So, you want to know more about your favourite beer, more specifically about how that beer is actually made? Fabulous, because here at Butcombe, brewing is the one of the few things that we could honestly talk for hours about! Prepare to be bamboozled by the brewing process. If this doesn’t quench your thirst for beer-based knowledge, take a look at our Brewery Tours, there’s nothing we love more than welcoming beer enthusiasts like yourself into our home.
Let’s get this ball rolling then! There are four basic ingredients of beer; malted barley, hops, water and yeast. These must be involved otherwise, well, you don’t have beer…
- Milling is the first step. The malted grains are crushed in a mill to open up so hot water can circulate and access the starch and enzymes during….
- Mashing! The hot water activates the enzymes produced in malting to convert the starch into sweet fermentable sugar.
- Once this is done the water is drained away from the mash (nope, not the kind you have with bangers) leaving a sticky, sweet liquid full of sugar from the grains called Wort.
- The Wort is then boiled. This is the step where the hops are added several times to help give each beer their distinct personality and flavour. For example, Butcombe Original is blended with a variety of English hops.
- Once the Wort has been boiled, it’s cooled and put into a large fermenting vessel where the yeast is added and fermentation begins.
- The beer is stored either at room temperature (like Butcombe Gold) or at colder temperatures for many weeks (like Bohemia) During this time the yeast eats up all the sugar in the Wort, producing CO2 and alcohol in the process and a few hundred flavour compounds.
- The beer is now almost ready to be consumed! It’s alcoholic but it’s still flat and uncarbonated. The beer is either carbonated, or if it’s ‘bottle/cask conditioned’ the yeast that’s left naturally produces enough CO2 to carbonate the beer itself. After allowing the beer to age (length of time depends on the type and style of beer) it’s ready to go!
There you have it, how your favourite drink is made and a snippet of what we get up to on the daily here at the brewery. We would let you in on more of our secrets, but then we’d have to kill you…