We brew using the four basic ingredients: water, malt, hops and yeast. Here's the gist.
Our brewers carefully weigh barley and wheat that are fed into the grain mill. Milling the grain cracks open the kernels exposing the starch insides. Our malt moves from the grain mill to a "holding tank" called the Grist Case.
With a push of a button the grain is pulled from the Grist Case to our Mash Kettle. When water is added to grain it is known as a Mash. The process of Mashing-in activates enzymes that break down complex starches into simpler sugars that our yeast will later use in the fermentation tank.
After the grain and water have been added to the Mash Kettle, it's transferred to the Lauter Tun. The Lauter Tun separates the sugar water, or wort (pronounced Wert) from the grain. Wort passes through a false bottom on its way to the Kettle leaving behind the sugarless grain. After all of the wort is drained from the Lauter Tun, our brewers remove the "spent grain" and give it to a local Pig farmer to be used as animal feed.
The wort is now ready to be boiled in the Boil Kettle. We typically boil for 90 minutes. During the boil hops and other ingredients are added in various amount and at specific times.
After we boil the wort, we transfer it to the whirlpool vessel. As the wort is entering this vessel it is spun. Spinning the wort helps concentrate all of the hops, and protein to the center of the vessel. From the whirlpool our brewers transfer the wort through a heat exchanger into a sanitized fermentation vessel. During this process Cold liquor (water) passes through the heat exchange cooling the wort.
Yeast is added to the cooled wort in the fermenter. Our brewers select a target fermentation temperature; anywhere from 12 to 18 hours our yeast will be eating the simple sugars producing Co2 and alcohol. This is a very critical point for our brewers; at College Street Brewhouse we use a natural carbonation process to give our beer its bubbles. We do this by "bunging" our fermentation tanks. This forces the Co2 to stay in the beer rather than escaping into the atmosphere. This is a very uncommon practice but we feel it gives our beer a finer bubble and a unique flavor.
We cold filter most of our beers. This process removes any excess yeast and proteins that cause beer to appear cloudy. Some of our beers like the Big Blue Van and All-American Wheat are actually cloudy, however that is intentional and conforms to beer style guidelines.
Our beers are filtered from the fermenter to our bright tanks. The bright tank holds the fresh beer for a few days until we package it to be severed. We package our beer into kegs or Cans to be sold in stores and at local bars.