Teri Fahrendorf is an American brewer and founder of the Pink Boots Society, an organization that supports women in the brewing industry. She is notable for being one of the first women in the craft brewing industry and her brews have been widely awarded from organizations such as the Great American Beer Festival and the Brewer’s Association. Teri currently manages the Malt Innovation Center at the Vancouver, WA location of Great Western Malting.
Betsey has a degree is in Food Science and Biochemistry. She began her malting career in both laboratory and production roles with the Anheuser-Busch Malting Division, as well as further experience within the malt quality at the USDA Cereal Crops Research Unit. Betsey spent a short period of time in a Quality Role within the Food Industry, but came to Briess in 2009 to join their technical team. During her time with Briess, she has been able to expand my knowledge and experience in all areas of Specialty Malt production, including Raw Materials evaluation and selection, various malthouse technologies and production techniques, as well as roasting and packaging processes. Betsey has been in both technical and quality roles with Briess, currently the Quality Manager for their Malting Division.
Jessica Görick has been a part of the Bestmalz team since spring 2020. She is a beer brewer since 2016 and has worked in both small and huge breweries. Jessica also commissioned and programmed breweries all over the world. This knowledge helped her to become more and more focused on technical innovations and changes in breweries and malthouses. Jessica is the technical support and Quality Assurance at Bestmalz.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 13: MUNICH MANIA
TOBY TUCKER – DIRECTOR OF SALES, COUNTRY MALT GROUP
GRANT LAWRENCE – TERRITORY MANAGER, COUNTRY MALT GROUP
TERI FAHRENDORF – MALT INNOVATION CENTER MANAGER, GREAT WESTERN MALTING
BETSY ROBERTS – MALTING QUALITY MANAGER, BRIESS MALT & INGREDIENTS CO.
JESSICA GÖRICK – TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND QUALITY ASSURANCE MANAGER, BESTMALZ
Key Points From This Episode:
- What is a maltster’s role – create consistent malt that tastes, acts, reacts same way every time.
- How to use time, temperature, and moisture levels to stew malt.
- Why higher curing temperature is where flavor is made in malthouses.
- What the main attributes of Munich Malt styles are to drive color and taste
- How Standard Reference Method (SRM) is used to calculate lighter or darker-colored beer.
- Why lighter-color Munich Malt may hit sweet spot for German flavor and color.
- How COVID created worldwide shipping delays, malt supply shortage.
Transcript - Munich Mania
EPISODE S.2, E.13
[00:00:00] TT: Good morning. Brewers out there listening likely already know a thing or two about the Munich malt, what it tastes like, what beer styles it’s used in traditionally, and how flavors or characteristics of Munich malt contribute to a finished beer. The purpose of our podcast today is to dive a bit deeper and explore what brewers—both professional and home brewers—may not know about Munich.
The term Munich malt has a much broader interpretation than other malt styles such as Pilsner and 2-Row malt. Munich malts can have enough diastatic power for self-conversion, or they may have no diastatic power at all and come in a wide range of colors from about 4 SRM to upwards of 30. It’s easy to see how confusing it can be to find the proper Munich malt for your beer.
Like our popular past episode, Dextrin Malts, we once again pull together three heavy-hitting expert guests from three different malting companies, Great Western Malting, Briess Malting, and BestMalz, to discuss their philosophy and thoughts behind their Munich-style malts.
Today, we demystify the Munich malt. There’s no one more excited about this episode–other than myself–than my buddy, Grant Lawrence, The Country Malt Group South Central Territory Manager, who tends to join me on these things. He’s been like a kid in a candy store waiting for this thing.
[00:01:15] GL: Hey, Toby. Good to be here. One of my all-time favorite malts, so really excited to get the scoop from the experts today.
[00:01:23] TT: Yeah. Grant had a hand in organizing the questions and content for today, and he was extremely excited. I think we’ll wrap this thing up in about what seems like 10 minutes. Great content.
I’m looking forward to it. Yeah, let’s jump right into it.
I’d like to introduce our first guest of the podcast, who has been a guest prior. It’s our friend up at Great Western Malting, Teri Fahrendorf, who is the Malt Innovation Center Manager. Teri has been around. I’d be surprised if people listening don’t know Teri or have not heard of her.
Teri, how are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
[00:02:09] TF: Hey, great to be here. Thanks for having me on. I went pro in 1988, if that tells you something, so I’ve been around a long time for sure. Before I joined Great Western, I had been a brewmaster for 19 years. Most of it at Steelhead Brewing in Eugene, Oregon. In between that gig at Steelhead and my post here at Great Western, I went on the road on a semi-famous road trip because I started Pink Boots Society during that time.
[00:02:36] TT: Nice. Teri, what do you do now? You’ve got a pretty cool gig at a Great Western and actually have a hand in developing and really coming out with new malts and specialty products, right?
[00:02:46] TF: Absolutely. If you can’t be a brewmaster, the next best thing is definitely being the Malt Innovation Center Manager at Great Western Malting company for sure. I love it here. We do some pretty important things, I feel.
When a new crop is coming in, we do test batches. We test malt it so that the plant knows what to expect because barley can be grown in dryland waiting for rain or grown in an irrigated field. It could be grown at altitude. It could be grown at sea level. Basically, every farmer’s field is a different microclimate, so the maltster has a pretty tough job.
They’re taking these divergent, really different raw materials, barley, and trying to put out a super consistent malt so that the brewers have a super consistent material that they can use to develop their recipes. They want to have something that they can rely on that tastes, acts and reacts in the brewery the exact same way every time. That’s the maltster’s job. We help with that because we do a lot of the testing on all the new different varieties that are coming in before the large volumes of those particular barleys end up in the plant.
We also develop brand-new specialty malts. When new barley varieties are being tested by AMBA, the American Malting Barley Association, we are part of that testing to see if these barleys make malting grade and become a preferred variety of barley for farmers who grow under AMBA. We also are test-malting those, and then we have a small brewery, so we’re test-brewing them too.
Of course, the most fun thing that we do is develop new specialty malt styles because that is where the real creativity comes in. That reminds me of developing new recipes for beer from back when I was a brewer.
