Only Speyside water, malted grains, whole hops and yeast are used to produce our craft ales. Our grains and hops are chosen to suit each beer style so hail from far and wide but are always sourced through the best suppliers. We take yeast seriously and only use fresh wet yeast which we propagate in our lab here at the brewery.
What doesn’t go in to our beer is just as important as what does go in. From the outset we believed that we could brew great tasting beer without the use of fining agents. Isinglass is a substance derived from fish swim bladders and is used widely in the brewing industry to fine, or clarify, beer. Left undisturbed, beer will clear naturally. As a result our beers are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
THE BREWING PROCESS
It all begins by soaking the milled grains in hot water, then rinsing them to separate the sugary goodness from the husks. The resultant ‘wort’ is boiled with hops to add bitterness and the beer’s signature flavours and aromas.
The hopped wort is then cooled on its way to the fermenting vessel where it is mixed with the yeast and, under close monitoring, ferments at 20C over a few days converting the sugars to alcohol and CO2.
On completion of fermentation the beer is further cooled and the flavours allowed to develop during a conditioning phase before being approved for packaging.
We are always looking for ways to improve the quality and flavour of our beers and we firmly believe that a bottle conditioned beer delivers that. In 2016 we installed a bottling plant and now all of our bottled beer is bottle conditioned. Bottle conditioned beer is bottled with a small amount of yeast which allows the beer to ferment further in the bottle. This creates a natural soft carbonation with smaller bubbles, more like that in a cask ale, unlike forced carbonation which produces more “fizz”.
We have also significantly reduced the level of filtration we subject the beer to. Our bottling process now requires only a light filtration and a minimum of mechanical intervention helping to retain all the vivid and defined hop flavours which can be stripped out by the sterile filtration of commercial bottlers. The result is bottled beer that is as close as we can get to the cask ale in your local with all the flavours that our brewers work hard to get into the beer. We want our bottled beer to taste like the real ale product we brew.
Windswept Brewing Co have been creating speciality beers aged in whisky barrels since 2013. The wooden barrels impart new depths of flavour and complexity to our already award-winning beers. We only use locally sourced casks from the Glen Moray distillery in Elgin, so we know they’re fresh and still wet from the spirit. Some beers, such as old ales and strong stouts are much better suited to ageing than light ales or IPAs. We’ve done a lot of experimenting in pairing beers with whiskies, so we know which combinations will work well.
Unsurprisingly, the first flavour to marry with the beer comes from the whisky. This is noticeable within a week. We continue to age the beer for a further 4 months. In that time it will also develop caramel and vanilla flavours directly from the oak. Once the beer is judged to be ready, we bottle it on site here in Lossiemouth.