Our craft ales
We have restored the 18th century traditions & basic principles of brewing "pure ales" and to that end we use only natural and wherever possible local ingredients resulting in eight wonderful craft ales brewed on site for your enjoyment.
Malted Barley - the main ingredient of the brewing process. Barley in its natural state is rock hard and contains 80 starch. By wetting the barley kernels and allowing them to swell, they then begin to germinate as if they were going to grow into mature plants. To make the starch reserve available to the growing plants, at this point enzymes are developed which begin to convert the starch to sugar.
Germination is then stopped by kilning - the process is known as malting. The temperature of the kilning determines the type and flavour of the resulting malt. When the malt (now coarsely ground for a quick reaction) is mixed with water at approximately 65° C the enzymes react rapidly and efficiently on the starch stores and convert them to sugar.
Hops - used to give the ale or lager both bitterness and aroma. The bitterness is derived from the resins in the hop that differ from one variety to another while the different hops also have different aroma levels. The purpose of making beer with hops is that in conferring a bitterness and dryness to the liquor the sweetness of the malt is balanced.
This happens at the stage when the beer is boiled in the kettle (or copper). Hops added for a short period at the end of the boiling stage give the distinctive aroma which all beers have, dependant on the type of hop used.
In some beer, additional hops are added after fermentation stage, giving additional but different bitterness and aroma - known as dry hopping. Yeast - not only converts the sugars in the liquid (called the Wort) into alcohol but also contributes significantly to (he fruity aroma of most beers. This is particularly noticeable in "Weisse" beers. The conversion of the sugars to alcohol is called fermentation from the Latin word "ferveo" meaning "boil" or "simmer". The fermenting liquid is full of rising bubbles of C02 gas created in the chemical reaction. We use top fermenting yeast which is the most traditional method.Water - ultimately important and must be free of biological and chemical contaminants. Our water is professionally analysed on a regular basis to check its purity.
Finings - a natural additive to the beer which acts as a clearing agent. By attaching itself to the suspended yeast it drops all precipitation to the bottom of the fermenting tanks and thus gives beer its clarity. However, there is still a considerable amount of minute sized yeast present in the beer which continues to react very slowly. The beer is live as evidenced by the slightly bubbly nature of the beer called the "bead". Traditionally finings (or isinglass) have been made from the swim bladder of the sturgeon but nowadays, with sturgeon an endangered species, the swim bladder of the Threadfin is now commonly used. liquid, giving the beer a clearer appearance.
The Mash tun - the first stage of the brewing process is called mashing. Here the ground malt is mixed with water at the proper temperature (approximately 65 C) and the enzymes convert all the starch to soluble sugars. The resultant liquor is called the 'wort'.
The underback - after mashing, the wort is strained through a filter at the bottom of the mash tun into the hop back where it is more finely filtered to ensure that no barley husks reach the next stage. During this stage of filtering the remaining spent grain is 'sparged' or sprinkled with hot water to wash off any residual sugars.
The copper - when the copper is full of wort, bittering or flavouring hops are added and the wort is then boiled for one hour. This sterilises the beer, extracts the hot flavours and boils off unwanted flavours. Aromatic, or finishing, hops are added at the end of the boil.
Fermentation - the wort is then cooled while being pumped to the fermentation tanks. At a temperature of between 20 & 22 C the liquor now has the yeast added to it. The yeast has already been pitched, or started (as in making bread) and with a day you should start to see the bubbles of carbon dioxide at the top of the liquid which is a bi-product of the conversion of sugars to alcohol.
Conditioning - the beer is then left to stand so that more yeast drops out of the liquid, giving the beer a clearer appearance. Conditioning also gives the beer time to mature and develop a more rounded flavour. All our beers are cask conditioned for minimum of 3 weeks.