We work in a shed. We love sheds. We know lots of other people do too.
Here’s our new occasional series celebrating what other people get up to in their sheds.
Got a good shed? Let us know!
There is something quintessentially British about a shed, and the projects we tinker with in them. It seems like it’s part of our national psyche.
One of the most fascinating things is when the shed itself needs a little bit of work before you can get to work. And this is where our story begins…
Last Autumn I completed an MSc in Brewing and Distilling. I thought I would celebrate by building a brewery in my girlfriend’s granny’s old washhouse.
It had a few issues. The roof wasn’t the best:
There was no electricity and the inside had been damp for years.
Here it is, “cleaned out”:
The old, direct fired wash basin where granny washed her knickers:
(which would make a very rustic whisky still….. maybe a project for another day)
In a situation like this, it is time to get your dad in, get the boiler suits on and get that roof off.
A new set of timbers were procured from the local sawmill (lots of old guys in boiler suits, sucking of teeth, worn down pencils and a scary/funny incident with bits of wood flying off the roof rack):
Interestingly, the old roof was not actually attached to the building but was just resting on it. We fixed that. It is occasionally windy in Scotland.
Some new, more modern roof panels:
As a slight aside to the project, we needed somewhere to put my girlfriend’s things that used to live in the shed.
So, I built another shed:
This required procuring said shed, clearing an 8 foot high grotto of dense undergrowth (sadly disturbing a lovely hedgehog in the process), getting rid of all the undergrowth that came out, laying and levelling a base and then putting up the shed.
Back to the washhouse. You will remember I mentioned it was damp and had no electricity? Cue seven coats of horrible latex paint, a ring main and a light:
Gumtree provided a £60 kitchen and £10 sink:
A slight modification to the workbench – A mill to crush the grains. The grist falls into the cupboard below:
I built an extraction system for wort boiling evaporate consisting of a bathroom fan, tumble dryer tubing and the lid from a garden waste burner:
An outside light and some weatherproof sockets out the back as a wee thank you to my girlfriend:
As a certified scientist, no brewery of mine would be without a reference library:
Or an incubator for propagating microflora cultures:
One of the keys to making good beer is controlling your fermentation temperatures:
Your conditioning temperature (A.K.A The Beer Fridge):
Health and safety inspection passed:
And here it is, complete and ready to brew:
And here is how the beer making goes.
First the malt is ground:
Fermented and bottled:
And the end result:
My first beer from the brewery was a simple, yet great tasting Czech pilsner – surprisingly one of the hardest beers to get right.
And while I have some ideas about setting aside a decade to perfect the world’s greatest barley wine recipe, getting registered as the country’s smallest brewery and taproom (capacity: 1) with a zero growth and no commercial compromises strategy, for now I am just enjoying making and drinking beer in the shed.