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Hops, Malt and Burtonisation!

Written by Maddie Darrell on

Adnams Brewery Tour, Tuesday 29th January 2014

Despite it being a wet and windy evening, staff at So Southwold and Suffolk Secrets were eagerly anticipating their tour around Adnams Brewery on Tuesday 29th January.

We met at the Adnams Museum just off St James Green where we were welcomed by Ruth and Jane, our enthusiastic and bubbly tour guides. Following a quick look around the museum, we sat down to a short video which detailed the history of Adnams and brewing in Southwold.

We then crossed the road to visit the original brewhouse which has been there for approximately 350 years. We entered a small room filled with wonderful black and white photos depicting the original Adnams family and former brewery staff. The display included a fantastic illustration of the brewing process by local inventor Tim Hunkin.  Ruth then entertained us with a tall story about one of the Adnams’ sons. George Adnams apparently went travelling around the world and unfortunately fell into the Zambezi River where he was promptly eaten by a crocodile! 

We were then led into a room where we could smell and touch various samples of hops, pelleted hops and malted barley including a very dark roast that smelt a little like burnt toast! We then learnt terms like “Burtonisation” which is a process used to purify the water or “brewing liquor” which is combined with the barley to create a “mash”. 

From here we entered a room to view the gleaming and stainless steel brewing vessels that are self-cleaning and allow Adnams to use less than half the quantity of water that is normally used in the brewing process. We were very impressed by the way that Adnams contain the heat generated in the brewing process, to heat up the next batch of brewing liquor so that they minimise their energy consumption wherever possible.

Ruth and Jane then led us into the Copper House distillery where they produce their own award winning Copper House Gin before leading us to the eagerly awaited tasting room!

Here we were treated to various samples including Ghost Ship and Adnams Vodka.  A fun and informative evening was had by all! 

We were very impressed with both of our fabulous Adnams’ tour guides who had an incredible knowledge of Adnams and the brewing process. We will definitely be recommending this tour to customers who are staying in one of our self-catering holiday cottages.

Quirky fact: the name “Burtonisation” stems from the town of Burton Upon Trent – where the quality of the area’s natural water supply is perfect for brewing!

Maddie Darrell

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