The Oxford Brewers Group held a return visit to the Wychwood Brewery in Witney on the 25th April. It had been some time in the organising, but well worth the wait.
We had requested a brewer show us round, and we were graced with the presence of both the head brewer and second brewer. Dave, the brewer was a little nervous about touring a group of fellow brewers, and whether the questions we may ask would put him on the spot a bit, but it proved to be enjoyable for all concerned.
It was interesting to see a 150bbl brewery, and understanding some of the complications that dealing with 5 tons of malt per brew can generate (like 3 hours to run off from the end of a 1 hour mash!, and getting rid of 5 tons of now wet malt).
A few interesting points that cropped up were;
- They do not use Maris Otter malt as their pale malt, preferring the likes of Perle (which when buying tons at a time probably makes a noticeable difference in price). They limit themselves to just 150L crystal, chocolate malt and black malt and all beers are made from these.
- From a hopping point of view, they have a bittering addition and an aroma addition. With the aroma addition at the time of the wort being moved to a different vessel for whirlpooling and cooling.
- They don’t cask or bottle on site in Witney anymore. Since coming under Marston’s control everything is put in a tanker and sent to Burton for packaging (if you saw the entry road you could understand why they don’t want to have big lorries up and down there on a regular basis!)
- They do have a variety of hops that they make use of, more hop varieties than malt. Celicia being one that was noted on the walk around.