Test Batch at South Austin Brewing
Last Friday, I helped brew a batch of homebrew inside a soon-to-be-opened commercial brewery. My friend (and fellow Austin ZEALOT) Ed Peters, who will be the brewer at South Austin, invited me to brew a test batch of beer. We made an amber-colored ale (about 20° Plato/OG 1.080), which Ed pitched with Belgian Abbey yeast (Wyeast 1214).
South Austin’s brewery is almost complete, but we brewed 10 gallons on his homebrew rig, not on the brewery’s brewhouse. Here's a picture of Ed stirring the mash. (My "helping" was largely confined to sitting around drinking beer, including a sample of a test batch of their saison.)
South Austin plans to launch with two beers — a saison and a Belgian golden ale (along the lines of Duvel). The amber beer we brewed will be added to the lineup sometime later.
South Austin plans to specialize in Belgian-inspired and other big beers. They will package their beers in kegs and 750-mL Belgian “wire cage” bottles. The brewery just recently got their first shipment of kegs — a mix of half-barrel (15 gallon) kegs, 20-L (5-gallon) kegs (basically Corny kegs with a Sanke keg connection) and some 30-L (8-gallon) kegs. The 30-L kegs were not the squat, half-barrel-width kind, but were as tall as a Corny, only wider.
Last Friday, South Austin was right on the cusp of being finished. All the vessels were in place and the plumbing connected. The grain mill and auger were in place. And, the boiler was inspected and ready (but not yet fired). The brewhouse still needed to be wired and they still had one last round of city inspections to pass before they could open, but that was about it. (Also, the glycol system hadn’t been tested yet, but it was early this week.) Given the vagaries of the inspection process, Ed didn’t want to speculate on when they would start brewing, but he said that they would be physically set up — with the brewery cleaned and the vessels passivated — within a week or two. (They had cleaned out the chiller a day or so before I visited.)
So, with a little luck, Santa Claus may be able to bring bottles of South Austin beer to Austin beer lover's this year.
Finally, here's a shot of a homebrewery sitting in the middle of a commercial brewery. (I haven't forgotten about posting the details of my Belgian trip. I'll do that "soon.")
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