RedWillow | Brewery and Bar in Macclesfield


Building of the Brewery

29th August 2010

Well, I’ve done it. Just paid a 20% deposit on a 6-barrel microbrewery. I ordered it from Mark at Elite Steel Fabrications; nice equipment and more importantly a very responsive chap who obviously takes pride in his work. 12 weeks and counting until delivery, just the other minor details to sort out now.

8th October 2010

The internal wall for the conditioning room has been built today and tomorrow we are heading down to the site to mark out where each of the units is going to be and finalise electrics and water points.

Also chased up our Permission to Brew status with customs and excise this morning. The good news is we have it, the bad news is that it has not arrived in the post. Apparently it was sent to the unit, but there appears to be some confusion over the address so hopefully this will not be an issue.

19th October 2010

Spent an hour with the local Environmental Health person today at the unit. Overall, we are pretty much okay and just need to make a few adjustments:

  1. Additional sink outside of the toilet area.
  2. Additional door between the toilet and main work area (needs at least 2 doors).
  3. Hot water in the hand wash sinks.
  4. Ceiling repainting.
  5. Walls repainting.
  6. HCAAP filling in.
  7. Then we will have another check once we are actually brewing and based on that assessment the review period will be set.

3rd November 2010

The floor was not completed on Friday, but will hopefully be down this weekend so we can get the keys on Monday. Things are now piling up quite rapidly and now I must be in New York for 2 days the week the brew kit arrives.

8th November 2010

Very annoying as I’ve had to delay the delivery of the brew kit by a week. On the plus side, I’ve got some pictures of the unit now.

10th November 2010

Spent the last 4 days in York on David Smith’s brewing course which was informative and useful. Being away however meant that Caroline has had the difficult task of juggling the children and coordinating the brew kit, floor, electrics etc. and done an excellent job. The floor is now pretty much complete and the bottles that arrived have been stored in an adjacent unit and the brew kit is due to arrive on the 23rd of November now.

The course has given me a couple of new ideas for the layout of the unit, which I will now have time to make.

21st November 2010

I got access to the site that the brewery is going to be installed in today for the first time in a couple of weeks. We spent a few hours installing an internal door within the already very small toilet in order to meet regulations. Once I got a bit of time to just pace around the unit, it all suddenly became very real! Despite the amount of planning and the general frustrations of setting up a new venture, it had been feeling rather abstract. But today the floor was down, electrics installed, casks and bottles in the unit and it suddenly felt tangible.

This week is going to be exceptionally busy; the brew kit arrives in 48 hours along with the yeast, hops, grain and various other consumables. Just need to get the utilities switched over to us and then we can start brewing.

24th November 2010

Brewery installed!

25th November 2010

I did another full wet run this morning after fixing a couple of weeping joints and to get familiar with the equipment. Just waiting on a delivery from Murphy & Son then I brew… bloody freezing though! Maybe not the best time of year to start, but I’m sure the humping of sacks and digging out will keep me warm enough.

4th December 2010

Well, I’ve had the kit for almost 2 weeks now and have done 2 brews. The 1st was an unmitigated disaster which with hindsight could have been rescued but in the heat of the moment could not see the wood for the trees and ended up losing 500 litres of beer… so not a great start.

The 2nd brew went considerably smoother and will be racked tomorrow. The only slight issue was the fermentation temp as I stupidly assumed the issue would be keeping it warm enough in the weather we have been having, but the opposite proved to be true as those FVs are very well insulated!

So tomorrow I’m going to be brewing Smokeless; my chipotle infused smoked porter (assuming I can work out how to scale the chipotles correctly).

Some of the many minor issues I’ve had so far:

  1. Being let down by the farmer who was going to take the grain off me.
  2. Water supply being cut.
  3. Banging my head into the auger whilst digging out the mash tun, resulting in lots of blood and appropriate swearing.

5th December 2010

Thankfully, I had help at the brewery today which made everything a lot easier and quicker. We managed to cask one brew (Directionless) and brew Feckless. Was going to brew Smokeless but realised the smoked malt had not arrived so that beer will wait until Thursday. All in all a good day!

Now that I’ve started to get a feel for the equipment (Mark from ESF did a fantastic job), I’m probably going to brew a full 6 brls of Smokeless rather than the 3 brl I’ve been doing whilst fumbling around.