Our Brewing Process

The Reinheitsgebot (German Purity Law of 1516) tells us that there should be only three ingredients when it comes to making beer – water, malted barley and hops – this was penned before they knew the importance of yeast.  We view this as an excellent starting point but take a more modern approach and, for certain beers, we incorporate not only the all-important yeast but also other quality natural ingredients such as raspberries, cherries and other fruits, bitter orange zest, herbs, spices, etc.  These other items can be added along the way to help enhance or impart other desired flavours in a beer, but these basic core Reinheitsgebot ingredients are all as important today as they were back in 1516.

Water is vital to life and to the production of beer.  If you were a 16th century new Reinheitsgebot brewer deciding where would be best to build your brewery, one of your main deciding factors would be to ensure it was near a good plentiful source of fresh high quality water.  Things are no different with us today and from our own deep bore well we draw fresh, pure and naturally filtered Cyprus spring water from hundreds of metres below the ground.  This water is mineral-rich and is very like the classic brewing waters found around Burton-upon-Trent all which provides us with a perfect brewing base.  We either use this water directly or modified using our modern reverse osmosis system and mineral salt additions.  This enables us to emulate any water style from around the world prior to brewing our true-to-style international beers right here in Cyprus.  Good water is the key to good beer.

Premium malted barley provides almost all the fermentable sugars that add the sweetness and body to our beer.  Along with our many and varied speciality malts we choose to import the classic plump and sweet two-row Maris Otter malted barley for best results as our base malt for our ales. 

Hops are selected from around the world to give us the true-to-style flavours we work to achieve and include: English Fuggles, Challenger, Bramling Cross, etc; American Galena, Cascade, etc; German Hallertau, Tettnang, etc; Czech Saaz, etc.  We select hops for their aromatic and flavour qualities in addition to simply their bittering value.  Our aroma hops, with their lower alpha acids, produce an array of powerful and complex flavours and aromas in our beers from citrus and fruit to pine and eucalyptus.

Our own specialty yeasts are integral to the overall flavours of our beers and, like many breweries, ours have been developed specifically for our beers and are a well guarded proprietary secret.  Our ale yeasts ferment at warmer temperatures and typically ferment faster with an estery and fruity fermentation character.  By contrast, our lager yeasts will ferment at cooler temperatures for a longer period of time and impart savoury and drier flavours.  When combined with the other ingredients mentioned above these yeasts help create our unique range of beers.

With the benefit of these fine world class ingredients our skilled and highly experienced brewers will then weave their particular magic over the brewing process of:

Malt Blending & Milling – We gather our own proprietary mix of different types and quantities of base and speciality malts according to our particular recipe and carefully crush these in our milling machine to open the grains’ husk and expose the starchy endosperm.  This is now called ‘grist’.

Mashing – We mix the combined malt grist with water, our brewing liquor, and carefully raise and hold the grist mix to a number of stepped and highly controlled temperatures bands.  These decoction and multi-step infusion bands are called the protein rest and saccharification rest which are carefully-timed periods which allow the enzymes in the malt to break the complex long molecular chain starches down into short chain sugars that the yeast can later consume.  This is now called ‘mash’ and is a rich, sticky and sweet porridge-like mix.

Lautering – We extract all of the ‘goodness’ from the mash with a special ‘slotted screen’ sieve in the bottom of our Lauter Tun and then spray hot water onto the bed of husks to ‘sparge’ out every last drop of flavour.  This rich, flavour-packed, sweet brown liquid is now called ‘wort’ and is the basis of the particular beer we are going to brew.  The spent grain husks are dug out of the Lauter Tun and go to the local pig, goat and chicken farmers as a much enjoyed warm feed for their animals.  This is just another small part of our contribution to the local community. 

Boiling – We bring the wort to a vigorous rolling boil in the Kettle (sometimes known for historical reasons as a ‘Copper’) for up to 90 minutes.  This allows us to: progressively add the recipe’s special mix of hops; coagulate the proteins; lower the pH; concentrate and sterilise the wort; and, drive off any volatile and unwanted flavours.  It is a complex process that we control very carefully.

Whirlpool & Heat Exchange – We now come to the final process in the ‘Brewhouse’ which is to whirlpool the wort to clarify it and remove hop residues, etc.  Immediately after this we pass the wort through our heat exchanger to very rapidly cool the wort from 100ºC to 20ºC.  This ensures we prevent oxidation of the wort and also allows us to conserve the valuable heat which is transferred into the counter-flow water and saved for the next brew – we try to waste nothing.  This whirlpool detritus, mainly of hop residues, is called ‘trub’ which we find makes good compost. 

Fermenting – We carry out our primary fermentation for ales at a temperature of 20ºC and slightly lower for our ‘cold lagered’ beers.  The wort temperature rapidly reaches this level after passing through the heat exchanger and we can then pitch the yeast into the warm oxygenated liquid.  Within a few hours a vigorous aerobic fermentation process starts in the sealed cylindroconical fermentation vessel.  This liquid can now be called ‘beer’ for the first time.  This fermentation process is ultimately carried out in anaerobic conditions and this is what creates the desired levels of alcohol and, as a by-product, the fermentation process also gives off carbon dioxide and heat.  Controlling the heat from this highly exothermic primary fermentation reaction is done automatically 24 hours a day 7 days a week by a control system of highly sophisticated sensors and, when the controller signals it as necessary, the automatic pumping of an iced glycol mix around the cooling jackets of each of the vessels to keep the contents of the fermentation vessel in control.

Maturing & Conditioning – When our primary fermentation has finished, and any diacetyl build up has been eliminated, we ‘crash-cool’ the contents of the cylindroconical vessel to around 0ºC and hold it at this temperature for several weeks which smoothes out any harsh flavours and allows the beer to develop a well rounded and smooth flavour.  Time and patience are our best friends in this process.

Packaging – We then either triple-filter or directly decant the beer into the various packaging types we use.  If the beer is to be supplied as cask & bottle conditioned we will ‘krausen’ this with fresh unfermented wort and prime the beer to allow a secondary fermentation to take place.  The beer is then left for final maturation in our coldroom until it is in peak condition and ready to be consumed.

Brewing beer is a highly complex and interesting process.  Come along to see us at our brewery – take a guided tour and we will explain this to you in much more detail.

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