How is a beer born? The core of the ‘alchemic process’ lies in the morphing of the sugars contained inside the malted grains into alcohol. The process leading to this can be summarized in the following steps:
The main ingredient in beer, besides water, is generally malted barley: that is, barley that has been germinated and air-dried or toasted. The malting process is carried out at specific facilities, and it’s essential to set free enzymes (contained in the husks) able to break down the complex sugar chains in simpler, fermentable sugars; that yeasts may attack and transform into alcohol. The brewing process then starts with the milling of the grains, so that in the following phases the sugars may be easily dissolved in water.
The crushed malts are mixed with water in a mash tun (basically a very big pot) and progressively heated. This step, essential to brewing, is called the mashing. Sugars contained in the malts are extracted and the enzymes attack starches, breaking down the long polysaccharide chains into simple, fermentable sugarsi.
The mixture of water and malt extracts – the so-called wort – is poured in a lautering tun, a tun equipped with a grid able to retain the grain husks while letting the liquids pour through. Some worts are heated up to 77ºC to stop the enzymatic action (“mashout”). After a primary, coarse filtration the husks are washed with hot water to extract the leftover sugars.
The clean wort is poured back in the mash tun for another very important step: boiling. During this phase hops are added, many essential compounds responsible for bitterness and aroma form, and the wort is sterilized from bacterias.
After boiling, the finished wort is poured to a device called ‘whirlpool’. It is a tun equipped with a rotating blade, able to move the wort by generating a ‘whirlpool’ at its center. Due to the so-called “teacup effect”, liquid is pushed to the edges of the tun and solid residues (hops fragment, proteins) gather at the center of the container; so to be easily removed.
After being whirlpooled, the wort goes through a heat exchanger to be cooled. Once a temperature between 8 and 30ºC has been reached it is ready to move on to the next step, the one that will transform it in actual beer.
The cooled wort is poured into big tanks. Selected yeast strains are added: these will convert the sugars into alcohol, producing at the same time most of the aromatic compounds which will characterize the finished beer, and CO2. Sterile air is insufflated in the wort so to oxigenate it and provide ‘fuel’ for the yeasts to complete their tsk in the most efficient way possible. Beers are monitored and analyzed during fermentation, to better understand their evolution.
After primary fermentation, beer can be matured in a variety of ways. In low-temperature tanks, for instance, where the yeasts keep working very slowly, favoring the formation of complex aromas and an increase in limpidity; or in wooden barrels with the addition of different yeast strains, sugar or other ingredients, or again bottled with yeasts and sugars and bottle-conditioned.
Each beer has a story of its own and its peculiar nuances, throughout the brewing process as much as for the final result. Each of these features is to be experienced in the final, and most glorious moment in the life of a beer, which is…
Once it’s finished and kegged or bottled, our beer is stocked and shipped at controlled temperature. From that moment on, it rests in fridges at our selected pubs and shops until the very moment you pop it; to drink it eagerly or share it with your loved ones.