Week 17 Progress pictures

At this point you would be expecting me to be writting about getting the fermenters of beer we brewed last time in to bottles, casks and key kegs, and what exciting beers we have brewed to refill our fermenters.Unfortunately, this is not the case.

As mentioned in last weeks blog, the chilling of the fermenters has never really worked. While writting last weeks blog we thought we had fixed the issue by swapping the chiller units. Although there was a fault with the chiller, and with the auto function of the system, that wasnt the end of it. Basically, the whole system was just didnt work, even with a working chiller, the pipe work was just not moving the chilling fluid around, and hence the beer in the fermenters was not chilling. This is a huge problem, as when beer ferments, it generates heat, which needs to be kept under control, as beer fermented at higher temperatures have certain taste characteristics. We also wanted to chill the beer down to 0 degrees C, which helps the yeast drop out, making for a clearer tastier beer.

We have managed to get the chilling sorted out, with a mix of effort from the installers and us. So Boring Brown Beer has been sat at 0C for the last few days, and will be packaged tomorrow, opening up a fermenter for a brew of Black Perle on Tuesday. The beer formally known as Hit The Lights got to 0C yesterday, and will be packaged on Wednesday, opening up our second fermenter for a batch or Mariana Trench on Thursday. Above you can see


cleaning our brand new casks ready for this. We haven't managed to get a proper cask washer, so we made it up as we went along.

I say the beer formally know as Hit The Lights, as this beer will be released with a different name, as it is not the beer we were expecting. This is no big surprise, as we were still learning the kit when this was brewed, so things came out a little different. But not in a bad way. There will be a blog to follow on this i am sure.

To finish off the week we were invited along to

Magpie And Crown

in Brentford for a meet the brewer event. This is a great pub close to the brewery, with a great selection of guest and bottled beers. A while ago they brought our first key key of beer. This beer was the collaboration beer we made with the London Brewing Co up and the Bull in Highgate called

Shark Biscuit

. This has been sat in their celler while they installed the required lines to serve key kegs. The night was a lot of fun, with some great people to talk to, and the beer was on top form. It should be on for a few days now, so if you can you should get down there and try some.

To this weeks pictures. And not a lot has changed I am afraid.

The 2 front View pictures are very much the same. Although you can just see, on the top one, our bottle filler.


has been setting up and calibrating this ready to get some Boring Brown Beer into some bottles. The brewery has not been used for the whole week, which is hugely disappointing.

There is a picture missing here. I totally forgot to take the rear view shot. Nothing has changed though, it would just be tidier.

The main area of the brewery looks very tidy, which is the result of no brewing, and some very clean brewery owners.

Up on the mezzanine you can see red pipe on the table. We have been making different pipes that we can found that we need.

In the fermenter room you can see that one of the chillers has moved across the room to sit beside fermenters 1 and 2. This is the one that was faulty, and swapped out to be used to chill the cold liquor tank. We have got this one working, to an extent, and don't really need the cold liquor tank chilled, as the brewery is pretty cold as it is. We have decided we don't trust one chiller working on 4 fermenters, so now have 1 on Ellenberg's and one on ours.

So not the most exciting week, and the  brewery is still not at 100%. The installers were meant to be in Saturday to tie up all the loose ends, but didn't turn up. But next week is due to be a busy one.

All views and grammatical errors are those of WeirdBeardBryan , and not the Weird Beard collective.

Week 16 Progress pictures

Wednesday, 13th February, 2013, 1pm, one year 11 months after Gregg and Bryan first started talking about opening a brewery, and 15 weeks after getting the keys to the unit that houses our brewery, Weird Beard Brew Co. doughed in their very first beer. We started off proceedings with a beer we affectionately refer to as Boring Brown beer. This beer is brown, around 7% ABV and 100+ IBU, so pretty dull. We went with this as it uses just a single hop variety with quite a simple grain bill. It will not be a regular, so the perfect beer to sacrifice to the commissioning and learning of the new brew house. This beer is currently sitting in FV3.

Boring Brown was not the first beer brewed on site. As many of you know, we share the location with another brewery,

Ellenbergs Brewery

. These 2 breweries are totally different entities, making vary different styles of beer, but sharing a location and equipment. This has helped keep costs down for both breweries, meaning we can bring you even more quality beer. The very first beer brewed on the new brew house was an Ellenberg beer, and was their fantastic Alt. But we have to admit, as you may expect, not everything went to plan.

First, and probably the biggest issue we had, almost resulting in the burning down of the place before a drop’s brewed, was a badly wired/label switch. We have a large hot liquor tank, which you will know has already caused us issues with leaking. Well, this has a large thermostatically controlled heating element in, which we can dial in the required temperature before leaving in the evening and return to a tank full of water waiting to make beer. Well, this is the idea anyway. Monday night we dialled in the temperature we needed for Tuesday morning, set the thing to auto and went for a beer expecting all to be good the next day. On arrival Tuesday morning, we found a cloud of steam in the air and condensation dripping on everything. It would appear the installers had wired the auto setting in such a way that left the element on, all night, boiling away. If we hadn’t set the tank to auto fill with water as the level dropped it would have no doubt boiled dry and possibly caught fire. We were not happy, as this was obviously a very close call safety wise, everything was soaking wet, and the water in the tank was useless. This delayed us, but did not stop us, and Ellenburgs Alt went into FV1 at around 01:30 in the morning.

