The Brewing Process
Through a magical process of fermentation, we are able to create beer. The process is simple: live yeast eats sugar and makes alcohol. Sugar is obtained from the malted barley. Malting is a process that increases the grain's sugar content and imparts flavor and color as well. To begin brewing, the malted barley must be milled or crushed.
In the brewhouse, the milled barley is steeped, as you would tea, in a vessel called the mash tun. This process, called mashing, converts the starches in the grain to fermentable sugars which the yeast will eat to make alcohol. After one hour of mashing, the sugar water, or "sweet liquor" in brewer's lingo, is pumped into the brew kettle. Heat is added and the sweet liquid is boiled with hops. Flavoring hops are added at the boil, giving the beer flavor (bitterness). Aromatic hops are then added at the end of the boil, giving the beer its aroma. The liquid is now called wort (wert).
The wort is pumped to a fermentation tank through a chiller (a heat exchanger) to lower the 200-degree wort to approximately 68 degrees. Ale yeast works best at warm temperatures, and it is important to maintain the proper temperature. The yeast is pitched (added) into the wort and fermentation begins as the yeast eats the sugar. Fermentation takes 2 to 3 days depending on the original sugar content of the malts. We most often use an ale yeast, which is a "top fermenting" yeast. That means the yeast ferments through the beer and comes to rest at the top of the brew. Ale is fermented at higher temperatures and hence ferments at a faster rate than lager beers, resulting in a full flavored and robust character.
Filtering & Conditioning
After fermentation, the beer is filtered to remove the yeast sediment. Hefeweizen is a style of beer that is not filtered, and thus it is cloudy in appearance. After filtration, the beer is pumped to brite beer tanks.
Kegging and Bottling
Uinta beers are packaged in 1/2 or 1/6 barrel kegs or bottled. Bottled beers are available for consumers in 6 or 12-packs or by the case. The kegs and pallets of bottles pictured are waiting to be filled with Uinta beer.
After the bottles are loaded onto the bottling line, they are washed before entering through the Krones filler machine. The bottles are then capped and labels are glued on, before being off-loaded and packaged in 12-packs or cases. All beers are kept in cold storage as Uinta beers are not pasteurized.
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