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We started brewing in February 2009 in the old loading bay of the former Tolly Cobbold Brewery in Ipswich on the Cliff Quay. The Tolly Brewery is located in the heart of the industrial dock area of Ipswich, and is a hugely historic site with brewing being carried out here since the 170’s.
The rest of the brewery was due to be redeveloped but due to the dire state of the economy and property in particular the start date went further and further back. At the same time as opening the brewery we took on the lease of the Brewery tap, this is now run very successfully by Mike and George Kean, as a separate business, but they are very supportive of our beers, and are proud of the link to the brewery.
By 2012 it was becoming obvious that the old loading bay we were located in, which was not part of the Victorian brewery, was coming to the end of its natural life. So we took the reluctant decision to relocate. After much hard looking, we found a site in Debenham not far from our sister brewery in Earl Soham . This new site makes it much more logistical sense, so now we spend more time brewing and less time shuffling through the traffic between the 2 site.
The brewery’s connection with the Tolly Cobbold site, adjacent to the Brewery Tap pub, may be revived as part of a £30 million proposal to redevelop the area with a hotel, flats, gym and supermarket.
We have been involved with discussions with the owners of the site, Cliff Quay Developments Ltd, about the possibility of setting up a nano brewery within the original Victorian building, supplying the Brewery Tap and a small number of local free houses , but we need fairly quickly to find a new site.
So we have now moved in to our new home, and have been brewing here since August 2012. In addition to the brewery we have our offices located in a separate unit on the industrial estate and also a shop.
We are proud of our products. We select our materials to give the best flavour and quality. We hope that you enjoy discovering the beers that we brew.
Malt, hops, yeast and water, sometimes we add a little sugar too, that’s what we make our beers from. Nothing complicated, all natural, and beer is good for you! Malted barley is the basis of all good beer. All of our beers start with pale malt. Malting is the process of soaking barley grains in water, so that they start to grow. The water is drained off and the germination continues. After about 5 days the malster dries the grains in a kiln. We use malted barley because the malting process releases the sugars in the grain so that we can dissolve them in hot water. We are very lucky because the brewery is in close to the best barley growing land in the UK.
For a pale beer just pale malt will do, but for other beers, we use crystal malt that has been stewed first before drying, or roasted malts that have been roasted after they have been first dried. Brown, amber, chocolate and black malt all add a dry biscuit flavour with the darker ones adding a roasted flavour too. If we’re making a stout then in goes some roasted barley, and some beers we may add some malted wheat or rye. A whole pallet of different flavours from which to paint our malty picture.
The brewing days starts with mixing the malt with hot water, for every 1kg of malt we use 2.5litres of water and are looking for a temperature of 66 degrees centigrade.
The mash stands for an hour and then we draw off the sweet sugary liquid called wort. As we draw this off we wash the and remaining sugar out of the mash by spraying it with hot water, a process called sparging.
The liquid we have now looks like beer, but if you taste it is just pure sweetness. So the next stage is to add some bitterness. This comes from the hops. We add hops to gives us bitterness, a hop flavour and aroma to our beer. We select our hops for the flavour and aroma, and use varieties from all over the world. The boiling process extracts the bitterness and flavour from the hops, but also drives off some of the hoppy aroma so at the end of the boil we add more hops to put back some of the aroma.
Now we have a beery looking liquid that is very sweet very bitter and very hot, so we cool the beer down using a heat exchanger, and add the brewers friend yeast. Yeasts are single cell fungi we grow in the beer, converting the sugar to alcohol, water and carbon dioxide. After about 4 or five days the yeast has fermented almost all of the simple sugars in the brew and we cool the beer down. At the same time we scoop off the yeast from the top of the beer and save it for the next brew.
After 2 or three days cooling we transfer the beer to a tank for a further period of settling and conditioning and then we rack it into metal casks. At this point we add another natural product called finings. This is made traditionally from the swim bladders of fish, and helps the beer to become clear and bright. The beer is now ready to deliver to the pub. The landlord will store the beer and look after it to deliver to you across the bar a sparkling natural, flavoursome pint.