Delighted to report that I've been able to source a cheap hot liquor tank (HLT) for the brewery which should speed up some of the processes and enable me to start fly sparging.
However, due to the lack of headspace in the shed, I'm going to have to invest in a pump to send the wort from the mash tun (via a collecting vessel) to the copper. I've used a pump before but, frankly, it wasn't man enough to do the job and failed after three brews. So I've gone for a FloJet pump, a bit like one of these which will be operated by a compressor. As long as the compressor has a regulator on it, I should be able to control the flow just as I want it.
Work has been pretty bonkers the last few weeks and the weather hasn't exactly helped so I'm hoping to spend plenty of time in the shed over the festive period. For a guy who is pretty awful at DIY, building the brewery has been strangely therapeutic most of the time. The biggest challenge has been getting everything watertight but the joy of achievement far outweighs the frustration of leaks.
I approached the conversion to all grain brewing with some trepidation but, with 20 brews under my belt, I now realise it was the only way forward if you really want to brew "your own" beer. I hope that readers of this blog realise how easy it is to brew in this fashion; in the new year I hope to conduct some all grain demonstrations at Easy Home Brew in Ashford. Stay tuned for more updates.