There are countless other small issues, Mike Ellenberg's kettle cleaning skills not being one of them, which there is little point in getting into here and now. But these will hopefully all be fixed next week when the installers return to finish the job. But one other major issue is the cooling of the fermenters. Basically this didn’t work at all, and we had to swap the fermenter chiller with the cold liquor tank chiller, which is not as powerful. They have also managed to screw up the auto function on these units too, as they are either on, or off. Temperature control of fermentations is kinda important, so we are pretty annoyed about this too.

Besides all of these issues, we can brew beer, so that’s what we continued to do. Friday we brewed the first of our proposed core beers. Hit the Lights is currently sat in FV4.

So, to this week’s pictures, which were taken while we were cleaning down after brewing Hit the Lights.

In the first 2 pictures, of the main brew house, the mash tun is being dug out. The large white sack to the right of the first picture, and bottom of the 2



contains the spent grain. The fermenter is about half full of Hit the Lights, as it makes its way through the cooling and into a fermenter. The floor is very wet, which is why we spent so much time and money getting the floor right in the beginning. The thing hanging off the mezzanine down to the mash tun, that looks like a drain pipe, is, a drain pipe. Well, it is our home made hopper and grain hydrator, which makes adding loading the grain into the tun a lot easier.

The view from the rear is looking pretty tidy this week. That’s because water gets everywhere, so most things have been stored sensibly now.

Looking down from the mezzanine gives the best view of the spent grain in the big white sack. This went into the mash as 378Kg of grain, but will have absorbed 0.8 of its body weight in liquid. This sack is heavy. By the door there is a grain bag holding used hops. There were around 6 of these earlier, but someone from the local allotments came and collected most of them, but couldn’t get them all in his car, so left this straddler behind.

Nothing ever really changes on the mezzanine, well nothing you can see beyond the sacks of grain. A couple of piles have gone down, but it’s hardly noticeable.Although you can see a trial jar in the second photo with a hydrometer in. Can you see the reading fro Hit the Lights?

3 out of the 4 fermenters in the fermentation room now hold beer. The 2 on the furthest wall, FV1 & FV2 are Ellenburg’s, with their Alt in FV1. While the 2 on the right, are Weird Beards. The closest one with the red hose connected was being filled with Hit the Lights. The one with the green bucket is holding a vigorously fermenting Boring Brown. It is so vigorous it is escaping out of the spray ball pipe.

I expected this to be the last of the progress blogs, as the brew house was meant to be in, and fully working. It is currently limping along waiting to be brought up to an acceptable standard though. We also need to get the bottling line working. We really need to get the bottling line working, as Boring brown will be ready next week. So this will not be the last blog. I will let you decide whether this is good news or not.

All views and grammatical errors are those of WeirdBeardBryan, and not always of the Weird Beard collective.

Week 15 Progress Pictures

It's another blog published on the Sunday, not the Friday as I originally imagined all this would happen. If this wasn't the penultimate blog I would possibly make the Sunday publishing official. But yes, this is the penultimate blog, meaning the brewery is almost complete. We are so close, I can practically smell those late hops in the kettle.

So what is my excuse for being especially late this week? Well, it has been a hugely busy weekend. I have spent 25 hours at the unit Saturday and Sunday alone, and Friday I just couldn't make it to the brewery at all.

So what has been happening this week? We have had several truck loads of deliveries. More malt & hops, cardboard boxes, thousands of glass bottles and the all important casks. Meaning our nice new pallet racking that was erected last week is now pretty much full. It also had to be moved, due to the sheer volume of stuff we had to find space for.

I am very excited to have our casks. It may not always be cool in some quarters, but I love cask beer, and look forward to putting a good selection of our beers in them. I am less excited about having to find a home for 100 of them while we get to the point of putting something in them. Look out for them around a bar near you, our colours are BLACK GREEN WHITE.

This week, and I guess I should be including this weekend now, we had the installers in finishing off. Our welder finally got his bits finished on Saturday morning, leaving Saturday afternoon for some testing. Unfortunately during this testing, after filling both liquor tanks with 2000 litres each, we found the outlets at the bottom of the tanks just weren't up to the task, pissing water all over the place. The rest of Saturday, a large part of Sunday, and now dragging on into Monday, has been spent trying to fix the problem. But we need new bits, so have to wait for the shops to open again.

We didn't let this stop things on Sunday though, and pushed on with the testing, finishing off of the little jobs, and learning what the the valves do and where the pipes lead. We are happy to say that the actual brew house and pipe work is now all in and working to a point where we can brew some beer. There are a few changes and extras that will be made over the coming weeks, but it is ready. The thing holding us up now is the liquor tanks, which unfortunately we cannot brew without. But this is due to be complete Monday!

Better get on with this weeks pictures then hadn't I.

Forward view left and right, and the place is starting to look a little smaller. Due to all the storage that is now around the walls I am having to stand a good meter or so away from the sides. You can see the pallet racking is getting populated and the installers have made their usual mess. There is also a large red hose connecting random pipes. This was because we had to dump the water from the liquor tanks into the kettle and the mash tun, as we didn't want to just stick it down the drain. At this point we were refilling the hot liquor tank after we thought we may have fixed it. We need the hose, as this is not a usual circuit, as the water would usual come from the mains supply. We hadn't fixed the leak, so all the water quickly made its way back down again.

