In the summer of 2018, after investment from Heineken, the brewing operation of Brixton Brewery opened in a facility that has seen capacity rise from 300,000 to 1.5 million litres a year.
Lead brewer, Alberto Iglesias, said: “With a rise in demand there comes a commitment to enhance efficiency; we didn’t relocate to simply produce more beer, we wanted to improve our processes.
“Among the methods we have long thought would influence this factor was better dry hopping. There were a number of issues with our previous method. For instance, we would add hops at the end of the fermentation process, so we couldn’t re-use the yeast — it was still in suspension.
“We knew that investing in a dry-hopping system such as the Hoptimiser would save a lot of money and improve beer quality — a win win!”
After investigating the market for a suitable solution, and viewing a Hoptimiser dry hopping system in action at fellow London brewery, Beavertown, Brixton Brewery began a two-month trial with a DH45 from Hoptimiser, a Torqueflow-Sydex brand. A full testing process was completed, including the re-use of yeast.
Alberto said: “The thinking was that we could save money in yeast and add even more quality to our beers. Such was its success that in September 2019 we invested in a Hoptimiser DH90 with 40kg capacity.”
In terms of the new process, the beer is brewed and fermented normally, before the temperature is altered as part of a controlled procedure. For example, a typical beer at Brixton Brewery is fermented at 20°C, raising the temperature to 22°C at the end of the fermentation for diacetyl rest and to speed up the last phase of the fermentation.
Once the gravity is stable, the temperature is reduced to 15°C for two days. This drop of 7°C makes the yeast flocculate. The yeast is then harvested for use in the next batch of beer, at which point the dry-hopping process can commence with the Hoptimiser DH90.