Brewing liquid sunshine at Energized Work’s Brew Day 3
How does a company productise, socialise and create? Brewing beer of course…
Beers for all
At Energized Work, beer is part of our culture. As custodian of the crew beer fridge, my role is to ensure we always have new and interesting beers to taste and talk about. Beer is one of our pet passions with the #beer Slack channel being one of the most popular.
As keen product-makers, what better way to combine a pet passion with creating a physical product? Brewing beer is accessible for everyone and provides a brilliant cultural conversation point. It allows us to produce a tangible product and tell the story of our creative process and experience with others.
Summer party preparations
The focus of this brew day was a special one! Energized work are heading for Summer Camp very soon. For this we’re going to require suitable fuel! In light of this we chose to brew an American Amber, a hopped Saison, an Indian Pale Ale, a Bavarian Hefeweizen, and a good old Stout. Previously we’ve produced other types, but we need our favourites for the imminent trip away.
The simplicity of brewing
The basis of all beers starts with water, barley, hops, and yeast. Not things you will easily pick up in the grocery store, but they can be found without needing 10 hectares in the countryside to produce.
This was our third session in the London Beer Lab. They have a full brewery with 20-litre Braumeister brew kits they use to test out their own beer ideas. If they’re good they upscale to 2500-litre kit and run production for general sale. We use all five of the smaller kits for individual brews. We want to try out everything!
Picking our recipes
After the safety talk from the instructor, brew day starts with the recipes. Since we had our ideas ready, it was just a matter of talking through the possibilities and correcting previous or original recipes based on what’s at hand. Unless you’re a major international brewer the availability of specific grains and hops can be limited but our brew master adapted things given their extensive knowledge. Our brew master has his own microbrewery doing 200-litre brews in Streatham so we were extremely lucky.
What’s in our brew?
Barley is dried in different ways to create different beer flavours so we had to measure the perfect blend for our brews. It also contains our hops bill for both preservative hops and flavour hops. After a timed brewing process these grains are removed and leave behind the sugars that will create the flavour, body and colour of the beer.
Hop on it!
The beer is boiled for 60 minutes to preserve it. Aromatic hops are added in the last 15 minutes. Their hoppy goodness adds all the pine cone flavours. You’ll sometimes see hops like Chinook, Cascade, Nelson, Simco listed on the side of beers.
Buckets of beer
Then the brews are removed from the test kit and into their fermentation buckets. (Obligatory rude photo of decanting from the test kits into the fermentation vessel.)
The original gravity reading is taken from the finished product before it is left to ferment. This determines the starting point of possible alcohol level. This will be compared to the final gravity, after fermentation, giving the beer its advertised ABV (alcohol by volume.)
The last thing before they’re sealed up is adding yeast. Some are specific and some can be general dependent on the beer.
After this we have to leave our creations for between 2 and 4 weeks. In this time the yeast will eat up all the sugar available producing the alcohol in the final product. This time, rather than bottling up we’ll be transferring our brews into Kegs ready for Summer Camp!
All photo credits to Dan Nye.