The 10 steps to create a perfect pint:
1. It all starts with deciding what style of beer we want to brew. From colour to ABV (alcohol by volume) to the hops we want to use. We have a fairly decent idea now of what styles of beer we like and what type of hops we enjoy. We're also constantly researching hop varieties and brewing styles to ensure we keep up with trends.
2. The brewing process itself takes about seven to eight hours and it all starts with mashing in. This involves mixing about 250kg of malted barley with hot water (usually around 75c). This is then left for 90 minutes, during which time enzymes convert the simple carbohydrates into fermentable extract.
3. After 90 minutes it's time to transfer the liquid to the kettle. At this stage the liquid (or "wort") is intensely sweet as all the sugars have been extracted from the malt. During the transfer period, the malt bed is rinsed with more hot water to ensure all fermentable extract is released from the malt. As soon as the elements in the kettle are covered, we switch them on.
4. Time for the boil. We boil our wort for an hour, and at this stage the hops are added to the kettle. Adding hops at the start of the boil imparts the bitterness that you get in beer, but no aroma. Adding hops late on gives some aroma and flavour, but hardly any bitterness.
5. Once all the hops have been added throughout the boil, and the hour is up, we switch off the elements and let the wort sit for 10 to 15 minutes. This allows the proteins in the wort to coagulate into visible lumps and it's also a useful period for any aromas and flavours to be extracted from late additions of hops.
6. At this stage we transfer the wort from the kettle to a fermenting vessel. We have to get the liquid from near boiling point to about 20c, and to do this it is passed through a heat exchanger with cold water running the other way. The transfer time takes about an hour, during which time we have to monitor the temperature in the fermenter, especially given the cold temperatures outside recently. Once the transfer is complete, we add our yeast to the fermenter.
7. Fermenting takes about a week, depending on the desired ABV and the yeast used. During this time the yeast feeds off the sugars in this very sweet liquid and converts them into alcohol. Once the desired ABV is reached, we have to crash-cool the beer over a couple of days to 8C. This drops the majority of the yeast out of suspension in the fermenter and helps ensure clear beer in the pubs.
8. Once the beer has been crash- cooled, we transfer it to casks. This takes about an hour and for a full-scale brew, we will fill 40 casks with beer. Each cask holds 72 pints so that's 2,880 pints! When the casks are filled they're stored in our cold store, which is held at a temperature of about 11C.
9. We like to hold onto our casks for at least a week to allow the beer to condition and the flavours to develop and mature. If the beer is strong, it tends to need longer to condition than a weaker beer.
10. Once a pub orders a cask and has it delivered, they need to rack it up in their cellar to allow the beer to settle and clear. This usually takes a day or two, and then it can be served to the thirsty customers.
COMPETITION: YOUR CHANCE TO NAME THE NEW CRONX BEER
PLENTY of you will have enjoyed sipping a pint of The Cronx finest – but how about providing the name for Croydon's next tasty tipple? The Advertiser is teaming up with The Cronx Brewery to give Advertiser readers the chance to come up with the name for its latest, soon-to-be-launched ale. The beer will be a pale ale of around 4.5%, using the Polish hop Marynka, and will soon be distributed to pubs. And your idea could be proudly displayed on all the bottles, if your name is chosen as the winner. The victor will also be invited to a brewing day at The Cronx HQ in New Addington and receive a special presentation box of three bottles. The name can be anything but Mark and Simon would like it to be one, possibly two words, and it should fit in with the current Cronx brand and style. To enter, please send your name to email@example.com or Tweet your suggestions to @Thecronxbrewery using the hashtag #cronxcomp The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday (April 19).