EVER wondered what goes on behind the scenes to make your favourite tipple.

Colchester Brewery based in Wakes Colne let the Gazette step through the keyhole to find out how they brew their award winning ales.

The brewery was set up in 2011 when Tom Knox, Roger Clark and Andy Bone decided to team up in the Essex countryside.

Now their range of brews is sold in pubs across Essex and nationwide.

To date they have brewed 1313 times, equating to about 3.5 million pints.

The yeast they use is exclusive to Colchester Brewery and originates from the Cotswolds.

Head Brewer Dom Skeet explained how the process takes place.

He said: "The brewing process involves extracting sugar from barley malt through steeping the malt in hot water in the mash tun.

"The resulting wort is a sugary malt extract that is separated from the barley husks and other solid matter and transferred into a boiling vessel known as a kettle or copper.

"The liquid is then boiled for 90 minutes during which time hops are added to flavour and preserve the end product.

"The boiling process also serves to sterilise the wort and solidify proteins that would otherwise cause a haze in the beer.

"The final stage before packaging is to cool the hopped wort and introduce ale yeast so that this can over several days digest the sugars and in return contribute alcohol, carbon dioxide and more flavour.

"From brew day to packaging is generally about one week."

The team come up with new recipes through a number of routes.

Dom added: "Sometimes it’s curiosity to see what can be achieved with new ingredients or processes.

"Sometimes it’s about trying to brew something unlike anything we’ve done before or just meeting an identifiable market demand.

"I’ve created some new recipes in as little as 20 minutes, but I’ve also for other new beers spent weeks researching before settling on the final recipe."

n Colchester Brewery is holding Christmas open days on November 30 and December 7.