Mashing is the brewer’s term for the hot water steeping process which hydrates the barley and activates the enzymes that convert the starches into sugars. This is a critical step. The enzymes are very temperature specific. A few degrees can change the character of your beer.
Temperature and PH are critical in this step. We allow the enzymes in the malt to convert the starches to sugar over the course of 60-90 minutes.
We utilize a false bottom screen to pull wort (sugar water from grain) through the grain husks, which establishes a natural grain filter. We pipe the wort directly on top of the grain. Vorlauf is old German for “to recycle.” This process lasts approximately 40 minutes and produces a very clear wort ready to be transferred to the kettle.
After the wort clears of sediment, we start lautering it to the kettle. During this process we start sparging, which is adding water volume to the mash to rinse the remaining sugars out of the grain and make up the rest of our volume. This process takes about 1.5 hours and completely separates the grain material from the wort. The grain is then removed by the brewer from the tank. The grain is then picked up by local farmers to add to their animal feed.
The boil typically lasts 60 minutes for most of our brands. Spices and yeast supplements are added throughout the boil. The most notable spice used in beer production is hops. Bittering hops are added at the beginning of the boil, aroma hops toward the end. Aroma compounds are very temperature/agitation sensitive and bittering compounds need agitation/high heat.
We transfer the wort to a dedicated “centrifuge” tank, which spins any precipitated protein and hop material toward the center of the tank, which we then allow to settle for about 30 minutes.
After the whirlpool rest, we need to quickly chill the wort to fermentation temperature to avoid contamination. As we pump the wort to the fermenter, it is chilled and we add pure oxygen to insure proper yeast growth.
“Brewers just make wort, yeast make beer.” Yeast is added to the wort as it is transferred to the fermenter. Fermentation takes anywhere between 14-45 days, depending on the style of beer (lagers require the most time). Two main yeast species, a top fermenting one (ale) and a bottom fermenting one (lager). For both species, fermenters are designed to facilitate their natural settling process via a cone shape at the bottom. Brewers reuse their yeast to a certain point until the flavor peaks and starts to decline. Two liters of yeast can last a brewery up to a year, depending on its usage.
To provide product stability and to showcase beer’s beautiful spectrum of color, it is filtered using diatomaceous earth to provide what we refer to as “brite” beer. This is done while transferring the beer to a brite beer tank.
Beer is forcibly carbonated in a sanitary environment and is held until packaging.
Beer is packaged either into kegs, bottles, or cans which is then palletized and shipped to you!
Quality Control is absolutely critical to our success. We have invested heavily in our quality department because we feel the best marketing we can achieve is through word-of-mouth. We staff qualified scientists and work with State universities to ensure we are creating products Arkansans are proud to drink.