Brewmaster Bill was recently sitting and enjoying a Halleck Pale Ale in the beautiful forest scenery of Halleck Road, WV. The cool, shady, forest atmosphere relaxed his external persona, while the tantalizing citrus, piney, and spicy hoppy flavors exercised his taste buds. Like many brewers, though, his mind kept proposing “How can I get MORE hop flavor and aroma?!?!”
Chestnut Brew Works recently doubled the capacity of their brewhouse from 1 barrel (=31 gallons) to 2 barrels. We needed to add some new equipment, and also adapt our processes a bit. One process that changed was how quickly the hot wort (unfermented beer) was chilled from boiling temperature to 68 degrees F (which is the suitable temperature for ale yeast fermentation). The chilling process takes a bit longer with the new equipment, meaning that the hot wort sits in the kettle for a longer period of time after the boil. These hot wort temperatures extract hop flavors and aromas, but the longer the hops sit at these temperatures, the more hop-ill-icious molecules that volatilize and leave the wort forever
How could Bill reduce the hop contact time with the hot wort to maximize the extraction, but also retention of the hop aromas and flavors? Answer, a Hopback!! Brewmaster Bill MacGuyvered the hopback from an old Corny keg from his hombrew days, some weldless kettle ball valves, and a little bit of stainless steel mesh.
Hot wort flows into the bottom, up through a bed of whole-leaf Centennial hops, and then right into the heat exchanger. In this way, the hot wort extracts the aroma and flavor compounds from the hops, which don’t have a chance to volatilize before cooling. We’ll stop at NOTHING to maximize the hoppy deliciousness you deserve! Don’t worry, he still adds copious amounts of hops during the boil and also in the fermentor (e.g. dry-hopping). Enjoy!
Beer: often considered a beverage of derelicts, to be imbibed in large quantities for the sole purpose of intoxication. Compare this to wine….the beverage of sophistication, of variety, of food-pairing, of history.
In truth, beer is not so different from wine. They share history, variety and even food-pairing. Some may argue that the history and variety of beer run far deeper than that of wine. Of course, this notion is somewhat dampened by the predominant beer culture in the United States. Beer commercials are dominated by attractive women, color-changing cans, faster-pouring cans etc. Interesting how the larger corporate breweries focus on how easily or how fast you can drink their beer and not necessarily on how their beer tastes.
If approached with the proper mindset, beer is the perfect blend of science and art. Not merely a vehicle for intoxication, but an experiment in microbiology, sociology, and history.
On October 5th, 2013, several homebrewers in the Fairmont and Morgantown areas of WV are donating their time and efforts to not only educate people about the variety and history of different beer styles, but also to translate their efforts into a charitable contribution to local food kitchens. Chestnut Brew Works is proud and happy to be part of these efforts.
For more information, check out this link:
Chestnut Brew Works is proud to be serving our handcrafted ales along with several other WV breweries at the Brew Skies Festival in Canaan Valley WV on August 9-10!!
The event is hosted by Mountain State Brewing Company. Their brewery and pub is located in Thomas, WV, but they also have pubs in Deep Creek, MD and Morgantown, WV. They graciously invite other WV breweries to serve up their beer at the festival in order to promote the WV Craft Brewing Industry.
Many great musicians also will by performing at the festival. For more information, check out the website:
Hope to see you there!
Thanks for all the support over the past few months!! It’s been a crazy and busy time, but your feedback and support drives us to keep brewing beer!
Speaking of feedback, I must apologize if you have left a comment on this website and I have not addressed it. The number of spam messages I get in the comments section is phenomenal, and it is hard to find the time to sift through the SPAM to find the genuine comments from our great customers. Just yesterday, I sifted through 1400 SPAM messages and found TWO, yes TWO! legitimate comments!!! I still have 590 more to sift through!!
Anyway, I’ll keep on siftin (while sippin’)!
It’s been a while since we posted, because we’ve been so busy making and delivering beer! We just received approval from the State of WV to sell Nate’s Nut Brown Ale, Class II Wheatwater, and The Mo-Bel Prize. Nate’s Nut Brown Ale and Class II Wheatwater will be available this week, and the Mo-Bel Prize (dark, belgian-style strong ale) will be available later this month. Check the “Where’s The Beer” page for locations serving CBW beer!
Thanks for all of your support over the last month!!!!
Our WV State Brewer’s License has been approved!!! We are now filling up our fermentors, so our beers will be ready in a few weeks. Halleck Pale Ale and Your Best Hoption Imperial IPA will be the first two beers released, and Nate’s Nut Brown Ale and Class II Wheatwater should be close behind (their formulas and labels still need federal and state approval).
We’ll provide date and location updates on Facebook, Twitter, and on the “Where’s The Beer” page of this website.
Thanks again for your patience and all your support!!
Bill met the FedEx Freight delivery guy today to pick up our new fermentors. Without a lift gate, and with each fermentor individually bolted to the pallet, it made for an interesting transfer.
Freshly unloaded into our “t-rusty” pickup truck!
Each fermentor was individually unpackaged and wheeled down the ramps with a hand truck. The wet/cold weather made this into a fun game for Bill.
Unpackaged and assembled. The two fermentors on the left hold 75 gallons each and will be used for double batches (our ‘cooking’ equipment only makes 31 gallons of beer at a time). The two on the right are 37 gallons and will be used for single batches.
All the fermentors where they belong…in the fermentation room!
Now that we’re a federally recognized commercial beer brewery, Bill figured he’d better test out the equipment to work out the kinks.
The following pictures document the first “Commercial-sized” batch of beer brewed at the Chestnut Brew Works brewery. The beer brewed was Halleck Pale Ale, and it pretty much went off without a hitch. The final volume of the batch will be 1 barrel (1 bbl, which is equal to 31 gallons). The wort (unfermented beer) is now in the fermentor, and the yeasty-beasties are doing their business (turning sugar into alcohol, as well as other beer flavors).
Getting ready to make beer!!
Sparging the first batch! (That’s rinsing off the grain to extract all the sugars, for all you non-beer geeks).
At Chestnut Brew Works, we compost all of our spent grain, hops, and yeast. Once composting is complete, we will use it in the hop garden we are planting in the spring.
Two big things happened today for Chestnut Brew Works:
1. We brewed our first batch of beer in the brewery (it was a Class II WheatWater pilot batch…see pics below).
Brewing up a pilot batch of Class II Wheatwater!
2. Federal TTB Approval!! That means that we can now begin to produce beer for sale. We still need to get our labels approved by both the Federal and WV State governments, but we *HOPE* that doesn’t take more than a month or so. We’ll keep you posted.
Once we received the email stating Federal TTB approval, we had to celebrate with a finely aged bottle of The Mo-Bel Prize!
It’s been a while!! I’ve been so busy working on the brewery, I’ve had no time for updates!
The brewery is now renovated, cleaned, and ready for brewing (check out the pictures below)! I’m still awaiting notice from the Federal and State officials for permission to sell the beer that is brewed on the premises.
The next step is to brew some test batches to fine tune the process and equipment. We’ll be sure to post pictures of the brewery in action!
Walls are painted, lights are up, sink is finished, custom ventilation fan ready to go into window, and …… drumroll …… brew pots are in place!!
Propane tanks are installed and plumbed. Now we’re cooking with….I’ll spare you the cliche.
Fermentors in the fermenting room!