[00:04:39] TT: We talked about Grant being a kid in a candy store. Teri, I’ve seen your faces light up in that cool setup you guys have up there at Great Western. It’s a miniature, high-tech malting system and brewery there. It’s pretty cool. Very cool.
[00:04:52] TF: The brewery is one barrel, that way, we can scale up what we do pretty quickly to what the brewery size is, just even mentally. And it’s flexible.
As you said, we have two kettles. We have both a direct-fire kettle, and we have a steam kettle. When we’re brewing, we brew in one direction or the other direction since those two kettles are on the other side of the mash time. That way, we can mimic what brewers do in their brewhouse if they have a steam kettle. Then, the other kettle, which is the direct-fire kettle, becomes the hot liquor back. It works quite well. Similarly, with our pilot malting unit, it is human scale. It’s 150 kilos.
When you go out to the big malt plant, the tanks are so large that you’re only seeing a portion of each tank at a time, but then you have to go to a different level to see the other portion of these different vessels. This human scale really brings the understanding home, and that way, when we talk about how malt is made, they get the bigger picture easier that way because of that human scale.
[00:05:52] TT: Yeah. Grant and I both had to make the trip up those stairs on the multi-levels of the malthouse. I’ll tell you what, I was gasping for that prayer. It’s just massive.
[00:06:01] GL: If you’re afraid of heights, it’s rough.
[00:06:19] TT: Right. Let’s dive right in, Teri. Can you give us a quick rundown of how a Munich-style malt is made specifically at Great Western versus other specialty malts?
[00:06:13] TF: It starts similarly to other barleys coming in off the field. It generally comes in with about a 10% moisture content. The first job you need to do is tepid. I’ve been told by the maltsters who have more experience than I do that malt is made in the steep. If you don’t hit your moisture targets in the steep, you can never catch up in germination.
It goes into our steep vessel. I’m mostly going to describe what we do in the Malt Innovation Center because those are the vessels that I’m used to. We put it in the steep vessel, the raw barley. It’s already been cleaned, which means that the beards, which are those stocky pieces that come off each barley kernel, have been removed. If any little rocks or stones come in off the field, those get removed and any stocks. The barley’s already been cleaned at this point.
We put it into the steep vessel and add the water. Now, we have a very tricked-out pilot malting unit. We have air for rousing. When the barley is underwater, we rouse with air periodically on a very systematic schedule. It might be 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off.
The reason why we’re doing that is because kernels or seeds breathe oxygen just like we do. Some people will say, but wait, I thought that plants take in CO2 and give us oxygen? That is true once they’re green and you have photosynthesis going on, but until that time, they breathe air just like we do. We don’t want to drown the little barley kernels, so we will put it under steep for 10 hours, let’s say as an example, and then we’ll rouse.
Then, we will drain the tank and just let it rest. Some of the byproducts of steeping include heat and carbon dioxide because they breathe in oxygen like we are. During this time that they are resting, we have a fan going. We are drawing cool fresh air from outside of the vessel through the tank. That’s to oxygenate it and to keep it cool, this bed of wet barley.
It goes on the steep 2–3 times. During that time, we’re trying to reach a moisture level of about 42% at a minimum, but 42%, 43%, 44%. That takes about two days. At the end of that point, we can move that malting barley—it’s called malt at this time because it’s in the process—and we’ll move it to the germination vessel.
From there, it takes about four more days in the germination vessel. During that time, when you first move it across and it has that moisture level up at about 42%–44%, if you were to look at a kernel, you’d see a little nubbin of a rootlet trying to come off of it. Once it gets the root out, it can take up water easier. Then, you want to control the moisture, so you don’t want it to be under steep anymore. It would take up moisture too quickly and just get soggy. It wouldn’t germinate properly.
We send it over to germination, which instead of a conical cylinder tank that looks like a broom fermenter, now it’s in a bed. In the malthouse, it’s a large bed called the Saladin bin. It looks like it’s the size of a football field or something. It has a false bottom.
Below any false bottom in a malt plant is a space called the plenum.
While the malt is in the germination vessels, the air is being circulated up through the bottom, and it rises through but also moist air. The air is being run through a bank of these water sprinkling-type things, so the air is just blown with fans, and it picks up tons of moisture. It goes through these germination beds.
What we’re doing is we are trying to replicate the very best growing conditions in any farmer’s field. We’re trying to make the malt happy. Good malt germinates at about the same rate. If barley didn’t germinate at the same rate, it wouldn’t be good malt because you’d have some overgrowth, some undergrowth, and it wouldn’t be consistent for malting for brewers or distillers.
The malt spends about four days in germination. During that time, the rootlets are growing a little longer, so we have to turn that malt over periodically, say, every eight hours. Otherwise, the rootlets would tangle, and it would become a solid mass. You could never get it out of there. You’d have to chip it out with chainsaws practically.
Every eight hours, we turn the malt so that the roots can detangle, grow some more, and then we have to detangle them again. By the end of this period, we’re at about 44% for sure on moisture.
One of the most important things that are happening during germination is that the acrospire is growing. It is growing to a length of about 75%–100% of the length of each curdle. While it’s growing, it has been activating the natural enzymes in the barley, the same enzymes that brewers will use when they mash in to convert starches to sugars because the plant is starting to convert starches to sugars. Because the plant uses those sugars as food to grow.
It’s kind of unpacking the starches that are so tightly wound as it grows. That’s called modification. That way, the brewers can get the extract that they need.
At the end of this germination period, we move the malt over to kilning. This is going to be the seventh day. It’s going to be the kilning process. Kilning has two stages. One is very low-temperature drying. It’s not too much higher than the ambient temperature.
You need to dry at a low temperature because if you kiln at a high temperature, you would make caramelized sugar, and you’d make Crystal malt. You would end up killing all the enzymes in the malt as well, so it just would be dead. You have to dry it first at a very, very low temperature. That takes some time. Once it’s dropped to about 10% moisture, you increase the heat, and then you can kiln it off at a higher heat to whatever temperature you want.
This is the phase where the malting process comes in. When it’s in either at the end of steep or in a kiln, you can—basically using time, temperature, and moisture levels—stew that malt for a little bit. That’s how you differentiate between a Base malt and a Munich malt or what I call a Munich style or Munich family of malts.
