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updated: 8/6/2011 6:07 PM

Behind the Scenes at Libertyville microbrewery

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  • Brewmaster Greg Browne blows off foam from a test tube as he measures the alcohol content of his brew.

       Brewmaster Greg Browne blows off foam from a test tube as he measures the alcohol content of his brew.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Alcohol content is checked with a bobber on a recent batch of beer.

       Alcohol content is checked with a bobber on a recent batch of beer.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • A canoe paddle is used to stir the crushed malted barley as the wort, or the sweet liquid, is made.

       A canoe paddle is used to stir the crushed malted barley as the wort, or the sweet liquid, is made.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  •   
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • At left, Browne checks the mash tub with a flashlight where the brewing process begins. Above, a heat exchanger is used to cool down the wort before the yeast is added.

       At left, Browne checks the mash tub with a flashlight where the brewing process begins. Above, a heat exchanger is used to cool down the wort before the yeast is added.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Behind the Scenes at Mickey Finn's

 
 

Dressed in shorts, a T-shirt and rubber boots, brewmaster Greg Browne grabs his canoe paddle and starts stirring a kettle filled with hot water and crushed malted barley, the start of his latest brew called Cervesa.

The Mexican-style lager is one example of a new batch he brews every week. Each batch will produce about 40 kegs of beer.

"This beer is pretty popular, so it will probably only last about two weeks," said Browne, the brewmaster at Mickey Finn's, 412 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Libertyville.

The brewing process starts with the making of the wort, or sweet liquid, made by boiling water and malted barley. The leftover grain is then separated and the liquid is put into a kettle where it is boiled again with hops.

After about an hour of boiling, the liquid is cooled with a heat exchanger and pumped into a fermentation tank, where yeast is added.

Generally within 24 hours, the yeast uses the sugar as food, producing carbon dioxide and alcohol.

"As a brewer, all we do is make the sweet liquid, the yeast is what actually makes the beer," Browne said.

This beer will take about four weeks before it is ready to be served at the brewery.

"I think people have started to realize that if you're going to drink a beer, you might as well have something with flavor. You may as well enjoy the experience," he said.

• If there's a place in the suburbs you would like to see featured here, email us at btsphoto@dailyherald.com.

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