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The Art Of Brewing

Posted by Aleem Ladak on

The brewing of a great beer is a complicated art. This is why we at The Big Five Breweries go through great lengths to create a world of untapped flavors in our state of the art craft brewery. The Big Five Breweries is proud to combine the best ingredients and traditional brewing methods as per the Reinheitsgebot (German Purity Law) with modern ingenuity to create a fascinating, diverse and delicious array of truly exceptional beers brewed in Kenya. 


The difference between commercially produced and Artisan-style beer is the depth, complexity and variety of flavor that comes from finely weaving quality ingredients and a general lack of preservatives and additives.

The Big Five Breweries aims to be an ever-expanding brand of craft breweries that specializes in hand-crafting premium draft beer.

MILLING: Various malts are passed through the mill where they are ground into grist.

MASHING: The grist is mixed with hot water to form a mash. Natural enzymes break down the malt into sugars.

LAUTERING: Separation of the grain husks to form a syrup liquid known as “sweet wort”.

BOILING: The wort is boiled in the kettle & hops are added giving bitterness and aroma to the beer.

WHIRL-POOLING: Allowing the separation of solid particles in the wort.

COOLING: The wort is cooled through a heat exchanger from around 90°C to around 12°C-18°C in preparation for fermentation.

FERMENTING & MATURING: Yeast is added into the Fermenting Vessel (FV). Ales generally ferment between 16°C-24°C and lagers between 10°C-12°C. Fermentation begins and the yeast breaks down the sugars extracted from the malt to form alcohol and CO2. Fermentation can take 5-10 days after which the dead yeast is removed and the young “green beer” is cooled to 0-5°C and matured for a few days to a month depending on the style of beer.

FILTERING & PACKAGING: After maturation, the beer is passed through a filter that removes any particles to give a clear, bright and stable beer that is ready to be served or packaged before distribution.


ALCOHOL. Alcohol is sensed more than tasted. It may be a volatile, sharp note in the aroma or a warming sensation on the tongue. Alcohol is also lethal to foam, so if your head dissipates quickly, the beer may be boozy. Beers above 6% will exhibit an alcohol note, one that usually becomes prominent by 8 to 9%. 

ATTENUATION. How well the yeast has fermented the sugars is known as attenuation. A highly attenuated beer will be thinner and have less malt flavor than a poorly attenuated one.

BALANCE. The balance of a beer refers to the harmony between contrasting elements - usually hops and malt.

BITTERNESS. The term “bitterness” generally refers to hops. Sometimes breweries include a rating of the International Bitterness Units (IBU) for their beers; above fifty is notably bitter, and below twenty is mild.

COLOR. Hold the glass up to the light and tilt it to create a shallow edge - beer will appear different in different circumstances. All of a beer’s color comes from malt, so while you may not be able to guess the entire grain bill, you can make inferences. Also look to see if the color is opaque or clear, which gives clues to the degree of filtration and the presence of wheat and whole hops. 

HOPS. In a standard tin-can beer, hops fall below the threshold of human perception. In some beers, they are so abundant they exceed human perception. Beyond bitterness, they can add flavors like grapefruit, black pepper, or pine, or scent a beer with lavender, sage, or cedar - just to name a few. 

MALT. Like coffee, malt is roasted to different colors; the palest malts barely stain a beer, leaving it straw-colored. Munich malts redden a beer, and dark malts blacken it. Malt also contributes flavors like bread, caramel, roastiness, nuts, leather, chocolate, and dark fruit. 

MOUTH-FEEL. One aspect of mouth-feel is the body, but the term is broader. Qualities like creamy, flat or effervescent, hearty or thin are all aspects of mouth-feel. 

SESSION. Both an activity and a beer category. “Session” beers are lower in alcohol to facilitate longer sessions of drinking without getting drunk.

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