Brewing Up

The essential ingredients…

  • English malt – the best Maris Otter
  • Live yeast
  • Whole Leaf Hops
  • Pure Dales Water

The brew day begins by mixing crushed malted barley with hot water (or liquor as brewers refer to it) in the mash tun. The mash as it is now known is best described as a thick porridge.  Only the finest Maris Otter variety is used.

During the mash the starch in the grain is converted into ferment-able sugars and the liquid fraction is called sweet wort. This process takes an hour and a quarter.

The next stage involves separating the liquid from the solid part of the grain by straining the sweet wort through the perforated floor of the mash tun. At the same time hot liquor is sprayed over the top of the mash to help wash out all the sugars. This is called sparging.

All the sugars end up in the kettle where they are brought to the boil and boiled for an hour and a half.

Hops are added at different rates and times during this boiling process to give the end beer it’s hop character. When added at the start of the boil the hops contribute bitterness and at the end they add flavour and aroma. Different hop varieties give different characteristics to the beer.

The wort is now cooled quickly on the way to the fermenting tank and the house yeast is added. Fermentation starts after around 12 hours and all the sugars will be fermented by the fourth day. The yeast rises to the top of the beer and can be skimmed off to be used again.

Cooling is then applied to the beer and is then usually barrelled on the seventh day. Finings (fish swim bladders dissolved in acid) are added to help clarify the beer.

After a short maturation period the beer is ready to be delivered to the customer!

Dark Horse Brewery Hetton
Dark Horse Brewery Hetton
Dark Horse Brewery Hetton
Dark Horse Brewery Hetton