A beer journey, from the beginning until its empty!

19.11.2014

Brewmaster's blog

A beer journey, from the beginning until its empty!

If there is one thing that I learned since being here, it would be the general observation, that beer is not a static thing. So far, all beers I have brewed were filtrated. Just out of convenience, quality reasons and the belief in the superior quality of filtrated beers. Back in Germany amongst small pub breweries it has always been a feature worth promoting => unfiltrated beers, as natural and as far from big brewery products as possible. But I always found them to taste similar. Is it the style, similar hops, comparable malt profiles, brewing beers to serve customers most common denominator or just the fact, that they are generally not filtrated? Who knows exactly? Anyway, I have been a firm believer in filtrated beers. Only by filtrating you can sharpen the flavors, bring out malt and hop aromas (but also take them out when overdoing it for the sake of shelf life). That still counts to a certain extent.

…But…things are different now

Our setup here at Bryggeri is pretty straightforward and linear. Brewing, fermentation/maturation and selling. The sales tanks also work as optional maturation tanks. The batch sizes are comparably big; therefore it also takes a bit longer to sell a lot of beer. Ok, in summer time the situation is a bit different, but generally speaking, it would take about 2 months to sell a big batch of beer. Sometimes shorter, sometimes longer, always depending, if we have any special beers or more than 4-5 brands on tap. That leaves the beer quite some time to develop. It only works that way, because we use horizontal tanks with inliner bags, that are cooled with glycol below freezing point. If those temperatures are appropriate for serving different beer styles, is a completely different topic. It just works that way and maintains beer quality and a constant CO2-content over a long period of time.

Not that we are the only ones using those setup. Those tanks are used in pretty much all of the pub breweries I know and lot of beer bars (with bulk beers). So nothing really new under the sun.

Let’s come back to the main topic, flavor development.

As a general rule I would say, that during an extended period of time hop aromas will always fade out. You can dry hop as much as you want, but after let’s say 4 weeks most of your hop aromas will be vanished. Flavors are a different thing. For example  “Syysmyrsky”, the competition brew of Ilkka Helenius. I have never used that much hops during any brew and for dry hopping. Right after transferring it into the sales tanks, I could get a first taste of it. It was a juicy, oily, thick, really hoppy, citrusy and slightly piney brew with some definite hints of onion and garlic (hop derived). But now after almost 4 weeks, its overall appearance changed. It still has its oily, malty and hoppy base, but the easily detectable vegetal notes have almost completely faded out and you end up with a complex and rich beer with a distinctive citrusy flavor. Not solely in the nose, but more while sipping it as part of the beers flavor

Same goes for all our beers. Everything that could settle down and will do so, hops fade, rest stays, but will be more pronounced. Especially the malt base will be more prominent. Beers just sweeten up.

I was about to mention another “but”, but actually there isn’t any.

For me, having a beer in the tank, means to continue a journey of unknown ending (a little pathetic,…hah). A constant transformation…but that is another topic.

Wheat beer:

hazy in the beginning, yeast flavor present (even slightly dusty), fairly acidic, hop flavor/bitterness present in the background. Over time, it will remain its freshness, but the maltiness will be more pronounced and its appearance resembles more that of a Kristall Weizen. Getting fresher here!

Pils:

hop aromas and flavors have a strong presence, slightly grainy flavor and aroma. Hop bitterness can be on the scratchy side. Malt flavors not really upfront. After a couple of weeks, hop bitterness is still present, but the beer usually smoothens out, becomes a more balanced, hoppy and malty brew. The longer you wait, the maltier it gets and the hops flavors will play more of a supportive role. And it will smoothen out!!

Summer Ale:

an interesting development. First dry, acidic, with punchy hoppiness and light, fruity and grassy hop aromas. Later on, sweetness of the caramel malt will come up, raw hoppiness subsides and the overall  hop profile becomes sweeter and nectar like.

I really didn’t want to talk about all the aromas and flavors. Too many and too subjective!  It was supposed to be more of a general observation.

That’s it

Cheers to all of you!!