Since the beginning, brewing beer was a domestic or small scale commercial operation dating back to maybe 6000 years ago when the source of the fermentable starch was sorghum (millet ) as it was the first cultivated in Africa.
Did man grow cereals to make beer or did he make beer with spare cereals which he grew to make breads? Certainly today we grow 2 row barley just for brewing beer. Other ingredients were added to make it happen but in truth they were not understood.
Maybe 1000 years ago it was realized that hops, grown especially for this purpose, could replace all the locally found herbs and spices and help to make it keep better. Beer makers still didn’t understand microbes but could see what they did to the beer.
At first Ale was made without hops and beer was made with hops but now it is all hopped and called ale or beer.
Since 500AD barley was malted by ‘toasting it’ which gave the beer colour and flavour which varied all over Europe depending on local water supply, customs and materials.
Wheat became a popular alternative especially in Germany. In Bavaria 500 years ago the famous Reinheitsgebot purity laws were introduced to control the ingredients and the process.
Yeast was used and re-used all from wild yeast sources because it caused the fermentation. It was not understood until Louis Pasteur identified it in 1866AD and it was first isolated 17 years later by Emil Hansen. Today it is an industry in itself.
Samui Fine Ales design and produce the beers ourselves using ingredients we have chosen based on their contribution to the style, flavour, taste, aroma and condition we are looking for.
We run small scale testing before finalising the recipe and carefully craft the beer from grain to glass presenting it to you at its finest.
We aim to stay in Style so that these beers can be enjoyed against an expectation but we are still on holiday on a sun drenched island in the Gulf of Thailand.
We brew from water sourced in our deep well 125m below this bar which has a chemical analysis surprisingly similar to London brewing water.
We use the English infusion method and mashing at 68C because the 2 row quality malts we have today do not need lautering or decoction to release their flavours.
Starch is converted to sugar then boiled in the kettle for 1 hour. Hops are added at selected times to produce bitterness, flavour and aroma before whirlpool separation and heat exchange cooling. The rest of the work is done by the yeasts which are selected according to the style.
We use fresh ingredients for additional flavouring.
Our beers are not filtered and will contain some yeast, the wheat beer is cloudy by design due to the proteins which come from the malted wheat.
The final beer is generally conditioned for 21 days.
Our malted barleys, wheat, hops & yeasts mainly come from Australia. The ingredients are accidentally almost organic.
Our equipment was built in Shandong China, to our specification. It is insulated to work in the hotter holiday temperatures and protected with CIP cleaning systems to ensure a quality product. The storage tanks each hold 1000L at a constant 4 deg C conditioning temperature maintained by PLC computer.
Where possible our brewery is energy balanced to avoid waste, we pre-heat our water with heat recovered from cooling process energy. All the vessels are insulated.
We conserve water and electricity by including a condensate return system on our boiler and by using an ice bank to quickly cool the beer. The heat from the ice bank glycol cooling equipment is captured and used to heat water for the kitchen. We serve the beer from draught to avoid waste water from washing bottles.
We brew to alcohol strengths similar to the historical products we imitate between 3.5% and 5% by volume alcohol. There is no limit to the types of beer we can brew just the space to brew it.
Beer has enjoyed a magnificent heritage, developed through centuries of tradition and generations of improvement and innovation.
Here in Samui you can enjoy many famous beers at many well presented and friendly bars and restaurants. These commercial beers are worthy of respect not least because they are available all over the world and always maintain their colour, taste and alcohol strength. This does not just happen, these companies have perfected their art so you can enjoy their beers.
We believe something has been lost in the commercialisation process and we want to give back some life and identity to beer.
We add to the range of flavours available and bring beers to the table that may not be commercially viable but can be enjoyed responsibly.