BREWING AT VICTORY
Having trained in Germany, we appreciate the artistic freedom we have here in the U.S. Here, a fervent core of consumers embraces creativity, and we are happy to serve that audience with our experience in traditional methods, selection of choice, often imported ingredients, and the best processing that technology can offer us. We relish the opportunity to please both ourselves and our audience with our flavorful creations.
Bill Covaleski, Brewmaster & President
At Victory we believe that the very best ingredients are necessary in order to brew the very best beer. Here, German malted barley, a mix of European and American whole flower hops, 45 unique yeast strains (for our wide variety of beers), and the highest quality local water is blended to create our refined brews.
Victory uses only the finest imported two-row malts, as German malts naturally tend to contain less tannins, which can impart an unappealing dry and bitter-like astringency in the brew.
Juicy, piney, citrusy, earthy, herbal and aromatic are just a few of the terms that can be used to describe the hop-deliciousness infused into Victory brews. This comes from our use of only the finest whole flower hops, in their most natural form.Victory is one of only a small handful of breweries in the country that exclusively uses whole flower hops in the brewhouse. While almost all other breweries use a processed and pelletized version, Bill and Ron insist on using the unprocessed whole flower form because it provides fuller flavor and a better aroma in the final product.
Our brewmasters—who have developed strong and trusting relationships with our hop farmers over years of working together— have access to limited and experimental whole flower varieties, such as Azacca, in greater quantities. Each year at the time of the hop harvest, Victory purchases enough of our whole flower hops for the year ahead and stores them frozen until used; the remaining crop is sent for processing and pelletization.
Every brew begins with malt preparation. Victory’s imported German malts are first brought into the brewhouse via a conveyer system from our silo house. Both our Downingtown and Parkesburg mills employ a technology that softens and removes most, if not all, of the intact barley husk before the kernel inside is ground. Limiting the amount of husk in the ground malt produces a sweeter and less tannic wort and allows our brewmasters to introduce more pleasing bitter qualities through hop additions later in the brew.
The softened malt is transferred to the mash tun where it is mixed, activating enzymes which change the malt starches into simpler sugars. From there, the resulting mash is transferred to the lauter tun. The lauter tun acts as a strainer, separating the sugar and nutrient-rich wort (the liquid that will become beer) from the spent barley malt. The fresh wort moves to the brew kettles where the European and American whole flower hops are added to produce unique flavors and enticing aromas.
After a specified time, the hops are removed, and a whirlpool is used to sift out any remaining hop particles before the hopped wort is sent to the “cellar” where fermenting occurs.
Note: As a part of our commitment to sustainability, 100% of our spent grain is used to feed cattle and pigs at local farms and an animal sanctuary.
Once transferred to the fermentation tanks, we add specific yeast strains for each of our beers. The yeast converts the sugars from the brewing process into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. Most of our beers are sent through our filtration system after fermentation and maturation. There all of the yeast particles are removed to prevent spoilage. Our unfiltered beers, like Sunrise Weiss, skip this step.
After the beer has been filtered (or not) it is kegged, bottled and/or canned.
The last step in the journey from ingredients to consumer is, of course, end user “quality assurance.” Every new brew here at Victory is personally taste tested by Bill and Ron.