Lancaster Brewing Process

A strict adherence to a traditional Lancaster brewing process along with state-of-the-art equipment and the purest brewing ingredients is one of the reasons for the high reputation enjoyed by Lancaster County breweries.

Here is a brief introduction to the brewing process which is followed in Lancaster County.


The first step in the Lancaster brewing process is the milling or grinding of the malted barley. By crushing the grain husks, the starch in the center of the barley kernel is exposed. By exposing the starch, it will be much easier to break the starch down which is what takes place during the next step.

at this point, the crushed grain is known as grist.


The next step is known as mashing. Here, the crushed grain or grist is mixed with water at different temperatures for different periods of time. This activates the enzymes in the grain husks which begin to break down the exposed starches into fermentable and non-fermentable sugars, depending upon the temperatures. This is important because the yeast can't process the starches in their original form.

This conversion from starch to sugar takes approximately 60 minutes. This mixture of hot water and grist (crushed malted barley kernels) is known as the mash.


After the conversion process is complete, the mash is taken to a lauter tun where the sweet sugary liquid is separated from the grain. In the bottom of the lauter tun, there are slotted plates. The grain remains on the plates while the sweet sugary liquid passes through the slots.


The extracted sweet sugary liquid is known as wort and is pumped into a brew kettle where it is boiled for about 90 minutes.

The boiling serves to sanitize the wort, carmelize the sugars and coagulate the proteins. During this boiling stage, the hops are added to the wort. The boiling extracts the bitterness which is necessary for the beer by getting rid of the softer resins of the hops.

After the boiling process, the wort and hops are transferred to a whirlpool where more hops are added. This adds flavor and aroma to the nutrient rich mix.


The next step of the Lancaster brewing process is where the yeast is added to the wort. This is the fermentation process which takes about four weeks.

The first phase of the fermentation is where the yeast consumes the fermentable sugars produced in the massing process and converts them into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

The second phase occurs at cooler temperatures which causes the yeast to slow their pace and begin to develop various flavors. this is where the beer is said to be maturing.

At the end of the fermentation, the yeast forms into clumps and settles to the bottom of the tank. This is called flocculation.The chunks of yeast are then collected and used again.


After the fermentation process is completed,any remaining solids, yeast, and sediment is filtered out. When the beer has been filtered, it is known as "bright" beer. It normally takes about two hours to filter 1,000 gallons of beer.

Bottling and Kegging

The "bright" beer is then pumped in the bright tank and carbonated to the desired level and consistency.

The beer is then transferred into bottles and kegs using double pre-evacuation systems to eliminate the oxygen from the bottles and kegs.

The beer is then shipped fresh and non-pasteurized to restaurants and beer distributors.

If you are interested in learning more about the Lancaster brewing process, you would probably greatly enjoy visiting one of the Lancaster breweries where you can not only sample some of the great-tasting lagers and ales crafted right here in Lancaster County, but you can also take a brewery tour. On these tours, you'll discover first-hand how the beer is produced as well as learn the history of the breweries of Lancaster County.

If wine is more your thing, you might like to visit one of the region's wineries and vineyards.

In addition to the beverages and the fine dining, both the Lancaster breweries and wineries often host live music, art exhibits, festivals and other special events that you won't want to miss.

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Lancaster Brewing Process

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