Callie On The Job: Big Muddy Brewing - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Callie On The Job: Big Muddy Brewing

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MURPHYSBORO -- Callie heads to Big Muddy Brewing for this week's job. She learns about the brewing process and some interesting beer knowledge as well. 

In 2009, Big Muddy Brewing opened in Murphysboro. This was one of the first craft breweries to break ground in southern Illinois. Owner and founder Chuck Stuhrenberg says his favorite part about brewing is getting to express his creativity through creating flavors.

Big Muddy brews between 4,000 and 5,000 barrels each year. That's more than 100,000 gallons of beer. But before you can crack open one of their 20 different flavors, the brew has to be made. It all starts from the malted grain. The malt is dumped into the mill, then it transfers into a giant machine called the mash ton.

In the mash ton it gets mixed with water. This is where the sugars are rinsed off the barley and it's turned into liquid wort. After the grain and water are mixed it's moved to a kettle where the mixture is boiled for more than an hour. At the end of the boil the hops are added. Hops are the seasoning for the beer that adds flavor, bitterness and the aroma.

After hops are added, the brew is transferred to the fermenter. This is when the yeast is added.

Then comes the hard part: the waiting.

Most ales sit in the fermenter for two or three weeks, and lagers sit for two or three months. When the brew is done fermenting it's time to be put in bottles, cans and kegs. 

Owner Chuck Stuhrenberg says there is also an art to pouring the beer. 

"You want to hold the glass at about a 45 degree angle that cuts down on the foam. If you pour it straight in there it will foam over and you'll get way too much you want to just end up with a little bit on the top," said Stuhrenberg.

Big Muddy Beer is now sold in seven states. Stuhrenberg says people are now visiting Big Muddy Brewing from out of state because they want to see where their favorite beer is made.

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