Is @olicanabrew working ? a pondering….

I’m not sure about posting this but as it’s been bouncing around in my head for a while now and hasn’t worked itself out !   I feel that I need to say something out loud, even if I run the risk of causing a ruckus… and particularly as I get so much out of the contact with the other homebrewclub members!!!

I have been pondering the @olicanabrew club  and come to the conclusion it is faltering !  Things  need to change if it is to continue and flourish.  It is currently run soley at the whim of one person and this shows! No meetings for months or meetings cancelled at the last minute.. If this is truly a collective we need more than one person calling the shots!

We need a point of contact for competitions, a web manager(publicist), a treasurer and a social event manager for  group socials (brewery visits, BBQ’s etc…), all working as one team, so that thing don’t build up and overwhelm the individual or the group just stops and fails to function if one of us becomes Ill or otherwise incapacitated… We need the olicanbrew web domain name registering and a formal web presence, a definitive source rather than the hap hazard random tweets and the odd Facebook post which don’t tally with each other,  and occasionally appear to be advertising in nature…….

We should publish a regular monthly meeting place or possibly alternate monthly venues. The current setup also doesn’t foster chit chat and swapping of ideas ! Some members use twitter only, some use Facebook only or dip in every few days, but I’m sure a proper club setup with a forum or mailing lists would work !  Some of the members have taken to using a whatsapp group for chit chat… IM …almost a mini BBS for those that remember it  , it’s been particularly useful for Brommo’s back yard Beer fest and has led to a feeling of inclusion and participation, the whole group could do with being on it…. !

One idea to emerge  from a few of the  members is to try and rent a place that several of us can register with HMRC (if possible but none of us have even looked at the idiosyncricies of dealing with the HMRC as a group of individuals let alone a club!…) this would be so we can produce brews for events and sell it under our own individual registered names but from one club premises ….  One idea might be that we can rent a room in a social club or another in a local business unit,  or thats where we need a local altruistic benefactor with room to spare to host the group and the groups brewing equipment  and a treasurer to deal with any rent or bills, competition prizes etc. etc


Meeting on the 27th of May was a rather weird one… it turned out that Several other members were not happy, so  we elected several of the group to formal roles of treasurer , chairman, secretary etc.. etc..  after disquiet that Nick wasn’t quite in top of things and that the load associated with running the group should be shared. We needed better communication of events, facebook messages didn’t tie up with twitter messages , we needed a formal website !  Rob and I became webmaster… ,we agreed meetings should be scheduled well in advance and set to rove between 3 places along the Wharedale Line so that at least they would go ahead instead of  meetings being  cancelled at the last minute on the whim of one member…

The next day Nick refused to step down as leader…  this led to several of the group bowing out and leaving, myself included. It was a democratic process and things in the group needed to change. The next meeting had been set for July 1st and in all the fall out communications over the next few days out came a message from Nick that the group had been invited to do a commercial brew with Wharfebank Brewery!  Waaay too much of a carrot  for my liking..

The breakaway members have kept in touch via whatsApp, We seem to have had more tips and informal chatter passed between us in a month than 2 years of Oilcana meetings….

we’re even organising a social! we’re going to have a  BBQ…

4C’s Cornie transfer with @skylarkbrew and shiney things from @homebrewbuilder

Yesterday evening  I Met up with Pete (aka @skylarkbrew) to put the 4c’s Co-brew into a cornie for Brommo’s backyard Beer fest. Things have felt a bit rushed for this brew, ideally it wanted to finish up for at least another week but we needed to cold crash it to get some dry hopping done, if it’s to be drunk on Sunday…

Again things didn’t quite go as planned, we used pellets to dry hop with, first time using pellets for me, Pete has used them before and they had always settled out, not this time! We were left pondering if we should have left them a bit longer another couple of days maybe ? We found out there were still some in suspension when the pump note changed and the flow suddenly stopped, we had foreseen there might be a few bits and were using a nylon bag to filter any that might find their way through the pump and up the tubes but  when we looked in the bag there were more than a few  and it took the Jetwash to back flow the pump and clear the hop blockage ! 

