Brewing Bière de Champagne: Enlightenment Ales

After years of planning and hard work, Ben Howe of Lowell, Mass. has achieved his dream with the grand opening of Enlightenment Ales. This brilliant brewery is home to an impressive selection of craft beers and one exclusive style of beer that really stands out - Bière de Champagne. Enjoy a unique and delicious experience as Ben Howe and his team show off the finest in craft beer making. Indulge your senses and delight in what Enlightenment Ales has to offer. Come try a beer like no other - Bière de Champagne.

Enlightenment Ales: Crafting Unique Bière de Champagn

Renowned craft beer brewer Ben Howe opened Enlightenment Ales in Lowell, Mass., in October 2011. His mission was not to brew just another Export Stout; instead, he sought to create a unique and high-end beer style: a bière de Champagne.

What is Bière de Champagne?

Bière de Champagne is a style of beer, referred to colloquially as “Champagne Beer.” It is characterized by its sparkling quality, caused by a secondary fermentation process. While it shares some characteristics with wine, bière de Champagne differs in that it is brewed and produced using malted barley and hops, while wine is made using grapes and other fruit.

Bière de Champagne has a much lighter color compared with some of the dark, stout beers. Its carbonation gives it a light, effervescent feel on the tongue. Its flavor contains hints of fruits and yeast , and it is typically quite dry with a heavy, champagne-like nose.

Enlightenment Ales' bière de Champagne has been recognized as one of the best of its kind, and Ben Howe has achieved acclaim for the craftsmanship he puts into each and every bottle.

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The Brewing Process

The process of creating a bière de Champagne takes time, skill, and dedication. It starts with the malting process, which consists of steeping, germination, and kilning.

The Malting Process

  • The malting process begins with grains, typically barley, being steeped in water. This helps to activate the grain’s enzymes.
  • The grain is then germinated for a controlled period of time. This helps to release the soluble starches from the grain.
  • The grain is then kilned to stop the germination process and to dry the grain. This helps to develop the flavor of the malt.

Once the grain is ready for brewing, the malts are crushed and added to boiling water in a mash tun. The mash tun acts as a giant tea-kettle that releases starches to create what is known as “wort”, a sweet liquid that is the base of all beer. The wort is then drained and boiled, during which time hops are added.

After the hops are added, the wort is cooled before being transferred to a fermenter. Yeast is added to the wort in the fermenter, where it consumes the sugars released in the initial steeping process and converts them into alcohol.

Secondary Fermentation

At this point, the beer is ready for secondary fermentation. This is where bière de Champagne differs from other beers. Brewers will add more yeast and sugars to the beer, which will react in the closed fermenter and slowly carbonate it. The process is slow and precise, and the carbonation must be exact in order for the beer to contain the champagne-like quality that makes bière de Champagne so unique.

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Controlling Temperature

Temperature control is a very important part of the secondary fermentation process. Too much heat can produce wild flavors, so the temperature needs to be closely monitored throughout the entire process. Temperature control also helps to improve clarity, color, and aroma.

Aging and Conditioning

Once fermentation is complete, the beer is ready to be aged and conditioned. This process can take up to several weeks and is important for the beer to develop its full flavor and aroma. The beer is usually aged in tanks, barrels, or bottles. Different types of wood or methods of conditioning can be added to the process to further enhance the flavor of the beer.

The Tasting

Bière de Champagne is light, dry, and effervescent, and has a unique combination of flavors and aromas, ranging from fruits to herbal and earthy notes. It can be described as crisp and tart, with a fresh nose and a toasty, earthy finish. It pairs particularly well with cheese, light seafood dishes, salads, and fruits.

Crafting the Perfect Bière de Champagne


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