Friday, 12 July 2019

A visit to the Schloss Kaltenberg brewery

Some confusion over arrangements for the study tour of Germany lead to a stroke of serendipity. We weren't due to visit the Kaltenberg castle brewery but mistakenly though the castle cafe would be open for coffee. As it happens it wasn't, but when a curious brewer popped out to ask why exactly a load of people were milling around outside we soon managed to talk ourselves into an impromptu tour.

As well as containing a brewery the castle is also home to Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, who I met at Thornbridge brewery. Due to the inbred nature of royal families he's only a couple of dead cousins away from being the Jacobite pretender.

Craig working on his photo bombing

Loitering with intent

Rebuilt in 1870

Not much to see of the brewery from outside
Forlornly looking in the window

Can't get decent pictures through it though

And we're in!

Getting better

And here he is in all his glory
I think that's another ex-Manx between the tanks

There was a better class of old crap cluttering up this brewery
The castle brewery produces 100,000 hl of lager. The brew length is 140hl with four to five brews per day. Fermentation is for seven days then four weeks in the conditioning tank.

Filtration is carried out on site but since 1980 when the prince bought another brewery no packaging has been carried out on site (filtering before shipping the beer out sounds a trifle irregular to me but I guess they know what they're doing).

Sunday, 7 July 2019

A visit to Weihenstephan brewery

After the pilot plant it was on to the production facility at Weihenstephan. It's an old abbey brewery secularised in 1803. It claims to be the oldest brewery in the world, dating back to 1040, though I have my suspicion as claims like that tend to be based on flimsy evidence.

The brew length is 300 hl and they brew six to nine times a day, producing 450,000 hl annually.

They mash in at 60°C and carry out two decoctions. The wheat beer is made with 60% wheat.

The production is 70% wheat beer, 20% helles and 10% 'others'.

The yeast is used for three generations.

There were more refreshments afterwards, I don't seem to have any notes for that bit though. 

Sunday, 23 June 2019

A visit to the Technical University of Munich pilot plant

The IBD study tour included a visit to the Technical University of Munich pilot brewery, it was a study tour after all. I was quite looking forward to this one, having previously worked as a pilot brewer myself. The research brewery was established in 1906 as brewers need practice as well as theory. They have an old copper brewery they once brewed commercially on too, until the authorities decided it wasn't appropriate for a research facility:

They now have two pilot breweries, one of 60L:

Can't remember what this was. Something to do wit filtration maybe?
Curse past me for not taking enough notes

And one of 10hl:

There was a pilot maltings too, and a mash filter:

untergärige, obergärige fermenting free

As well as a caged up robot busy bottling:

Before leaving we assessed the organoleptic properties of some of the beers produced here. 

It was a study tour after all.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

A visit to Spaten brewery

After visiting a brewery that started in a garage our next stop was an altogether larger concern:  the Spaten brewery  Now owned by ABInBev it was Gabriel Sedlmayr's  brewery, a fact they seem very proud of.

This was in the entrance:

And there's a portrait of him upstairs:

His copied British malting techniques to make paler malts from which he made the first amber coloured lager.

Today the brewery produces the Löwenbräu and Franziskaner brands as well as Spaten. Annual production is 3 million hl, 60% wheat beer and 40% lager.

We were shown round a brewhouse, proudly displayed to the road outside by large windows, though it's not actually been used since 2006. The copper is made from old 1950s vessels and is used to clad stainless steel ones from the late 80s/early 90s.

10 tonnes of malt are used for each batch, giving a brew length of 800-900 hl. The lagers are mashed in at 60°C and the temperature is stepped up to 78°C, presumably with a couple of rests along the way.

Next door to the copper clad brew house were some rather less pretty vessels and there were no big display windows in this room! Hop pellets and extract are used during the one hour boil in a Jetstar wort boiler with an internal calandria and slight over pressure. Slaked lime and ion exchange is used to treat the brewing liquor before addition of calcium chloride and a lactic culture goes in the mash and kettle. It's particularly important for the alcohol free beers and the wort is acidified to pH 4.8-4.9.

The hot wort is filtered with perlite (60g/hl). Horizontal tanks are used for the lagers and CCVs for the wheat beers. The wheat beers are mashed in at 37°C, then stepped up to 44°C and 62°. And though it's not in my notes probably 78°C for mashing out. 

The filters are pretty substantial:

For PVPP a leaf filter is used, and a candle filter for kieselguhr filtration.

There are 34 fermenting vessels of 3400hl, holding 4 brews. Weiss beer is fermented for three days at 21°C and is bottled two weeks after brewing. The yeast count is lowered to two to three hundred thousand cells per ml by centrifugation and lager yeast is added as it settles better.

The bottling hall has three different lines, rated at 40, 50 and 60 thousand bottles per hour, which is all the more impressive when you see that they use recycled bottles. There were five to seven staff per line: perhaps one person on bottle washer, one on crate filler, one on palletiser, one on bottle filler, one on labeller and maybe other looking at conveyors and quality.  The didn't want us taking pictures of that so you'll have to take my word for it. Kegging is carried out at a rate of 500 kegs per hour.

We also got to have a look in the cellars which date from 1848-9. They had the world's first artificial cooling in 1873, though the machine only worked for three days before breaking!

Personally I'm more alle macht den räten
The cellars have holes in the roof where ice as dropped in:

And there is a museum in the cellars:

Where a bottling dalek can be seen:

As well as the old tat often found in historic breweries:

After the cellars we moved up in the world for a pork and lard based lunch and great views of Munich and the tank farm:

For those that care about the distinction between the bourgeoisie and the petite bourgeoisie this brewery was definitely not craft, but at no time did I think the people working there were any less passionate about brewing as any other brewers we met.