1. Grain Storage
The main ingredient of our beer is malted barley, stored in a massive 30,000 lb. silo on the patio or in another space able to acommodate its size. For small-batch seasonal brews, we'll often store specialty malts in 50-pound bags in our grain room. The malting process takes place before we purchase the grain and involves wetting and sprouting the barley, then dry roasting it. The color of these malts depend on the temperature and duration of the roasting: darker malts were roasted hotter and longer; lighter malts weren't.
2. The Mill
Your local brewmaster starts the brewing process by selecting desired grains for the recipe and pouring them into our grain mill which crushes the husks between two adjustable steel rollers.
3. Grist Hopper
The ground grain, or grist, is stored in a grist hopper. The grist drops by gravity through a hydrating collar which sprays hot water on the grist forming a porridge-like mash.
4. Mash Tun
The mash collects in a huge mash tun, inside which more hot water is mixed with the mash and is stirred by the brewer with a wooden paddle; no mechanical stirring blades here. As the mash steeps, the starches in the grist are converted to sugars. More hot water is sprayed on the bed, called sparging, and the liquid is pumped again through the bed of mash. This liquid, called wort, is sweet to the taste.
5. Brew Kettle
In the next step, wort is pumped from the mash tun to the brew kettle where it's brought to a rousing boil. Here, the brewmaster adds the all-important hops to impart bitterness and aromatics to the beer.
6. Plate Heat Exchanger
The wort flows from the brew kettle through a plate heat exchanger (very similar to a radiator) where cold water cools it from a near boiling temperature to approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit. In the process of cooling the wort, the cooling water becomes heated and is stored in the hot water back.
7. Fermentation Vessel
Wort is pumped from the heat exchanger through stainless steel pipes to one of the five large, tall stainless fermentation tanks. Yeast is introduced to the fermenter as the cooled wort enters, and the fermentation process begins. The primary
fermentation takes about five days with the temperature in the fermenter held at approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit. When the primary stage is complete, the tank temperature is lowered to approximately 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the beer works its magic for another week to ten days.
8. Serving Vessel
After proper conditioning, the beer is transferred to serving tanks and is ready to drink.
That's how handcrafted ales and lagers make it from our Brewmaster's imagination to the glass on your table. Enjoy, folks.