As Toby said, you’re going from about 4 SRM up to generally 30. You could probably go as high as 60, but people don’t do that. It does retain its enzyme package up to a point. You do lose some enzymes in Munich malt. The darker they are, the fewer native enzymes they have to self-convert, but you can absolutely use 100% Light Munich or 100% regular Munich malt.
The dark Munich malt, I have not tried that, so I wouldn’t recommend using 100% dark Munich malt. But you could use a blend—I can give you some anecdotes later of somebody who did this. They used a regular Munich malt, Melanoidin malt, and made a very wonderful Dunkel with it.
We do a little bit of that stewing at that point before we start the kilning. As I said, it’s time, temperature, and moisture. We hold it there to make sure there’s plenty of oxygen. When we are reaching the colors that we want, then at that point, we do our very, very gentle drying, and then we kiln it.
The kilning is super important in the flavor. I almost really feel like that’s where the flavor is made in the malthouse, in the kilning process. We’ve made desiccated malts or a dried malt where you dry it down with just air, really no heat. It’s kind of flavorless. But if you do the typical drying and then you have your kilning, which is at that curing temperature, a little bit higher, you could get some of these wonderful biscuit-type flavors on top of all those complex flavors that the stewing process brought on. Then, you get some really delicious-tasting Munich malt.
Grant, is this making you thirsty?
[00:14:09] GL: Yes, it is, very much so. You answered our next question with that one towards the end there, but it was interesting to know about the stewing parts. That sounds like what differentiates it from some of the other ways you would make it. When it comes to doing this, what are the main attributes you’re concerned with when you’re malting Munich-style malt?
I guess you’ve already answered this. Would you say the stewing step and then the kilning regimen, or is there more to it?
[00:14:38] TF: Yeah. The other thing is that you wouldn’t want to use a super-duper low-protein Pilsner-style malt barley because protein is a color driver. It’s interesting because I did not know that protein’s a color driver when I was abroad. It still has to be within specifications for malting grade barley, but you want something closer to the higher end of that spec because you want to drive the color.
If you were to try to make, let’s say, a Dark Munich with Pilsner-style barley and a super low protein, you would have a Dickens of a time driving those colors.
Color is related to flavor. No one’s ever drawn a graph to see if it’s exponential in any way or anything—at least not that I know of—but if you have a higher-colored malt, you are going to get more flavor. It just goes hand in hand. A part of that is the longer stewing process and possibly a slightly higher stewing temperature.
I don’t remember off the top of my head what the malt plant does, but definitely, it’s going to be longer, and it could be slightly higher temperature. But like you said, your kilning regimen is going to be different. You still need to dry it super gently and try to preserve that enzyme package, but when you bring up the temperature in the kiln, and you’re trying to reach those colors, labor is being developed every second that you’re developing the color.
[00:16:01] TT: You mentioned Great Western has three different Munich-style malts in that portfolio. Can you give us just a quick overview of them and what makes each of them different?
[00:16:09] TF: On the lighter end of the scale is the Light Munich malt. That’s about six SRM.
Anyway, at the low end, we have our Light Munich. We have our Standard Munich, which we’ve had forever. That’s about 10 SRM, basically. Our Dark Munich is 20 SRM. In this Munich family, you could go all the way up to 60 SRM.
The Light Munich would be awesome with today’s emphasis and trend toward the lighter-colored beers, especially with the lagers. If you want just a touch of color and want to make a light Oktoberfest, you could use 100% Light Munich in your Oktoberfest beer.
In fact, when do people start doing Oktoberfest? Probably in August or something?
[00:16:49] GL: Right now.
[00:16:50] TF: Oh my gosh. Actually, Oktoberfest beer is fabulous year-round; anytime you hear is a great time to drink an Oktoberfest. That would make an excellent, light-colored Oktoberfest in my mind.
Traditionally, it was probably brewed. It was something more like a standard Oktoberfest, but if you were to brew your Oktoberfest with 100%, 10 SRM Munich malt, you would get a darker color. It would be a beautiful, deep coppery color. But people seem to really be interested in those paler beers right now.
The latter is good for that, but Munich is going to give you more flavor and more color because, remember, they’re related hand in hand. They’re cousins.
For the Dark Munich, let’s say that you wanted that intensity of a Munich character, but you wanted it as just a component in one of your specialty malts that you’re using a particular beer, then you might want to use something like a Dark Munich. I personally have not tested using it 100%, so I don’t recommend that. I can’t recommend that until I test that, and I haven’t.
[00:17:53] TT: Teri, Great Western has two malthouses. One in Vancouver, Washington, and one in Pocatello, Idaho. Two obviously separate areas, different elevations, a lot of different factors going on. Which malthouse, if you can share, produces Great Western’s Munich? Why is that particular malthouse better suited to making this style of malt?
[00:18:12] TF: The Great Western Malthouse has been in the same location in the port of Vancouver’s for 87 years at this point. In fact, we’re kind of renegades. Prohibition had not yet been repealed, but some local business people who were basically the siblings of the local brewing companies that had been shut down colluded and said, let’s build those plants. There was none in the West which is why they made the name Great Western Malting company.
But after 13 years of prohibition, we don’t know people even like beer anymore. Maybe nobody’s going to want to drink it. Before prohibition ended, they had to go and contract with farmers and said, will you please grow some barley? We’ll give you some money even though we don’t have a business.
They had to contract with barley a year in advance, hoping that prohibition was going to be repealed. It’s really a fascinating story. They were officially founded just five months after prohibition was repealed because they had to form that company in time for the crop harvest.
It is an older malt plant but what’s beautiful about that is that we have multiple malthouses that were built at different times in history. They are unique to their time period, so that means they’re unique for different styles of beer. That’s in Vancouver. I’ll come back to that in a second.
Pocatello Malthouse is much, much newer. One was built in; I think the ’80s—I can’t remember right now—and the other one just was built a year or two ago. They are very, very modern malthouses.
One of our beds actually has five beds. It’s called the Flexi House, one of our malthouses. We have four malthouses if you include the Malt Innovation Center. Three if you don’t include the Malt Innovation Center.
One of them is called the Flexi House. It has five beds in it. It’s a really unique house. It’s called the Flexi House because it’s flexible. It does both the germination and the kilning in the same bed.