A few of our well thought out layout plans have changed, due to having so many pallets to store. This means the rear view is looking a little different, as the labelling machine has had to move round. The whole bottling line has been altered, but I'm sure it will still work fine. If you look passed the brew house, you can see some of the pallets of bottles.

Did I mention all the stuff we have to store? i did? Oh OK then, I'll just draw your attention to the extra pipe work connected to the kettle then.

As always, there is not a lot to see up on the mezzanine. If you look carefully though, you may spot some malt. A lot has been happening up here, as this is where the hot and cold liquor tanks live. But the malt kinda gets in the way.

Fermentation room is just a mess in this picture. I have to admit this picture was taken on Saturday, and things have changed a bit. You can see that on the left wall there is a large pipe, this is where the wort will appear after it has left the kettle via the cooling ready to live in one of the four fermenters for a week or so. All four fermenters now have their cooling fully fitting and working, and all attachments, just no beer inside.

That's it for another week. hopefully we will be using it all in anger this coming week. But I don't want to count my chickens and all that, so let's just wait and see. Keep and eye out on


, as I'm sure we wont be quite about the first brew.

All opinions and grammatical errors are those of


and not necessarily the Weird Beard collective.

Week 14 Progress Pictures

We have been in the unit 3 months now. This is a bit of a mile stone for us, as when we were signing the contract we managed to negotiate the first 3 months rent free. We are not brewing yet, so in reality we are loosing money. But we planned for this, and the first brews, fingers crossed, are just over a week away.

It has been a moderately quiet week, with a few deliveries of cleaning chemicals, water treatment and pallet racking. We have been working hard on a lot of the back ground stuff, with Gregg and Bryan making a trip

Alchemy coffee

in Wimbledon to select some coffee beans for our Black Perle milk coffee stout.

Our welder has been in periodically, not as much as we would have liked, but he has made progress. As you can see from the picture above, the brew house is wired up and in position and most of the pipes are in the place. I wouldn't want to be pumping any beer through these pipes yet, as the majority of them are just tacked in position.

The first two pictures look at the brew house from either side show a much tidier brewery this week. To the right of the lower picture you can see our new pallet racking in front of the cool room. This increases our storage capacity, so hopefully we don't need to be up to our eyeballs on the mezzanine.

Again, the rear picture shows a much tidier brewery. The brew house is in position with most of the pipe work in place. As far as I know the electrical side of the install here is all installed and ready. The hop freezer is in place, and the random cleaning product has been removed from the labeller.

In the above picture you can see more pallet racking at the front of the unit, and the forklift that will be used to load it. There has been some painting of the walls going on too, but this is painting white walls white, so you can't really see the difference in the pictures.

Not a lot has changed in the mezzanine area, except the addition of a very colourful blue box. This box will form part of our home made hopper, for getting the grains into the mash tun.

I am loving having a room full of fermenters, and cant wait for them to be full of beer. I'm sure for all those reading are pretty keen to have these full too. The 2 on the right have all their eternal fittings, while the far two are still waiting. If you look just right of the fermenters on the right hand side you can see a lot of the pipe work that will be carrying the coolant.

So not a lot to report this week. But in the coming week we have been told to expect the installation and all the welding to be finished, and the brew house to be commissioned over the weekend. We are not strangers to delays and disappointment, but lets all keep our fingers crossed on this.

All views and grammatical errors are that of


and not necessarily the Weird Beard Collective.

Week 13 Progress Pictures

The blog is a little late this week, so apologies for that. But what a week it has been.

The installers arrived bright and early on Wednesday morning, and go to work connecting all the different bits of the brewery. And quite frankly making the place look like a bomb has gone off. But that's not all that happened this week.

A while ago we had a vote on 




to decide on the styling of the custom bottle caps we are going to use. I am hugely excited about these, and was a very happy man when they arrived. I think you will agree they look great, and will look even better sealing in some Weird Beard beers. They may even look good attached to a fridge or as a badge.

Anyway, lets get on with this week pictures. You may not be able to see all of this detail, but i will explain what has changed, or what has been added.

Below the mezzanine on the wall you can see the first of about 4 control panels. This one lets us monitor and control what's going on with he liquor tanks on the mezzanine. Between the mash tun and the kettle you can just see the back of the plate chiller, that will cool the freshly boiled wort to a suitable temperature before we transfer it to the fermenters.

Next up, in this picture you can see some stainless steel pipes running across the mezzanine barrier from the liquor tanks down to the brew house. That and general clutter from having around 6 people on site working.

For some reason we have a picture of some squirt cleaner next. Didn't notice that when taking the picture, i was distracted by all the other cool stuff happening. But now its all i can see when looking at this. So let me try and distarct you with 2 large control panels now mounted the the cool room door. These will control the step temperature for the mash tun, the stirring motor in the mash tun and the heating of the kettle. There are also pipes running across walls, ceiling and down to the brew house.

Looking down from the mezzanine dosnet show much, just loads of tools used for bending and cutting pipes.

