We went down to Bolney Wine Estate in West Sussex to run you through the Traditional Method for making our Sparkling Beer.
The first stage of the Traditional Method is the Tirage. After the beer has gone through a primary fermentation a small but calculated amount of yeast and sugar (the liqueur de tirage) are added to the beer in the bottle to create a secondary fermentation.
Here is our video explaining the Tirage process:
Yeast has a tendency to set like concrete on the bottom of the bottle making it very difficult to remove during the riddling process. In order to aid the removal of the yeast we add what are known as adjuvants which help coast the yeast making it less sticky and allow it to settle in a compact layer on the side of the bottle.
As discussed in the video, the main difference between disgorging beer verses sparkling wine is the pressure in the bottle. Sparkling wine typically contains 6.0 Bar pressure in the bottle but due to the levels of protein in malted barley, a pressure of 6.0 Bar in beer would cause excess foaming and result in a glass of foam upon pouring. A balance is therefore needed between having enough pressure inside the bottle to force the yeast out during disgorging and not having too much pressure in the bottle to cause excess foaming.
Once the liqueur de tirage is added the bottles are capped and laid down in stillage’s and aged on the lees (the yeast) under a controlled temperature for a minimum of 100 days.