Mash

Does anyone else say ‘leave the tea bag into mash’? In the mash tun goes barley grain and hot water and it’s left to mash. Creating the same effect as a teabag in a cup, the water is infused with flavours.

We mash at 67 degrees for 90 minutes.

Using different barley malts like Caramel or Crystal or Black malt allows us to create different beer styles from Pales to Bitters and Stouts. Using more or fewer malts in this process creates a stronger or weaker alcohol content of beer.

My favourite thing about this process is where the sugars come from. Barley grain is a seed. Like all seeds, they have enough stored energy or sugars in them to grow their first leaf. This leaf will then photosynthesise the sun’s energy to help the plant grow. To make beer we’re taking the seeds stored sugar energy and later on adding yeast to create alcohol.

All our malts come from Fawcett Malts in Castleford, one of the oldest family run and controlled businesses in the UK.

Boil

From the mash tun the liquid, now called Wort, is transferred to the boiler. The Mash is sparged or rinsed to collect all the sugars and nutrients from the grain.

We boil for 90 minutes.

Hops added at the beginning of the boil are called bittering hops and hops added in the final few minutes of the boil are flavour and aroma hops. Different hop varieties are suited to each different addition.

By adding different varieties of hops, amounts and timings we create different beers.

Hop varieties grow across the world in different climates and soil. Like grapes and wines, this has a huge impact on the effect of the hops. The UK grows fantastic hops for Bitters and Stouts like Fuggles or First Gold. If you like your citrusy hoppy beers you’re probably drinking a hop grown in America or New Zealand or somewhere else warm and dry.

Our brewing process at The Borough Brewery

Through a counterflow plate chiller (cold water and hot beer go in and cold beer and hot water come out) the boiling wort is chilled down to 21 degrees before yeast is added.

Fermentation

Yeast is added to the wort in the fermentation tank. It takes about four or five days to complete its first ferment, under constant temperature control. A happily fermenting beer looks a lot like a gigantic pint with a big creamy head.

Fermenting beer at The Borough Brewery

Casking and conditioning

The beer is then transferred to a sterilised cask and left to condition for a week in our cold store. The sharp ‘green’ flavours of a new beer mellow out and round off during this period as well as a last final push of the yeast fermenting. This makes a cask-conditioned beer.

Alongside all of this through the week is a lot of cleaning, temperature checking, monitoring fermentation then lots more cleaning and then some paperwork to say that all of the above has been done!