Nothing beats a real tour of the brewery, but this virtual tour and virtual brew will let you get in on the action without breaking a sweat!
We do it all, milling to packaging, in our 10,000 square-foot facility located in the Stennis Airport Industrial Park. This is an ideal site for a brewery for several reasons.The water is perfect for the kind of beer we make.Interstate 10 is only 3 miles away.The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission provides access to utilities and security services.Do NOT try to look up our address online. You will end up in the woods of North Hancock County.
Go to the Contact Us page for directions.
This is our malt storage area. We use about 12 different kinds of malted barley, wheat, and rye to make all of our different beers.
The first step in a brew is to pack a recipe pallet and check it twice. Just one bag of grain can mean the difference between a great beer and something tasting not quite right.
The recipe pallet, below, is packed up and ready for a brew. It takes anywhere from 12 - 20 bags of grain to make 500 gallons of beer. Some recipes use 6 different types of grain. Some use only three types.
The brew day starts with Milling and Mashing-In.
During Mash-In the malted grains are lightly crushed in a mill and fed into the Mash-Tun. In the mash tun, water is added to the coarsely ground malt and the mixture is mashed (soaked) at carefully controlled temperatures. This activates various enzymes present in the grain. Some of the enzymes present (primarily amylase) convert complex carbohydrates to simpler sugars such as maltose and glucose.
These sugars, along with amino acids released during the malting process, will be food for the yeast. The conversion can be monitored by tasting the grain mixture. It gradually becomes intensely sweet over a 30-minute rest.
To the left is a picture of the opening to our grain mill. The opening is level with the floor so that no one has to heft up a 50-lb bag of grain to dump it into the mill. Even a little 120-lb girl could do this job!
To the right is a picture of the flex-conveyer that moves the crushed grain from the mill to the mash tun.
After mashing, the resulting sweet liquid (wort) is rinsed (sparged) from the grain with hot water. The liquid is transferred to the brew kettle. After most of the sugar is rinsed from the grains, they are called "spent grains." While this is just a waste stream for the brewery, it is very good food for dairy cows and hogs. We provide our spent grains to a local farmer in Hancock County. In return, he brings us home-made bacon and sausage.
Below is a picture of the mash inside of the mash-tun. The rakes help to even out the grain bed during mash-in.
In the brew kettle, the mixture is boiled for one to two hours and hops are added at various points. Hops added at the beginning of the boil add bitterness to the wort. Hops added near the end of the boil do not add bitterness but contribute aroma and special flavors. Boiling is important for other reasons as well. It deactivates the enzymes, kills microbes, causes proteins to drop out of solution, and drives away sulfur compounds naturally found in malt. After boiling for the prescribed amount of time, the wort is forced to flow around the kettle in a big circle. This is very similar to using a giant spoon to stir a giant pot of soup. The spinning causes the coagulated proteins and hop solids to collect in the middle of the kettle in a big pile, leaving the wort clear.
Below is a picture of the boil. You've heard the saying "A watched pot never boils." Well, it's a little different in a brewery. Boil-overs are nasty--think hot sticky syrup all over the floor.
The clarified wort is pumped out of the kettle through a heat exchanger to quickly cool it off. Oxygen is added to the wort as it is pumped into a prepared fermentation vessel where yeast is waiting to start its work.
Below is a picture of the brew-house. The heat exchangers are just to the right of the steps. They're tiny, but very efficient. It only takes 1 hour to cool 500 gallons of boiling hot wort down to fermentation temperatures.
During fermentation, yeast does its magic on the wort to create beer. This process also creates a lot of heat, so tanks must be fitted with cooling jackets to maintain a constant temperature. The flavors produced by the yeast are greatly affected by the fermentation temperature. After fermentation is complete, the beer temperature is dropped and the Maturation phase begins. During this time the yeast clean up unpleasant flavors that were produced during the highly active fermentation time. The entire fermentation and maturation are the most time-consuming parts of the beer making process, requiring at least 17 days for ales and much longer for lagers.
Once the beer flavor has fully developed, it is ready for filtration and carbonation. During filtration, leftover yeast and protein are removed from the beer to make it clear. Carbon dioxide, the final ingredient, is added to give the beer just the right amount of fizz. After passing a list of Quality Assurance tests, it is packaged into kegs and party pigs. At this point, it's ready for the market.
The Pressure Leaf Filter (left) is for tough filtrations like Southern Pecan.
The pad filter (right) is for easier filtrations and polishing after the pressure leaf filtration.
The Cold Room. Kegs awaiting pick-up.
Ahhhhh... what a beautiful picture! These Southern Pecan bottles have just been labeled and date-coded for freshness. After a hearty sanitary rinse cycle, they will be filled with Mississippi's finest, capped and packaged into 6-packs and case boxes!