If you would like to see how beer is made, you can book a brewery tour. If you can’t make it to our brewery, you can read all about it below.
Formulating a recipe and selecting ingredients
When we decide that we want to make a new beer or adjust an existing recipe, our team of brewers usually get together and brainstorm on ingredients and techniques, etc… At Cavok, we like sourcing the ingredients that we use in our products from local producers as much as possible. We use hops from NB farms and malt from local malt houses. We also use local fruits, herbs, honey, etc…
Beer starts in the mash, a hot water steeping process that combines a mix of grain (typically malted barley) with additional grain such as corn, rye, wheat, and water. We typically get the grain in bags, put the grain in the mill, and mix it with Dieppe tap water.
The mixture is heated up and left to rest for approximately 1 hour, sometimes more depending on the style of beer. This promotes enzymatic breakdown of the grist into soluble fermentable sugars. This is what yeast likes. This liquid is called Wort.
Lautering acts to separate the wort from the grain via filtering and sparging. The wort is then pumped out and into the brew kettle. The grain that is left behind is called “spent grain”. This is donated to local farmers who use it as feed for dairy cows, beef cattle, and pigs who all love this stuff.
The wort is then boiled for 60 to 90 minutes. Hops are added at this stage. If they are added early in the process, it increases the beer’s bitterness; if added later, it enhances the aromas and taste.
This is done later in the boil or after the boil is finished. This is a method used to separate the wort from the hops and solids called “trub”. The liquid is spun in a circular current which creates a whirlpool. The trub is left behind and the wort is cooled down and pumped into a fermentor.
Fermentation refers to the total conversion of malt sugars to beer. This consists of 3 phases: Adaptation, Primary Fermentation, and Secondary Fermentation.
When the wort is pumped into a fermentor to the desired temperature, yeast is added - this is called “pitching the yeast” and is the Adaptation phase. In plain words, the yeast is getting ready to do what it has to do!
The part where the vigorous fermentation starts, is called “Primary Fermentation”. This is marked by the evolution of CO2 and a Krausen.
A period of settling and conditioning of the beer after primary fermentation. The yeast settles at the bottom and is removed via a drain valve. Some yeast can be re-harvested for future brews.
Some types of beer can be filtered to remove sediments. At Cavok, this is rarely done but if we do it, it is done with a coarse filter when the beer is transferred to the bright tank.
In the bright tank, the leftover sediments fall to the bottom. If the natural carbonation from the fermentation phase is not at the desired level, we can add carbonation (CO2) to the beer here. At this point, the beer is ready to be packaged.
The same beer is used to fill kegs, bottles and/or cans. Any differences in flavour come from the pouring/serving techniques and/or factors like the beer temperature, one’s palate, and the age of the beer.
Every keg is filled and hand packed at Cavok. This process requires lots of manual work and attention to detail. Kegs need to go through a specific cleaning and sanitizing cycle before we are able to fill them. To fill a keg, we need to hook up a cleaned transfer hose to our bright tank and connect the other end to the kegs. With the proper setup, it is possible to fill more than one keg at a time.
For cans, we use an inline five head automated can filler from CASK in Calgary Alberta. This filler, at its peak operation, can fill 30 cans per minute. This requires close attention by the operator at all times.
Cleaning is a very important part of brewing. Extensive cleaning needs to be done at all phases of the brewing process. The kettle, tanks, kegs and canning line all need to be cleaned and sanitized before and after beer or wort touches any one of these. We often neglect to talk about the cleaning process but it is a very important task in beer making.
Cold Storage and deliveries
Our beer is stored in our fridge, ideally between 3°C - 5°C. This is consistent for cans, bottles, and kegs. Good planning needs to be done at this step as well. A good brewing rotation needs to be done in order to make sure the older products don’t get stuck behind the new products going in the fridge. We also need to keep an up-to-date inventory of available products. This is very important for production and also to know what products are available for accounts, deliveries, and clients.
The products need a way to get to their final destination. We at Cavok use our delivery van for the most part. Don’t be shy to wave or say hello when you see our driver go by!
Drink our beer
Whether you are standing up or sitting down, the last step is to find your prefered way to enjoy one of our products. Cheers!