Before you can enjoy a delicious beer, the beer must go through various stages. Each step in the brewing process adds to the unique character of our beer. It is carefully crafted with the expertise of our brewing plant, where passionate workmanship collaborates with modern technology.
The brewing process of HOOP and Breugem follows these steps:
Grains cannot be processed directly from the brewery, they must first be malted in a masonry. That process involves four steps: cleaning, soaking, sprouting and drying. For taste variation, the malt is caramelized or roasted. Light malts are used for the blonde beers and additional dark malts are added to the dark beers.
At the start of the brewing day, the malt is shredded. Shredding is the crushing of the malt grains so that the starch is released, but the shells remain. This process occurs in a scrap mill where the grains are crushed between two large rolls.
Once the water in the brewing boiler has reached the optimal temperature, the shredded malt is poured in. Then this "batter" is heated in steps. During this process, the starch is converted into different sugars. A range of temperatures are necessary because enzymes become active at varying temperatures. These enzymes convert starch into fermentable sugars. The fermentable sugars are converted into alcohol by the yeast cells and the unfermentable sugars stay behind as 'sweet' in the beer.
Filtering the batter is done in the filter tub. The malt granule shells form the filter bed. The ‘wort’ (sugar-containing liquid) in the batter falls down through this bed and is collected. At the same time, the filter bed is sprayed with fresh brewing water to wash out all remaining sugars. The amount of sugar in the wort determines the final alcohol percentage of the beer. The brewer then checks the sugar concentration and the filtration is stopped when the desired sugar concentration is reached.
All liquid that has been dropped by the filter instantly enters the boiler. Then cooking can take place. This liquid is called 'wort'.
There are several hops, of which only one particular type of hops is used. Every hop type has its own character. By adding them in different proportions, the brewer can give each specialty beer its distinctive flavour and taste. The hop flowers are compressed into pallets, large grains, which are easy to store and measure.
The wort pumped to the boiler is re-boiled. During cooking, the brewer adds the different hops; at the start of cooking for the bitterness and at the end of the process for the smell.
After adding the hops, the brew is boiled. During cooking, bitters are released which dissolve in the beer. Additionally, the heat sterilizes the beer and flakes the proteins which would otherwise lead to much turbidity.
Once the wort has boiled, it is cooled, aerated with sterile air and pumped to a yeast tank. Then the yeast is added and its stored in the brewery. Most of our beers are fermented above. Boving beers have more fruity odours and ripen quite quickly. Exceptions to these are the dry-hopped pils and the bock beer; These are bottom-fermented beers. Ondergist produces beers that are more neutral of flavour and taste. Bottom fermentation occurs at a lower temperature than in upper case and lasts longer.
The fermentation takes place at room temperature. The different yeast strains give the HOOP and Breugem beers their typical taste. After fermentation, storage takes place. This is at about 0 degrees Celsius and lasts 2 to 3 weeks. Here you will find the right flavours and expel any unwanted taste. The storage is pressurised and takes place in the same tanks as fermentation. That's why they are also called yeast / lager tanks.
In the bottling line, clean bottles are pressurized with beer, sealed with a crown cap and then labelled. The back label is also encoded with the expiration date. This process is only partly automatic. Manpower is still indispensable!
Throughout the brewing process, samples of the beer are taken for analysis to determine that the quality meets all of our requirements. As a final check, the freshly bottled beer is tasted by the brewing team. Only when the beer passes this thorough test may it leave our brewery.
When brewing our beer, we use water, malt, hops and yeast. Some beers are seasoned with herbs or fruit during the brewing process. These give the beer its own character. At HOOP brewery, we carefully select ingredients to create perfect balance.
Water is one of the main ingredients of beer. Our beers are brewed from pure dune water. This contains less lime than most other drinking water in the Netherlands. For good beer, the quality of the water must be perfect. Sometimes we add minerals to better pair the water with the beer type.
Malt is germinated and then dried as barley, wheat or other cereals. Malt is a basic ingredient for brewing beer. There are various types that all give off their own taste. Many of the beers are brewed with barley malt and sometimes supplemented with wheat flour.
Hop is important for the preservation of the beer. Additionally, hops create special flavours and bitter tastes. By mixing particular hop flowers from different hops, the brewer can change the taste of the beer. There are various hops, each with its own aroma and bitterness. For example, there are hops that are spicy or of earthy aroma and others that are just fruity.
Yeast largely determines the taste of the beer. The HOOP brewers use different yeasts for different types of beer. There is much more to the fermentation process than just the conversion of sugars into alcohol. At the top of the fermentation there are usually fruity and complex flavours, and in the bottom fermentation there are often more neutral and fresh beers.