Tag Archives: fresh

Forked River Brewing Visit

Finally! A craft brewery in London!

I drive back and forth to London frequently in order to play with Orchestra London and teach at UWO and one thing that has been missing for a long time is a craft brewery. London has long been the home of Labatt, which I drive by on my way to UWO, but it has been a while since there has been a real bona fide craft brewer in town.

I was able to get an insider’s view of the brewery when I contacted Dave Reed, one of the brewers at Forked River. He was very kind to take a chunk of time out of his busy day to show me around the brewery and talk shop with me. I know how busy brewers can be and I felt honoured that he took so much time to spend chatting with me about the general operations in the brew house.



The brewery is very small, as you can see in the photo. It kind of caught me off guard to be honest. For some reason I was expecting something larger. That said, it’s perfectly suited to the space and to their current brewing plans. There also seems to be a fair bit of potential for expansion within the square footage that they occupy.

More tanks!

More tanks!

The thing that struck me most about the visit was that their set up is very much like a glorified home brewery. I want to state that there is nothing wrong with that at all, in fact, I found it quite simple and very common sense. They don’t filter, they just cold crash, like many home brewers. Carbonation is done over days, not hours. The MLT/BK/HLT are all just like a home brew set up. The boil kettle and hot liquor tank especially with them both being direct fired. They just seemed like glorified converted kegs!

Dave in action.

Dave in action.

Now the beer… I tried a sample of their Riptide Rye straight from the bright beer tank and it was excellent! I been withholding judgement on rye beers but Cameron’s Rye PA and this excellent example of the style have sold me on using rye in my own brewing. I will definitely be trying a rye beer in the near future.

I also tried a sample of their Capital Blonde Ale at the sample bar and found it to be quite enjoyable. I like the hop presence in both their beers and both beers are also VERY clean finishing which I do appreciate. I ended up buying a growler of the Capital Blonde and my wife and I quite enjoyed a few glasses of it.

There was their newest seasonal that had just started fermenting. I can’t say what it is but it does sound terrific and I’m sure word will get out quickly. I will certainly be trying a bottle of it myself if I can get my hands on some. I have no doubt that future seasonals will be equally interesting.

Dave and my growler.

Dave and my growler.

Dave was super kind to show me around the brewery during “off hours” and I do appreciate it. I look forward to stopping by to refill my growler on my frequent trips to and from London. Of course I invited him to Grand River Brewing when he has a chance but a start up brewery is a busy place. I’ll keep you posted.


Done with filtration

Well, I took another stab at filtration. This time before running the beer through the filter I decided to try it with just water. I used boiled and cooled water to soak the pads in, assembled the filter and cycled the boiled/cooled water through the entire system. Tasted the water at first pass and got all the soapy goodness from the last time I used the unit. Let it run to flush through the pads and tasted again. Same.

These were new, in-package pads designed specifically for the filter. At $2.99 for a set I’m definitely done with using the unit for filtration and will only use it for transfers as I can bypass the filter pad/plate section.

It’s a bit of a drag but no huge loss. I have a fridge for cold crashing and I use gel in addition. It just would have been nice to filter the beer on the way into the keg saving a day or so of gel/cold crash.

Oh well.

My “Happy Pils” and a chocolate oatmeal stout called “One Stout Named MO”. It’s what’s on tap…

Partigyle Epicosity

My often brewing partner, Scott, had a get together a while back where he invited five other brewers to his place for a brew day. He had made a plan for a partigyle brew day for six brewers where we each end up with five gallons of beer for take home.

Following the link above will take you to an article about partigyle brewing but, in short, it’s basically one big grain bill from which you get several different beers rather than one big beer. The first runnings will create a small volume of very strong beer and then the second runnings create a larger volume of smaller (lower gravity) beer. Scott had plans to take that one step further to create another volume of beer that would be a mild.

His plan was for five gallons of Barley Wine, ten gallons of IPA, and 15 gallons of mild. We almost made it. I think we fell short by five gallons of mild. Not bad, though.

This was probably one of the most complicated brew days I have participated in. I have done big brews on my own and quasi-partigyle brews as well but this is one that has been on the back burner for a while. Scott and I have discussed doing an “epic partigyle” for many months. He took that plan and ran with it on his own for the visiting brewers and organized the entire day. Aside from falling slightly short on the volume of mild it was a huge success!

Here are some pics from the day.

