Sunday 3 January 2010

How Beer is made ...

... In Germany eighty years ago anyway. Another excellent post over at Jim’s links to a charming video from 1930 showing how a German brewery works. The captions are in German and in black letters but it’s pretty easy to follow. If you’re still not sure I’ve written a guide to what’s going on based on my knowledge of the brewing process (with some help from babelfish) below.

Das bierbrauen – The brewing of beer

Don’t blame me if my translations are rubbish, I’m only doing my best here.

The roof of the brewery comes off to reveal the malt store (Braumalzlager). The malt store is filled with malted barley (Braumalz). On the floor below is a malt mill (Schrotmühle)

The malt grains are cracked in the mill. [Malt mills seem to last forever so it’s common to see mills of similar vintage still in use in breweries today.]

On the floor below is the sudhaus (brewhouse?) where the mash mixer (maischbottich) and mash kettle (maischfanne) are.

Cracked malt (malzschrot) and water (wasser) are added to the mash mixer and mixed. A portion (typically a third) is then pumped to the mash kettle and heated to 55º C for 10 minutes then raised to boiling temperature. This boiling portion is then returned to the mash mixer and mixed in, bringing the temperature up to 55º C.

A portion is then pumped into the mash kettle and heated to 75º C for 10 minutes before boiling again and being returned to the mash mixer. This brings the temperature up to 76º C.

The mash then drops a floor into the lauter tun (läuterbottich). Here the wort (bierwürze) containing the sugars from the malt is drained off from the spent grains (treber) and pumped into the copper (würzefanne). The hops (hopfen) are added here and the wort is boiled [usually for 60-90 minutes].

The wort is then pumped up to a hopback (hopfenseiher) where the spent hops are separated from the wort which then goes into a cool ship (hühschiff) where it cools to 60º C. The wort then drops over a cooler (berieselungskühler) which lowers the wort temperature to 6ºC and runs into a fermenting vessel (gärbottich). Here the yeast (hefe) is added and fermentation takes place, producing a good yeasty head and enough carbon dioxide to put a candle out. The fermentation temperature is kept at 6-9ºC by the cooling coils in the fermenting vessel. At the end of the primary fermentation beer is then transferred to the lagering cellar (lagerkeller) which is kept at a constant temperature of 0ºC.

After lagering (this should take weeks) the beer goes to something apparently called the schwankhalle (every home should have one!) or my guess in English would be the racking room. Here the wooden casks are cleaned and checked before filling. Also some of the beer goes into bottles.

The casks are rolled onto the loading bay (ladebühne) and loaded onto the dray.


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