Weather Wednesday: An Atmosphere for Beer

Weather Wednesday

Let’s be honest, we would all love the capability to control the temperature of our atmosphere. Unfortunately, we cannot, but Brewmasters have the ability to determine the temperature at which their craft brews ferment.

“The lifeblood of the brewery is our hot and cold liquor tanks. We couldn’t do anything without that,” Kyle Rakosky, Brewmaster at Brewlab, told News 2. “We have them always set, the cold liquor tank at 45, the hot liquor tank is always at 185. We take that hot water and use it to brew with.”

Those two tanks play an important roll in the process of fermenting the beer. The first step in the process is grinding up the malt.

“We mix it with a certain (water) temperature depending on the beer style,” Rakosky said.

After it steeps, the liquid is separated and sent over to a big burner kettle where the temperature stays high.

“That’s where you add all the fun stuff,” Rakosky said. “The hops, the spices, and turn it into an actual beer.”

It’s kept in that high temperature environment for a few hours, so the flavor in the beer is absorbed.

“Then at that point we have this thing called a heat exchanger that drops that boiling temp all the way down to room temp,” Rakosky explained.

The yeast in the beer likes to be around room temperatures, but just as us humans have differing temperature preferences, so do different types of brews.

“Whether it’s, you know, a lower temperature for anything that’s a lager, like 40 to 55, or an ale temp like 60 to 80.”

The hardest to please can be the IPA.

“I’d say you probably start it around 66 degrees. I like to raise the temperature slowly throughout the fermentation about a degree or two a day because that let’s the yeast naturally climb and be happy,” Rakosky said.

The bottom line…

“All of that stuff is kind of dependent on each other. It needs to be at the right temperature, the right pressure, or the brew day is going to be a long day.”

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