How It All Begins
Brewing starts early each morning as our brewer mashes in.
Mashing is the process of combining milled barley (malt) and water in a vessel called the “Mash/Lauter tun”. Mashing allows the enzymes in the malt to break down the starch in the grains and convert them to fermentable sugars. The malty liquid produced from the hot-water-infused malt is called wort (pronounced “wert”).
Lautering is the separation of the wort from the grains. The grains form a floating “bed” which separates the wort below it from the hot “sparge” water on top. This sparge slowly passes through the bed rinsing out all the wort.
Our brewing system was built for us locally by Diversified Metal Engineering in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. It is capable of brewing approximately 2000 litres per batch.
Once the wort has been transferred to the kettle, we bring it to a boil – this ensures its sterility. During the boil hops are added which contribute bitterness, flavor and aroma. The hops also bring a level of balance to the sweeter flavours of the malt. Early hop additions create bitterness. Late hop additions give the beer flavor and aroma. Here at Nine Locks, we utilize several techniques to pack in the hoppy goodness:
FIRST WORT HOPPING – hops are added to the kettle as the wort is transferred from the mash tun. This accounts
for the majority of the bitterness in the beer.
HOP BURST – is simply adding massive amounts of late addition hops to the boil resulting in the hop flavours
in the beer.
DRY HOPPING – is when hops are added to the fermenter during fermentation. The hops could soak in the beer here for weeks, and gives the beer its amazing aroma. We only dry hop our IPAs and ESB.
The Magic of Fermentation
After hopping, the wort is chilled as it passes through a heat exchanger, and is transferred to a fermentation tank.
The wort is chilled down to fermentation temperature (20°C)
before yeast is added. The yeast enables the fermentation to take place – this is when the yeast consumes the sugars and converts the carbohydrates to alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Unfiltered & Unpasteurized
Fermentation slows down once the sugars in the fermenting beer have been almost completely digested. At this point, the yeast starts to settle to the bottom of the tank. This is when we chill the beer to 1°C, which encourages the yeast to settle. Once the yeast and hops have settled (conditioned) the beer is ready to package.
Unlike most breweries, we don’t filter our beer. Although filtering may produce a brighter, clearer beer, it also removes many of the great hop flavours and aromas we have worked so hard to produce.
Our state-of-the-art canning line was built for us by Cask Brewing Systems in Calgary, Alberta. We are able to fill 1800 cans per hour on our system.