We are still burried in around 8 tonnes of malt on the mezzanine. A lot of work has been done on the plumbing and connecting up of the liquor tanks to the rest of the system. Buit none of that can be seen through all that bloody malt.

I couldn't decide which angle to take the fermentation room pictures from this week, as there is stuff happening in both. So i have added both. Most importantly, there are now 4 fermenters instead of the 2 from last week. On the top picture the fermenters have been moved around a bit to let the installers get to the bits they need. To the very right of the picture you can see one of 2 chillers that will fill the jackets of the fermenters with a temperature controlled mix of water and glycol. The lower pictures shows the 2nd of the these chillers, stashed behind the fridges. You can also see the fermenter control panel mounted on the wall. From here we can set the temperature of each fermenter individually. There are also loads of random pipes going off in all kinds of directions.

It has been hugely exciting around the brewery this week, but we have been dealt a bit of a blow. It looks like someone may have misjudged quite how much welding there was to be done. We have a great guy called Mike in doing the welding, but he has not been able to finish this week, and is not as available as we would like next week. We were hoping to get the first brews under way next week, but this means we will be delayed until at least Monday 11th February. We should be used to this kind of thing by now, but it still a huge disappointment. We are all so desperate to get brewing and get some product out there. Soon people, soon.

All views and grammatical errors are that of


and not necessarily the whole Weird Beard collective.

Week 12 Progress Pictures

I found the panoramic function on the camera on my phone. Makes the place look a little small though.

The week started with what we called 'Piss up in a Brewery' last Saturday, which involved inviting a small group of people along to the brewery for a kind of soft launch.


Andy Parker

for the picture

The kit isn't up and running yet, but most things are in place, and we wanted to share our vision and a few potential core beers with some people who have helped us out massively along the way. From my memory of the evening, I can quite confidently say Weird Beard Brew Co. CAN organise a piss up in a brewery.

Other things that happened around the brewery are mostly plumbing, electrical work and generally preparing for the installers to arrive next week.

We did have some friends on site building our cool room, which is built from prefabricated insulated wall panels and an industrial chiller unit. You can see where this is in the brewery in later pictures.

For some reason

Mike Ellenberg

decided to order something like 4 months of grain, which is about 6 tonnes. This arrive on 6 pallets on the back a rather large lorry that had to reverse down to the unit off the main road. This was taken off the lorry and put into the main brewery, then carefully loaded onto the mezzanine storage area.

As the brewery starts to take shape, the usual set of pictures I have been taking are starting not to tell the full story.  The brewery itself, and the new cool room are obscuing a lot of what's going on in the two standard pictures taken through the larger roller shutter. So this week, and for the remainder of these blogs, i will be taking one from the left of the brew house, one from the right, and one from behind.

The view from the left looking into the brewery, from the large roller shutter. This shows the new cool room the the left of the kettle. You can see a new set movable steps between the mash tun and the kettle, along with the new steam extraction tubing coming out of the kettle.

The right view shows the steps and the extraction tubing more clearly. You can also see on the far wall a couple of sinks and some helf & saftey and general first aid stuff. The bottling line along the righ wall has been pushed aside to make room while the install continues. 

This picture is taken from the far right corner, behind the bottle labeller and beside the large catering sink on the back wall. On the right you can see the new cool room exterior walls. Sitting in front of that, and behind the mash tun and kettle, is the hot water tank that will be used for the temperature stepped mashes. You also have a good view of the labeller, which is still waiting to be properly set up, which will be fun I'm sure.

The shot looking down from the mezzanine is the same as always. It has got cluttered again after the party, with boxes from small delivers etc. It also gives an interesting view of the extraction tubing.

The two pictures taken on the mezzanine shows just how much malt we have between Weird Beard Brew Co. and Ellenburg's Brewery. There are 8 pallets in total up there, taking up quite a bit of room. We tried to organise them in an efficient way, but this is a learning curve. Hopefully we wont be ordering quite so much in the future, as we do have other things that need storing somewhere.

Not a lot has changed in the back room, except the tables and beers have been cleaned up after the party. There are still only 2 out of 4 fermenters, but hopefully the other 2 will arrive and get installed this coming week.

It is a big week coming up. We expect a visit from the company from whom we sourced, and who will be installing the kit on Mon/Tues, and then expect an army of installers to be here on Wednesday. Hopefully this will be finished at some stage early the following week. As you can see, we are well stocked and ready to brew some beer. So until next week.

As always all views and grammatical errors are those of


and not always the Weird Beard collective.

Week 11 Progress pictures

It's going to be a short one this week. A few things have happened this week, and we have taken delivery of around 2 tons of grain, and some key kegs, ready for when the kit is up and running. But mostly we have been planning and preparing for a very special 'piss up in a brewery', to say a big thanks to a few choice people who have helped us out along the way.

One big part of the build of the brewery that started this week was the construction of the cool room. This is were we will be storing hops, and the finished product before we ship it out. The special insulated walls are up, and now we are waiting on the air con unit to arrive and a special sliding door. You can see the cool room in the first pictures.

I these first 2 pictures you can see that the floor is wet, this makes for a good picture, but is not really relevant. More important is the stock of Key Kegs we have stored in the roof of the mezzanine. There are 60 of these just begging to be filled with some tasty Weird Beard beers. In the second of the 2 pictures you can see the cool room starting to take shape, just to the left of the kettle.