That is ideally suited because you can stew to your heart’s content on these Munich malts and hit exactly the targets that you’re looking for. Then, you can turn the warm moist air that’s going through, take off the moisture, start slowly drying it, and getting it ready.
It even extends that stewing process a little bit into the drying phase and then just do it like you need to do it, which is the low-temperature drying. Then, bring up the temperature and kiln it to the final color and flavor that you want.
[00:21:05] GL: Makes sense. Two different malthouses, and then you get the best of both worlds. Munich really shines there out of Vancouver with just the geographical location, the air moisture, and that sort of thing as well. Very cool. It’s funny. Brewers, a lot of them, obsess about low protein, high extract, but for something like a Munich malt, it’s not always desirable to have that setup. You actually want that protein for the color development and the flavor.
[00:21:30] TT: I can tell you what we’ve seen. As we all know, everybody on the call here has seen challenges with logistics, freight, ocean, and all that stuff. Unfortunately, what used to be 120 days to get a container of malt from Europe is taking 190+. Plus, with the light switch of breweries coming back online as (fingers crossed) COVID is dwindling away, it’s tough to continue a very consistent supply of imported malts.
This Light Munich malt that Teri and Grant were mentioning has been a really good go-to domestic option for a lot of our brewery customers that need some more consistent supply. That product has definitely been a success, Teri. Thanks to you and the team.
[00:22:13] GL: The last question we always ask our guests. I feel like you’ve been asked this before when you were on the show last year, what beer or other related beverage—whiskey or even non-alcoholic—are you enjoying lately and why?
[00:22:25] TF: I’ve been enjoying the beer from Portland’s smallest breweries. There are a lot of really small guys and gals breweries that, during the pandemic, really were forced to pivot to package because they couldn’t run their little tap houses anymore.
We have two fridges now. A full-sized fridge is full of all the tiny brewery beers. That’s what we’ve been doing. It’s just like, we’ve got to support the smallest people because, in the smallest breweries, we have felt that they’re the closest to the edge of not being able to get through this pandemic. We need to all band together. I figured for the more well-known brands of beer, other people might be aware of them, or they may have a favorite, so we’ve been really getting into all sorts of new beers that we’ve never had before because some of these breweries were taprooms.
We didn’t necessarily get out that much, and everybody was drinking at home. Basically, every tiny brewery that delivered, we bought from them. Every brewery that doesn’t deliver, we tried to pick up. There are a lot of breweries in this town. We would just try to get a mixed case from each of them.
I don’t think I’ve hardly had the same beer twice. I can’t really say that. We had just such a variety.
[00:23:40] GL: You got a lot of good ones to choose from there in Portland.
[00:23:41] TF: Oh my God, so much fun. It’s like, well, what do we want tonight? A Baltic quarter or TripleHop […]?
[00:23:48] GL: You really mix it up then. Okay.
[00:23:53] TF: Anything is possible with beer in Portland. There are so many beers in Portland. We have not been able to collect one of every single one, but we’ve tried to just do mixed cases of all the stuff all the time.
The pandemic is mostly over now. We can go to the grocery store again and things like that instead of getting groceries delivered, but we’re almost hooked now on having an entire fridge filled with tiny breweries’ beers that are all local. That’s what we’ve been into.
[00:24:18] TT: Very good. Terry, thanks so much for joining us. You’ve been a wealth of knowledge. We always enjoy having you on the show. Thanks for giving the listeners a little bit of background about Great Western and what you do, particularly the Munich style. Thanks so much. I appreciate your time.
[00:24:32] TF: You’re quite welcome.
[00:24:34] TT: That was awesome info from Teri Fahrendorf.
Now, onto our next special guest today. It is Betsy Roberts, the Malting Quality Manager over at our friends at Briess Malting.
Betsy, we have not had the opportunity to meet, but you sent your bio over, and it’s pretty impressive. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
[00:24:51] BR: My background by degree is in food science and biochemistry. I actually started my malting career in both lab-quality roles as well as some production experience with Anheuser-Busch’s malting division. Around that same timeframe, I was fortunate enough to be able to work at the USDA Cereal Crops Research Unit down in Madison. Anybody that’s in the malt industry is very familiar with the work that they do, especially with AMBA and new variety development.
In that mix, I did have a little bit of time that I spent in a quality role within the food industry. I actually made jams and jellies for a few years but then came to Briess in 2009 to continue my malting career and join the technical team.
Since I’ve been with Briess for the past 12 years, I’ve certainly been able to expand my range of knowledge and experience in a lot of different areas of specialty malt production, including learning about raw material selection and evaluation, as well as different technologies that we have available to us and that we’ve had for a long time in the production of small-batch specialty malts, as well as our roasting and packaging division. A range of things that I’ve been able to experience.
As you said, my current position is as the Quality Manager for our malting group.
[00:26:03] TT: It’s awesome to have you on the show. Thanks for coming on. Teri did a fabulous job giving us a rundown of the Munich-style malt versus other specialties from bringing the barley into the malthouse, but anything else or anything specific that you all do on the Briess side specific to the production of Munich versus other specialty malts?
[00:26:23] BR: Yeah. Teri did give a really nice rundown. Munich-type malts, in general, can be thought of as a group that has also been referred to as high-dried malts, which is a category where we’re looking at heat treatments that are applied to those malts that give them lower levels of active enzymes.
When we make them, we’re more focused on making sure we get the color target as well as the complex flavor development that happens during that kilning process, accessing all those pathways that create all the colors and flavors that we love in our Munich malts.
Here at Briess, our main goal is the production of any of the Munich-style malts that we make. It starts with steeping, as she said. Any maltster is always trying to make sure we get homogenous moisture uptake during that steeping process to get good activation of the embryo in that grain and get those enzymes active.
Targeting a little bit higher steep up moisture just to make sure we have enough vigor of that barley so that we can get enough growth by the end of our fourth day of germination to give us those precursors that are absolutely necessary to create the colors and flavors that a Munich-style malt is best known for.
After we put it through the germination process, promoting the breakdown of those proteins and starches to get those amino acids and sugars available, all those precursor compounds, we get into that kilning step to set the stage where the real magic happens when we’re making our Munich malts.
