The Atomic brewery take great pride in the careful selection of the raw ingredients for brewing. We use a the finest combination of malted barleys to give aroma and colour to our ale.
We use specially treated brewery liquor ( water), the finest hops from all over the world to give a huge range of flavours and finally a yeast strain suitable for the many different real ales we produce.
Few of the applied arts at first sight seem as simple as brewing, but few in practice provide more pitfalls for the unwary. The root cause for this is the "Mystery" that attaches itself to all living things.
The whole brewing process, comprises a succession of biological changes, each of which is subject to control largely developed empirically as a result of hundreds of years of experience and more recently coming under scientific direction.
The two head brewers at "Atomic" pride themselves in craftsmanship and use a combination of traditional skill with modern technology which results in a range of fine locally produced real ales.
We take the malted barley and mix it carefully by hand with out hot brewing liquor. This mixture is left to stand in the Mash Tun for a minimum of 1 hour. This process releases the insoluble starch in the barley and converts it into soluble and fermentable sugars. The resulting liquid is referred to by the brewer as "Wort". The wort is now pumped directly into the copper to boil. At the same time the remaining grain in the mash tun is sprayed with more hot liquor to release the remaining sugars in the barley. This process is called Sparging and is a delicate step, as the wrong temperature or pH will extract tannins from the chaff (grain husks), resulting in a bitter brew.
After we have transferred all the wort from the mash tun we allow it to come to the boil. This is achieved using two large heating elements. The boil is essential to a good beer for a number of reasons. Besides accommodating the hops schedule the boil also sterilises the wort, denatures the enzymes that were active in the mash, and stabilizes the proteins.
Once at the boil, which normally takes up to an hour, we are ready to add our first batch of fresh hops. Hops are very important to beer. They contribute a significant amount of the aroma of most styles as well as some flavour. Their oils add a bittering quality to the beer which is important to balance the sweetness of the malt. Without hops, most beers would be cloyingly sweet and virtually undrinkable. It is a fact that the more hops that go in early in the boil, the bitterer your beer will be. The more hops that go in towards the end of the boil the hoppier your beer will seem in aroma and flavour.
After the boil, we are ready to transfer the boiling wort into the fermenters. The wort is cooled quickly via a paraflow cooler. This cooling prepares the wort for yeast addition. The paraflow is a heat exchanger made up of 50 titanium plates with chilled water on one side and hot wort on the other. The large surface area allows the heat from the wort to heat up the water (thus cooling the wort itself) which returns to the liquor tanks for the next day's brewing.
The wort is cooled to 24ºC en route to the fermentation vessel. The wort having cooled is run into the stainless steel fermenting vessels and “Atomic Ale” yeast is added. Signs of activity are soon seen as the yeast gathers into a creamy head on top of the wort. It is at this stage that yet another great change takes place. The yeast feeds on the sugrary wort and the surgars are converted into Alcohol and Carbon Dioxide. Fermentation works to a climax and is virtually complete within three day; after this the beer is chilled to prevent over fermentation which could result in a lifeless beer.
After a few days of chilling the beer is allowed to flow by gravity into casks a process known as racking. The racked beer is allowed to mature for a further week before being supplied to the local free trade.