Foulkes Brau

Foulkes Brau

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The Process

The magic of brewing all starts with the water. We build up our water in our 20BBL (3200L) Hot liquor tank. The chlorine/chloramide is removed from the water and then the real work begins. The water is treated with brewing salts, depending on the ale being brewed. This allows the malt and/or hop character to shine through. The water is then heated to the required "strike" temperature. The malted barley is added to the mill where it is ground to the required crush. The crushed malt is then carried to the grist hopper with an auger where it is held until we are ready to brew.

The malt is then dropped into the mash/lauter tun from the grist hopper. On its way, it passes through a hydrator. This allows the malted barley to pre-swell and absorb some water. The water is added to the mash/lauter tun from the hot liquor tank and the "doughing-in" begins. We stir the malt and the water gently to make sure that the malt and water are thoroughly mixed. The mash, as it is now known, is held at the required temperature for an hour. This allows the water to leach out all the sugars and flavours that we need when making our ale. Different sugar chains are leached out at different temperatures. This is what gives us more body or more fermentable sugar in the ale.

Once the mash is complete, we halt the leaching process by sparging, "rinsing" the mash with water from our hot liquor tank. We circulate the "sweet wort" as it is now known back to the mash/lauter tun. The grain acts as a filter bed to absorb and clear the wort. Once the wort is clear, we begin the process of transferring the wort to the boil kettle. The wort is then bought to a boil and kept there for an hour. During the boil, various hops are added to the ale. This gives the ale some bitterness, flavour and aroma. The boil also serves to sterilize the wort, to extract the acids from the hops and to drop out unwanted protein chains.

After the boil is completed, the wort is "whirlpooled" in the boil kettle. This helps to settle out all the "trub" (solids) so that we can leave it behind when we transfer. Once the whirlpool has settled, we transfer the wort to the fermentor through a heat exchanger. This cools the wort down to fermentation temperatures. Along the transfer, oxygen is added to the wort. The oxygen is necessary for the next stage of magic.

Once the wort is in the fermentor, the magic ingredient is added - the yeast. The yeast need the oxygen to multiply and grow. Once the yeast has grown, they then begin to eat up all the fermentable sugar. As with any living micro-organism, the yeast have by-products and waste. In our case, the yeast burps the CO2 gas and excretes the alcohol. The fermentation takes around five days, but we leave the yeast to clean up after themselves. The whole fermentation process takes around fourteen days.

At the end of the fermentation, we drop the temperature on our fermentor to around 1°C. This allows the yeast to drop out of the ale and helps us to clear the ale. The ale is then transferred to the bright beer tank. The ale is then bought up to serving temperature and CO2 gas is added. This will give the ale its required carbonation level. We keep the ale in the bright beer tank for a further five days before serving. This allows the ale to "drop" bright and to age.

Of course, this is only an overview. The majority of the work involves making sure that all the equipment is clean and sanitized to ensure that we produce only the highest quality ales.

The Specifications

  • Mill capacity: 500-800 kg/hr
  • Grist hopper capacity: 1200L
  • Mash/Lauter tun volume: 2240L
  • Boil kettle volume: 2240L
  • Fermentor volume: 5 x 10BBL (1600L)
  • Bright beer tank volume: 5 x 10BBL (1600L)
  • Total serving capacity: 8000L

The Statistics

  • Water used per batch: ~4800L
  • Grain per batch: ~350kg
  • Hops per batch: ~2,5kg
  • Yeast per batch: ~0.45kg