We changed tack at that point and tied the nylon bag to input end of the pipe….Varied success it needed regular cleaning…

So For next time it might be the pellet Hops go into the nylon bag with a bunch of marbles or a stainless steel weight just like I normally do with the Leaf…..

or if I have some spare cash, one of these nice  shiney stainless mesh cornie dry hoppers from the Homebrewbuilder…might find it’s way into my shed quarters….

@brewpi and 50L 4c’s Brew

The 4C’s continuously hopped IPA is nicely fermenting, in the screenshot from the Brewpi you can see the heat generated by the yeasties in the 50L batch and the BrewPi keeping the temperature under control by switching on the cooling (the blue blocks at the bottom of the temperature graph).

here’s a short video of the blowoff bubbling

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 11.20.27
Blue segments showing cooling during early active fermentation
60L FV just fits in the BrewPi fridge

The ousted Holy Purple Cow brew is in the cellar with the second BrewPi keeping it at 20˚c for it’s 2nd week of fermentation, it’ll soon be ready for Dry hopping in a secondary .. as you can see the cellar is varying between 16˚c and 17˚c

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 13.43.57
Brewpi temporary setup to keep the Holy Purple Cow warm…
not very elegant but working…

#BrewDay a continuously Hopped co-brew with @skylarkbrew

Today has been an enjoyable Brewday, a Very enjoyable brew day with Peter aka @bubblingbuckets or more lately @skylarkbrew 

@bubblingbuckets ready to Go !
@bubblingbuckets ready to Go !

Peter had an idea to do a continuously hopped brew much like the Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA So after a brief discussion we settled on Cascade, Citra and Columbus hops and a minimal malt bill of just Maris Otter Pale and torrified wheat. Wednesday afternoon saw me getting the starter underway using White Labs California Ale yeast WLP001. We had to have a huge 3.8 L starter, It’s the first time I produced a batch bigger than 5 Gallons and this in itself caused a minor hiccup, the round bottom of the demijohn meant the Flea wouldn’t work ! So once the final volume was achieved I split it, As you can see By Friday evening the Stir plate one got a bit Lively !

Trying to escape....
Trying to escape….

Saturday, Bright and early, BrewDay..HLT on a a timer ready to Rock and Roll, We weighed out the grist got the Liquor into the mash tun and started to dough in. We had anticipated a small problem the mash tun was going to be 1.6L too Small, but this was a bigger problem the 45L igloo can’t be utilised to it’s full capacity, so in a stroke of Genius we decided to use the slow cooker for an extra mini mash…

Mini mash
Slowcooker Genius
Porridge any one ?
Porridge any one ?

Feeling Quite pleased with ourselves we were quickly brought down to earth with a bump ! When we got back to the Shedquaters I noticed the HLT wasn’t maintaining Temperature for the recirculating Mash ! Disaster the Element had gone.! Water was quickly transferred to the Boiler and the gas lit.! back to recirculating but the mash had dropped to 63˚c so a climb back up to 68.5˚c caused a delay.. and then another delay whilst we rose it to 75˚c for mash out. We did a hybrid batch and Fly sparge and then it was time for the experiment, A continuous hopping ! No not bouncing around the shedquarters on one Leg !

Fullest it's ever been !
Fullest it’s ever been !

13 Hop additions  — 7 minutes 30 Seconds apart

IMG_20150502_143207158 IMG-20150502-WA0003 IMG_20150502_143150504

A small marathon keeping count… and finally time to Chill…

Chilling out into the new 60L FV
Chilling out into the new 60L FV

and add that Starter…

Adding the starter after a Shake !
Adding the starter after a bit a Shake

OG after all the Messing was better than expected ! 

1.069 we settled for..
1.069 we settled for..

After the big clean up and a cuppa I even had time to replace the element in the HLT…

busted !
busted !
Working again !
Working again !

What a Day  Cheers Pete,

we are Both looking forward to drinking it after the dry hopping, this will be another 1st for me using Pellets…