The camper van has gone, and the place is looking very tidy. We have people to impress visiting on Saturday, so we gave the floor good hose down to try and get rid of the tyre marks from the forklift, nothing to do with the camper van that was parked there all week, oh no, no way. Although i have to admit to linking the look of the wet floor, it makes it look like something has been happening. But alas, it has not.

Next pictures, as always are up on the mezzanine. We managed to get our hands on some office desks, chairs, book shelf and filing cabinet. All for free, which is a bonus. The place is really starting to look like an office. You may also notice to the right of the second picture is a pallet of grain, ready to make the beer that the key kegs are ready to carry to a bar near you. Still a week until the installer comes though.

The last picture show the back room, which has been prepared for our visitors tomorrow. 7 Cornelius kegs full of potential Weird Beard beers, and some tables that will hold another 3 for our guests to sample and give feedback on.

All looking very tidy this week. I'm sure it will get all cluttered again for next weeks pictures. Have a good week all.

All opinions and grammatical errors are that of


and not always of the Weird Beard collective.

Week 10 Progress Pictures

It's Friday night, and that means it's blog writing time. Although it doesnt always happen that way, but i do try.

Not much to report this week unfortunately. People at the brewery seem to celebrate New Year over Christmas. As do a lot of people we are waiting on.

Good things that have happened include delivery of our forklift. Mike and myself couldn't resist having a little drive around, and are happy to say it actually fits under the mezzanine and all the way into the back room, if you are careful what route you take. This is a huge added bonus, as we didn't expect this at all. The fittings & fixtures, and pipes on the walls are now pretty much done for the hot and cold liquor tanks. We are pretty much just waiting for the brewery installers to come and connect it to their bits. And i have installed a half decent sound system, so we can listen to some top quality music to help inspire the creation of top quality beer.

We did unfortunately receive some bad news today though. It looks like we will not be seeing our brewery installers until around 21st January. We are ready and waiting for them now, and have been since the brewhouse arrived last week. This pushes back production yet another month pretty much. It is all down to the delays we had with the floor, as we were booked in for instillation at the beginning of December, but missed our window. It is not the end of the world, but a huge disappointment.

So this weeks pictures. Not a lot has changed, but it is traditional at this time of the week.

The only real noticeable difference in these pictures, is the bottling line starting to take shape along the wall on the right. And the forklift.

The obvious change here is that all the wood from the fermenter crates has gone. Only to be replaced by a 1968 VW bay camper van. That's mine, and I had a minor brake issue that meant I had to lock her away in the unit until I can work out what went wrong.

I actually remembered to take both of the pictures on the mezzanine this week. It is starting to look tidier and has the addition of a PC, microwave and sound system. Still more tidying to do though, and we expect some stock deliveries soon, along with some actual office furniture.

The back room is pretty much unchanged. Except a catering sink which now has legs and likes to hang out around the toilets. But that is out of shot.

Next week we hope to get the cold room up, get a few deliveries, and prepare for a very special 'piss up in a brewery' next weekend. But until then, have a good week all.

All views and grammatical errors are those of WeirdBeardBryan, and not the Weird Beard collective, or Ellenberg.

Week 9 Progress Pictures

What a difference a week makes.

For anyone embarking on an adventure like this, seeing a lorry carrying your brewhouse coming down the road is one of the best feelings. Well that's the feeling we all had on Friday when our brewhouse did arrive. We don't have everything yet, still waiting on 2 more fermenters and a hydrator among other things. We are also waiting on a firm date for the installers to come and plumb it all in. But we now actually have it.

But Friday was an exciting day, and we spent it positioning the brewhouse where it is permanently going to live. We positioned it right on front of the main door into the brewery for maximum impact, as it is the first thing you see as you enter. And i think you will agree that it looks pretty damn sexy. It is positioned just in front of the mezzanine, so we can load the mash tun from above.

Elenberg's brewery are going to be making a lot of continental styles, so we had a special mash tun made up that will allow him to do mashes with different temperature steps. So the mash tun has a stirring device inside and is jacketed, so temperature controlled water can be pumped through the jacket to alter the temperature. The funny martian looking thing above is the tank that holds and heats this water.

The brewhouse looked so good in place, we decided we wanted to get the 2 fermeters we had in position too.I'm not saying it was a well thought out decision, as each of these weigh around half a tonne, there were just 3 of us and we do not have our forklift yet. But with some ingenuity, a pallet truck and some adjustable straps they went up. The first one took about 2 hours, but we learnt a lot from this and the second only took around 30 minutes.

So to this weeks main pictures.

The pictures looking into the unit show our shiny new brewhouse in position. Soon, to the left there will be a cool room built.At the very far right on the mezzanine you can see the bottle filling tank ready to be plumbed in too.

Looking down from the mezzanine you can see the top of the brewhouse. You can also see the remains on the very flimsy wooden crate the 2 fermenters came in from China.

In all of the excitment of the day i forgot to take one of the pictures on the mezzanine office area. But not a lot has changed here. Mike has drilled some holes and attached some bits to the hot and cold liquor tanks, and some things have been moved around. But that is about it.

