The Brasserie des Légendes: at the crossroads of history, family passion, modern techniques and human and ecological values
A traditional, natural and qualitative brewing process
At the Brasserie des Légendes, we brew characterful, 100% natural beers. Because of our complete control over the production chain, starting with growing our own barley at “Beauregard”, our family farm, we are able to select ingredients that follow strict criteria for quality and sustainable development.
We work using traditional methods, combined with modern, efficient production machinery.
Natural, high-quality ingredients
The ingredients we use are:
- Water: It makes up 95% of our beer. We use pure water, rich in minerals and very low in nitrates. The quality of the water is crucial, because it affects how the beer tastes.
- Malt: We grow barley at our family farm. It is then germinated and dried at the maltings. From the malt come the sugars for fermentation, and other raw materials that give body and consistency to the beer. Special malts – roasted, caramelised and smoked – are used to give the beer particular colours or flavours.
- The hop is a perennial climbing plant that is trained up taut trellis wires. Only the flower is used, giving the beer its bitterness and some characteristic flavours. Our hops mainly come from the Poperinge region in Belgium, with some from Slovenia for a quality variety that is not grown in Belgian hop gardens. Hops have a natural bactericidal action which extends storage time.
- And finally yeast: this microscopic single-cell fungus transforms the wort into alcohol during fermentation. It also gives pleasant flavours to the beer, and carbonates it naturally during secondary fermentation in the bottle.
The production stages, from brewing to bottling
During this process, which lasts for two hours, the crushed malt is mixed with hot water in the mash tun to form a thick soup called the mash. With gradual additions of hot water (at 90°C), various temperature levels are reached, thus activating different families of enzymes. They transform the starch contained in the malt grains into sugars.
This process also lasts for two hours. After transferring the mash into the filtration tank, using a bottom filter, the sweetened wort is transferred to the brewing kettle. The grain husks or “spent grains” are rinsed in hot water so as to extract as much as possible of the sugars produced during brewing. The spent grains are then spread over the fields or composted.
The sweetened wort is sterilised and concentrated by heating it in the brewing kettle. We then add various varieties of hops to give the wort its aromas.
From this stage on, all processes are carried out using sterilised tanks and machinery, because it is important that the wort is not contaminated with bacteria.
Various solids formed during boiling are removed in the settling tank.
The wort must then be cooled to a temperature of 20°C in a plate heat exchanger. The boiling wort circulates inside stainless steel plates that are cooled by a counter-flow of cold water. The water heated in this process is then used for mashing during another brew.
Fermentation takes place in fermentation tanks. Our own yeast (“Gouyasse” yeast in Ath and “Quintine” in Ellezelles) is added to the cooled wort. First of all it multiplies; then it transforms the wort’s fermentable sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Fermentation lasts for 7 days, during which a series of typical flavours are produced. The wort is now beer, but it is not yet sparkling.
Fermentation produces heat. This is recovered to heat our “warm rooms” and offices. This represents a significant amount of energy recovery.
The beer is then cooled, in the same tank, to between 4°C and 8°C depending on the type of beer. The yeast can be decanted. The beer remains in this tank for 15 to 20 days. Conditioning makes the beer more stable, and gives it a minimum 2-year shelf life.
Bottling or barrelling
In the racking tank, we add a precise quantity of yeast and sugar to the beer before bottling, allowing secondary fermentation in the bottle.
The bottles pass, step by step, through the whole racking line: washing the racks, washing the bottles inside and out, filling and capping or self-closing with flip tops, labelling (a batch number is automatically printed on each bottle or box to ensure the traceability of our products).
The capacity of our production lines is 12,000 bottles per hour. We currently do bottling 2 to 3 days per week.
Our multipurpose machines can handle a wide range of formats:
- They can fit caps, stoppers and flip tops
- They accept all formats and sizes of bottles and crates throughout the racking line.
Secondary fermentation in the bottle
During secondary fermentation, the yeast transforms the sugar into alcohol and produces CO2. The bottles are kept in one of our “warm rooms” at 25°C. The CO2 produced is captured inside the bottle and provides our beers with their natural sparkle.