Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Session Beers Are Only Part of the Plan

Between many meetings and occupancy negotiations, I was able to sneak in a brewday last week. The beer - a massively strong blond farmhouse ale for my brother's wedding anniversary - is still fermenting at a moderate pace. If the beer turns out to my liking, i.e. dry as hell with subtle saison-like flavors, I may use it as the base of my Grand Cru. Here are some pictures of the brewing process.

A 1.1-gallon yeast starter:

My mash tun capacity limited the total batch size to 4.5 gallons:

First wort hops:

An unreadable pre-boil gravity of 1.091 (after temperature correction):

It was only 0.003 below my target, which is pretty close for such a strong beer. It means the lautering efficiency curve in my recipe spreadsheet is valid near the upper end.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Yeast vs. pH

I bottled my sour red ale last month. Forgetting that low pH inhibits most brewers' yeasts, I pitched some into the year-old beer beforehand. Two weeks later, the beer was tasty but dead flat. Hopefully the souring microorganisms will consume the aftermath of the impending yeast autolysis, benefiting from the extra nutrition as they carbonate the beer at a leisurely pace. I plan to crack open the next bottle in about five months.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vague Good News

Jane and I have found a bank that's willing to apply for an SBA guaranty on our behalf. Before we can submit the application, we'll probably need to provide the following information:

-Location. We've chosen a space and are in the process of negotiating our occupancy, but securing a building with financing contingencies is tricky business.
-Detailed estimates of construction costs. We're currently using a ballpark dollar per square foot number, but the SBA will likely want to see an itemized list based on a specific location. I recently met with a construction manager and learned that it can be done much faster than I expected.
-Accountant's contact info. I figured we'd retain an accountant when we're ready to select the pub's bookkeeping and point of sale systems, but we may have to do it sooner. I know who I'd like to hire, but I need to make sure that Jane agrees.
-Insurance (physical damage and fire) on loan collateral. Hopefully some of the pub's assets will suffice for collateral. After all, the SBA could provide a guaranty for up to 90% of the loan's value. The potential problem is that the pub won't have any assets until we receive a loan. Will an insurance estimate on future assets suffice? We hope so!

There's a lot more, but we already know most of it. Our past diligence is paying off.