At Sebago Brewing Company we brew our beers from all malt. We use American grown 2-Row, caramel, chocolate, black, roasted barley and Munich malts from Briess Malting Company. Our grain silo holds 50,000 lbs. of American 2-Row Pale malt. We purchase our grain by the truckload and the bulk grain is blown into the silo from the grain truck. We use 75-80% of this grain in all of our beers. Then we measure our specialty malts into the mill. At this point we crush the malt so that the husk's are cracked open and the "meat" of the grain is exposed.
The grain is transferred to the brew house by our auger system. When the brewer starts the mash in process we simply turn the motor on and mix the hot water with the grain. We mash in at 162 ºF so our final mash temperature is 148 ºF. The grain then steeps in the Mash Tun for 1 hour. This is similar to soaking a tea bag into a cup of hot water. The enzymes in the mash convert the starches to sugars giving the liquid a very sweet malty taste. This is called wort (wert). The wort is then transferred to the kettle and the grain is sparged or rinsed.
The sparge takes about 2 hours to remove all
of the sugars from the mash. It's important to take our time when
sparging so that our wort is clear and free of particles. After
all the sugars are removed we give the spent grain to a local
farmer to feed his reindeer.
When we have collected 682 gallons of wort
we start the boil. All of our brews are boiled for one hour. During
this hour we add hops at selected times: first, at the beginning
of the boil for bitterness; next, halfway through the boil for
flavor; then, at five minutes to the end of the boil for aroma;
finally, we turn the boil off and let the hops settle out of the
liquid. By whirling the kettle we collect most of the hops and
protein in the dish at the bottom of the kettle (see photo to
the right). The next step is to cool the wort to the proper fermentation
temperature, 68° F for Ales & 55° F for Lagers. Fermentation
is the process of tiny yeast cells metabolizing sugar. The byproduct
of fermentation is CO2 and Alcohol. Yeast is very particular about
what temperature it lives in so it is the brewers' job to keep
the yeast happy and clean. The wort produced in the brew house
is our yeast's food.
We ferment our ales with an American style ale yeast. In our opinion
this yeast gives our beer its wonderful sweet and fruity balance
when combined with generous amounts of hops. After 4-5 days of
fermentation the beer is chilled and aged for 2-5 days. We dry
hop our Frye's Leap I.P.A with Cascade and Centennial hops for
at least 4 days during this time.
After the few days of aging we filter our beer. This makes the
beer bright and clear. Then we add carbonation to the beer in
the serving room. These tanks hold the bright carbonated beer
that we serve right out of our taps to the bar. Our cold rooms
are 38 ºF so the beer is cool and refreshing.