1. Only natural ingredients go into the beers at Hill Brewing Company. The following is a list of those ingredients:
Malted Barley: Our base malt is from America. The specialty (darker) malts are from the United States, Belgium, Germany and The United Kingdom.
Malted Wheat: Used in several beers, including, of course, our Hefe Weizen.
Water: We use St. Louis County water. Pure and simple.
Hops: The spice of our beer. We use over 5 different varieties coming from the Pacific Northwest, Germany and the Czech Republic.
Yeast: We try to stay true to our beers country of origin by using the same or similar yeast which would have been used locally.
2. Each recipe at Hill Brewing is unique and they all begin with malt. Our malt is carefully weighed, according the recipe. The starch, which is inside the different grains, is exposed during the cracking of the malt kernels in a mill.
3. An auger carries the cracked grain, called grist, into the MASH TUN, where it is mixed with hot water (about 154°F). When the starch, exposed by the mill, mixes with the water it becomes soluble and enzymes in the grain convert it to fermentable and non-fermentable sugars. This conversion takes about one hour.
4. The sweet liquid produced, called wort (pronounced wert), is then strained off of the “spent” grains and flows into the BREW KETTLE. To extract as much of the sugar off of the grain as we can, we rinse the grain with hot water (170°F). This takes about 2 hours. We then boil the sweet liquid for ninety minutes, adding the HOPS at varying times. The spent grain is given to a farmer to feed to his cattle.
5. After finishing the boil, the bitter-sweet wort has to be chilled down. We accomplish this with our HEAT EXCHANGER. The wort enters just below boiling and exits at a temperature appropriate for the recipe being created.
6. We use beer hoses to transport the chilled wort to an empty, clean and sanitized, FERMENTATION TANK where the YEAST is added. We re-use our yeast up to 8 times before starting completely over. The yeast digests the sugars made in the mash tun and gives off alcohol and carbon dioxide. At times, you can see “the bubbles” from the escaping carbon dioxide gas, as it is being produced and escaping through our “air locks,” (the buckets along side the fermenter). It takes our yeast 2-6 weeks to convert the bitter-sweet wort into beer.
7. After the appropriate time, the beer is ready to serve, but it first must be FILTERED. We filter most of our beers. Since we are not pasteurizing our beers, once filtered, they are perishable within 3 months.
8. From the filter, the beer is pumped to the SERVING TANK, where carbonation level, head pressure and serving temperature is maintained. The serving tank, is in essence, a very large keg, and as such, the beer flows directly from these tanks to the taps.