Champagne on the rocks Sept. 14th 08

  • Rebuilding the suspension bridge
    Pictures of Malcolm's 67th birthday trip which went wrong!

Carnival Time for us Boat People

  • DSC_0094
    This carnival takes place, early in each season, in Castelsarrasin

Family Falshaw

  • WP_20151223_024
    Varous holidays and visits

Family Falshaw

  • WP_20151223_024
    Varous holidays and visits

Lucie and Charlie on Holiday in Bezier

  • La petite sorcière
    Lucie's at Nini's house (Bezier) with Steve, Sophie and Charlie.

Carnival Time for us Boat People

  • DSC_0094
    This carnival takes place, early in each season, in Castelsarrasin

Champagne on the rocks Sept. 14th 08

  • Rebuilding the suspension bridge
    Pictures of Malcolm's 67th birthday trip which went wrong!

Beer making made simple on board Body and Soul


Please note; photos are to be added to the following text.

I have commissioned myself or any other family member who is willing to contribute - or to write a commentary on how this beer is made. Hopefully you will find it amusing and instructive especially if  planning home-brewing as a possible hobby (recommended!)

To understand the background to this task which was initially proposed by Skya (Yeatts-Walker) - just one of my (much loved) grand children - during one of many conversations using "whatsapp". Probably she became frustrated by my frequent  absence  from work - at  "The Lock-Inn Brewery"  not fifty yards upstream of Body and Soul, moored on the Canal de Ille et Rance at Quai NO: 6 in the town of Evran, France.

This hobby is firstly an indulgence of my friend Paul McDonnell who, having found  a fellow enthusiastic brewer with some valuable experience like mine, decided to build a bespoke wooden cabin for a brewery in the grounds of his wife's lovely, recently acquired, cottage in the port of Evran.  My role in this partnership idea was for him to learn from me how to make English Ale with the equipment he was to buy for his brewery and with my varied experience as a semi-professional brewer. 

The whole project was off the ground within a few months of its inception.  An amazing feat by any measure, and we are now, at the time  of writing, in the process of  brewing our 11th Brew  ("Brew Eleven") in Paul's Lock-Inn brewery, situated at the bottom of his garden:

Our  equipment is large enough to brew 57 litres at a time. (15 Gals ) The normal brew volume for home brewers is 40 pints or 5 gallons, for which you will need, for your first brew, a 5 + gallon, food-grade plastic dustbin preferably with a screw top airtight lid  - easily available from your local hardwear store or, better still, your nearest home-brew shop who will sell you a 5 gallon container with a convenienient tap at its base. (recommended). 

Most brewers will buy their malted barley from Maltsters, already milled to their specification - that's what Maltsers do in their Maltings which are special buildings designed and built for this purpose. Basically the maltster buys his barley from the farmer or from a grain  market.

At the maltings

Barley kernels are uniquely suited for brewing because their structure and enzyme levels can quickly and easily break down starches into more fermentable sugars. Specific strains of cultivated barley have tended to stay in narrow geographic regions for thousands of years, and there is very little genetic change over time.

Raw barley grain is heat-treated on special floors where it is carefully turned over repeatedly for several days at the correct temperatures and humidity until the exact moment the grain has reached the point of maximum sugar content and any particular roast flavour and colouring. (ie each seed kernal is about to sprout)


The next stage is to separate the sweet flour. from the husks by milling it to the required mix of flour and husk which is slowly stirred into carefully prepared hot water starting at around 80 degrees in a large insulated container called a mashtun. The mash is allowed to settle at approx. 65 degrees for an hour. That is why the mashtun is well insulated.

In the Mashtun the brewer (or who-ever) is dissolving the sugar into liquid form as a syrup -The husks, an important part  of the remainng mix, acts as a filter bed which removes the larger particles of the liquid before any further processes need take place. The resultant liquid from the mashtun is now called "Wort" - but this mashing process takes place for as long as it takes to dissolve out as much sugar as possible using techniques which circulate the hot liquor several times at 65 C  - for at least an hour- this is called sparging.

The Boil.

From the mashtun the wort is boiled with hops, normally kept separated in a porous bag of muslin. The boil will last for about an hour with various quantities of hops added at various times according to recipe and the syle required. You will come to love the smell....keep up a rolling  boil which converts your sugar (starch) to a more fermentable type. By boiling, you are inverting one type of sugar (starch) into another .

The Fermenter To avoid infection and to aid clarification the boiling liquid must be cooled as fast as possible - there  are many ways to achieve this.

Crash cooling, the altimate in beer making, involves various ingenious methods to achieve nervana. But as long as the liquid is kept covered or airtight, even 12 hours should be safe enough. One hour would be much safer! The rule is that the faster the cooling, the clearer  your resultant liquor (called "wort")

Pitching the Yeast

Fermentation will last for approximately  8/10 days  at the high end of these temperatures above.

During fermentation the brewer can expect to measure the original specific gravity (the "sweetness" at the start OG) and after some ten days, the final gravity when fermentation has ceased FG. 

OG minus FG say OG 1.063 - FG 1.019 = 0.044/0.0075 = 5.86 abv

The brewer, at this stage, may wish to lower the pre dicted abv by adding treated water. _tastebuds/training-notes-for-real-ale-service-and-care.html 


The liquid that you have in your fermenter can now be called beer but it is immature and not ready for drinking before a period of maturation has  taken place. A minimum of three weeks will see a remarkable change take place both in taste and mouth feel  and its future depends upon what storage system is best suited for its purpose. It is ready for bottling or kegging, either way must ensure that air is not allowed to affect its storage life.

Corking, capping or spiling activity and the addition of sugar to encourage secondary fermentation and dry hopping become important actions, as does the cleaning and sterilisation of all vessels involved.


So often left out of the whole process however, the importance of pouring beer into a glass properly can seriously affect  the pleasure and reputation of those who serve it and the pleasure of those who are about to drink it.

The traditional hand-pull pump has the advantage of giving the server control over the speed that the beer enters a glass - this rightly assumes that the beer, being a live product, will vary from day to day in terms of the amount of CO2 dissolved within it, and to be knocked out of it as it enters the glass - creating what most people call "a head" or "condition."

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