There is one thing that every commercial brewery has in common, and that is that they are all different. Nearly every brewery will have equipment that provides similar functions but that is about as far as the similarities go. No matter if it is the scale of the operation, or the type of fermenting vessels in use, the differences are huge.
First a bit of history. Ringwood was founded in 1978 by Peter Austin in Ringwood on the western edge of the New Forest in Hampshire. In 1986, having outgrown it’s Minty’s yard premises, the brewery moved to its present site, ironically the location of the old Tunks’ Brewery which ceased trading in 1821. So far no drawings of this brewery have been traced but it is understood that the brewhouse stood between present brewhouse buildings and the millstream from which brewing water would have been drawn. Although the new brewhouse enabled brews of up to 120 barrels per batch the copper also doubled up as a whirlpool (to separate the hops). This made the plant inflexible when two brews a day were needed. It was decided in 1998 that a new copper fitted with steam coils should be installed.
It stayed independent up until 2007 when it was taken over by Marstons PLC. The Ringwood staff did say that Marstons was taking a hands off management view to Ringwood and not dictating how to brew thier beer, however since that time, Old Thumper, one of the Ringwood flagship brews has been reformulated with lower alcohol and quite a noticeable difference in the flavour profile. It is unknown at this time if that change was dictated by Marstons.
This is the equipment used by the Ringwood brewery, and one of the differences between Ringwood and most others, is the use of open fermenting tanks rather than sealed fermenting vessels.
Enjoy the gallery and let us know what your brewery looks like in the comments down below.