Beer is made from malt, hop, yeast and water. Malt is derived from barley or wheat grains, which are germinated at an elevated temperature and then dried. Different kinds of malt are used depending on the style of the beer that is brewed: pilsner, Munich, pale and dark caramel malt, coloured malt, wheat malt and many others. While weighing the malt, we keep in mind the recipe for the beer we want to brew, i.e. we aim for a specific gravity of the wort. Hops are added during the boiling process. By adding hops we get bitterness and aroma. The yeast is added to cooled wort to start the fermentation process. Water is an essential ingredient for brewing beer and is treated differently for every beer style.
The process of brewing beer starts with weighing the malt, while keeping the recipe for the beer we want to brew in mind. After weighing, malt is put into the mill. Ground malt is added to the mash tun. In the Medvedgrad brewery, this step, like every other step of the brewing process, is handled manually, in the old, traditional manner.
Ground malt is mixed with water and then heated in a mash tun. This mashing process is monitored by the brewer, who controls it according to the brewing diagram. The diagram defines the precise temperatures and periodical pauses during mashing. Boiled malt is then drained in a lauter tun, where the residual grain is filtered away from the wort. Hops are then added to the drained, boiling wort in the brew kettle, releasing their bittering and aromatic properties during the boil. Following the boil, wort is drained again, and clarified in a whirlpool, and warm residue left after the draining is removed. After it clears, wort is cooled and cool wort is racked to the fermenters.
While racking hopped wort to the fermenter, yeast is added and the fermentation process starts at the temperature from 10 to 20°C, lasting 4 to 9 days. During this process, most sugars are converted into alcohol and CO2, thereby turning wort into young beer. Once primary fermentation is complete, the CCTs are cooled, during which the yeast settles at the bottom and is removed. Cloudy young beer is then racked to another vessel in the conditioning cellar.
Our cellar is equipped with conditioning tanks that automatically keep young beer at temperatures from 0 to 20°C. A secondary fermentation occurs during conditioning, which lasts at least 30 and sometimes up to 60 days, depending on the beer style, clarity, desired taste… During this time residual sugars ferment, unwanted compounds dissolve, the taste of beer is formed along with the foam, the beer clears and the remaining yeast settles at the bottom.
After conditioning, the beer, now ready, is transferred for kegging purposes into pressurised tanks, from which, after the pressure is raised, the beer is kegged. Beer can be put into 10, 20, 30 and 50 litre kegs and is done at the temperature of 2°C.
The Medvedgrad brewery uses 0,5 L bottles for bottling beer, which is then ready for distribution all over Croatia. The bottles are first placed in beer crates and, afterwards, in our characteristic retro six-pack boxes.