The back room finally has some fermenters. The other 2 will be positioned to the right, in front of the door, when they arrive.

Well, that is it for this week. We hope everyone has a good new year. And keep you eyes open for Weird Beard next year. 2013 will be the year of Weird Beard Brew Co.

All views and grammatical errors are those of WeirdBeardBryan and not the Weird Beard collective.

Week 8 Build Pictures

The blog is a bit late this week. Unfortunately, due to my day job, I have not been able to spend much time at the unit. But Gregg and Mike, as always, have stepped up to the plate and made some moves forward. I did manage to get to the unit last night though, to check things for myself and get the weeks photos.

On Tuesday Mike and Gregg hired a van and spent a long day on the road picking up various pieces of equipment. They picked up our labeller, rotary tables, some catering sinks and some fridge freezers. Big thanks to Mike, it couldn’t have been easy driving that big van around the streets of London.

We had a little day trip to Charles Faram up near Worcester on Wednesday. We had met Will Rogers at an event in London before and decided to visit the guys to talk hops. Will was kind enough to show us around the operation, and then spend a good few hours with us talking us through some new hops, and smelling a wide selection of stock. We then loaded the car with 85Kg of their beautiful product, a few bags of grain, yeast and headed off home in the rain. Huge thanks to Gregg for doing the driving for this, it was a long way and very wet.

We are still waiting for the brew house to be delivered, but a few things did show up on our doorstep. Mostly small plumbing bits for the hot and cold liquor tanks, which Mike has made a start on. We took delivery of an IBC (intermediate bulk container), which will be position on the mezzanine above our 8 head bottle filler, where we can gravity fill our bottles. But probably the most important delivery this week was from a unit just opposite ours. The safety railing and pallet gate for the mezzanine was delivered, installed and painted. This now means the mezzanine is officially safe, and we can have visitors come up to the office area.

So, to this week’s pictures.

In the first couple of pictures, taken from outside looking into the unit, you can see that the two fermenters made it down from the mezzanine without the crates disintegrating. To be honest I’m kind of glad to have not been around for this, as the worry may well have been too much. Just behind the crates you can see the labeller and rotary tables, which need to be set up and tested. You can also see the safety railing in its full glory.

The above picture is taken from inside the pallet gate, which allows us to safely load pallets into the mezzanine. Not much has changed in the main brewery area. You can see the 2 crates, but these will hopefully be unpacked soon and the fermenters moved out back. There is now an emergency exit sign above the door. We are all about the health and safety this week.

The mezzanine office area is looking surprisingly cluttered again, considering the 2 500Kg crates have been removed. This is partly due to everything needing to be moved away for the installation and painting of the safety railings. It also has a lot to do with the liquor tanks. There are a number of boxes of pipes and fittings, and Mike has the lid off one of the tanks and has started the process of plumbing them in. There is a large IBC sat waiting to be positioned when the liquor tanks are ready.

Again I have taken the picture in the back room looking towards the WC, as there is far more to see. There are a couple of fridge freezers, for storage of hops and yeast. There are a couple of catering sinks, one to go on the wall in the back room and one in the main brewery area. There are also a few bags of grain and lots of lovely hops. You should be able to see some tape on the floor too. This is to mark out where 2 of the fermenters are going to live, with the other 2 to the right of where I was stood to take the picture.

Well that’s all for this week. We won’t be taking this next week off, as we are eager to get everything ready and up & running as soon as we can, so we can start making beer, which is what this is actually all about. Hopefully the brew house will be arriving this week too.

I guess there is not much more to say other than, have a great Christmas, if you’re into that sort of thing. If you’re not, just enjoy not being at work, and have a beer.

All views and grammatical errors are that of WeirdBeardBryan, and not the Weird Beard collective.

Week 7 Build Pictures

It's finished! Finally the floor is down, and usable. Although I think there are a few finishing touches for early next week, but nothing show stopping. It was a huge pleasure to walk into the unit and it not be a building site. I have a real positive feeling this week. Unfortunately it now looks like the remainder of the kit wont start turning up until just after Christmas, and install will now be in the new year.

We have a few new bits of kit coming over the coming week, and Mike will start plumbing in the hot and cold liquor tanks. The forklift we went to see this afternoon will hopefully also show up, meaning we can get the fermenters off of the Mezzanine and in position.

But it is the week before Christmas, so we will more likely be in the pub.

It was quite late by the time I got the take this weeks pictures, so the first couple are a little dark. But they do clearly show a nice green, relatively flat floor. It is actually slightly sloped towards the drain on the right hand side. You can also see some tables against the wall on the left. These will be used to construct our bottling line.

The shot from up on the mezzanine, which still doesn’t have a safety barrier, shows the green of the floor much better. Unfortunately the new floor does show up the mud from our shoes a lot more, but hey it’s waterproof, so easy to clean. You can also see the 10 meter linear drain on the left. We are super happy to have the floor in, and think it looks great.

The mezzanine is looking so much more cluttered this week. We had to remove everything from downstairs so the floor could go down. There are also a number of boxes from smaller deliveries, including bottle draining trees, fire extinguishers and plumbing bits for the liquor tanks. As soon as we get the forklift, and are comfortable with someone driving it, we will get the fermenters down and in position. 

