An Overview of the Brewing & Bottling Processes

Ingredients

Barley- A grain that grows much like wheat. It must be malted before it can be used to make beer. Adds different colors, aromas and flavors to beer.

Hops- Grows in vines that grow up to 18 feet high. Brewers use the cone (flower) of the vine. Hops contribute aroma, flavor and bitterness to beer. They are also a natural preservative.

Water- In the end, water constitutes almost 95% of the beer, so it does have an effect on the beer. All of the water we use is filtered to take out the chlorine which can leave unwanted flavors and aromas in the beer. The water is also very soft (meaning it does not have a lot of minerals in it) so we add some minerals to it.

Yeast- Yeast is what ferments the beer. It metabolizes the sugars from the barley and produces alcohol and Carbon dioxide (CO2). Brewers yeast is similar to Bakers yeast that is used to make bread.

Process

Milling- Malt is crushed and de-husked so that the brewers can easily get to the starches inside the kernel. The husk (skin of kernel) acts as a filter in the run-off.

Mashing- Malt is mixed with hot water and brought to a very precise temperature where the enzymes in the malt break down the starches into sugars.

Boiling- The liquid from the mash, now called wort, which has all the sugars in it from the malt is brought up to a boil. The hops are added in the boil. Depending on when in the boil they are added, they will impart either bitterness, flavor or aroma.

Cooling- After the boil the hopped wort is pumped through the heat exchanger and cooled from 212 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. On the way to the fermenter, as it comes out of the heat exchanger, the wort is pitched with yeast.

Fermentation- The yeast that was pitched will now metabolize (convert) the sugars from the malt into alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2). For ales this will take between 3-5 days, and for lagers it will take between 7-10 days.

Filtering- After the fermentation the beer will be brought down in temperature to about 32 degrees and will condition for 1-3 weeks. It will then be filtered and any remaining yeast or hop compounds will be trapped in the filter sheets and a clear, finished beer will come out and be ready to go into bottles, kegs or directly to the bar.

It Takes a Village to Bottle

As the Auburn Alehouse continues to grow and expand distribution, more and more beer is being bottled. Several weeks ago, a mobile bottling truck operated by Micobeer Source of Issaquah, WA, backed up to the brewery for a day of bottling almost 1,200 cases of the just-released Old Prospector Barrel-Aged Barleywine Ale. The bottling apparatus sparges, fills, tops with crowns and applies a label to each bottle, but it still takes four people to work the line. . .including the Brewmaster himself. The bottling line can complete 120 cases per hour, making the Old Prospector job a 10-hour task.

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