From start to finish everything comes together inside The Brewery
The possibilities for what a beer can be are only bound by your imagination. We bring life to these imaginations in the brewery and since most of a brewer’s time is spent inside of one let us share the Epic Ales brewery with you. See just how we go about hand-crafting these wonderfully unique beers.
Epic Ales was started in the early 21st century by self admitted mad-man Cody Morris.
Like many breweries, it all started with the first batch of homebrew. Brewer, Cody Morris, was immediately spellbound by the limitless possibilities that beer could be. He spent over two years working at a homebrew shop, learning, practicing and obsessing over the magic of brewing. While he was perfecting his craft, Cody became somewhat of a foodie, and currently works with specialty foods, always thinking of new flavor combinations to brew up.
The brewery is one of the many different businesses located inside the K. R. Trigger Building. A converted industrial building in the Sodo neighborhood in Seattle that's oozing with history and personalty.
In a space that was originally a salon, the building of the brewery was started in December 2008. Many obstacles reveled themselves as time passed, but luckily by mid March the first successful batch was brewed. After many other batches, the system was perfected and now creates the beers, Cody always dreamed of.
The brewery might be small but our beer is EPIC
When you first enter the Epic Ales brewery you may be shocked to discover just what can happen in such a small space.
The Brew house is a scant 180 square feet, with a tasting room within the same room. It is loosely based on traditional British and American systems with its own unique approach to the brewing process.
Each batch is a single barrel, that's thirty one US gallons or 117 liters. This allows each beer to be truly hand crafted, every cubic inch comes in direct contact with the brewer. Connected to the brew house is the slightly larger second room. This is where the unseen magic happens. Fermentation, bottling and lastly the paperwork. Fermentation takes place in 55 gallon stainless steel conical fermenters, they look just like you see at much larger breweries scaled to size. The beers are all bottled by hand even right down to the labels themselves.
Did you know that Beer is one the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic beverages?
Alcohol can be split into four distinct categories:
Beer, Wine, Mead and Distillates
The first three types are the byproduct of fermentation, distillates are when one distills a fermented product. Fermentation is the natural process of yeast metabolizing sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide.
Meads are made from honey and are perhaps the most ancient form of alcohol. Wines are made from fruit, classically we think of grapes, however there are wines made throughout the world using every fruit imaginable.
Beers are made from grains. As mentioned yeast needs sugar to produce ethanol. The sugars in fruit and honey are pretty obvious and easy to find, grain however, is another matter entirely. There are some grains, notably barley, wheat and rye, that can be malted. Malting involves germinating a grain, by sprouting it, like you would for a plant. Then the grain is toasted to arrest this process, basically keeping the enzymes in stasis. One of the most widely consumed grains in the world, rice, transforms into fermentable sugar using microbes. But that is for a Sake Master to explain.
Brewing can be broken down into five basic stages
During this step the brewer unlocks the potential sugars hiding in the malted grain. This is done by reawakening the enzymes that were put in stasis during malting. Like any enzymic processes, this is all happens within a narrow temperature range. At the brewhouse we mix hot water with crushed malt until the correct ratio of water to malt is reached, this solution is then held at the optimal temperature for a minimum of one hour.
Though it sounds like such a made up word, it doesn't even pass spell-check. After the grain's starches have converted into fermentable sugars, the liquid is removed from the thick mush that is the mash. The liquid is coaxed out by a combination of both gravity and running additional water through the mash. This liquid is called wort. It is the basis of beer.
Once the wort has been collected into the boiling vessel, it has to be boiled. The is the classical "brewing," people visualize when thinking of the production of beer. There's steam, the intense aroma of hops and malt permeate everywhere. Hops and other ingredients are added during this period. The fierce boil accomplishes a several things, it pasteurizes the beer, it allows various protein to break down and form, lastly it brings out the bitterness in hops.
After what is typically an hour, the boiled wort is chilled rapidly. Most beers are cooled to room temperature or colder. During this time, the wort is transferred into a fermentation vessel then then yeast is added. This is where the magic happens. Billions upon billions of tiny yeast cells gobble the sugars, leaving behind ethanol and carbon dioxide. The gas escapes through the one way valve in the fermenter, while the ethanol mixes with the wort turning it into beer.
Once the yeast has finished eating their appetites' fill. The beer is ready to be packaged, whether in a keg, can or bottle. Many beers are carbonated before being put into a container. Some are carbonated after being packaged. Every beer made by Epic Ales are bottle conditioned, meaning we add fresh fermentable sugar to each bottle. The remaining yeast eat this newly introduced sugars, the carbon dioxide is trapped in the bottle, carbonating the beer. The method of packaging beer has been practiced for centuries and creates living beers that will change and develop over time.