The Bianchi farm

by admin on 12/11/2009

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After having driven in the countryside of the Marches for some time, we arrived at the Bianchi farm, situated on the top of a hill from which a beautiful view can be enjoyed all the way to the Adriatic sea. Having cultivated barley at this farm for four generation, the present owners, Luciano e Simone Bianchi, decided to use most of their barley as an ingredient in their own beer. Thus, 80% of their barley is sent to a maltery in Rome, where the grains are made to germinate by soaking in water and are then quickly halted from germinating further by drying or heating with hot air.

In addition to malt, they are only using water, hops and yeast in order to make their beer, which is called Boccale d’Oro meaning Golden Mug of Beer.

Hops are female flower clusters of the humulus plant and they are imported from Germany and the Czech Republic. The hops are used in order to obtain the following:

  • flavouring
  • preservative agent
  • contribute a bitterness that balances the sweetness of the malt
  • an antibiotic effect that favours the activity of brewer’s yeast over less desirable microorganisms
  • aid in keeping the froth for a longer time

Yeast are the microorganisms that is responsible for fermentation in beer. Yeast metabolises the sugars extracted from grains, which produces alcohol and carbon dioxide, and thereby turns wort into beer. In addition to fermenting the beer, yeast also influences the character and flavour of the beer.

In order to produce beer, the malt is immersed into hot water, where the action of certain enzymes present in the malt because of the former germination, the starches in the malt are converted to sugars creating the wort. Then, it’s possible to add all sorts of herbs, fruits, and berries in order to add flavour to the beer, although it’s most common to add hops.

At this brewery, they are keeping the mixture of water and malt at 78°C for 3 hours turning the mixture into a mush, while the starches of the oats are turning into sugars and the hops are added. Then, the mush is filtrated in order to remove solids. Finally, it’s applied to a separator which will remove the rest of the solids.

Then, yeast is added to the mixture which is allowed to ferment for 6 days at 10-12°C, alternatively for 2 months at 1°C. Afterwards, the beer is allowed to rest in large tanks creating a high pressure due to the carbon dioxide which is produced by fermentation. Finally, when the beer is mature, it’s bottled.

One production consists of 300 litres of beer and it lasts, in general, for 6 months.

This farm only produces light and bitter beers, having an alcohol level ranging from 2.5% to 5%. The beers are only sold in the Marches meaning a very small distribution. There is a pub next to the brewery where customers may enjoy the Boccale d’Oro beer together with their friends.

550 hectolitres of beer are produced annually at this combined farm and brewery.

After having made beer, the wort is used as fertiliser for the oats, while the residues, containing no alcohol, are used as chicken feed.

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