Our main goal is to modify our time-temperature combinations, whether we’re making our latest Munich-style malt—which would be like our Ashburne Mild malt—which is around 5 or 6 SRM up to our Dark Munich 30 malt, which is a 30 SRM.
We pull those levers and change those criteria in different ways to both preserve enough moisture—we have a double-deck kiln throughout all of our facilities—when we get to that lower deck of the kiln so that when we hit it with some of those high temperatures, we have enough moisture and precursor available to get an exponential color development curve.
I guess maybe contrary to what some people might think that color development on a kiln isn’t completely linear; usually, it’s, like I said, more exponential. Once we get to a certain moisture content on that lower deck, you might think you have nothing left, but then all of a sudden, your color development will take off and take an exponential path. Those are the kinds of things that we are really looking at during the kilning process.
[00:28:45] GL: Very cool. Interesting to know about the double-deck kilns. You touched on a lot there, but I’d like to hear a little bit more about the different Munich-style malts in your portfolio.
You threw the Ashburne Mild in there. Off the top of my head, I didn’t group that as a Munich, but I guess it’s just an incredibly Light Munich. That sounds like what you’re getting at.
[00:29:05] BR: Yeah. The range on it is between five and six SRM, so looking at the other malt styles that are out there from other maltsters, it seems like it could fit in that category. But again, on the lighter end of the spectrum, it’s got the mildest flavor profile of the Munich malts. A lot of light cracker and biscuit notes with some honey notes as well.
I know that product was actually developed based on the desire of one of our big customers to have something similar to a triad set in between the range of a pale-styled malt or a darker, pale-styled malt and a regular traditional Munich malt, if you’d call it.
[00:29:44] GL: Yeah. I guess I just never put two and two together, but it’s neat to know. When I think of Ashburne Mild, I think of brewing an English mild beer, so Ashburne is it stewed. Everything is similar to the rest of your Munich lineup, like the Bonlander.
[00:29:59] BR: Yeah. It follows that same idea in terms of wanting to preserve some of that moisture by doing recirculation with the moist air, getting that stewing step, and keeping the moisture content a little bit higher. It’s just that the finishing temperature and time of that finishing step are a little bit different.
[00:30:16] GL: Got it. Very cool.
[00:30:18] BR: I guess the next product in that lineup for Briess would be the Bonlander and Munich Malt 10. That’s 10 SRM. I guess most people would probably consider a more traditional Munich Hi-Dry-Style Malt. It does have enough remaining enzyme potential to be able to self-convert with the proper mash profile. It’s got a lot of really nice round cracker notes, baked honey gram crackers, and raw sugar.
That’s one of my favorite malts. It’s just our regular standard Munich-style malt.
[00:30:49] GL: That’s the Bonlander.
[00:30:50] BR: Yeah, the Bonlander Malt. Then, moving on up in the SRM range, our next darkest product beyond that is our Aromatic Munich Malt 20, which is a 20 SRM. That’s just a more intense Munich-style malt.
Again, it’s that time-temperature combination, just going that extra time further to develop that color at the end. It’s just a more intense, darker bread crust and toasts flavors, but enzyme levels would be a little bit lower on that product just because of that additional heat application. They probably need some type of Base malt to convert. Probably would not be able to self-convert, but would give all that malt or that more intense flavor.
[00:31:31] GL: Wanted to jump in there, since you’re on the Aromatic Munich already—that name Aromatic, over the years of doing this at Country Malt, I’ve seen a few brewers confused and wonder, is it actually a Munich? Is it not?
It sounds like you’re dispelling that here in one swoop. It is very much Munich. Absolutely. Why did Briess choose the name Aromatic to go on to it?
[00:31:54] BR: A little history on when Briess started making specialty malts within the US, they wanted to meet the need of a wide range of brewers, so they actually started primarily domestic six-row barley grown in the US, and they produced all their specialty malts using that six-row barley because of its availability.
Then, as time went on into the ’80s and the ’90s, the notion started to come up that brewers were maybe seeking out two-row made specialty malts to be more in line with what European maltsters were doing or maybe because potential for extract differences or more consistency within the two-row barley supply chain—whatever that reason was exactly.
But as a company, we noticed that there was a customer demand to have two-row options, too. In order to differentiate those two product lines, we had our six-row product line that just had the word Munich in it. Our six-row Munich was Munich malt ten, and then our two-row Munich was Bonlander Munich malt 10.
Then, the Aromatic name was just to be a descriptor of that more intense malt character. It really functions as more of a flavor contributor. The Aromatic was a two-row version of a Munich malt 20. That’s the history of where that name came from.
[00:33:14] GL: Yeah. That makes sense when you spell it out like that. Originally, it was to be a little bit more in line with European naming. That makes perfect sense.
[00:33:24] TT: Can you tell us a little bit about the malthouse design, if you will, and the batch size of your Munich production?
Teri mentioned that the flexibility and the uniqueness of their Vancouver plant bode really well with the Munich-style malt.
[00:33:38] BR: Briess has a few locations. Our original location is in Chilton. That facility has been used since the late ’60s, early ’70s by Briess to produce those American specialty malts. We were fortunate enough to add the Manitowoc facility, which allows us the flexibility of batch sizes.
We have produced our entire portfolio of Munich-type malts at any of the malthouses over the years. The reason we would select any specific area would be based on the scale, the size of the batch that we really need of something, as well as the ability to make sure that we can achieve the consistency that we need of different product types within those kiln systems.
It just comes down to the ability to control or be able to get that heat application in the way that we want it to be in those different systems. It kind of is a mixture of all those different things that would contribute to our choice in what size of kiln and which type of kiln would produce those different malt types.
[00:34:43] TT: You all juggle a lot of different unique products and specialties. You typically think of a wide range of specialty products. It seems like putting a puzzle piece together or puzzle together with all the pieces and figuring out what the best course of action is for each product. Very cool.
[00:34:58] GL: Whenever I think of specialty malts, Briess definitely jumps first to mind. The amount that you guys put out is impressive.
We had Bob on a past podcast. He was telling me, like you just said a moment ago, that Briess once upon a time would make every specialty in six-row and two-row. That just blows me away.
[00:35:19] BR: Yeah. There were a lot of items.
[00:35:21] GL: You really got to have your ducks in a row to just pull that off consistently.
