The Brew House

We are currently brewing on a 40bbl NSI brewing system with a Siemens Braumat automation package allowing us to crank out the equivalent to 80 kegs per brew.

Base 2-Row malt and specialty malts are milled in our Kunzel 4-roll malt mill allowing us to achieve the best grist consistency for our traditional lauter tun. Once milled the first stop for the ground malt in the brew house is the lauter tun. This is where the malts are mixed with hot water to create an oatmeal like substance called the mash. As the mash rests the enzymes in the malt begin to convert all the starch into fermentable sugars. Once the sugars have been created the sweet wort is separated from the spent grains and pumped to the boiling kettle. The spent grain is given to hemlock hill farms to feed their growing heard of cattle. We are happy to be able to provide this valuable food source to a local farmer free of charge.

Once the wort is in the kettle we start the boiling process. This is where we introduce the hops which will add flavor and bitterness. This is also the place we add spices and any other interesting ingredients that we might want to add to our beers.

Once the boil is complete we pump the beer into the Whirlpool and add the final charge of hops that will add both flavor and aroma to the finished beer. Once the wort has had a chance to rest and settle we then pump it through a heat exchanger, cooling it to 68F on its way to the Fermenters…..

The Fermentation Tanks

Our main fermentation tanks are 160 barrels, 4960 gallons, and require us to brew four times on our brew house to fill. As they are being filled we add fresh yeast to wort as well as oxygen to ensure a healthy fermentation.  If the beer being made is an ale, the fermentation will be maintained at around 68 F (20 C) for about two weeks. If the beer is a lager, the temperature will be maintained around 48 F (9 C).

When fermentation is complete most of the yeast will settle to the bottom of the fermenter. The bottom of the fermenter is cone shaped, which makes it easy to capture and remove the yeast. It is at this point that we introduce more hops to our hoppier beers in a process called dry-hopping. We basically dump in over 1.5# per barrel of hops which dissolve in the beer and impart a beautiful hop aroma and flavor.

When fermentation has finished, the beer is cooled to about 32 F (0 C). This helps the remaining yeast settle to the bottom of the fermenter, along with any other undesirable protein that comes out of the solution at this lower temperature.

Now that most of the solids have settled to the bottom, we harvest yeast to be reused on the next brew and then pump the beer to the centrifuge for clarification.

Centrifuge/Bright Tank

We do not filter any of our beers. The only method we use for removing excess yeast and unwanted proteins is through the use of a centrifuge. Basically accelerating the force gravity and forcing the heavier particles to settle out allowing the clear beer to move down stream to the bright beer tanks. In the bright beer tanks we add carbonation to give the beer the effervescing and refreshing qualities we all love. It is from here that the beer is packaged into bottles and kegs.

Pilot Batch System

In comparison to the main brew houses’ 40 barrel system, the Pilot Batch System is a 7 barrel brew house. This system brings us back to our roots, and is no frills, completely manual system. It is on this system that we have the chance to experiment with new styles, new ingredients and try things that we are not ready to brew on a large scale. I ton of very special and unique beers have come from this system, most of which never leave our tasting room….so come by for a taste! Everyone that works at Captain Lawrence has a chance to brew on this system which is what makes it so special to us.

Fermento Funk Facility

The “Funk Facility” is the newest addition to the brewery. Added in March of 2015, it added approximately 5,000 sq ft to the main production facility.

This is the place that we fill, age, test and package all our sour ales and experimental barrel aged creation.

We have been aging beer in oak since we opening in 2006, winning our first Great American Beer Festival medal in 2007, with our first sour ale – Cuvee de Castleton, a beer we still brew in limited batches to this day.

Currently we use 55 gallon barrels which previously held: bourbon, rum, apple brandy, wine and Irish whiskey. In addition to the smaller barrels we also have a growing “forest” of large Italian oak barrels and oak Foudres ranging in size from 20bbl to 63bbl.

The beers that come out of this facility often age for over a year, and sometimes over two year, so be patient and you will be rewarded with some truly unique beers.

Kegging and Bottling Line

Our keg racker was purchased from Harpoon Brewery in 2012 after they out grew it and allows us to clean, sanitize and fill around one keg per minute.

The keg gets a good cleaning both outside and inside, is sterilized with steam and is then filled with co2 prior to filling with beer, blocking out oxygen to keep it from spoiling the beer. Once the beer is filled into the kegs it is put in the refrigerator and sits waiting for your next keg party!

The bottling line is similar in that the bottles are rinsed, purges of all air, filled under pressure and capped immediately to avoid the uptake of any oxygen….which is the enemy of beer!

Our current bottling line is a GIA 5003 capable of filling close to 85 bottles per minute. We are fortunate to have a great downstream packaging line comprised of a Makro labeler and an APE 6 pack stuffer and case erector/stuffer. This allows us to fill over a 1000 cases a day to ensure you never run out of fresh beer!