Sunday, July 17, 2011

Brewing at Riegele

One of our brew days was hosted by the Riegele brewery in Augsburg, Germany. Augsburg is about an hour by car northwest of Munich. We met the Brewmaster there to brew an American IPA (this one we didn't get to drink though) on their 1 barrel pilot brewing system. The best part of the day was that they left us unattended for most of the day. We were able to learn the system and make most of the decisions ourselves. It was a really fun day on an awesome setup! After we were finished brewing we took a tour of their brewery (including the cellar which they play classical music all the time for the yeast!).

There copper clad 1 barrel system. Really awesome!

Mashing in.

Vorlaufing (recirculating) by hand. Notice the fancy plastic pitchers used in this very precise exercise. This really felt like home brewing again which many of us have missed dearly over the past 7 months.

Taking a temperature reading wearing some official Riegele gear.

My homies monitoring the process. We had a great time making beer and drinking Riegele's award winning pilsner. After we finished brewing we were taken on a tour of the brewery.

Their functioning brewery, which was amazing.

Yeast management. The man in the purple shirt is the Brewmaster there and he is a huge human being and a wonderful host. The people at Riegele were truly welcoming as we were visited by the owner's son who is the most recent world champion beer sommelier. He was extremely welcoming and had great things to say about the American beer scene.

After a long day at Riegele, we returned to have drinks with some departing friends (not part of the program) and met Michael Eder (our fearless WBA leader) by chance at Wilderhurst, a small restaurant near school, and had some Uerige Altbier (which isn't on the menu - you just have to be in the know and since Michael Eder is the Master Brewer at Uerige - he is in the know). Described by some as the most sought after Altbier in the world, it lives up to its reputation.

Location:Augsburg, Germany

What have you been doing over there?

Fair warning: Get ready to get your beer nerd on. The past two months have been extremely busy. Life has been very good, standard week days start at 6:00 AM with a meat sandwich before the 8 mile bike ride to school. At school we have gotten into much more advanced theory and practical brewing analysis and technology. Combined with multiple brew days at Doemens, Riegele and Braukon, this is what I had been waiting for in brew school. The theory segments at Siebel and earlier at Doemens were the perfect base for this section of the course. But as I mentioned earlier, this is where the boys are separated from the men.

Above is the brewers palate, a grist composition of some of the pilsner malt which was malted by some of the Doemens students. The different piles are as follows: starting with the Husk at 12-2 and going counterclockwise we have - husk, coarse grits, fine grits #1, fine grits #2, grit flour, and flour in the middle.

Above is the Iodine test which we use to make sure that saccharification has taken place in the mash. Just a drop will do!

We use the Friability meter above to check on the degree of modification of the malt. It is a quick check of the malt to make sure it is to spec.

We also did a congress mash using the mill above. It is a plate mill which grinds the barley into a flour in which we make a specific mash and then do all kinds of analysis on it.

The "congress mash" kettle.

The little machine we used to identify the color of the wort produced during the congress mash.

Machine used to check the moisture content of a sample of malt.

During our brew days, we have been monitoring the pH as an additional quality control step.

Forced fermentation is the way we determine when a beer is finished fermenting.

The IPA we made fermenting away. Ohh the beauty of it! Now the IPA has been filtered (unfortunately) and bottled and we are enjoying the fruits of our labor. It is virtually impossible to find IPA in Germany, especially an American style IPA, so this is a real treat.

Hope you guys like the photos, next update will be more about other things!

Location:Munich, Germany