THE MALTING HOUSE
Malting is the process that unlocks the hidden starches in barley, which can then be broken
down into fermentable sugars. This includes steeping, germination, and kilning. Draught
Works Brewery only buys their malted barley from hand-picked, highly-regarded malting
Milling, by definition, is the operation of breaking materials into smaller pieces. In
beer making, this breakdown of the grain -- or, more accurately, cracking -- gives us
better access to the complex sugar chains and enzymes that we'll end up manipulating in
order to end up with fermentable sugars.
Mashing converts the released starches from the malted barley into sugars that can be
fermented. The milled grain is dropped into a Mash Tun with water (water -- and the
quality of it -- being a critical piece of the process), and mixed into a
mash. The water is then strained, which extracts the now-fermentable
sugars, color, flavor compounds, and proteins. This sugar-rich liquid is called the wort.
The Wort is then transferred through a screen at the bottom of the Mash Tun to the
Brewkettle. This process is called lautering. The remaining grain, which has been
stripped of all sugars, colors, and proteins, is later used as local cattle and hog
In the Brewkettle, the wort is brought to a boil. This step in the process stops
off-flavors from developing and is where some critical decisions are made that will
affect the flavor, color, and aroma of the beer, including what type of hops are used
and when they are added to the boil.
After the boil is complete, the wort is whirlpooled so that all of the solid material
(called trub), such as the hop particles and grain husks, gather at the center and then
drop to a pile at the bottom of the Brewkettle. This process is necessary to prevent
any trub from traveling to the fermenter.
Because yeast cannot grow in high heat, the wort must be rapidly cooled. This is
performed in a Heat Exchanger.
The cooled-off wort is transferred into the fermentation tank and the brewer selects the
type of yeast to add. This is where the real magic of brewing happens, where the yeast
turns the sugars in the wort into alcohol. Up to this point, Brewers make the Wort. But
it's the yeast that makes the Beer.
The beer is placed in a conditioning tank, where it will live temporarily for some
Finishing is the final step in the brewing process, and is when the filtration and
carbonation occurs. The beer is then moved into a brite beer tank, where it is kept
until it is bottled or kegged.