[00:35:25] BR: Right. We certainly do run the gamut of unique specialty-type products and lots of different unique flavors. One thing that has really allowed us to dial in our process and have a better consistency and repeatability with both the color development and qualifying our flavors for our malts has been Briess’ role in the creation and approval of two different ASBC methods, both the Rapid Color Method and the Hot Steep Sensory Method.
The creation of those processes really was rooted in our desire to make sure that when we’re in the kiln and we’re in the process of working up to those final colors of those Munich-style malts, we can consistently hit our target every single time. The only way to do that in that environment is to have accessible tools and easy-to-use processes that an operator can take that sample, run that result themselves, and make sure, okay, yeah, I’m hitting my target.
The same thing with the hot steep, we had the ability then to take a tea kettle essentially and come up with a consistent and repeatable way to prep a hot wort sample that you can then do sensory on pretty much anywhere.
[00:36:38] GL: It sounds like, more or less, you guys wrote the book basically on some of these new standards. Really cool.
We ran through these pretty quickly, but I think we missed one of your Munich malts from earlier. I don’t think we hit on your 30L. Can you tell us about that? It’s a relatively new one for you guys.
[00:36:58] BR: Yeah. We developed that within the last two or three years. Really, the intention of that product was to create the most intense dark Maillard flavors, pretzel, and brown sugar and really get the most intensive version of a Munich malt that we could possibly get. We had targeted that at around that 30 SRM range.
Again, obviously, because of its treatment on the kiln, it doesn’t have very much enzyme content remaining at the end of its cycle, so it definitely would need to be converted with a Base malt. It was what we call the Malt Bomb. We wanted the most malt flavor we could possibly get in a product. That’s what it became.
[00:37:38] GL: Yeah, Malt Bomb indeed. It’s funny the first thing that you mentioned is that pretzel is the flavor because that’s what I was going to say that I get out of it.
[00:37:46] BR: Yeah. That was definitely on our flavor map.
[00:37:49] GL: I was brewing a Dunkel, and I went a little heavy with it. Probably, this is right when that 30L came out. It came out more as a Schwarzbier, but man, it was a crowd-pleaser. People really dug it.
[00:38:00] BR: Good. It’s super complex and interesting in different beers that I’ve had too.
[00:38:06] TT: Betsy, lastly, what are you drinking these days? What are you enjoying?
[00:38:10] BR: With the summer being in full swing now, I’ve been looking for nice, sessionable sours. Found a couple of them that I really like from a couple of local places here in Wisconsin in Minnesota. I’m on the lower alcohol bandwagon. Everybody’s making a light version of a beer now, and I like trying all iterations of it.
[00:38:30] TT: What do they call them down here in the South, Grant? Lawnmower Beers or Lawnmower Sour?
When I was younger, I remember my dad literally mowing the yard with a beer. It was crazy. I don’t blame him. It wasn’t a craft beer by any means, but he enjoyed it.
[00:38:47] BR: Yeah. Times have changed, I guess.
[00:38:51] TT: He had one of those plastic baseball hats where you’ve got the drink holders on each side with the straws attached to it.
[00:39:00] GL: That’s awesome.
[00:39:03] TT: Betsy, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on. I appreciate your time coming on with this and making it a fantastic day. Hopefully, we can touch base soon and meet in person. Thanks again for your time.
[00:39:13] BR: Sounds great.
[00:39:14] GL: Thanks for coming on. It was good having a fellow food scientist on as well.
[00:39:18] TT: That’s right, Grant.
[00:39:18] BR: I know. There’s only a couple of us that crossed over to the dark side. Maybe not.
[00:39:26] GL: Hopefully, we can have you on again in the future.
[00:39:29] BR: Sounds great.
[00:39:29] TT: Thanks so much, Betsy.
All right. Good info so far. I know it’s late over in Germany, so I really appreciate this next guest sticking around. Jessica Görick is BestMalz’s Technical Support and Quality Assurance Manager.
Jessica, did I pronounce your last name right?
[00:39:47] JG: You gave your best, so I think it’s okay. It’s a really hard name. It’s called Görick.
[00:39:56] TT: Okay, I got you. I did my best. Jessica, thanks so much for coming on. You’ve given some technical presentations or education to our sales group in the past. Happy to have you on.
Tell the listeners about yourself and what you do now with BestMalz over in Germany.
[00:40:13] JG: Thanks for having me. I’ve been a part of the BestMalz team since spring 2020. I’ve been a beer brewer since 2016. I worked in both small breweries and huge breweries just to get the feeling of my industry.
I also commissioned and programmed breweries all over the world, for example, in California. This knowledge helped me to become a more focused brewer on technical innovations and changes in breweries and malthouses. That’s why I became part of the Technical Support and Quality Assurance at BestMalz.
[00:40:53] TT: Every time we have a guest joining us from overseas, I’m always impressed with the quality of phone calls these days. The audio is just unreal.
Back when we were younger, half the time, when you’re talking to somebody from overseas, it sounds like you’re talking to them through one of those cans with strings attached.
We sound great. Thanks, Jessica, for giving us a little background on yourself.
[00:41:16] GL: Let’s jump into it. The last two guests covered it pretty well, but we would be remiss if we didn’t have Germans on to talk about Munich malt. It’s important.
Can you tell us some of your philosophy and what BestMalz does for their Munich malts?
[00:41:33] JG: I would love to because, for all our malts, BestMalz has various recipes for different products, but these are strictly confidential to talk about here.
In general, I can say that Munich malt is considered a Base malt here and is manufactured in a traditional steeping germination kilning process but with a higher temperature profile to build up a darker color like described by Teri and Betsy. Really understandable and accurate.
We also have some special things in our malthouses. We have two steeping systems and an AA rating system, so the result is that we get a really homogenous clean barley as a base for further processing.
While in germination, we have two systems. We have a Lausmann system. It’s like a moving bed malting with a connected kiln. Or we have the Saladin system where screw turners are preventing growing-together barley. I think someone mentioned our roasting system before.
[00:42:45] TT: Yeah, it was me. Just briefly.
[00:42:46] JG: Yeah. We have a gentle fluid roasting, so the malt is floating on hot air and has no contact with the vessels. After a lot of testing, we found that malt is much less astringent after those systems.
