Inside the Pyrite Brewing Process

ncba lineup

NCBA brewers and the Motley Brews team assemble for the brewing of Pyrite Pale Ale, the first-ever NCBA collaboration brew and the Official Beer of the 2013 Great Vegas Festival of Beer.

mash

Close up of the Pyrite mash, where the starches in the barley are broken down into sugars for the yeast to eat and produce alcohol.

mash checkMatt Marino of Joseph James Brewing Co. monitors the temperature and consistency of the mash.  The difference of a few degrees can mean a totally different beer.  We’re aiming for a light bodied brew with a conservative alcohol percentage.

mash tun

Viewing ports in the mash tun give us a close look at what’s going on in there.  Those vertical tubes will start to clear up as the mash finishes, giving us the first glimpse of our pale ale.

first look

Pyrite is starting to look like a beer, but it definitely doesn’t taste like one yet. This is the wort, the malty and sugary liquid extracted from the mash.

how it works

The wort will travel from the mash tun on the left over to the kettle on the right, where it will be boiled with hops for their bitter flavor and flowery aroma.  hops

Speaking of which, here they are!  We used precious Amarillo hops in the 90-minute boil.

cleanmash

Meanwhile, it’s time to clean the leftover grains out of the mash tun.

fermentation

Following the boil the wort is sent to fermentation tanks–the ones with conic bottoms–where yeast is finally added so it can get to work converting those sugars into alcohol.  When the fermentation period is over the beer will be piped into the large cylindrical brite tanks, from which we’ll fill up the kegs headed for the Great Vegas Festival of Beer!