The CONNOR'S Experience - Brewery Tour
If you've been following my posts, I've been enjoying The CONNOR'S Experience for the past month or so now, going from one fine restaurant to the other, savouring their specially curated CONNOR'S Stout Porter infused dishes. Well, after all that, it got me thinking of how CONNOR'S comes about, and the opportunity to learn about the brewing process of CONNOR's Stout Porter came about. A brew inspired from the 1700's original British Stout Porter recipe, crafted to suit today's consumer's taste expectations, read on below on my journey.
|The CONNOR'S Stout Porter Experience - Brewery Tour|
Arriving at the brewery, I was beside myself in excitement to see how CONNOR's Stout Porter is being produced. It was an interesting learning experience, where we got to see what went on behind each brew. How does the flavours come about? How many processes does it go through before being shipped out for our enjoyment?
|From Malt to Hops and many more|
|We were brought on a tour that afternoon at the CONNOR's production plant|
Entering the premise, it is essentially a very large brewery production plant, where we were brought on a tour along with other media folks. CONNOR'S Stout Porter is made of a unique blend of 4 different types of malt, Lager Malt, Caramel Malt, Brown Malt and Roasted Barley. Ushered into a room for some lessons in the differences of these malt, as well as the process to produce the brew, I even got a chance to sample these malt in their initial form.
|David Bidau, Supply Chain Director of Calsberg Malaysia guiding us through the process|
David Bidau, Supply Chain Director of Calsberg Malaysia was present to introduce to us the different malts and the process to produce CONNOR's Stout Porter. The colour and flavour of stout begins with malt, which is produced from barley. I got a taste of the roasted barley and caramel malt, with the former tasting a bit like roasted coffee while the other had a rather fragrant caramel aftertaste.
Of Lager Malt, Caramel Malt, Brown Malt and Roasted Barley
Lager Malt ties the stout by enhancing the body and mouthful substantially. It contributes to give the brew a nice malty flavor. Caramel Malt is added to give its signature bittersweet aftertaste and gentle notes of caramel. Brown Malt provides the intense dark color to the brew and gives the stout a dark chocolate flavor. Roasted Barley is used to give the brew a gentle roasty undertone.
|The four major processes in making CONNOR's Stout Porter|
It felt like I was in a laboratory of sorts, where there's these equipment placed in front of us to showcase each processes. Milling the malt is the first step of making stout. Malt is delivered in containers from overseas and stored in concrete silos, then pneumatically transported to the milling machine to break open the malt's tough outer surface. In the room, a demonstration is performed to show how milling is done
Of course, in the production area, larger machineries are used, as these are only for demonstration purposes. The milling process is to crush the malt enough so that it exposes the starch for subsequent conversion to sugar in the mash kettle.
|The results of milling, to be mashed next|
Immediately after the milling process, in production, the brewer will move the milled malt to large vessel, which is then mixed with hot water to form the mash. Natural enzymes within the malt will be activated under hot water to break down the starch into simple sugar that will give its natural sweetness. All these are done under controlled temperatures to ensure the type of sugar produced by the enzymes are correct.
|Filtering (Mash Filter)|
|Filtered to remove the spent grain|
The mashing process takes approximately 1.5 hours for enzymes to finish converting starch into sugar. It will then be filtered to remove the spent grain, leaving behind a sweet solution called wort. Wort what? Anyway, that's when things get interesting. Read on.
|Wort Boiling Process|
|Hops are added into the wort kettle|
It then goes to the wort boiling process where the wort is sterilized for an hour to help clarify the brew. Hops, female flowers of a vine-like climbing plant, are added at the later boiling stage to develop the distintictive unique aromatic character to the brew as well as the bitterness that is desired.
|Check out this huge Whirlpool|
|Protein and bitter components are precipitated during the boiling process and will be removed through the whirlpool process.|
Production Area Visited
Everything that was explained in the room, we got to see it first hand at the production area after a quick safety briefing. Protein and bitter components are precipitated during the boiling process and will be removed through the whirlpool process. Huge whirlpools were seen hard at work. The clear wort is then pumped through the wort cooler to chill down from 100 degree celcius to the right fermentation temperature about 13 degree celcius before yeast is added.
|We were all given safety shoes when visiting the production area|
|David Bidau explaining the machines and their functions|
Fermentation, a must have process to produce the CONNOR'S Stout Porter we all love. In the fermenter, the yeast converts the malt-sugar to alcohol, aroma and carbon dioxide. The yeast is removed after days of fermentation process and the brew is ready for maturation.
Cold maturation of the brew takes place at -2 degree celcius for at least 1-day to give the brew's final flavor characteristics before the filtration process through a candle filter to remove yeast cells and proteins.
|CONNOR'S Stout Porter brewing process in one image|
|Alvin Yap, Draught Beer Services Manager of Carlsberg Malaysia|
Pouring The Perfect Pint
Our Brewery Tour ended with food, lots of CONNOR'S Stout Porter, and a chance for us to pour our very own perfect pint. Alvin Yap, Draught Beer Services Manager of Carlsberg Malaysia showed us the art of pouring the perfect pint. How? Watch and learn.
|Pouring my perfect pint|
|Gary Tan, Brand Manager; David Bidau, Supply Chain Director; Juliet Yap, Marketing Director; Alvin Yap, Draught Beer Manager|
Using a room temperature CONNOR'S Stout Porter branded glass, hold the glass firmly at 45 degrees and an inch under the tap. Subsequently, pull the handle fully towards ourself, then slowly straighten the glass as it fills when it is half full. Let the stout run straight down into the middle of the glass while maintaining around 2 inches between the surface of the stout and the tap. And that my friends, is how you pour the perfect pint.
|They even provided us an infographic on CONNOR'S Stout Porter|
So there you have it, my very own CONNOR'S Stout Porter Experience - Brewery Tour from start to end. The caramel sweetness, with gentle undertones of roastiness to the side of the brew went really well with my tastebuds, one which I truly enjoyed. Thank you Carlsberg Malaysia and the team from CONNOR'S Stout Porter for this opportunity to visit your brewery!