RogerBW's Blog

Camden Town Brewery Tour, May 2014 12 May 2014

Last Saturday I went with some friends to tour the Camden Town Brewery. (Images follow; all are cc-by-sa.)

Control panelMore control panel Even more control panel

The control panel, mounted on the mash tun. This is the first brewery tour I've been on where they had significant computerisation (as opposed to 1970s-style process control electronics). The place was only founded in 2010, which probably helps. Each valve and pump is controllable from the touch-screen.

Hop pellets

Some hop pellets. They mostly use Cascade hops, apparently because they had trouble getting reliable supplies of normal British hops.

Mash tun

The top of the mash tun, with a sight-glass. There were quite a few sighting points around the plant, again unusual in my experience but it makes sense to me.

Grain is milled on site, generally within a few hours of brewing, to minimise oxidation.

Lauter tunMore lauter tun Lauter tun controls

The lauter tun, and our guide. Valve solenoids are clearly visible. This was some of the oldest-looking pipework in the place.

Fermenters

The fermenting vessels. This section is pretty cramped; these are 6,000l vessels, and there are 12,000l tanks outside. They can only boil up 2,000l of wort at a time, so filling one of the big tanks can take a day's worth of brewing the same thing.

They're planning to build a second and larger brewery, still within Camden, which will probably take the lager work, while this one will be for ales.

Fermenters

The base of the fermenters; since they often use bottom-fermenting yeast, this shape helps the yeast collect together and stir itself up with its carbon dioxide output.

Filter press

A filter press; these are filled with diatomaceous earth and used for lager-style beers.

Centrifuge

The new centrifuge, which is being used to clear some brews without the need for filtering.

Beer hose

Two of the many beer hoses that were lying about the place. Note the 10 bar maximum pressure. Apparently being sprayed with beer isn't as bad as being sprayed with yeast.

Hop back

The hopback, used for particularly hoppy beers (something of a house style).

Bottling plantBottling plant

The bottling plant. Most of their output is keg, but they also bottle and even can.

One-use keg

These one-shot kegs are used for long-distance beer sales (e.g. to Japan). They cost about £1 each as opposed to the £60-odd of a normal keg, even though the latter can be used around 300 times.

Canning plantCanning plant

The canning plant. Note strip of can-lids left of centre.

Beermat

In the brewery tap (open Thursdays to Sundays).


  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 10:57am on 12 May 2014

    What does cc-by-sa mean? I'm assuming it's something to do with copyright but I can't decode the full meaning. sa isn't your initials.

    By the way, which camera did you take these with? They look pretty good.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 11:19am on 12 May 2014

    Creative Commons licence: broadly, you are allowed to copy and reuse this material for any purpose, including commercial use, as long as (a) you give credit and (b) any work using it is also CC-licenced. I've amended the text to include the link.

    I used the Powershot A1300 for everything here (see the usual comments about the not-so-good camera in your pocket being better than the good camera that you left at home). I was particularly impressed with its close-up capability (that picture of the hop pellets in my palm). My only real problem with it is that it's hard to hold it stable when shooting with long exposures. The first two control panel photos were at 1/25s, the last at 1/40s, and there's visible blurring at full resolution, whereas with a big heavy SLR I'd expect to be able to shoot 1/30s with no visible shake. I suspect that what I'd really like is a capacitance-controlled shutter: press and release a button to pre-focus, touch the shutter pad to shoot.

  3. Posted by Owen Smith at 10:06pm on 12 May 2014

    I was expecting you to say these were shot with your Pentax K10D, they look a lot better to me than the photos in the woods you posted previously. Not sure now why that should be.

    If I want a camera in my pocket I'll try my Olympus E-M10 with the collapsing Panasonic 12-32mm lens. The main problem is the neck strap, it's hard to fold one of those into your pocket. I could try a wrist strap, but the neck strap is quite an art of origami to get off the camera.

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