Written by eskipper
Hi, I’m Emily, and I’m studying Biological Sciences in my second year at BU. On Wednesday 7th March, my course mates and I went on a trip to Blandford Brewery as part of our Microbiology unit.
Throughout the trip, we were given a tour of the brewery, told in detail the complex process via which beer is made and even got to sample the goods at the end of the day with a complimentary beer!
First off, we learnt that the brewery was founded in 1777 and is family run. We were also required to wear blue safety bibs around the brewery. We learnt about the rich history of the Hall & Woodhouse brewery and how it has grown from being a small family firm to operating over 250 public houses in the South!
Above, a nice sunny day for the brewery trip- the brewery goes back over 200 years.
Next, we went into the building where the brewing process actually happens! Our guide told us in depth how the brewery process works, the materials needed for it and the extreme temperatures the materials need to reach to make beer- up to 1000C!
We were even told how the brewery uses its own wells for water for the brewing process, as it has done since 1900.
It was extremely noisy in the below pictured part of the brewery! In fact, people are not allowed to stay in here for very long as the level of noise may damage your ears. Here the grist (malt that has been coarsely ground) is prepared for the brewing process. The Hot Liquor Tank boils brewing water to 67oC, which is the temperature needed for the next stage- the Mash Tun.
In the Mash Tun, boiling water from the Hot Liquor Tank is mixed with GRIST (coarsely ground malt) at 67oC. Naturally occurring enzymes in the ground malt (grist) break down malt starch to sugars. The product from this then goes to the Lauter Tun.
In the Lauter Tun, the extracted solution from the Mash Tun, a sweet liquid called wort, is separated from husks of grain at 75oC.
The next stage we learnt about is the boiling process- the wort is collected in the ‘copper’, or ‘boiling kettle’, known as the copper as it used to be made out of copper in the past but nowadays stainless steel is much more commonly used.
The boiling kettle reaches 100oC! Here, hops are added to the wort which give the beer its flavour and dictate the level of bitterness of your pint of beer. We got to smell some hops before they joined the brewing process- and they smelt very earthy, but interestingly we all got different smells from the same hops, with some people saying they thought it smelt a bit like cannabis!
The wort and hops mixture then goes to a heat exchanger to be chilled to 20oC. Glycol removes heat from the wort so that when it goes to the fermenter, it allows for yeast to be added (as it will not survive boiling temperatures of 100oC). The yeast then converts the wort into beer, and it goes on to be matured, filtered, carbonated and then transferred to the beer tank, where it becomes the beer we know and love!
We also went to see inside the Brewery’s laboratory, where they regularly test the beer produced to make sure it is up to standard.
And to finish, a nice pint of complimentary beer and reflection on how it was made!