Dave Stirring the Mash
Double Click Image
for a Video of our kettle in action.
Filling the Hop Back
Heat Exchanger and Whirlpool
Fermenters in the Cellar
Our Brewing Process
Mash Tun Filling
Our beers are brewed using a process based on a simple formula. Key to our beer making process is malted grain, hops, water, yeast and our artistically crafted house recipes.
Malt is made by allowing a grain to germinate, after which it is then dried in a kiln and sometimes roasted. The germination process creates a number of enzymes, notably alpha-amylase and beta-amylase, which will be used to convert the starch in the grain into sugar. Depending on the amount of roasting, the malt will take on dark color and strongly influence the color and flavor of the beer. Our Brewery buys malt, this is not a process that is done in-house.
The malt is crushed in our malt mill to break apart the grain kernels, increase their surface area, and separate the smaller pieces from the husks. The resulting grist is mixed by hand with heated water in a vat called a "mash tun" for a process known as "mashing". During this process, natural enzymes within the malt break down much of the starch into sugars which play a vital part in the fermentation process. Mashing takes about one hour, and during this time different enzymes are activated. The activity of these enzymes converts the starches of the grains to dextrines and then to fermentable sugars such as maltose.
A mash temperature of 154 to 158 °F is used to convert the starches in the malt to sugar, which is then usable by the yeast later during the fermentation process. After the mashing, the resulting liquid is strained from the grains in a process known as lautering. The mash tun contains a slotted "false bottom" which acts as a strainer allowing for the separation of the liquid from the grain. Additional water is sprinkled on the grains to rinse and extract additional sugars (a process known as sparging).
At this point the liquid is known as wort. The wort is moved into our 18 barrel gas fired kettle where it is boiled with hops. The boiling process serves to terminate enzymatic processes, precipitate proteins, isomerize hop resins, concentrate and sterilize the wort. Hops add flavor, aroma and bitterness to the beer. At the end of the boil, the hopped wort is run through our hop back to strain the wort from the hops and add hop aromatics to the wort. After running through the hop back the wort is transferred into our whirlpool vessel for trub separation and settling.
The wort is then cooled through our heat exchanger and moved into temperature controlled 100 barrel fermenters where yeast is added or "pitched" with it. It takes five to seven brews to fill one fermenter. Our beers are fermented with our proprietary house strain of ale yeast. The yeast converts the sugars from the malt into alcohol, carbon dioxide and other components through a process called fermentation or glycolysis. The bulk of fermentation is complete in three to five days. After this time, the fresh (or "green") beer is allowed to age. This is when the flavor profile matures, the product is chilled, and yeast settles. Our Jamaica Sunset IPA, Steelhead Double IPA and Double Dread Imperial Red ales are also dry-hopped during aging. Carbonation is naturally produced and captured during fermentation.
After conditioning for 10 days to several months, our delicious unfiltered ales are clear, carbonated and readied for packaging. Cold and ready to drink, the finished product is packaged into 12-ounce bottles, as well as sixth-barrel, half-barrel and 50 liter kegs. Oxygen uptake is minimized during our packaging process by avoiding agitation and by counter-pressurizing vessels with carbon dioxide.