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It’s been a busy 12 months for us at Burning Sky and things never happen as quickly in rural Sussex as we would sometimes like them to.

We managed to install and commission our new GAI canning line at the end of November – possibly the worst time to be doing a large project like that! This caused a few raised eyebrows from various people but to set the record straight, this is what’s occurring:

All of our fresh beers will be in cans, the only mixed fermentation beer that will be in can is ‘Petite Saison’, because at 3.5% alcohol, it really suits this format and after 6 months in oak, there will be no residual activity left from the yeasts to cause any further fermentation in the can.

As we are getting used to the canning line, the results are exceeding expectation – both in terms of demand for the beers and in terms of quality. Being a counter pressure, isobaric filler – the total dissolved oxygen in can is minimal and typically less than 30 parts per billion. Additionally, the screw pump we installed, to feed the line is so gentle to the beer, the resultant mouthfeel has a lovely softness to it.

Finally at the end of last year our new barrel store was completed. We can now dedicate more time and energy to these beers without interrupting production in the brewery. We’ve been pleased with what we have so far achieved with our mixed fermentation and spontaneous beers but this will allow us more focus. We have just installed two more refurbished Foudres direct from a tonnellerie in Cognac, that Mark visited last year.

The bottling line has been recommissioned in our new barrel store and has its own dedicated blending tank with mixer. Our ‘DNA’ beer – ‘Saison Provision’, will now return to its original format and will be bottle conditioned in 750ml  Champagne bottles at 6.7% ABV.

Our friends and preferred/ trusted contractors Gravity Systems have been working tirelessly the past ten days to move the brewhouse and all utilities around, including putting the hot and cold water tanks up on a reinforced mezzanine and re-piping them. This has been no mean feat and preliminary work was done whilst we were still brewing to ensure minimum disruption to ourselves.

The result not only allows us to put in three new fermentation vessels, it will allow for a better working environment for everyone on the brewing team. A ring main will feed the kegging plant and the canning line – no more hoses trailing across the floor, grist handling and milling will be done at floor level, cellaring will be uninterrupted, we won’t be tripping over each other – which, much as we all love one another, will make us happier.

Oh and if all that wasn’t enough, our man Luke who handles all of our warehousing inherits the old barrel store as a bigger and better cold storage unit. Which will make him happy – he’s been waiting patiently!

We just hope that you continue to enjoy our beers.

Photo courtesy of Matt Curtis.

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