Late in the afternoon on most Fridays at Inertia HQ, you can find many of the Inertia team gathered in the kitchen area enjoying a sip (or two ; ) of beer.
• Initially our Friday afternoon Beer O’Clock gatherings were all about trying different beer styles, discussing their taste profiles and having a laugh – all while decompressing from the serious business of product design.
• That was until last November when a few of the staff decided to start brewing their own beer to enjoy and include in Friday’s tastings.
• So far, IE+B (Inertia Engineering + Beer) has brewed 4 different styles: Belgian Blonde; Porter; New England IPA & a Sweet Stout.
Here’s a quick slideshow showing some of the behind-the-scenes brewing magic:
The kettle and turkey fryer set up on the loading dock!
Here's some of our grain in buckets, waiting to be milled in preparation for making beer.
Hops (left) and yeast (right) – ready to start brewing!
The boil, round 1 & 2: Here's Ethan (IE+D) and David (customer) tending to the boiling kettles on the loading dock.
Wort chilling, round 1: After the boil, the wort is chilled. The wort would be too hot and would kill the yeast if it was not brought down to room temperature.
Yeast Pitch, round 1: This is where the wort is decanted from the kettle to the carboy and the yeast is added.
Specific gravity measurement, round 2: Specific gravity of the wort is measured to determine how much sugar is in solution and estimate how much alcohol will end up in the beer once fermentation is complete.
Fermenting, round 1.1: Fermenting carboy equipped with a quick n dirty IOT temperature sensor so the temperature can be monitored remotely.
Fermenting, Round 1.2: The lonely carboy sits in the office, near the exterior wall, to keep the temperature stable and as low as possible. (without a temperature controlled fermenting chamber)
Bottling, Round 1: IE+B making it's way into bottles!
Round 1 Bottling Complete: The hard work is done. Now we wait for the beer to become carbonated as it bottle conditions.
Here's the gang on a Friday afternoon enjoying the hops and fruits of our labor.
Lukas (an engineer at Inertia) is one of the staff leading the brewing initiative. Here’s a little more insight from Lukas on how their first brew came to be:
What made you decide to create a Belgian Blonde as your first style?
For the first one specifically we didn’t want to do something super hoppy because of the relatively high cost of hops (in case things went wrong) and because big hoppy flavours could cover up sloppy brewing technique. We also thought it would be cool to be able to taste our version of a Belgian Blonde side by side with one that we could readily find at the LCBO.
How did you choose what style to brew first?
Since there are many different yeasts available for brewing and each is best suited to a particular style of beer, we made our choice by looking for a yeast strain that would be happy to ferment at the temperature of the office. We logged temperatures around the office to find somewhere with a cool, stable temperature. Once we knew the typical temperature, we looked at which strains of yeasts would be suitable, as we wanted to minimize any off flavours that can result from the yeast being outside of its comfort zone. This pointed us towards ale yeasts with somewhat higher fermentation temperatures and ultimately to the Belgian Blonde style we chose for the first brew.
Where did you get your recipe?
When it came time to brew, we followed a recipe for a Leffe Blonde clone that David (one of our customers) found online. He brewed side-by-side with us and walked us through using BeerSmith to set up the recipe for our brewing setup and emulate Antwerp tap water (Antwerp was the closest city to Leuven we could find a water profile for).
How did it turn out?
As it fermented, we used a temperature sensor to keep tabs on things. This one ended up slightly under carbonated (likely because we underestimated actual bottling volume), so it fell a bit flat compared to the real thing. We ended up putting it through the Bonne O (a beverage carbonation device that Inertia developed for a client) to increase the carbonation. This had a huge impact on the overall taste as it increased the depth of flavour by highlighting some of the more subdued notes, which ultimately made it much more interesting and closer to the real deal.
How have things changed since your first batch?
Subsequent batches have followed a similar process (measuring temperature, finding suitable yeasts and beer styles, monitoring fermentation temperature), but our recipes have evolved.
The porter was a recipe from David – a client of ours. The NEIPA was “inspired” by one of his recipes (used his grain bill as a starting point, made some changes, chose our own hopping schedule), and the sweet stout was created from scratch (did some reading to get an idea of typical malts and their ratios in the grain bill).
Which style has been your tastiest?
The consensus is that the New England IPA has been the tastiest to date.
Clearly the force is strong amongst Inertia’s band of renegade brewers. We’ll be sure to update you as they create more deliciousness from Inertia HQ.
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