Slightly animist title for this post, but it is truly deserving given our first major equipment purchase is a 25hl foeder, or large oak fermenter. Maybe not the most sound decision by most breweries standards.. Then again, Crooked Stave is not the conventional brewery so to us it’s the best first piece of equipment that we could welcome into our family and further pursue our quest to produce beers of creativity and passion. The 25hl foeder was shipped from Napa this past week where it was previously used for only 3 years to ferment and age white wine. Commissioned in 2007 and custom produced by Tonnellerie Radoux, it is made completely of French oak and has stainless steel coils on the inside for temperature controlled cooling allowing for precision fermentations to take place inside the walls of her gorgeous oak staves. I’m not really sure if it is a female as I haven’t named it yet but something so beautiful must surely be a female.. right?
I spent the majority of Tuesday trying to position the foeder in just the right place so visitors to Funkwerks brewery will have a great first glance through the glass windows which look into the brewery space. Not far from the rest of Crooked Staves barrels which rest peacefully in the Barrel Cellar, our foeder should feel at home with others of her kind. The rest of Tuesday was spent on the phone getting parts arranged and ordered. If everything works right all parts should be in on Friday, at which time I’ll get the foeder online with the glycol system and temperature controllers and then check for leaks by filling her up and swelling all the staves. If all that goes through.. It will be time to fill her.. Batch #4 will hopefully be brewed this coming Saturday and we’ll be commissioning our new foeder with a 15 bbl batch of a Belgian specialty beer brewed exclusively for Euclid Hall.
I’d love to spill all the details on this specialty brew which looks like it will be our first commercial release, but I’ll hold off till all the pieces are in place and the brew is in the fermenter. Until.. enjoy some photos of our new foeder.