After much scurrying around for a forklift truck that had forks long enough, we finally got them off-loaded just in time for yet another radio interview with BBC Cumbria. They are good to us, the local BBC, but their timing could have been better.
The last week has been about interfacing SMS, Tri-clamp and RJT fittings. Despite my best attempts to avoid it we now have a ridiculous combination of pipe fittings in the brewery. The week has also been about putting as much wort into these tanks as possible. There is a risk that quite a lot of it now classes as beer.
These new tanks open up so many possibilities for us. We can now brew, condition, lager, dry hop and carbonate all in the same tank. The primary fermentation is close to being finished on both the inaugural beers and I'm now playing with the pressure versus temperature allowing the natural CO2 to be absorbed into the beer. No force carbonation. A question for the future is: if I drop the beer bright in tank and fill cask under counter-pressure is it still real ale? Would anyone care?
Either way, these babies are a significant step forward for Hardknott. To the best of my knowledge we are the only Cumbrian brewery using such technology on the main production beers. Early indications are that they will significantly improve our ability to get more beer out to more people more often.
Above is the Hardknott team. I'm the handsome one on the left. In the middle is the youngster of the gang, Alex. Ann, of course, is on the right, getting worryingly close to Alex.
The tanks are 2000l total volume and 1650l working volume. One currently holds about 12hl of Code Black which we brewed on Tuesday and the other very close to capacity of Continuum, which we brewed on Wednesday. Thursday Ted brewed a double imperial red beer which got crammed into one of our old 5 barrel tanks.