Behind the Brew

Photos by/Ashley Clark

Reverse Osmosis water filtration system.

Step 1: WATER FROM THE WELL

With our very own well sitting on the edge of the patio, we collect Corbyville’s fresh, mineral-filled water to use for our beer as opposed to the chlorine-filled city stuff.

Step 2: REVERSE OSMOSIS
The water is then put through our state-of-the-art reverse osmosis system to remove any impurities. 

Step 3: HEAT IT UP
The water is heated by steam in a large jacketed tank in preparation for mashing and brewing.

Mash Tank

Step 4: THE MASH TANK

The mashing process begins. Approximately 800 litres of the water is put into the mash tank along with about 260 kilograms of malt. Minerals added to the beer include calcium carbonate, which enhances sweetness, calcium chloride to make the beer smooth, gypsum to help with the dryness and bitterness, as well as phosphoric acid and baking soda to buffer the PH balance and help the enzymes perform better (makeing the flavours of the beer pop). Heated up to around 65 degrees Celsius, the malt and water are then stirred continuously, allowing the enzymes present in the malt to convert the starch into a simpler sugar the yeast can use later on. This process takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. The mixture looks a lot like oatmeal and you can tell when it’s done by the smell and taste. The resulting sugary liquid is called wort.

Step 5: SEPARATE THE WORT FROM THE GRAINS
Next, the wort needs to be separated from the grain, which happens through a filtering and transferring process. The mashed substance gets pulled from the bottom of the tank through a pipe and is pumped back into the top of the tank to separate the grains and the wort. The grain acts as a filter bed to help clarify the wort. This continues for about 45 to 75 minutes until the dark, grainy liquid is clear of any particles.

Step 6: OFF TO THE KETTLE
Once the mash is done, the remaining clear, dark liquid gets transferred to the kettle, where it will be boiled for about 90 minutes. During the boil, three rounds of hops will be added in. The first batch will add bitterness to the beer. The second brings the flavour. And the third is for the aroma.

An example of what our hops look like. This very important ingredient can come in all kinds of unique flavours to be put into the beer.

Step 7: FERMENTING BEGINS
After the boil, the remaining liquid gets transferred once again, this time into the fermenting tank. During the transfer, oxygen is mixed in with the liquid and is chilled to 15 to 20 degrees Celsius while moving through the pipe to help initiate the growth of the yeast for the fermenting process. When the oxygen is all used up, the yeast begins to produce alcohol. This goes on for three to four weeks as the yeast eats away at the sugar and turns into alcohol. For the first week, the tank sits at room temperature. For the next few weeks, it goes down to zero degrees Celsius.

*ADDITIONAL OPTIONAL STEP: For some beers (like Radio Tube and OHM), the next step is filtration, which makes the beer clear. *

STEP 9: CARBONATION
After fermenting (and possibly filtering), the beer then heads over to its final stage: carbonation. It gets transferred into what’s called the brite tank and is infused with carbon dioxide until specified level of carbonation is achieved.

STEP 10: ALL READY FOR DRINKING
The beer is now done! All that’s left to do is bottle it up and pop the caps on. It may also end up on tap, in kegs, or in growlers. Come and find it in the bottle shop, at the bar or on tap in over 30 locations around Ontario.

Watch the video for a virtual tour of how our beer is made…

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