At 2am this morning, Bristol Beer Factory managing director Simon Bartlett was due to begin mashing the 1000th brew created at the Bristol Beer Factory brewery in Ashton. To celebrate this historic occasion, a very special beer will be brewed over the course of an arduous 20-hour process today.
Bristol Vintage 2011 is the brewery’s first attempt at a vintage ale, a strong, rich style of beer that can be aged to develop flavours and complexity over many months or years.
The beer will be a strong one, around seven per cent, and will require three brews in one day to produce the amount of beer needed. A brew is marked every time a beer is made, although often two brews of the same beer happen in one day, which constitutes one brew number. In a normal week, five brew numbers are scored.
After Simon begins the mashing early this morning, the process will be taken over by brewers Chris Kay and Brett Ellis, who will continue to work through the day, with the brewing concluding at 10pm this evening.
Bristol Vintage 2011 will be a complex beer, a red ale with a malty backbone, using four varieties of English malt, from Warminster Maltings, and four of the brewery’s favourite hop varieties from England, Germany, America and New Zealand. The beer will be then be aged on fresh English oak staves.
“It will be a beer that will be fantastic to drink fresh when the hop character will come shining through or to be aged for months or even years to allow the malt flavours to develop and mature,” says Bristol Beer Factory sales supremo Andrew Cooper.
“I brewed the first beer about seven years ago,” Simon says before commencing his early shift. “It has been a labour of love over the 999 beers and I can’t wait to see how our first vintage ale tastes.”