The Brewing Process

The Brewing Process: Step by Step

The Grist Mill  

The grist mill cracks the brewing malt. A proper crack is essential in order to insure good sugar extraction. Next it is mixed with water in the mash tun, this is called the mash.

The Mash Tun

 In the mash tun the mash is heated to 155 degrees F (54 degrees Celsius) and held at that temperature for 90 minutes. This liquefies the originally solid soluble parts of the cracked malt. This process - very simply - causes the following effects: The natural enzymes in the kernel of the malt use the nutrients of sugar to break down the proteins into more basic ingredients. Even more simply - It converts the starch into sugar.

The Lauter Tun  

At this point the mash is separated from the spent grains in a lauter tun or with a mash filter. Hot water is passed over the grains to remove all sugars. The result is the wort. It contains all of the soluble ingredients of the malt. Most times the Mash Tun and Lauter Tun are constructed as a single vessel.

The Brew Kettle

 The wort is now contained within the Brew kettle which, when full is heated and brought to a boil. As the wort boils there is an addition of hops, which contain resins and oils. There will be more bitterness in the taste the longer its left to boil and more aroma the shorter its allowed to boil. This is why different types of hops are added at different times during the boiling period. The boiling of the wort also allows for proteins to coagulate and for any bacteria to be killed off.

The Whirlpool

 In the whirlpool, the last of the trub(coagulated proteins) is removed. The wort is now complete.

The Wort Chiller

 Before the wort can be placed in the fermentation tanks, it must be chilled to the appropriate yeast pitching temperature as quickly as possible.

The Fermentation Cellar

 In the fermentation cellar, the brewer pitches the yeast. Thus begins the fermentation: From the fermentable sugars in the wort comes the alcohol and carbonation. The fermentation with bottom fermenting yeast (lagers) takes place in temperatures between 39 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit (4 and 9 degrees Celsius). It takes about eight days. Then the yeast settles to the very bottom. Top fermenting yeast (ales) ferments the wort in four to six days at 59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 20 degrees Celsius).

The Lager Tanks

 The "green beer" is transferred to storage tanks and allowed to rest. Secondary fermentation begins. At around 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) it lagers for many weeks until it finishes, clarifies and matures. Finally, the beer carbonation level is adjusted and it is ready to be sent directly to our taps for consumption.


The Ingredients


Barley malt is to beer as grapes are to wine. It is ideally suited to brewing for many reasons. Malted barley has a high complement of enzymes for converting its starch supply into simple sugars and contains protein, which is needed for yeast nutrition. Of course, one important element is its flavor. There are two types of barley: six-row and two-row.

There are many different varieties to chose from. Common ones are:

Pale Malt - Dried unroasted malt. The base malt used in most recipes. It provides the majority of the fermentable sugars.

Munich and Vienna - Similar to above but more common for German style beers.

Crystal Malt - Lightly toasted malt. Also known as Caramel Malt. Used in small amounts to give color, body and sweetness.

Chocolate, Roast and Black - Dried dark roasted malts used in very small amounts to give dark color and a range of flavors: coffee, chocolate, burnt, nutty.

The degree of roasting dictates the color and character of the malt. It follows that darker roasts are used to make darker beers.


Hops, a minor ingredient in beer, are used for their bittering, flavoring, and aroma-enhancing powers. Hops also have pronounced bacteriostatic activity that inhibits the growth of bacteria in the finished beer and, when in high enough concentrations, aids in precipitation of proteins. Hops come in many varieties and are grown mostly in the Czech Republic, Germany, England and Northwestern America.


A living single celled organism added to the wort (unfermented brew) to produce beer, through a process called fermentation. There are two types of beer yeast: ale yeast (the "top-fermenting" type) and lager yeast (the "bottom-fermenting" type). Top-fermenting yeasts are used for brewing ales. Some of the lager styles made from bottom-fermenting yeasts are Pilsners, Dortmunders, Märzen and Bocks.


The mineral content of brewing water has long been recognized as making an important contribution to the flavor of beer. This is especially important since water composes more than 90% of the beer. A wide range of brewing waters is employed, giving rise to many classic styles of beers, that over the centuries have become world famous. For example, the famous brewing waters from the deep wells at Burton-on-Trent are known for their excellent qualities in brewing full-flavored pale ales(i.e.: Bass). Burton water is high in permanent hardness because of the high calcium and sulfate content, but it also has a lot of temporary hardness from a high level of bicarbonate. Munich water is poor in sulfates and chloride but contains carbonates, which are not very desirable for pale beers but ideal for producing darker, mellower lagers.(i.e.:Dinkel Acker Dark) Pilsen, renowned for its pale lagers, has very soft water and produces beers famous for their pale color and hop flavor(i.e.: Pilsner Urquell). The water of Dortmund contains appreciable amounts of both carbonate and chloride that aid in the production of full-flavored lagers and pale ales(i.e: Dortmunder Union). Higher concentrations of chlorides are suitable for some mild ales and stouts.


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