I think this is the first time I have ever seen the back room clear, except for lonely fire extinguisher. Maybe next week there may be a couple of fermenters sat in there.

All views and grammatical errors are that of WeirdBeardBryan, and not of the Weird Beard brew collective.

Week 6 Build Pictures

So this week was meant to be the week the installers were, well installing our brewery. But due to flooring issues which have delayed us by around 2 weeks now, this was not possible. We all have our fingers crossed they can fit us in some time soon, as I believe they are installing a brewery up in York for the rest of the year. The flooring guys were in over the weekend finishing of the under floor, but this week has been mostly watching concrete dry.

We have had a few exciting deliveries though.

First of which being our 8 head bottle filler, which I'm sure will look far better out of the box.

Then came 2 shiny 1600ltr conical fermenters. These came from China in some very scary crates. Scary as in crap, and we are worried they are going to disintegrate at any point. As the floor is not ready, we had no choice but to store these on the mezzanine level, which meant asking one of our nice neighbours with a forklift for help. As you can see from the picture, bits of crate are falling from the bottom. I am not looking forward to getting these down again, as it is most likely to be one of us in control of the forklift, none of whom have ever driven one.

The second big delivery was our slightly alternative take on hot and cold liquor tanks. When these arrived on the back of the truck I couldn’t help but think of music festivals I had been to. These are different to a lot of liquor tanks, as they are made of very well insulated plastic.

But you will be able to see from this week’s pictures that we are slowly running out of space on the mezzanine.

In the pictures looking into the brewery from the outside world, you can see a nice flat floor. The flooring guys will be in on Monday to put the flowcrete resin layer on. You can also see the 2 crates from China perched on the edge of the mezzanine, ready to be unpacked and installed in the back room sometime in the near future.

Looking down from the mezzanine, you can again see the nice flat concrete, now covered in tyre marks from the forklift unfortunately. You can still see the long hole in the ground that will be hopefully filled with a 10 meter drain this week. Its not really something you can see, but it’s worth noting that Mike removed the front door and then hung it correctly, as it used to grind on the frame pretty bad.

Pictures taken on the mezzanine are slightly obscured by big boxes and tanks. Hopefully we won’t be getting too many more deliveries before the floor is done. The two large crates hold the fermenters will be removed, while the two tanks at the end will be living approximately where they are. They do need plumbing in though.

Yeah, so watching concrete dry isn’t actually that interesting. So we decided to dig a hole instead.

The picture from the back room is taken from a different angle this week, as not much was happening the other end. The structure on the left hand side is the toilet. The drain from the main brewery continues under the dividing wall and then along the inner wall to the toilet waste pipe. The drain guys dug a trench for this up to the toilet door, but as soon as they got to this structure, it started to shake itself apart. We took up the challenge and made a bit of a Frankenstein looking repair job and attacked the floor with a kango, which we are all well practiced on by now. We got the trench dug out all the way to the waste water pipe without the structure falling on our heads, and hopefully saved the drain guys a bit of time.

Next weeks pictures should show a nice new flowcrete floor. But until then..

All views and grammatical errors are that of WeirdBeardBryan and not always Weird Beard Brew Co as a collective.

Week 5 Build Pictures

Is it time for another blog? I think it might just be. And it has been a busy one down at unit 5 Boston Business Park, or the AntHill as I like to call it.

One thing we have been struggling with for some time is the floor. It is very expensive, very time consuming and has thrown up countless problems. But I have been told that it is essential, and who am I to argue. Anyway, bright and early on Monday morning a fine bunch of men turned up to to start digging drains and laying the new 'screed', which will be the under layer of the 'flowcrete' floor we are installing. I think the floor itself could easily have a blog of it's very own, so I will save any more detail for such a day that one of us has the strength to tackle that.

So here are this weeks pictures, in the same predictable order.

From the first 2 pictures, as usual taken from just outside the large shutter, you can see portions of new flat concrete. The darker areas towards the right and directly in front have been primed ready for the last bits of concrete to go down Saturday. You can also see lots of the builders equipment. These guys have been friendly and a joy to have around.

The picture from the mezzanine looking down, where we have had a great view of the work going on downstairs. In this picture you can just see the hole where the drain will go, the wooded area to the left, or the bonus picture for this week shows this more clearly. Next to that, the darker concrete was freshly laid today. In front of the door is the stuff that went down yesterday, while in front of the shutter, that area is primed to be completed tomorrow. There are also a couple of new phone lines and a wireless router that went in yesterday, but you need real good eyes to see them.

The two shots taken from up in the mezzanine show that we have finally moved up there properly. This is where the office area will now be permanently, along with storage of ingredients and the hopper for loading the mash tun. We have a kitchen sink, kettle, and a table that does not shake when people look at it funny. You may also notice Gregg's lounger style chair, although I'm sure he's had no time to enjoy it yet.

The final picture shows the back room that was the kitchen and office since we moved in. It has now been pretty much cleared so the new floor can go down. You can see our new high lift pallet truck professionally parked in the middle of the area, while we work out how to get it up to the mezzanine where it will be used to help load grain into the hopper.

Next week we will mostly be watching concrete dry, which should make for an exciting bunch of photos for next weeks blog. Can't wait.

