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Brew Day @ Schwartz's Brewery

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black_labb

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I was lucky enough to pick up beer of show at the Castle Hill comp this year and the prize was a brewday at Schwartz's brew pub. After getting in contact with head brewer Michael we decided on a date for me to focus my excitement. I was told to be prepared to shovel grain and get dirty. Excellent.

I went along and was let in by Andrew who was doing the brewing that day. He introduced me to Michael in person who had a lot to do. Schwartz's have just launched their new brand "Sydney Brewery" and I could tell that there was a lot of buzz with people getting things done.

Michael left Andrew and I to get to work brewing 1000L of porter. I gave the mash tun a quick inspection before Andrew opened the valve and started to fill it with the strike water. Once full I was given the option of stirring the mash or pouring the crushed grain in. I decided to add the grain while Andrew wielded the mash/canoe paddle.

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Andrew going for a paddle

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Mashing


After that process we measured the mash temp and found we were 2 degrees lower than we wanted so we added some extra water from the HLT @92 degrees which got us closer to the prescribed mash temp. This was the first of many times where it was obvious that consistency between the brews are very important. This is quite different from my brewing. I'm pretty relaxed about hitting numbers as I'm always inventing recipes. Sometimes my beers are a hit like the beer that got me here, sometimes they are a miss.

During the mash we did some jobs like sanitise transfer lines, fill kegs and take readings on other brews. I found it interesting that they monitored the pH of beers as they fermented; another way to monitor consistency. During the boil we found we were a bit over gravity and watered down the wort with water from the HLT.

While the wort was coming up to boil I went upstairs and grabbed Lunch; a rump steak with salad, chips and decided to grab their porter so that I knew what we were brewing. Perfect pub lunch and the porter suited it very well. The porter was very nice though I think I spent too much time relating the flavours to the recipe and process and not enough enjoying such a nice porter.

After Lunch I quickly joined in on listening to a talk Michael was doing about the brewery as part of a tour. He did a good job keeping the people on the tour interested despite most of them not being craft drinkers from what I could tell. I overheard someone ask if the pale ale was a cider because it smelled fruity which made me smile.

I got back down to the brewery and the boil was on. I added another big lot of hops just before starting the transfer through the chiller. They also injected oxygen just after the chiller as wort gets very hard to oxygenate when brewing larger quantities. During the transfer it was time to empty the mash tun. I was given a shovel and quite a few wheelie bins and got to work. This was hot work as the mash was still hot and steamy. Once cleared I started into it with a hose. While doing this Andrew added the yeast, which was a dry yeast for this brew, though they use liquid yeasts for some of their brews. I meant to ask how they ended up with large enough quantities of the yeast for 1000L when using the liquid but I forgot.

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A bit of shoveling to do

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Me smiling like an idiot with alot of hops in my hand

After everything was finished Michael came down and the three of us shared the black IPA I had won the comp with and chatted about brewing. They invited me to come by another time to have another beer with them sometime when they are not so busy and organised a couple beers for me at the bar. Andrew gave me a kg of Saaz hops as the seal was ruptured and they may go cheesy he said. They smelled absolutely beautiful and I looked at him like he was silly before putting them in my bag before he changed his mind. Thanks Andrew!

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The kettle (left) and mash tun (right)

I thanked them for the great day and went up to the bar to try some samples of some of the different beers. I had a good chat with the guy serving at the bar. I tried some of their beers that I had not tried before. They had an australian spiced saison seasonal on tap that had bush tomato and a few other things (possibly lemongrass or basil???). Very interesting and enjoyable. Their main range of beers were all great quality and very enjoyable.

I look forward to catching up with them again.

A big thanks to Michael and Andrew for the brewday and of course a huge thanks to Stuart for organising the Castle Hill Show competition.
 

Plastic Man

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Black Labb - great post. Thanks for taking the time to do this. Very jealous as well. I toured Schwartz a few years ago when Sam Fuss was head brewer. She was fermenting a Pale Ale that was being dry hopped with heaps of cascade cones. She let me get up on the ladder and give all those lovely hops a big stir with a paddle. Was the highlight of my brewing year !!

Thanks again - Richard.
 

Lakey

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Bravo mate! :beerbang: Im so jealous right now!
 

black_labb

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Thanks everyone. Was great to be part of the brewing and see it all done on a bigger scale.
 

Dan Pratt

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that sure does make winning at show inspiring.
 

Stuster

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Glad you had a good day there, though with Michael there I pretty much knew they'd make sure it was. You deserved it for a really good beer though. :)
 

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