What goes into a glass of Skinner’s ale?
Skinners will only ever put the finest ingredients into our beers. Water, Malted Barley, Hops and Yeast are the four key ingredients. And occasionally we get the knockers in to add just a little bit of Skinner’s magic. ** Here’s a guide to how we brew you the perfect pint.
We start with fresh Cornish water and add minerals in a process known as Burtonisation. The name comes from the town Burton-on-Trent which once had several very successful breweries owing to the local water quality which brought out the flavour of the hops.
The water is then heated . It’s now known in brewing terms as LIQUOR.
Our barley comes from Cornish farms — the closest is just 5 miles away. It’s sent to maltings in Warminsters and Newton Abbott where it’s turned into GRIST. This involves cracking the grains to germinate them so they start producing sugars, roasting them in a kiln and then returning them to us. Both our maltings use a traditional, hand-made process that’s widely acknowledged to produce a superior product.
The GRIST is shipped back to Truro where we mix it with the LIQUOR in a large vessel called a MASH TUN. Sugars are extracted from the barley during this process. The liquid is now called WORT. This travels to the COPPER where it’s boiled to kill off any nasties.
We use vacuum-packed whole flower hops to make sure they’re as fresh as can be (if you visit us for a tour ask for a sniff – it smells great!) It’s too windy to grow hops here in Cornwall and we use a variety of different types from America, Slovenia and the UK. Find out more about which hops we use in each beer by exploring our core range.
An even layer of hops is laid into the HOP BACK and the WORT is piped in from the COPPER. This is left for about 20 minutes to mingle, adding flavour and aroma to the brew. Then it’s cooled in heat exchangers as it travels to the FERMENTATION VESSELS where YEAST is added.
The yeast we use is the same in all our beers and it’s so precious we store it in a yeast bank (alongside strains from lots of other famous breweries). Our yeast was originally from Stones brewery, which was founded in 1868… so it has good lineage. The yeast is the trickiest part of the process to control but we make sure the temperature and pH levels are just right and then let it get to work.
Clever yeast turns the liquid from a sweet, malty substance into beer. Some of the sugars are turned into carbon dioxide and alcohol. This process takes about three days and it’s watched closely by our brewers who stop the fermentation at the optimum moment by ‘crashing’ the temperature from 19oC down to 12oC.
We’ve refined our recipe and produce up to 14 brews containing up to 7200 pints each week. In between brews all the equipment is cleaned and sterilised. Our expert brewers and tasters ensure each batch is clean, consistent and yields as little waste as possible.
“So many factors affect the final product. Everything, the ph of the water, the quality of the raw materials, the temperature you use in the process can all change. But control the variables and you will consistently get the same great-tasting beers.” Paola Leather – Head Brewer
** Knockers may or may not be fictional — but let’s not spoil the story.