About your beer

After the recipe, there are four primary steps to any brewing process, each with several phases: Brewing, Fermentation, Finishing, and Packaging. At Two Bridges Brewing Company we use a traditional four vessel brewing process. It takes extra time but each step adds another layer of flavor to the beer.

Milling the beer

Each morning the first step for the brewer as they get ready to "mash in" is the grist bill. This is the blend of malt that will go into the mash tun to begin brewing a specific recipe. Creating that grist bill involves a process of crushing the barley malt between two large rollers in the mill. This separates the husk and fractures the body of the malt to get it ready for the next stage of mashing.

Mashing the good stuff

The mash tun is the first vessel in the brewing process. Its here that water is added to the malt and heated to allow enzymes in the malt to break starches into sugars (maltose) leaving a liquid substance called wort. Not all the starch is converted, however, as these unfermented sugars give the beer its body (mouthfeel). The mashing process is all about making food for yeast. The blended malt and water is heated to a specific temperature. Brewers must choose their temperatures, as well as the amount of time spent at the temperatures, to obtain the ideal results for their specific brew. We use a traditional decoction mash process that takes us to the second vessel. We remove 20% of the grain and move it to the cooker where its boiled and then returned to the primary mash in the mash tun.

Lautering the ingredients

No it's not soup yet! Patience, my friends, patience. The third vessel in the process is the lauter tun. Here, the completed mash is filtered by gravity to separate the solids (mash) from the liquid malt extract comprised of fermentable and unfermentable sugars. The husks from the barley provide a natural filtration bed. The end filtered liquid, called "wort", is sweet, amber-colored and clear. The wort moves off to the cooker to be boiled while the spent grains are rinsed with water to extract any remaining sugars.

Finally, the brew kettle

The wort moves to the fourth vessel, the brew kettle, to be boiled slowly and evenly to ensure sterility. It's in this stage that the hops are added. Hops, as you already know, are the spice of the beer that give it its bitterness and aroma. The boil can last anywhere from 50-120 minutes depending on the recipe and at what stages it calls for hop additions. The boil also achieves a number of other results. During this process bitter and aromatic qualities are extracted from the hops, the wort is sterilized and stops enzyme activity in the mash, and it produces the color and flavor from the wort sugars, which "brown" when exposed to high temperatures.