Brewing beer is an art, often passed down from one generation to the next. In the small Belgian village of Silly the artisan brewing expertise has been in the family since 1850. Today, Lionel en Bertrand are the sixth generation of the Van der Haegen family to brew in Brasserie de Silly with equipment that meets all the modern criteria. But how do they do it?
1. Crushing the malt
The grains of malt are crushed between rollers to release the starch and the flavours and aromas of the malt for the subsequent brewing stages.
2. Mashing things up
Water is added to the malt resulting in a mixture called mash. It is gradually heated from 50°C to 80°C, this allows the enzymes in the malt to break down the starch in the grain into sugar. The liquid is now called wort.
The wort is pumped into a filtration basin. At this stage, the liquid wort is separated from the solid bran. The bran will be used to feed the local cows and the wort is carefully pumped into the boiling kettle.
a. At brasserie de Silly the wort boils for an hour-and-a-quarter at a temperature of 100°C. At this stage the hop is added.
b. The blend of wort and hops is then cooled down with the aid of a plate cooler.
In the fermentation tanks the yeast will provide the beers of Brasserie de Silly their unique flavour. The yeast converts the glucose in the wort into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas, giving the beer both its alcohol content and its carbonation.
6. Cold storage
The beer is now maturing and will spend between several weeks at a temperature of 0°C. During this stage the beer undergoes a moderate fermentation that converts the residual sugars into alcohol.
A number of Silly beers, the Pils for instance, are filtered to improve clarity. The beer is now ready to be bottled or pumped into barrels. Some of the beers, depending on the beer style, make their way to the refermentation chamber after bottling so they can re-ferment in the bottle.
8. Time to taste
The beer is now ready for you to try!
Do you want to learn more about brewing? You can visit Brasserie de Silly with a group of more than 15 people. More information and reservations can be requested on +32 68 25 04 80 or firstname.lastname@example.org.