[00:43:03] TT: I will 100% agree. Grant and I actually had the stuff. We’ve been the lucky few that have been able to try that stuff. It’s really, really good. The roasted stuff we should have stateside here by August.
[00:43:18] GL: Yes. Sneak peek for anyone listening.
[00:43:21] TT: The way this fluid bed roaster works is pretty cool and definitely very homogenous. Very little astringency with such high-color roasted malt.
[00:43:54] GL: You made some key differentiations there versus our American counterparts. The malting system, you have the Lausmann Street. On top of that, there was one other thing that eluded me, but for people listening out there, can you walk us through?
I think a lot of American brewers that are listening—unless they’ve done the malting program with the IBD—probably don’t know what Lausmann Street is. Can you walk us through that continuous process?
[00:44:20] JG: The Lausmann process is actually pretty easy. In a Saladin system, you just have a box, you’re filling it with your crop, you’re turning it with your […], you’re watering it, and then everything goes into the kiln.
In the Lausmann system, you have small boxes. You have small batches, and they are wandering. They are moving on the ground and forwards to the kiln. The first part of the Lausmann system is fresh from the steeping system coming-crop. Then, after some days, it’s going forward and forward, so you can be pretty fast in reacting to what the malt is needing at the moment.
[00:45:08] GL: It’s very neat. It’s just something that you don’t see over here, so I’m kind of geeking out about it, but in brewing terms that most people listening would probably understand, it’s like the Saladin boxes batch sparging. Then, Lausmann Street would be more like fly sparging. It’s a continuous process.
[00:45:25] JG: Yes. But also in Germany, it’s a pretty old-school system. Nearly nobody has it anymore because it’s eating a lot of money, forms of electricity, heat, and stuff.
[00:45:37] GL: Gotcha. Just a neat traditional process, though. Your Munich malt is made through Lausmann Street. Can you talk about the different Munich malts in the BestMalz lineup?
[00:45:47] JG: It’s not so different from all our other barley-based malt varieties. Our high-quality, German, two-row barley has to be part of a Berlin program. We also keep an eye on the lower moisture content, ideal protein content range, and high germination capability. That’s actually all.
[00:46:08] GL: Yeah. There are still some nuances there. You’re going to have different barley varieties than we have in the States.
You’re talking about the Berlin program. I know that BestMalz is all spring two-row.
Another thing that you mentioned is old hat to me, but I’ll just go ahead and talk about it. It sounds like in Germany, Munich malt is just considered a Base malt. That’s just not the case here. We consider it as a specialty malt. Getting the diastatic power for your mash out of a really heavy edition of what we would call a Light Munich is not unusual in Germany. Is that correct?
[00:46:41] JG: Yeah, that’s correct. Totally.
[00:46:43] TT: I just want to jump back. I don’t think we went in-depth there. Jessica talked about how many different Munich-style malts they produce. At least over here at stateside, we’ve got the Regular Munich malt and the Dark Munich malt. You guys have a couple of Caramel Munich. Correct?
[00:47:00] JG: Yeah, that’s correct. We have a […] Munich malt and Dark Munich malt. Then we also have Caramel Munich Malt I, II, and III. They have all different colors and different tastes, of course. I really love them when it comes to bock beers, for example.
The BEST Caramel Munich III, for example, tastes like roasted almonds and dark bread. The Caramel Munich 1 tastes more like almonds and dates. I really love the variety because everything is natural. I really love that about our malt because there are no additives in it. You have so much you can do with just one thing, a little bit of temperature, hydration, and stuff. It’s not much, but in the end, it gives the beer everything it needs.
[00:47:54] GL: For sure. I see what you’re saying in terms of when you’re calling it naturally. Just the range of flavors that a malt can give you is pretty impressive. The fruity flavors of fig, but then the nutty flavors of roasted almonds too. That’s just what keeps me coming back for more.
[00:48:12] JG: Yeah. It really impresses me that it’s a completely natural process, at least in Germany. But you can do this color spectrum of all our Carmel Munich malts and also the Munich malt.
[00:48:26] TT: Can you walk us through the German or continental European philosophy? Speak of using Munich malt and beers. We mentioned that Munich is considered a Base over there.
But for example, many American craft brewers use Munich malts in just about any style—Pale Ales, IPAs, et cetera. It just doesn’t matter. American brewers don’t really follow any rules for the use of Munich malt.
It’s different in Germany, I’m assuming. How do you typically see German or European brewers using the Munich malt?
[00:48:54] JG: This is an interesting topic because, in Germany, we still have a lot of brewpubs, bars, and restaurants that only have two beers on tap. In North America, I’ve seen 20 or more beers on tap. German beer drinkers like to stick to their local habits and want to drink beer out of their homes. Therefore, the market is not requesting as much variety in any given outlet.
Typically, in the German pub in Bavaria, for instance, we’ll have a Helles and a Douglas. Both beers are brewed with either 100% Pilsner malt or 100% Munich malt. Oftentimes, these standard beers are completed by a third special brew for a certain season, like bock beer, Märzen, or Oktoberfest beer.
It’s not unusual for some of the established brewpubs to use the same old recipes for 100 years or more. These are kept as a secret and handed down from generation to generation.
The correct mixture of our best malt, for example, is, of course, the integral part of the secret. German culture and food habits are closely linked. We fiddle around at a lot of things, but not with our German beer. We have strict roots on how our beer needs to look and how to taste. We don’t mix everything together.
[00:50:16] TT: In America, we do piddle around a lot. We mess things up.
[00:50:21] GL: We do. We overcomplicate things.
[00:50:22] TT: That’s right. We tweak everything.
[00:50:24] GL: We use six different malts and a grist or something. In Germany, from my understanding, it’s one, maybe two.
[00:50:33] JG: Yeah, that’s true. But I really love that you guys in the US are more experimental when it comes to beer. We have our strict rules, and we can’t get out of those closets because we’ll lose our customers. Because they don’t understand what we are doing when we try to mix something and invent something new. This is pretty cool in your country.
[00:50:57] GL: Yeah. I always like to compare and contrast the two. I think it’s neat. Of all the beers that I’ve brewed, the simpler ones tend to be what I keep going back to. Over the years, I’ve definitely moved to using a lot less different ones in one recipe. That way, you can really hone in on the flavor of a particular malt. That’s the way I feel about it.
