It must have been somewhere in 1995 when I took my first steps as an amateur brewer. I had been a lover of all those wonderful beers in Belgium for some years now. However, my interest went further than just tasting, I wanted to understand how those special beers were brewed. Through self-study I picked out every brewing book I could get my hands on. I also built an amateur brewery at home where I could brew my own recipes in small quantities. This enabled me to apply the theory I had studied in practice and to taste the results and then make improvements to the recipe again. At the same time, I continued to improve my knowledge with a few years of brewing training at the University of Applied Sciences in Ghent.
In the years that followed, I gradually built up a network in the professional brewing world and even gained access to the brewery of a Trappist abbey. My family and friends encouraged me to start my own brewery but I didn't want to jeopardize my career for an expensive brewery project that was uncertain whether it would be profitable or not. However, after I had to reorient my professional life due to illness, the idea of owning a brewery came back to my mind and I decided to follow my passion. In 2015 I founded the Basanina brewery and a year later we launched the first beers on the market with Saison du Lucien and Père Glorieux. The recipes for these beers were developed by the knowledge gained from these years of experience in test brewing.
- Bart De Wolf -
An important feature of our brewery is that each beer is produced with its own yeast culture that has been specifically selected for that particular type of beer. Some beers are even produced using multiple yeast strains.
This yeast is grown from our own yeast bank in the brewery so that we can always brew our beers with extremely fresh yeast. We do not use dried yeast and are convinced that the extra work required to produce the yeast makes a world of difference in our beers, you can clearly taste that.
That is why the production of a new beer in our brewery starts with the production of yeast. Over a period of a few days, we grow millions of cells in laboratory conditions from just a few yeast cells. Once we have grown a large enough volume of yeast, we can finally start brewing beer whose end product will carry the DNA of the yeast.
For this approach we get a lot of appreciation and we are very proud of that.
The brewhouse consists of 3 steam heated vessels and a complex piping network with numerous butterfly valves and a plate heat exchanger. Here the wort production takes place, wort is the sweet liquid extracted from the malt (and sometimes adjunct grains) during the mashing process and contains the fermentable and unfermentable sugars.
The cooled wort from the brewhouse is pumped to one of the 7 cilindroconical fermenters where the propagated yeast is added. The yeast converts the sugars in the wort into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This process is called the main fermentation and takes depending on the type of beer about 7 to 10 days (sometimes even longer). After the main fermentation, the yeast sinks to the bottom of the fermenter and is then separated from the young beer. The beer will now ferment the last remaining sugars and will mature in the same tank. This maturation of the beer is very important because during this process the taste is further refined. Depending on the type of beer, the lagering process takes 4 to 8 weeks until it is ready to be filled in bottles.
When the beer is ready to be bottled, it is transferred to the bottling plant. This part of the brewery includes:
The matured beer is pushed from a fermentation tank to the bright beer tank where it is mixed with a sugar solution and fresh yeast. Then the beer from this tank is emptied in the direction of the filling machine and ends up in the bottles under CO2 backpressure.
When the bottles are full, they are placed manually on the conveyor belt of the crown capping machine, after which they are automatically fitted with a crowncork and manually placed in trays.
The filled bottles of beer now move from the bottling plant to the warm room where they will stay for two to three weeks in a dark and warm environment of 24°C. This is where the process of refermentation in the bottle or bottle conditioning takes place, so that the beer is saturated with CO2 and it will get its natural sparkle.
After that the bottles are labeled and the beer is packed in boxes after which it can be delivered to our customers.