How we brew
JUST BARLEY, HOPS, YEAST, WATER AND MIND-BLOWING FLAVOUR.
Like any journey, brewing begins with a single step. Malted grain is mixed with hot water in a process known as mashing.
As the malt is partly crushed before being soaked, the hot water can get into each individual kernel to expose the natural starches within. This is what the brewer wants, as these starches are converted into sugars by the grain’s own enzymes. It is these sugars that will be used later by the yeast as a food source so they can produce alcohol and carbon dioxide.
The next stage is to leave the solids behind and let the liquid continue its journey to becoming beer. More water is added to the top of the grain bed and allowed to percolate through – carrying the sweet sugary liquid with it.
This stage is either done in the original mash tun or in a separate vessel called a lauter tun, but either will need a perforated base to let the liquid escape. At first the run-off it will be cloudy thanks to unwanted grain husks and other particulates. Once the wort runs clear it is time to heat things up…
The wort is then transferred into another large vessel and heated. Known as the kettle, the wort will boil away here for well over an hour – exactly how long depends on the beer style.
The boil stage is also typically where the hops are added. We often add hops to the Lautering stage too (and sometimes even the mash) to increase the flavour profile, but pretty much every beer you drink will be hopped during the boil. Add hops earlier, you get more bitterness. Later additions are more for aroma and flavour.
Once the boil is done, the wort is cooled and transferred. In the next step the main work will be done by tens of billions of assistants; yeast is ready and waiting to take centre stage.
Once pitched into the fermentation vessel (FV) they fire into life thanks to the abundant food supply: sugars from the malt. The more sugars the brewer has allowed to be carried over into the FV, the more food – and that means higher ABV beer. Big beers therefore need a lot of malt to release lots of food for the yeast to go to town.
During the next stage the brewer has to let the beer condition (also sometimes called maturation). The yeasts calm down and re-absorb some of the unwanted compounds, then settle out to the bottom of the FV. It's now they call it quits.
Conditioning can be done at different temperatures for different styles. The aim of this final part of the brewing procedure is to let the aromas and flavours of the beer develop. The conditioning stage can last from a few days through to months, or even years in barrels.
The only thing remaining is to get the beer to you. At BrewDog we package our craft beer in bottles, cans and kegs and send it wherever it needs to go. We use fully recyclable aluminium cans and glass bottles, and our key kegs are also made from recycled material.
In 2018 we pledged to remove all plastic from our multipack cans and they now ship protected by recycled cardboard. We cold-chain our beer to ensure the flavours we want are with you when you open the beer and reach for that glass.