The Brewing Process

How our team makes the best tasting beer.

Boxing Cat Brewery makes beer using the four basic brewing ingredients; water, malt, hops, and yeast. Some of our beers use culinary inspired ingredients to add “local” uniqueness to the beer style. We use in-house water filtration to ensure our water quality is high and on par with international brewing standards.

Our beer begins life as plump grains of premium two-row barley. In the malting process, the grains are soaked in water and allowed to germinate. Kilning or roasting the malted grains develops distinctive character and gives the beer its rich flavor, color, and body. We use only premium imported malts, and never use corn or cheap rice fillers.

The brewing process starts in our malt mill, where we crack the malted barley grains as careful milling is required to keep the barley husk intact. The resulting grist is then mixed in the mash tun with hot water, activating naturally present enzymes to convert the barley’s starches into fermentable sugars.

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After a mash rest near 66C of 30-45 minutes the mash is then pumped to the lauter tun where hot water is sprayed on top of the mash in a process called sparging. The extraction of sugars, color, and flavor components is achieved in sweet, nutritious syrup called wort. The wort from the lauter tun is then pumped to the brew kettle. Our brewhouse is 1000 liters and once the brew kettle is full we boil for an hour and a half while adding hops to offset the sweet brewer’s wort.

To achieve the complex hop character that is our trademark, we add different varieties of imported hops to the brew kettle at specific points during the boil. Bittering hops go into the brew kettle early to balance and offset the sweetness of the malt. The most aromatic hops are added near the end of the boil to capture the volatile oils that infuse our beers with their intense flavor and aroma. After the kettle boil the wort is whirlpooled to assist in natural settling of the dissolved hop matter. We then pump the wort through a plate heat exchanger to cool the wort from 98C to the appropriate fermentation temperature. We aerate the wort during this transfer while adding the yeast so the wort can undergo fermentation and become beer.

In our fermentation tanks, living yeast converts the malt sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The type of beer produced depends on the strain of yeast and the fermentation temperature. To make our ales we use top-fermenting yeasts, which produce a robustly flavorful aromatic beer at fermentation temperatures near 20C. Our lagers are produced by bottom-fermenting yeasts at temperatures close to 10C.

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During the fermentation process, we control the temperature of the fermenting beer at its appropriate temperature set point using glycol cooling jackets on the tanks. After fermentation stops we hold the beer warm for several days, and then cool the fermented beer to 2C. Some of our beers are dry-hopped near the end of fermentation to enhance the aromatic properties of the beer. This adds a bit of time to the process but the yeast and hops fall out of suspension and the beer clarifies naturally. The yeast is then used for subsequent fermentations or discarded to a local farmer with the spent grain from the brewhouse. After fermentation all the beers are pumped to a different tank for maturation and settling with the lagers cold-stored in their tanks for up to four weeks. We therefore don’t filter the beer and rely upon time and temperature for beer clarification. Though expensive, this aging time is necessary to fully develop each beer’s quality and character.

During cold maturation additional natural carbonation is absorbed by the beer. If the carbonation level of the finished beer is low then we add carbon dioxide to the beer via a carbonation stone. Once the appropriate carbonation level is measured we then keg the beer; into either 50L or 30L stainless steel kegs. The unfiltered beer is full of flavor, aroma and mouth feel and ready to be enjoyed by patrons at one of our Boxing Cat Brewpub locations in the central city. We hope you enjoy our beer as much as we do!

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