Lots of people love craft beer, but not everyone knows how its made. Here is some basic information about the brewing process. For more in-depth information (and to sample our beers) book a brewery tour here
What’s beer made out of?
Know Your Terms:
Brewing water affects the beer in a few ways: It affects the pH of the beer, which affects how the beer flavors are expressed to your palate; it also provides “seasoning” from the sulfate-to-chloride ratio (to ensure the highest quality, we first run our water through a 3 stage filtration process that strips the water to almost pure H20. We then adjust the Ph and recreate the desired mineral profile depending on the style of beer we are making)
Yeast: Single celled organisms that feed on the sugars provided by the malt and produce C02 and alcohol as a side product. Keeping your yeast happy is critical to making a good beer, while sanitation is vital to make sure they don’t have any competition. Different yeast strains fermented at different temperatures will impart characteristics such as fruity notes, clove, sweetness, dryness, sourness, etc.
Malt: germinated cereal grains that have been dried in a kiln. When the grain germinates it produce enzymes that convert the starches and proteins into sugars. These then become the food for the yeast.
Hops: the flower from the plant Humulus Lupulus. All beers have hops in; these tasty wee flowers impart bitterness, taste, and aroma. Depending on the variety, the conditions, and the soil in which the hops are grown, hops can impart a huge variety of flavors, from fresh cut mangoes to earthy herbal notes. Hops produce an essential oil from their lupulin glands, consisting of acids. Alpha acids impart bitterness to a beer and are extracted by adding hops at the beginning of the boiling process, Beta acids are a lot more fragile and add flavor and aroma; additions of hops towards the end of the boil-in transfer and in the fermenters (dry hop) help add awesome taste and aromas to the beer.
What's the process?
Milling: Malt needs to milled before it can be used to make beer. Milling splits the malted grains and begins the process of breaking down the starches and proteins into sugars.
Mash Tun: Milled malted grain is loaded into the mash tun. Warm water is then circulated through the malt tank, the warm water activates the enzymes from the malted barley that then break down the malt into different types of sugars. Different Enzymes are active at different temperatures and Ph.
Alpha amylase enzymes get to work at higher temperatures and yield a less fermentable, sweeter beer. Beta amylase work at slightly cooler temperatures and produce thinner bodied dryer beers.
The liquid produced in the mash is called wort. Wort is then transferred to the boil kettle.
Boil Kettle: The wort is boiled to sterilize the beer, and to allow the protein to precipitate, or “break” from the wort so it can be filtered out. Hops are added at this time for bitterness flavor and aroma.
Fermentation Tank: The beer is transferred to a sealed sterile tank, where yeast is added to allow fermentation. After the yeast has converted the sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide and other compounds that add flavor, it collects at the bottom of the tank and is removed by a process called “cold crashing”: The beer is rapidly chilled, causing any remaining yeast to flocculate (to drop out), improving the clarity of the beer.