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Brewing the Harvey's Way

To start, our Brewing team will decide on a recipe; whether it be Sussex Best Bitter, a seasonal like Star of Eastbourne or an historical brew discovered in our Brewer's Journal that we are looking to recreate...

Brewing the Best Beer

The craft of brewing is as old as human civilisation, and we have been knowingly producing beer since the time of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The world's oldest surviving beer recipe is of Mesopotamian origin, a 3900 year old poem honouring the Sumerian Goddess Ninkasi, detailing the production of beer from barley.

The process at Harvey's is much the same method as the traditions of brewing have always been, but how we operate, where we source our ingredients and where our by-products go are what make our beers distinct.

Rainfall

Rainfall which has filtered over 30 years through the Sussex chalk downs is drawn from our artesian well some sixty feet below the brewery and up into our liquor reservoir located at the top of the Harvey's Tower, ready to be released into the brew.

Why is our own water so important? It gives our beers a unique flavour, which means that even if you used our recipe, process and ingredients at another brewery, the beer would not taste quite the same as ours.

Also having our own supply of water (liquor) should preserve Harvey's brewing for generations to come.

Malt

While this is going on our sacks of Malt are being readied and milled. The Harvey's electric engine powers the milling of the our malt to be ground down to expose the starch in the grain, crushing it into fine grist, that is needed later on in the process.

We brew with Maris Otter malted barley, the product of a long programme of cross selection dating back to the early 1900s and much prized by cask ale brewers.

One of its ancestors is a descendant of the original two rowed types grown in the British Isles at least as early as the sixteenth century.

The Mash Tuns

The grist is released into our two mash tuns and along with the water - which when hot is referred to as 'liquor' - joins the grist where it is mashed together for the desired length of time to make the 'wort'.

The enzymes from the malt break down the starch into sugars that pass down to a liquid known as 'wort'. The wort contains the sugars that will be fermented into our beer. The exposed starch from the grist mentioned earlier, is isothermally mashed and kept at a single temperature which enables the enzymes to convert the malt starches into sugars.

Plumpton Agricultural College has claimed that our spent grains, put into their cow feed, has contributed to over 1.4million litres of milk!

In Lewes, if you're walking through Cliffe High Street on a day when we're brewing you might just a get a whiff of these beautiful malty aromas...

This wort gets transferred into two Coppers in our Copper House. A Copper is a very large kettle like vessel, which is when our locally sourced hops are added to the brew to contribute flavour, bitterness, and aroma. Other ingredients can also be added at this stage if desired. This mixture is then boiled and cooled before heading to our fermenting tuns.

Local Whole Hops

Harvey's have been working with local farms and agriculture for decades. Supplying our by-products to them is equally beneficial; locally, environmentally and commercially, and highlights a very old and traditional brewing partnership.

A H Hoad and Son, an East Sussex hop supplier, have been growing hops since 1900 and we have been working with them for many years.

We use local whole hops from Sussex, Kent and Surrey comprising such long established varieties as Fuggles, Goldings, Progress and Bramling Cross to produce a distinctive hop character. Some of these varieties date back to the 1870s.

For special brews we may use more seasonal hops or introduce different hops. A recent addition to our dry-hopped Armada Ale has been the Jester hop variety, and a recently discovered hedgerow hop in Northiam, Sussex, is now known as the 'Sussex Hop' and is used in our Wild Hop beer.

Any leftover 'spent' hops are shovelled out of the Hop Back by a member of our brewing team, probably Terry, and then sent to local agriculture the same as our spent grains.

Our Yeast

The fermenting tuns are where the beers transform and alcohol is created. 

Harvey's yeast, a 60 year old strain unique to us, is pitched into the brew, and the gravity is measured at the start of the fermentation. When the gravity drops this causes a rise temperature, which is when the alcohol reduces. The yeast feeds on those aforementioned sugars in the wort replacing them with alcohol and Co2 during fermentation.

Our beers use "top fermenting" yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) which generates a foam at the top of the wort during fermentation, it is usually found in classic styles of British beer. "Bottom fermented" beer yeast (Saccharomyces uvarum) can be attributed to the lager styles of beer.

Yeast forms a protective layer over the beer during fermentation, this inhibits microbes from affecting the product, and produces a layer of Co2 above the beer. This layer is skimmed from the top of the vessels daily.

For over half a century we have fermented our beers using yeast which is now unique to us. The crop from each week's brewing is re-pitched into the following weeks. Countless generations of yeast cells from our original consignment have thus passed through our fermenting room.

Our yeast contributes to 50% of the final flavour of our beer, which highlights how important it is that we keep our unique strain

The Beer

The resulting brew is sent off for preparation and then racked, kegged, canned or bottled by the Harvey's Brewing team to present our customers with the best beer we can produce!

 We firmly believe that we are as good as our last pint and constant vigilance is the order of the day. 

We are proud to continue the traditional craft of brewing. Selecting the finest raw materials, employing a skilled team, and supporting our community allows to achieve our goal of producing consistently good beer.

#WeWuntBeDruv

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