1648 Brewery occupies a portion of The King’s Head pub in the East Sussex
village of East Hoathly. The co-owners, David Seabrook (Brewer) and Robert Wallace
(Landlord of The King’s Head) decided to set up the brewery after a chance
conversation one March day in 2002.
begins – The one-time glory hole for the pub is cleared, washed and
scrubbed down, the floor concreted and the ceilings and two plasterboard walls
over-sheeted with moisture resistant board.
The Brewing Room:
tubes of gap-filler later and the anti-bacterial/fungicidal paint is applied to
the walls whilst heavy duty paint covers the concrete. The electricians and
complete their work and the
for the first brew!
Head brewer David Seabrook at work in the brewery
Above the brewing room
is the malt store and grist hopper. The hopper holds the cracked, malted barley
(Grist) and controls its flow into the Mash Tun.
The Mash Tun:
The grist is gravity fed
into the Mash Tun which is situated directly below the hopper. Before it enters
the Mash Tun the grist flows through a pre-masher where it is sprayed with hot
water (liquor). The brewer will carefully control the flow of water through the
pre-masher to achieve a thick porridge mix in the Mash Tun. During the next hour
the starch in the grist is released to provide the fermentable brewing sugars
required. The resulting liquid (Wort) is run off slowly from the base of the
Mash Tun into the Underback. As the Wort is being drained from the Mash Tun the
mash is gently sprayed (Sparged) with hot water. This ensures all the sugars are
rinsed from the mash.
A small open topped vessel that allows the brewer to visually control the flow from the Mash Tun, and to check the colour and clarity of the Wort. During the sparging operation the Wort is flowing out of the Mash Tun, into the Underback and then into the Copper in one continuous stream. Controlling the flow rate of the sparge water and the flow of the Wort keeps the brewer busy for an hour or so.
As the copper slowly
fills, the Wort is brought to the boil. It is at this stage that the hops are
added. Hops can be added before (determines bitterness), during and right at the
end (aroma hops) of the boil as required. It is during this boil time, lasting
one hour, that the hop resins and oils are infused by the Wort. At the end of
the boil the hot Wort is transferred to the fermenting vessel via a heat
exchanger, which drastically cools the Wort from boiling point to a temperature
that the yeast will be able to work at. The proportion of fermentable solids to
water is measured (original gravity) and recorded for excise purposes.
The Fermentation Vessel
Fermentation begins when
the yeast is pitched into the cooled Wort. The yeast converts the fermentable
sugars into alcohol. For the next three to four days the fermentation continues,
during which time the brewer controls the temperature carefully as this plays a
critical part in the nature of the final product. When fermentation is judged to
have reached the appropriate point, the beer is chilled to 8 degrees C to arrest
the fermentation process. The final gravity is measured and the ABV (alcohol by
volume) calculated. The casks are then prepared for racking.
Racking and Conditioning: The casks are sterilized and rinsed ready to be filled from the Fermenting Vessel. This process, know as racking, requires as much care and attention as do the other processes. A careful distribution of the beer amongst the casks ensures a consistency vital to producing a reliable, good beer. When full the casks are sealed and placed in the brewery's cold room for a minimum of one week. During this time the beer matures allowing the full flavour to develop. It is now ready for delivery to the pub where secondary fermentation takes place after being spiled a day or more before use.
I have just outlined the
process for interest. Needless to say the quantities and proportions of the
ingredients used all have a bearing on the end product, as do the timings and
temperatures at each stage. The above process, from mashing-in the malted barley
to delivery to the pub, takes a minimum of two weeks.
To go into the detail and intricacies of our process would fill several
Ingredients: U.K. Malted Barley, Hops and Yeast sourced from local suppliers, and of course
South Downs water. Also local hops from Burwash used in some beers.
Capacity: 4.25 Barrel brew length. Each brew produces 4.25 Barrels = 17 Firkins = 153 Gallons = 1224 Pints = 707 Litres
Capable of brewing four times a week = 17 Barrels a week.
Products: Ruby Mild 3.6% abv
Hop Pocket 3.7% abv
Festivale 30 3.8% abv
Brew Master 3.9% abv
Triple Champion 4.0% abv
Declaration Ale 4.1% abv
Armistice Ale 4.2% abv
Lammas 4.2% abv
Ginger Nol 4.2% abv
Three Threads 4.3% abv
Signature 4.4% abv
Saint George 4.5% abv
Bee Head 4.6% abv
Smokey Nol 4.7% abv
Winter Warrant 4.8% abv
Gold Angel 5.0% abv
Merchandise: Beer Mats, Pump Clips, Pint Glasses & Polo Shirts.
Availability: The King’s Head, Guest
Ale in surrounding pubs, trade and private