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We use only four ingredients in our beer – barley or wheat malt, hops, water and yeast; After water, malt is the largest ingredient, as it takes about 20 lbs of malt to make one keg of beer. A virtually limitless number of variations in flavor, aroma and color can be created naturally in the malting process, and we use this to create a wide variety of unique beers despite using only four ingredients.
We receive literally tons of malted barley or wheat monthly, and store it in silos outside the brewery. When it’s time to brew, the malt is transported through these pipes into the Mill Room, where the beer making process begins.
In the Mill, malt is crushed between four steel rollers to separate the husks from the starchy insides and create a fine "grist", optimally sized to maximize the extraction of starches and proteins from the grain naturally during the brewing process. The grist is then transported to the Brewhouse to begin the brew.
The grist is “mashed in” with warm water in our pre-mash mixer, and then enters the Mash Tun. Here, we use time and specific temperature “rests” to convert the malt starches into sugars and break down larger proteins into smaller ones for the beer. The mashing process is critically important as it plays a huge role in the body, mouthfeel and character of the finished beer.
The mash is transferred to the Lauter Tun where circulation causes the malt husks to create a filter bed over a fine sieve false-bottom. This allows us to separate the sweet liquid (called “Wort”) containing the newly created sugars and proteins and transfer it to the boil kettle, while leaving all the solids behind. The spent grain is pumped to a silo where they await farmer Ralph. Ralph feeds them to his cattle to supplement their diet.
The wort is boiled for approx. 90 minutes in the kettle, which causes physiochemical changes to the wort and serves to sterilize it. Early on in the boil we add bittering hops that will serve to balance the sweetness of the wort. Towards the end of the boil we add more hops to enhance the final flavor and aroma of the beer.
In the Lager Tank, green beer continues to slowly mature. Lager tanks are held at much colder temperatures (-1 to +1 C), which slows down the yeast's metabolism. Lagering continues for several weeks during which the yeast slowly "mop up" some of the excess byproducts (rough flavors) produced during primary fermentation. This results in a relatively crisper, cleaner beer. This process also completes the carbonation of the beer.
All beers are either lagers or ales – determined by the yeast. Ale yeast (known as “top fermenting” yeast) ferments at warmer temperatures, which results in a more complex flavor profile. Lager yeast (“bottom fermenting”) ferments at cooler temperatures and produces crisp, clean, less complex flavor profiles. OMB’s flagship Copper Ale is a hybrid beer, utilizing a strain of ale yeast adapted to the cooler temperatures of the lagering process. This “lagered ale” has a complex flavor profile yet remains crisp and refreshing.
We pitch fresh, active yeast in the Conical “Primary” Fermenter just before the cold wort arrives. Overnight, the yeast consume all the oxygen in the wort and use that to multiply. When the oxygen is spent, they consume the wort sugars which are converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide. This pure carbon dioxide naturally carbonates our beer. After about a week of primary fermentation, this “Green Beer” is transferred to a Lager Tank.

FRESH BEER HAPPENS HERE

If you’d love to experience America’s best brewery tour, you’re in luck – it’s right here at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery! We’re honored to have received this recognition from USA Today, especially considering all of the great breweries operating around the US. Hopefully, the rest of the country now knows what we’ve known for years: Charlotte, NC is one of the best fresh-beer-loving towns in America!

When you tour our brewery, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the time-honored brewing process that we use to create all of our classic German-style beers. You’ll learn more about how we live up to the world-famous German “Reinheitsgebot” beer purity law of 1516 that requires beer to be made only of malt, hops, yeast and water. You’ll touch (and taste) our barley malt, smell our Bavarian noble hops, and learn how OMB beer is brewed, lagered and packaged. We invite you to come learn (and experience) all you can about Charlotte’s freshest beer.

FREE Tours of the Brewery

Saturdays & Sundays at 2, 3, and 4.  You do not need to register. No purchase is necessary (although we encourage those over 21 to try the beer) and children are welcome if accompanied by an adult over 21. Approximate length of the tour is 40 minutes.

Private tours are $10 per person with a minimum of $100 and must be booked in advance. This per person fee includes a sampling of all our beers. Please use the contact form or call 704-525-5644 to schedule a private tour.

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