Week 4 Build Pictures

It’s Friday night, which means I have been at Unit 5 Boston Business Park with my camera for this week’s pictures. It has been a quieter week this week, probably the quietest since the day we got the keys. Right now we are waiting on a few things which are holding us up slightly, the biggest of which being the floor. But we do finally have some people coming in on Monday morning to start cutting the drains.

Gregg, Mike and I have mainly been doing small but necessary jobs, like getting the office/storage area on the mezzanine sorted, and general tidying.

From these first 2 pictures looking into the unit you can see the place as a whole is much tidier. There are 3 phase electric sockets on the walls, and the obligatory insurance document displayed. You can also notice a window on the mezzanine.

The shot looking down from the mezzanine again shows the power sockets, insurance documents and a nice clean floor. I do tend to keep mentioning the floor, but this has become a huge thorn in our sides, and has delayed us greatly.

The 2 shots of the mezzanine show where the greatest amount of work has happened this week. We have finished stuffing the floorboards at one end with insulation, as the cold room will be constructed below. This has allowed us to finally get all the new, stronger floorboards down. The kitchen sink has made it upstairs, and is 75% plumbed in, which means the rest of the kitchen and office will be up there in no time. You can also see we now have a window looking down to the fermentation area. This was always there, but had been painted over. Cleaning the paint of has made a big improvement to the overall feeling of the mezzanine.

The last picture, as always is the back fermentation room, which has been the office and kitchen for the last few weeks, that and general store room. Here you can see




having a discussion about the layout of the office area on the mezzanine.

Next week’s pictures should show a lot of progress hopefully. We hope to have a huge hole dug for the drains in the downstairs area and an office with kitchen on the mezzanine. If all goes well that is.

Week 3 Build Pictures

Well, it's about that time again. Time for the weekly progress photo blog. This week has been extremely busy. We have had a builder and electricians in, but mostly we have been breaking concrete, which has left us all feeling totally shattered and in need of beer. 

I'm not sure the pictures will reflect just how much has gone into this week, but here they are, in the same order as usual.The main things that have changed this time round is the top concrete surface of the ground floor has been removed and the wall of the mezzanine has now totally gone, opening the whole place up.

Oh, we also have hot water. This was particularly important for washing off the concrete dust after 9 hours days of breaking and moving concrete.No central heating though.

Week 2 build pictures

This week’s instalment has been moved to the blog section as opposed to the news section, as it’s not really news now is it.

To celebrate our first week we cracked open an Ellenberg’s Brewery Black Ale and took a photo of ourselves. We also managed to spill some beer all over the floor, which seems kind of fitting, like a christening.

OK, so its been a whole week now since we got the keys to our new home, and we have been busy trying to get it ready to house our shiny new 10 bbl brew house that is due to arrive in just a few weeks. You can see 

last weeks pictures here

but here are this week’s pictures. I tried to take them in the same location as last, so the progress, if any, is apparent. This weeks were taken in the evening when the light was not so good, just to prove that we are putting in the hours and staying late.

The view looking in from the big roller shutters. Firstly, more of the strip lights are actually on, which is very helpful. Other than the man with the broom, that’s Mike Ellenberg of Ellenberg’s brewery by the way, the big difference here is the missing wall on the mezzanine. This really opens out the place, and will allow us to see the brewery, load things onto the mezzanine with a forklift, and fill the mash tun.

The second view from just outside the roller shutters. Again the most obvious change here is the missing wall from the mezzanine.

Looking down from the mezzanine. Nothing really different here, except the light shining through the windows doesn’t look quite as cool as last week.

First picture from inside the mezzanine. You can see that the little office structure in the far corner has been removed, and again another view of the opened up wall. We must think about getting a safely barrier across there soon.

The second shot from up in the mezzanine area again shows the missing office, and also a few new flooring panels to replace some damaged ones from a leaky roof, which we hope has been fully fixed.

The back room, that will be housing our fermenting vessels very shortly, has become our make shift office area for now, mainly because the kettle lives there by the sink.

Next week should be a busy one, as we need to remove a 2” layer of concrete from the main brewery floor before we can get the new hygienic resin floor installed.

Why start a Brewery?

Starting a brewery. Well, why indeed?

Investing money in the current economic climate is a bad idea. Isn't it?

Setting up in an industry that is ravaged with high duty and is likely to be hit harder as the years go on has to be a mistake. I mean, come on...

Making a beverage that is pilloried in the media, demonized by the press and ignored by mainstream food programmes is not the way to make your fortune. Get a grip son!

Ah but...

If you can start a successful business in a depression then you can be happy when the good times roll around again. Well...

Even with the duty increases the artisanal cask, keg and bottle beer sections seem to be doing well. I'll give you that.

What better way to change opinions of beer than to get out there, make a great product and show to people it is not all about swilling down 10 pints of lager. But I like swilling lager at the cricket club!

The sense of community that has built up around beer especially in London with new breweries and bars opening on what seems like a monthly basis; the freely offered advice received from London brewers; the encouraging words of bloggers; and the joy of making beer that puts a smile on someone's face. OK, OK you had me at Starting a Brewery

This blog will hopefully detail some of the ups and no doubt downs of the birth of Weird Beard Brew Co