The shelves were pretty bare in the shop where the Russian dolls were on sale. It was
The other week a Russian Doll came back to haunt me. Brendan drew up outside my house with a trailer carrying some brewing kit. Out jumped Edoardo, our younger Italian brewing friend and we hugged. Before I knew it, Brendan was assembling a line of little wooden dolls on the brewing kit in the trailer. “It’s a Russian Doll”, he said, “And so it this”. There on the trailer was a fiendish looking contraption of stainless steel and plastic piping. In the back of the pick-up was a fermenter. This was the brew kit for I had been waiting so long. Well actually, it wasn't really my brew kit at all. It was just a temporary measure to get me brewing at Poppyland Brewery, just in the nick of time for Christmas. It was Friday 2 November. “ I'll get a move on now with your own brewing vessels”, he promised. “ They've got a good welder at the engineering works now”. It was exactly two years since I first met Brendan and told him I harboured a desire to become a brewer.
The Russian Doll brew kit was hauled into the brewery and assembled. The gantry was attached, the electrics checked over and the thing was plumbed-in. I had all the ingredients and a recipe in mind, so we were ready to go. The next day
Edo and I brewed what I
thought was going to be Winston’s Temper, but actually it is now called
Smokehouse Porter (see another blog for the explanation).
The Russian Doll is a very clever design for a portable brewery, very space-saving and self-contained. It has three vessels – a 1.5 barrel mash tun, a copper and a hot liquor tank and as you may have guessed they fit one inside another. The copper is a permanent fixture in the centre and surrounding it, in the space between the circular copper and the rectangular outer body shell is the hot liquor tank. The mash tun is suspended by a wire and can be wound up and down the gantry with a winding handle. At one end is a control panel with electrics, numerous valve controls, and slung underneath a numerous bits of plumbing, a pump and a heat exchanger. Liquids can be moved from anywhere to anywhere, either for cleaning or for brewing. All it needs is connection to the mains water and electricity and you are in business. I have been getting to know its intricacies as I have brewed in it with
Edo and cleaned
it afterwards. I look forward to brewing solo quite soon.