How we do it
The various types of malt are passed through the mill where they are ground into grist. The grist is then bagged and ready for mashing the next day.
The grist is mixed with hot water (liquor) to form a mash in the Mash Tun. The natural enzymes of the malt break down the malt starch into sugars which dissolve in the surrounding liquor to form sweet wort. This extract is run off from the Mash Tun into the boiling kettle.
The wort in the kettle is heated up to boiling point and boiled vigorously. Hops are added to give bitterness to the final beer.
Separation & Cooling The Wort
During the boiling process, a large amount of protein and tannin is precipitated and this along with the spent hops has to be separated from the bulk of the now bitter wort.
This is carried out in a whirlpool separator in which a vortex of wort is created, allowing the solids to settle out. Aroma hops are added at this stage. The wort is then cooled from around 90°C to around 18°C, before pumping into the Fermenting vessel.
This cooled wort is run into the Fermenting Vessel (FV), at a temperature of between 18 and 20°C, depending upon the time of year. Yeast is added at this point and fermentation begins. The yeast breaks down the sugars extracted from the malt in the Mash Tun, to form alcohol and CO2. After a period of 7 days in FV the beer is ready7 days in FV the beer is ready for conditioning.
The temperature of the beer is brought down to just above 0 degrees. The beer is kept at this temperature for a minimum of 10 days during which time more of the protein and tannin, referred to the 'Wort Boiling' stage, precipitates out of the solution. This is an important part of the process, because the shelf-life of the final bottle of beer depends very much on the success of the cold conditioning process.
After cold conditioning, the beer is passed through a filter that removes all the chill haze formed during this time, as well as any other particles of yeast, etc which may be present. The clear, bright and stable beer is then passed on into the Bright Beer Tank (BBT).
In the BBT, Co2 is added and various physical parameters of the beer are checked. The beer is now ready for kegging and bottling.
The beer is pumped from the BBT to the filling machine where it is filled into bottles that have been rinsed with sterile water and examined, for any sign of damage or foreign material. The filling process is obviously critical, in so far, that all the care to get the beer to the state of perfection in the BBT, could be lost if the filling was not carried out under carefully controlled conditions of temperature, pressure and sterility. As soon as the bottle is filled it is sealed with a crown, labeled and placed in a light proof box.