Monday, 20 December 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On

Last weekend, some friends and I indulged in a few pints at The Museum - no, not an actual museum. We got chatting about the weather which is usually quite dull and a sign of desperation in stagnant conversation, but with the forecast for Baltic weather, bring with it certain doom, it was actually a valid talking point.

"So does all this cold weather stop you making our beer then?"
"Well the burner for the copper doesn't really start when it's so cold, but we're getting round it by pre-heating it with hot water. Seems to be working. Other than that, and us freezing our proverbials off, it's OK."

Oh, how wrong could I be.

  • I broke the most important hydrometer - about £55 to replace and essential to work out when to cool the beer.
  • The Internet wouldn't work.

  • -5°C outside.
  • The pipes from one cooling unit to a fermenters and the cold liquor (water) tank froze. This killed the cooling unit. Or did the cooling unit die first? Either way, the beer was not going to be cooled.
  • The compressor which works the cask washer also died. We couldn't clean any casks so couldn't fill a big order.
  • The roller shutter door on the warehouse was frozen shut so we couldn't get the casks for the aforementioned order anyway.
  • The van battery was flat. After a few hours and a new battery what beer we had in stock was sent out, late.
  • The brewers were very very cold and not very happy.
  • Probably about -3°C
  • The cooling unit is possibly working a bit better after shoving a load of glycol in it (this shouldn't freeze), as the fermenter temperature seemed to be dropping albeit slowly.
  • I transferred the beer from the a-bit-colder fermenter into the conditioning tanks, but a pipe was frozen, causing more havoc.
  • We bought a new compressor yesterday and got the cask washer going, but over night the new one froze. Hired a massive, loud, indestructible one to do the job and put it in the conditioning room which was warmer.
  • Matt had to work in this room and was not a happy bunny.
  • We couldn't really clean the casks properly as labels and dirt were frozen to the outside, and beer was frozen inside.
  • Ed got a nose bleed.
I regret saying it was OK. It is most definitely not OK.

It can only get better right?

I'm off for a well deserved beer.

Or three.

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