Williams Rotary Club members got a crash course in brewing beer at their March 21 meeting at the Grand Canyon Brewing Company.
Hank Standridge gave a tour and explained the brewing process.
First, the grain is mixed with hot water until the consistency is similar to oatmeal. During this time, the sugars are extracted from the grain.
"Basically what we're trying to do is provide a food for the yeast to consume," he said. "Yeast can consume sugar so we're trying to provide a sugar water for them."
The sugar water, known as wort, is then transferred to a kettle. There, hops are added and the mixture is boiled for about 90 minutes.
Hops are a kind of plant, Standridge explained.
"They provide aroma, they balance out the sweetness with the bitterness, they also give an antioxidant quality to it and an antiseptic," he said.
Once the mixture is finished boiling, it goes through a heat exchanger to lower the temperature, so when the yeast is added it doesn't die.
Next, the mixture is transferred to a fermenter where the yeast is added. Single batch fermenters can hold 15 barrels of beer, or about 30 kegs. The brewery also has fermenters that hold 30 barrels and 60 barrels of beer. The time required for fermentation depends on whether the brewery is making an ale or a lager. Ales ferment for about two weeks, and lagers ferment for a minimum of 45 days.
"Once all this process is complete, the temperature is then crashed so the yeast is put into kind of hibernation," Standridge said.
At this point, the beer is filtered and carbonated. Finally, the beer is packaged in kegs, bottles or cans and distributed around the state.