Bits and pieces…

Hop Harvest Time: It’s that time of year again! Sometime this week I’ll be harvesting my crop of Hallertauer hops from my hop bine out back. It’s hearty and has produced a decent crop despite the dry summer. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is the amount of work versus the amount of hops harvested. The two are inversely proportionate to an extreme! Commercial hop harvesters have machines to do the work but I’m not there yet.

Pumpkin Time: Scott and I will be brewing a pumpkin beer this year but I’ll be doing in time for Fall/Thanksgiving/October instead of last year which was in time for Christmas. Same recipe but this year I’ll be adding a touch of vanilla which has been soaked in The Balvenie for a few weeks. It’s already started so by the time the beer is ready to have it added there will be no waiting around. It will be added in secondary or to primary when fermentation is quite done.

Oktoberfest: My next solo brew will likely be an Oktoberfest-type beer. I’ll be using a mix of 2-row and Munich I along with my Hallertauer that I’ll be harvesting. It should be a decent malty brew in time for the fall. I do cheat a little bit in that I use an ale yeast (US-05) instead of a true lager yeast. I’ve done it before with lager styles and it’s worked fine. I’ve even submitted to competition and had the beer entered into the lager category with very favourable comments.

Bad Beer: Had a batch of my Citra Pale Ale that didn’t work out so well. Had that brewing blitz at the beginning of July where I did four batches in four days. It was warm that week and my basement fermentation temps were not great. The first batch I did that week I moderated the temperature with a swamp cooler, the other batches I didn’t bother. That one batch that got moderated turned out phenolic and clove-like. Definitely not to my liking. The other batches are just fine. Go figure.

Citra Pale Ale (the good one), it’s what’s on tap…

Another award?

I haven’t written in a while but I suppose I should update now with some fun news.

I entered a photo contest a little while back on facebook at the brewer’s pantry page and ended up winning the contest:


Always fun and the prize was a $30 gift card to spend at the store. I certainly have a few ideas for what I want!

Thanks to Brewer’s Pantry for the prize and I’m looking forward to some shopping tomorrow!


Two beers at opposite ends of the beery spectrum.

A couple of weeks ago I finally took some readings on an Imperial Stout that Scott and I brewed back on February 17. Our final gravity reading was 1.018 giving us an abv of 14.5%!! That’s the biggest beer I’ve brewed so far. It’s also remarkable because it was done with a regular ale yeast, US-05. We did use a starter but nothing special aside from that. This will be sitting for a while to age and mature and then kegged and bottled. Will definitely keep you updated as to how it tastes later. So far the samples are VERY tasty.

At the other end of the beer spectrum is my recent, and ongoing, project of 14 day ales. I started this at the end of last summer to see how quickly (and tastily) I could move a beer through my system. I started with a grain to glass benchmark of 14 days. That worked fine with a regular strength, basic ale. I have gradually backed that up to 12 days and most recently I pushed a pils through in 10 days.

One of the added challenges to the 14 day (now 10 day) mark is the carbonating of the beer. This one I was able to carb to a reasonable amount in six hours. That may be fodder for another post at some point. 😉

Granted this is no hop-bomb or high gravity double imperial eisbock but it sure gets the job done. If you’re looking for an easy drinking, tasty, back deck kind of beer, this one will work just fine.

Ten days for fermentation/clarifying/chilling and six hours for carbonation led me to name this one “10 ‘n 6 Pils”. I like the name.

Here is the recipe for those who are interested:

BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout – http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: 10 ‘n 6 Pils
Brewer: Peter Collins
Asst Brewer:
Style: Lite American Lager
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (30.0)

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 6.90 gal
Post Boil Volume: 6.15 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.60 gal
Estimated OG: 1.039 SG
Estimated Color: 2.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 20.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 81.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU
8 lbs 8.0 oz          Pilsner (Weyermann) (1.7 SRM)            Grain         1        100.0 %
1.00 oz               Hallertauer (Cambridge) [4.00 %] – First Hop           2        12.5 IBUs
0.50 Items            Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)        Fining        3        –
1.00 oz               Hallertauer (Cambridge) [4.00 %] – Boil  Hop           4        5.7 IBUs
1.00 oz               Hallertauer (Cambridge) [4.00 %] – Boil  Hop           5        2.3 IBUs
1.0 pkg               Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)  Yeast         6        –


Needless to say, this IS what’s on tap. Although I also have an Imperial IPA but I’m just trying to get through that keg to make room for a Citra Pale Ale. Ask Scott. 😉


The amazing weather we had last week had its desired effect:

A wonderful thing to see each spring.

A fresh crop of Hallertau for the year.