun of cleaning. So, moving to the top of the wish list are a set of brite tanks and glycol chiller. 

So the journey continues leaving little time to blog but as events unfold I shall endeavor to keep you abreast. Salud!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Cerveceria Dos Aves Blog

Cerveceria Dos Aves now has a blog and you can follow what's happening around the brewery events and activities here Dos Aves Blog
Please bookmark or follow to stay up to date on our progress here in San Miguel de allende!

Set up from last year.

Monday, March 23, 2015

New Brewery Location

 We've moved! Finally after two years of brewing in what was essentially a garage, we've rented and moved into a large space to continue the growth of Cerveceria Dos Aves. No more claustrophobic, super heated brew sessions.
The front of the new Cerveceria Dos Aves
For those of you reading who participated in my Indiegogo crowd funding program a couple years ago, I want to thank you again for your belief in me and this project and show you that your money has definitely helped me get this business off the ground. Considering how little money we had to begin with, and the small amount through contributions, we've been able to double the expansion (sales) each year and expect to continue with that kind of growth. We are still cobbling together larger equipment as we can afford it including two larger plastic fermenters. Since we don't have a glycol chilling system in place yet we had to construct a cold room for fermentation. In the picture below you can see the cold room in the back. I'll be hanging a door soon along with insulation in the ceiling. We'll use the top of the cold room for storage for now.
  I was in the middle of bottling some pale ale when I took this picture but you can see our puny brew system on the right hand side which looks exceptionally small in this space but we hope to have the money soon to install a 3 bbl frankenbrew system, probably one kettle at a time. We've received quotes from several welders in nearby Queretero that seem affordable.
In the mean time, we also installed PVC water pipes going up the wall to a gravity fed water supply and reverse osmosis filtered water supply that leads to our pump system. In addition, a 600 liter water holding tank (not shown in this pic.) that we will be using for chilling. It basically will be pumped through a pre-chiller (copper coil in ice bath) then through a plate chiller and back up to holding tank. Theoretically we will be able to continue to chill the wort no matter what size batch as long as we chill the water before it enters the plate chiller. We're testing this idea tomorrow using boiling water instead of wort. This was affordable and will help us reduce our water use. We put in additional electrical outlets all around, originally we only had one.

This initial phase of work is mostly complete and I'm anxious to get back to brewing. It's been a couple of weeks and we are running desperately low on beer.

If there are any kind souls out there that previously pitched in money during my Indiegogo campaign, or not, and you are compelled to help a little more with this small but growing brewery it would be greatly appreciated. You can go to my Pay-Pal link by clicking on the Donate button on the side bar to the left. Any amount would help a lot. Thank you all.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

El Cervecero

Thought I'd share an image that Susan made for me when we first got here in San Miguel and I started building a brewery. I especially like the dog skeleton lying on the floor.

You can see more images by Susan at www.susandorf.com

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Anniversary Beers

After two years of efforts we're making good progress in growing the Cerveceria Dos Aves. We just received two 150 gallon fermentors to increase our output as the demand for the beers is growing. The second year anniversary just past and we released a special Russian Imperial Stout with blackberries to offer as gifts to our growing list of clients. Last years beer was the same stout but with raspberries. Next year cherries?

I'm not finding much time in my life for anything but working towards the growth of the brewery and that includes writing here. Speaking of which, I need to go clean kegs now. Cheers!

Raspberries on the left and blackberries on the right. Cerveceria Dos Aves 2013, 2014 anniversary beers.
Notice the logo change.
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