With work I normally get to travel a lot but only ever really getting to see the inside of airports, a night in a dodgy hotel followed by 5 weeks on a boat, and home via at least 1 airport. So the news of a 4 week yard stay made a bit of a change. My first thoughts were oh great 4 weeks in Norway drinking Rigners at 10 quid a pint, my second though was Googe – craft beer Florø!
The result were all pretty much mentioning Kinn Bryggeri and soon after I found their web site Kinn Bryggeri and I am glad I did 🙂
I thought I would chance my arm and sent an email with the title – Hello from a homebrewer visiting Florø, asking if I could pop by and have a look round, and pretty soon after I got an email back from Tom the head brewery saying to give him a ring or text when I get to Florø. So having arrived in Florø I though I had better do some research so found what is basically their brewery tap Hjørnevikbua on the main street and started sampling the Kinn beers – all of which were very good.
Work looked to be getting a little quiet so I though it would be a good time to head to the brewery so texted Tom about coming over to visit – Tom replied saying – we are brewing Monday starting at 6am. Fantastic I thought, then realised I would have to be up at 4.30am to walk to the brewery (taxis are more expensive than beer in Norway), oh well never mind. 4.30am on a Monday morning, and being Florø it’s raining, so a nice early morning walk for an hour in the rain – top tip if ever you visit Florø bring water proofs this place makes the Lake District took arid!
When I got to the brewery they had just got the mash on – the beer being brewed was Dampen, which is along the lines California Common style of beer it’s brewed with a small amount of crystal to give it some toasty caramel notes, bitterer with Northern Brewer and finished with Centennial and Cascade (if memory serves), and fermented with a London yeast strain but fermented cold to really restrain any yeast derived flavors.
As always the brewhouse really interested me, for several reasons (and all of them good), the brewery is approximately 42HL (26barrels) and has been sourced from a verity of locations a lot of it second hand, but it has been put together extremely well by a group of people who really new what the wanted and the way they wanted it done.
Firstly they mill all of the grain on site seconds before it goes into the mash tun, and the grain and mill/hopper is locate in a separate room to the brewery/fermentation area.
The brewery is shown below, a large HLT on the far left, the mash tun on the right and boiler in the middle, The milled grain elevator comes through the wall into a hydrator (not shown), the liquor temperature is controlled via hot/cold control/mix valves and a temp probe in the hydrator. The mash tun has also been set up to circulate ensuring crystal clear wort is then transferred to the boiler.
The boiler although being electric has been set up to use pellets, very few breweries in Norway use whole flowers. The boiler has a shallow cone at the base along with various take off points, as well as a re circulation inlet and a whirlpool inlet. The elements are shaped to the wall of the vessel to enable a good whirlpool post boil to form as shown by the hop pellet cone below. What also surprised me was the speed the vessel got up to boil, it took just under an hour from when the sparge was finished. Normally it is quicker but one of the 7 elements was broken.
Once the boil and whirlpool was complete, the knockout was started through a massive plate chiller! Wort went into the fermenter at 17degC and hot water into the HLT at 95+degC. It is a 2 stage chiller but currently only one of the stages was being used.
O2 was injected at 20L per min for the full duration of the transfer to the fermenter – using the equipment shown below – the DO level has been checked with a DO meter and 20L per min gives the correct DO level.
Then for the really interesting bit – open fermentation, wort being transferred into the ferment is shown below. Yeast had previously been top cropped and was pitched.
And 24hours later it will look something like this! I am loving the open fermenters 🙂
The fermenting wort/beer will stay in the open fermenter for 4-5 days before being transferred to closed conditioning tanks in the main brewery area where it will stay for another week or so depending on dryhoping etc.
Unfortunately I did not get any pictures of the bottling line but again lots of thought had gone into its set up. The brewery also had 2 x heated conditioning rooms that were kept at 25degC to insure quick bottle conditioning. While there we tried a bottle of Dampen that was only bottled 5 days previously and it had carbonated well and tasted fantastic. We also tried one of their Christmas release beers which was superb – Solsnu, Its Kinn’s light Christmas beer and is of the Bière de Garde style.
What was also impressive was that the brew day started at 6am and was all finished by 2.30pm, this included cleaning several other vessels. In approximately 4 hours the bottling crew also bottled 30HL of beer. This was one of the most efficient brewdays I have witnessed in a craft brewery.
I would just like to thank Espen the Brewery owner for letting me spend the day at the brewery, and Tom the head brewery for showing me round – it was a fantastic way to spend the day in Florø. As always i took a couple of my own beers along and they seemed to go down well which is always good.