The Brewing Process at Destin Brewery
Inspired by the exceptionally sunny weather in Destin, we focus on responsibly- and locally-sourced ingredients for a portfolio of beers that can be enjoyed anytime, or on the boat, beach, or golf course. With names like “East Pass IPA,” “Bridge Rubble Double,” you’ll recognize the local inspiration behind each and every brew.
Our process begins by selecting only the finest ingredients. Although many of our ingredients are sourced from all over the globe, such as grains and hops from North America, Europe, and Austrailia, we take special pride in including as many local ingredients as we can. Florida Citrus and other fruits are a mainstay in many of our spring and summer “Uncommon” beers. Local Destin honey is a staple ingredient in several of our “Flagship” beers and some “Uncommons” as well. Our bourbon barrels are carefully selected to ensure only the best quality is used for such a delicate aging process. No sacrifice is made in the quality of our beer to save time or money. We firmly believe that the best ingredients, make the best beer, and that is why we do what we do.
We brew our beer in a 4-barrel (124 gallon) stainless steel electric brewhouse. Our tank farm currently consists of three 4-barrel fermenters, three 8-barrel fermenters, and one 20-barrel fermenter. Our smaller brewhouse coupled with numerous fermenters allows us the flexibility to brew several different beers in short order, while still keeping up with the demand for our “Flagships”.
Milling & Mashing
Our grain is poured into our mill by hand, one 50 lb. bag at a time, and is milled to our desired consistency. The milled grain is then manually transferred from the mill to our mash tun. It is here that we add our heated “strike water” to the grains while constantly mixing the “mash” by hand with a good old fashioned mash paddle. Here the heated grains are allowed to soak for an hour or more to allow for conversion of complex starches. This process is achieved by enzymes in the malted barley, or grain, that become active at the high mash temperature. The enzymes break down complex sugars into simpler sugars that the yeast will later feed on to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Lautering and Sparging
As the mashing time ends, we begin to lauter. This is the process by which we drain the sweet liquid, called wort, (pronounced “wert”) from the mash tun and transfer it to the boil kettle. During this transfer we are simutaniously showering additional hot water on top of the grains in order to collect additional sugars from our mash. This process is called “sparging”. The sparging process is done slowly and carefully so as not to disturb the grain bed which acts as its own filter. The lautering and sparging process typically takes a little more than an hour.
The Boil and Whirlpooling
Now that our kettle is full of wort, we bring it to a fairly vigorus rolling boil. This helps to boil off undesirable volitals and to precipitate protiens out of the wort. This also sterilizes the liquid keeping it free of natural airborne bacteria and wild yeast that we don’t want in our final product. We typically boil the wort for 75 to 90 minutes, depending on the style. Some beers we boil longer.
During this time we add our hops. Typically hops are added early in the boil for bittering, the throughout the boil for flavors, and at the end of the boil for aroma. Some beers only have one hop and one hop addition, others like our IPA’s have many additions of numerous hops. At the conclusion of the boil, we begin to whirlpool the wort. Just like it sounds, the wort is pumped from the kettle through a pump, and back into the kettle through a tagential port that creates a whirlpool. We do this for 15 – 20 minutes. Since we don’t filter any of our beers, this is an important step for us as it creates what is known as a trub pile in the bottom of the kettle. The trub pile contains all the things you don’t want in your final product, including the coagulated proteins that precipitated out of solution, as well as spent hops. After we shut off the pump, we let the whirlpool rest for 20 minutes or so to pull everything into a nice tight pile so we can knockout.
Knockout, Pitching Yeast, and Fermentation
After the whirlpool rest, we begin moving the wort from the boil kettle to a previously cleaned and sanitized, stainless steel fermentation tank. We actively pump the wort from the kettle through the heat exchanger, where it is cooled to fermentation temperature (knockout). Once cooled, the wort is oxygenated on its way to the fermentation vessel where the yeast is pitched during knockout. This helps to ensure the wort and yeast are blended into solution uniformly and consistently. Knockout of an ale takes approximately 30-45 minutes. Once knockout is complete, the wort begins its journey to becoming beer. The yeast feed on the sugars in solution and form ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide, among other byproducts. Fermentation can last anywhere from 3-8 days depending on style and strain. Once fermentation is almost complete, the tank is capped to capture the naturally produced carbon dioxide, and hold it in solution. Once complete, the temperature of the tank is dropped to allow the yeast to flocculate out of solution and settle in the bottom of the conical fermenter, where we will capture it and repitch it in the next batch of beer. Once the yeast is pulled, this is where we would add dry hops to a beer, like our IPA.
Aging and Packaging
Once the beer has had time to age on dry hops and soften alcohol ester production, the beer is carbonated and allowed to age for a few days in the fermenter. From here we package the beer. At present everything is placed in kegs for distribution and to be served in our tap room. In the near future, we hope to be canning our beer as well. We will let you know when that happens.
Tasting Room Hours
Thursday1:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Friday1:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday1:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.