Here at the Briarbank, we love the fact that we have our very own microbrewery on-site, right underneath our first floor bar. Not only does it mean that our beers travel a short distance from brewery to tap, but we think it’s rather special that our customers can see our microbrewery in action while enjoying one of our handcrafted beers.
But what does a typical day look like for our head brewer Rob? To be honest, there isn’t such a thing as a typical day. Rob handles all the brewing, bottling and labelling of all our beers, and you’ll even find him behind the bar serving them too. Our latest blog takes a look at Rob’s typical brewing day.
An early start
A brew day typically sees an early start, with Rob opening up the brewery at 7:00 am, if not earlier. Enjoying the peaceful mornings and the soothing hum of the chillers working, Rob does a quick recap of the day’s recipe, and brew sheet then gets to work measuring out the grains for the brew. Once this is done, the kettle goes on, ready for a much needed morning coffee.
While the kettle is boiling, Rob gets to work pre-heating the mash tun with hot water and checking the water temperatures are correct. Then it’s time to mash in and start mixing the malted barley with the hot water in the mash tun, making sure it’s stirred throughout. He then checks the mash temperature and moves onto pouring his coffee.
With his coffee freshly poured, he gets to work setting up the pipework for the mash transfer and then sets about checking the day’s emails. Finally, a fill and rinse of the boiler mean it’s ready to use.
After a recheck of the recipe, Rob starts to recirculate the wort (liquid) back into the mash turn and, once it’s clear, pumps it into the boiler. During this time, his coffee has gone cold, and he starts to re-boil the kettle.
After adjusting the flow of the wort, Rob ‘sparges’ the malted barley, which is a lengthy process involving sprinkling hot water over the mash to rinse out the sugars and bring them across to the copper with the wort.
Mid-morning also sees Rob start his cleaning regime. There’s plenty to do, from cleaning the fermenters to digging out used malted barley from the mash tun.
Hops for the recipe are measured out and, his now second cold coffee remains in the same place untouched.
The hops are added to the boil as it hits 100*C. Rob then tucks into a spot of lunch and a well-earned break while the wort boils. Finally, and most importantly, he gets to drink a hot cup of coffee.
After lunch, Rob is straight back into his brew. After an hour, the boiler is turned off, and late hops are added to the wort. The wort is then transferred to a heat exchanger into a clean fermenter. Yeast is then added at the desired temperature, where the brew is left for four to five days.
Then it’s time to dig out the hops and trub for the boiler, set about cleaning the boilers out and preparing the microbrewery for the next day.
A visit to the bar
After a full day brewing, Rob heads upstairs to our first-floor bar to taste the fruits of his labour. He then heads home for a relaxing evening, ahead of another day at the brewery (and hopefully a warm cup of coffee in the morning)
The Briarbank is open from 5 pm Wednesday and Thursday and midday on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They are currently closed on Monday and Tuesday.