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Buxton Brewery

Craft beer, brewed in Buxton in the Derbyshire Peak district. Here at Buxton Brewery we make delicious beers; full of flavour and character. This doesn't just happen. We work damn hard to make sure it does

The malted barley and wheat mix (grist) are combined with hot liquor (brewer’s term for water) in the mash tun and form into a thick, porridge-like consistency. This mash is left to stand for a little over an hour, so that the enzymes present in the grains of barley and wheat can get to work converting the starch into fermentable sugars (mostly maltose). This is the good stuff that the growing grain of barley would have used to sustain itself whilst sending its rootlet into the ground, and its shoot into the sunlight.

The resulting liquid that is drawn off the bottom of the mash tun is known as sweet wort, and is very sticky and dark and thick. The wort is pumped, via another vessel – the underback, into the copper. Our first addition of hops are added at this time, known as First Wort Hops. At the same time, further hot liquor is sprinkled over the top of the mash to rinse all of the sugars out of the grains. This is known as sparging. Gradually, the copper fills with sweet wort, which is now becoming thinner, paler and less sweet, as most of the fermentables have been rinsed from the grain.

The copper is brought to the boil, which takes little more than half an hour. (There is a 36kW element in the copper). At the beginning of the boil, our second hops are added. These are to give the beer its characteristic “bitter” flavour, but only enough to counter-balance and compliment the sweetness of the wort.

The sweet, hopped wort is boiled for an hour and a quarter, with a third addition of hops at the end of the boil. These hops are for aroma and flavour. Some amazing hops can contribute all manner of flavour profiles to beer ranging from delicate floral or grassy, through sturdy blackcurrant and berry flavours to sharp, tangy, refreshing citrus.

At the end of the boil, the copper stands and infuses the hops for about half an hour whilst we prepare to transfer to the fermenter. The wort is pumped through a plate heat exchanger which rapidly cools it to 20′c, whilst exchanging heat with cold water that becomes hot liquor, ready for the next brew.

The wort arrives in the sterile fermenter and is pitched with brewers’ yeast – the brilliant micro-organism that gets to work on the sweet wort, converting the sugars into alcohol, whilst also producing carbon dioxide. Yeast also provides al lot of flavour to finished beer, and there are many many strains that breweries use to impart different characteristics to their beers.

We have built a separate room for the critical fermentation stage that the beer goes through. This helps ensure that no wild yeasts or bugs can get to the beer, and helps keep the beer at the optimum fermentation temperature throughout the beer’s stay in this room. Each vessel is jacketed and plumbed into our control system. We can monitor and control each beer’s temperature individually.

Once fermentation is complete, which takes from 3 to 5 days depending on the beer, the vessel is chilled to 10′c and the beer rests for 48hrs. This helps yeast to drop out of the beer before it is transferred to conditioning tanks. The beer is then “dry-hopped”; further aroma hops are added to the now finished beer, which infuses with the hops for a further 5 to 7 days. During this time, the beer matures and the flavours become fuller and more rounded, leading to a more pleasing beer.

The beer is now ready to be racked off into casks or bottles, and to head out into the trade to be enjoyed fresh, and full of flavour and character.

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