Friday, 29 January 2010

An Aged Beer For An Old Brewery

Our picture shows Senior Brewer, Silas Gyamfi (right) and Production Brewer Lee Cash hoping to get the 'Angels' Dram' after racking the first beer intended for Meantime's new brewery, helpfully called the Old Brewery (see Wednesday, 27 January 2010).

With the clock ticking on the opening of the Old Brewery, and the usual chaos that surrounds the opening of a Brewpub/bar, the cunning plan was to get the signature beers ready somewhere else, i.e at our main brewery. The problem of oak ageing is that it takes, er, forever. The cellars at the ‘Old Brewery’ came in to our possession on the 4th Jan, so, quiet simply this beer is a 'dish we prepared earlier'. Today we racked seven 200 litre casks of Strong London Porter into a dispense tank for conditioning and blending with young porter, as was in done in the old days. The trick is to get the blend right in the dispense tank. Basically the Old Strong Porter (aged for 12 months) is blended with a younger, lighter version which softens the ‘smokiness’ and enlivens the beer. The resulting 8.0% ABV beer will be known as Hospital Porter, as a reminder of the fact that the original 1717 brewhouse on the site was there to make the beer for the pensioned sailors of the Royal Naval Hospital.

The old beer is tea-flat but full of leathery,coffee and chocolate like smoothness and complexity. It is also strong on ‘smoke’, (what brewers call 'phenolic'), a product of the peated whisky that permeated the oak over ten years of silence on the island of Islay in North West Scotland, before the casks found a new home at the other end of the country. From here on the beer will bottle condition and mature further with age. It will debut on the 22nd March at the Old Brewery.
Alastair Hook

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