We’re excited to announce the alchemy of crafting exceptional Maine beer at Brickyard Hollow has found a new home in our beautiful, state-of-the-art facility in New Gloucester! In this blog, we’re sharing a behind-the-scenes look at how Maine beer is brewed. Join us in exploring the key steps that transform simple ingredients into the Brickyard Hollow brews you know and love.
1. Brewing Maine Beer at Brickyard Hollow: Milling the Grain
Our brewing process starts with a selection of local malted barley from Blue Ox Malthouse. The chosen barley undergoes milling, a crucial step where the grains are crushed to create what we call “grist.” This grist finds its place in the grist case, being stored for the next phase.
2. The Art of Mashing
The next step takes place in a large vessel commonly known as a mash-tun. hot water blends with the grist, creating a sugar-rich liquid known as “wort.” Over 60 to 90 minutes, enzymes in the malt convert starches into sugars, providing the base for our brews.
Beyond science, brewing Maine beer is truly an art. Our brewers carefully experiment with different malts, tweak temperatures, and explore variations in time to create unique worts, each with their own character.
3. Seamless Separation
Equipped with a false bottom, our Mash Tun allows for the separation of liquid wort from malt solids. Gravity and a little help from a pump guide the wort into the boil kettle. To ensure every bit of sweetness is captured, a rinse of hot water over the malt is often performed, guaranteeing a full-bodied and flavorful wort. The choice of malt, precision in separation, and attention to detail also lay the foundation for complex flavors.
4. The Boiling Process
Next up is the boiling process, a crucial step that sterilizes the wort, sets the stage for yeast fermentation, and introduces the aromatic third ingredient — hops. These little green cones add bitterness and contribute unique flavors and aromas.
The longer the boil, the more bitterness is imparted, measured by the International Bitterness Unit (IBU). This balance of bitterness, flavor, and aroma is a complicated dance that our brewers are well acquainted with.
Finally, A whirlpool separates solids, leaving us with a clear and flavorful wort ready for the next phase.
After boiling, the wort is about 200 degrees and needs to cool down before adding yeast for fermentation. It goes through a heat exchanger to the fermentation tank, cooling to 7-35°C based on the beer style. The heat exchanger works by passing cold water or glycol on one side, while the wort enters from the hot water side. The cold water or glycol takes away the heat from the wort, but they don’t actually touch it.
As the saying goes, “Brewers make wort; yeast makes the beer.” The real magic happens here. After cooling the wort and moving it to the fermentation tank, yeast is added to start the fermentation process. This initial stage, known as primary fermentation, takes 5 to 7 days. During this time, yeast converts sugar to alcohol, and the beer transforms from sweet to finished. Depending on the yeast used, specific flavors may be added to the beer. After 5 to 7 days, the fermentation slows down, and solids, including yeast, settle at the tank’s bottom.
Yeast, often unsung, is a flavor powerhouse. Temperature, yeast amount, and oxygen level all contribute to the final beer profile. Fermentation duration varies, with ales taking a modest two weeks and lagers taking four to eight weeks. To ensure clarity and purity, the beer undergoes a final touch of filtration through a cone, removing any remaining particles.
Craftsmanship Behind Every Brew
At our new brewing facility, our mission is to create beers that reflect our passion for beer and showcase brewing artistry. Our journey, from the early days to becoming a beloved local brewery, reflects the evolution of our craft.
As you raise your glass, know you’re experiencing the product of centuries-old traditions, modern brewing techniques, and a deep passion for the craft of brewing Maine beer.
Keep an Eye Out for New Beers
Our talented brewers have been busy perfecting and revamping recipes in our new facility! Follow us on social media for the latest updates on the newest Brickyard brews.