Robinsons brewery of Stockport are set to add an extra dimension to their brewing process following the installation of one of the world’s largest hopnik, as a part of the company’s £5m investment in the brewhouse.
The Cheshire brewers already produce some of the world’s finest ales with the Old Tom and Unicorn brands regularly picking up awards, and the installation of their latest piece of kit brings promise of some exciting innovations in the Robinsons brewhouse. The hopnik is the biggest of its kind in the world and can only be found at five other breweries on the planet.
Speaking about the new installation, Robinsons’ Head Brewer, Martyn Weeks, is convinced that the hopnik will delight customers new and old: “As part of the brewing process, hops are added to beer to give a floral, fruity, fragrant hop character as well as to impart bitterness. There are many different varieties of hops from across the world, all of which have their own distinctive aroma & flavour.
“During the brewing process the hops are added to boiling wort (a sweet liquid extracted from the malted barley). This boiling process extracts the hop flavours but unfortunately many of the delicate aromas are boiled off. If you have ever made hop tea you will understand that the aroma of fresh hops is a real delight. Sadly, these aromas are greatly diminished in most beers due to the boiling process.
“The good news is that our new hopnik allows us to pass the boiling wort through a bed of whole leaf hops without losing any of these fabulous hop aromas. This is achieved through an innovative design linked to careful process control.
“We have a number of new and exciting brewing recipes planned using hop varieties from across the globe and thanks to the hopnik we will make sure that all of those subtle flavours and aromas will be captured in our beers.
“Our passion for creating high quality craft beers was the main driver for deciding to install a hopnik as part of our new brewhouse and we are convinced that the enhanced flavour & aromas will delight our customers.”
Work on Robinsons’ new state-of-the-art brewhouse began in January 2011 with the second phase commencing in September of this year. Most of the new brewing equipment is now in place, including the 2.5 metre hopnik, this new technology will sit alongside the company’s old brewing equipment, allowing visitors to Robinsons brewery to see the old next to the new. The new equipment is expected to be in full use at Robinsons’ Stockport headquarters by Easter 2012, heralding a new era at the historic site.