All Beer is made from Malt
Malt is grain that has been malted. Grain is steeped (sprayed) with water to reach a certain moisture content then spread out to germinate. It is then dried in a kiln to create a particular malt for a particular style of beer (a pale malt is kilned at a lower temperature while a darker malt is kilned at a higher temperature).
A cone-like flower that grows on vines 15 to 20 feet tall. When the cones are mature they are picked and dried. The hops are then compressed and pelletized to be used in the boil, while whole flower hops are used in a "hopback" for aroma. Hops add bitterness and aroma as well as being used as a preserving agent.
Milling the Grain
The grain is cracked in a milling machine in the brewery to open the husks and expose the starches in the grain.
Mashing the Grain
The milled malt is mixed with hot water. Enzymes present in the malt convert the starches into sugars. This is now called sweet wort. Sweet wort is run off and additional hot water is run through the mash to extract as much of the sweet wort as possible.
All the sweet wort is collected in the kettle and we start our boil. Boiling of sweet wort breaks down larger proteins, reduces liquid and sterilizes the wort. Hops are added at this time to create differences in bitterness and flavor. When the boil is complete we now have sterilized sweet wort.
Yeast ferments the wort and adds flavor, aroma, alcohol and carbon dioxide. After the boil the sterilized sweet wort is quickly cooled in a heat exchanger, and then transferred to a primary fermentation tank. This is where the yeast is pitched in.
The primary fermentation will take from 5 to 6 days. The liquid is now called beer. When the primary fermentation is complete the beer is transferred to secondary fermentation tank which is chilled. From here on in our beer is kept cold. In the secondary fermentation (or conditioning) tank there is a marrying of flavors from the yeast, hops, malt, water. The beer must mature in these tanks a minimum of 15 days at which time we filter some beers and add carbonation. From here the beer is kegged or bottled or both.