That leads me to my next question. I got some questions for you about Oktoberfest, which is coming up. Last year, it was canceled with COVID, unfortunately. It seems like there was some discussion this year about whether or not they would hold it, but it seems this year is canceled as well. But we’re hopeful for 2022.
Am I right there? I just did a cursory read of the news on that one.
[00:51:38] JG: You are right.
[00:51:39] GL: Okay. That’s a huge bummer because it’s such a great tradition in Bavaria there. I’ve been one time, and I would love to go back.
I want to ask you some questions about the way the breweries in Germany do their Oktoberfest. I have it in my mind how it’s done, and I want to see if I’m correct or not.
You mentioned Märzen. I’ll just break down my basic understanding of it. Pre-1970, your German Oktoberfests are going to be darker in color and maybe use some more Munich. At least American craft brewers would call that a Märzen commonly.
In the modern-day Oktoberfest or Festbier, it tends to be lighter than that, but still darker than a Helles. Am I close here?
[00:52:30] JG: It’s hard to say because most of the recipes from breweries are tightly-held secrets. Munich breweries, for example, the Augustina, and all those other breweries that are part of the Oktoberfest beer have pretty aggressive lawyers watching us globally.
With the use of the name Oktoberfest, I’m not aware that any Munich brewery would ever disclose details of their brew-making. Naturally, we must be part of their gameplay because when they order their ingredients from us, we have to protect the trade secrets not only in Munich but also in other places around the world. We can just guess, but I’m not allowed to say anything about that.
[00:53:15] GL: It’s okay. You don’t have to name-drop the breweries or anything, but can you shed some light on it?
[00:53:21] JG: What I can say is that in our last Best Brew Challenge, we asked more than 200 participants to brew us Festbier and side beer. For the competition, we asked those brewers to use BEST Caramel Munich II.
By the way, the winner was a small local brewpub called Rheinhessen-Bräu, who made an extraordinary beer that really impressed our jury. Therefore, it’s proven that Caramel Munich II can make some hell of a great Festbier.
[00:53:52] GL: I’m guessing they used something heavy like the Heidelberg or a Pilsner-style malt and then just some smaller proportion of Caramel Munich II. It’s what it sounds like.
[00:54:07] JG: I’m so sorry, I can’t.
[00:54:09] TT: Leave her alone, Grant.
[00:54:11] GL: Sorry. I’m always trying to get to the bottom of it. I read the brewing literature
here. I guess I’m just on a quest for truth.
[00:54:20] JG: I see your excitement, and I’m really sorry.
[00:54:23] GL: That’s fine. It’s okay.
[00:54:25] TT: You’re poking the bear.
[00:54:] GL: Brewing literature talks about Dark Munich II for use in Altbier bocks Doppelbock. It sounds like you’ve already answered that with a yes, but is that generally speaking? Is that where you would say you see the most of your Dark Munich? Americans here would just call our Standard Munich. You tend to see that in Germany. You tend to see that in styles Altbier bocks Doppelbocks and less so in Festbier.
[00:54:52] JG: Yeah, that’s totally true. We don’t see it so often, more in-season beers like a Vinterbock or something. When it’s getting cold, and everybody’s excited for the season to drink Vinterbock. Therefore, they are using those malts, but it’s not that common here.
[00:55:14] GL: One thing that we see here, at least among American craft brewers, is somewhat of a decline in using drum-turned Crystal malts, which are probably placed to your favor since you guys have a different system.
Is there anything you’d like to add to that discussion? I know we’re going out on a limb here. Why would you think that American brewers or crafters, in general, are turning more to Hi-Dry (as we call them) options versus drum-turned Crystals lately?
[00:55:38] JG: Crystal malts have a long and impressive tradition in the UK. It undergoes the complete biochemical transformation from starch to sugar because it is made of green malt that is held wet. Then, it is loaded into a roasting drum and fired relatively at high temperatures.
The goal is to replace the endosperm with those sweet, clear liquid. We must take care not to add too much Crystal malts to the grain because that could cause astringent malts. But of course, too much Caramel malts may certainly be overwhelming in thickness and full bodiness. Been overused in the grist. Using hi-Dry options can give a more balanced and lighter initial taste to have maybe a higher enzyme capacity. I’m not sure about that.
[00:56:25] GL: Yeah. It sounds like the opinions are pretty in line there. It gives you a lighter taste and less of a sweetness. For whatever reason, that seems like how a lot of craft brewers are going.
My best guess at it is, at least here in the US, you have these wild adjunct beers that are using fruit purees and all these different sweet-associated flavors. I think that the beer sales are moving more towards these drier, more traditional beer flavors and less candy sweetness. That’s my take on it.
[00:56:59] JG: Sounds fair, yeah.
[00:57:00] GL: Teri brought up a great point too. Probably, these Hi-Dry malts like Munich seem to play better with Hops, especially long-term in the package. I was wondering if you guys see any of that there, but it’s hard to say because Crystal malts just in general or drum-turned Crystals are not big in Germany.
[00:57:22] JG: Yeah. We nearly never see them here somewhere, so I don’t know any brewery that is using Crystal malts.
[00:57:28] TT: As we talked about a little bit Jessica had mentioned, we all know right now that there are shipping delays worldwide for a variety of reasons. Import and export are putting a strain on European malt supply overall into the US.
I will say that our vendor partner, BestMalz, has done a really, really good job of combating that, along with our procurement team at Country Malt Group.
We do hear of our competitors bringing in imported malt that has really struggled. So much so that today, we can’t supply anyone malt for the next two, three, or four months. BestMalz has probably seen an uptake in production in the last couple of months just based on the amount of malt you export not only in the US but several different countries, a lot of different countries.
How has BestMalz combated the challenges logistically and production, for that matter? It’s, like I said, a light switch turning on. Secondly, do you think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel? Are we going to continue to have some challenges going forward?
[00:58:25] JG: Yes, I think there’s a light on the end of the tunnel. The world is pretty imbalanced right now, so some of the most important cargo hubs in the world are still badly affected by COVID-19.
We have great local partners who act highly professionally in their local markets. The team in Germany and North America, as you said, are in close contact. We know each other pretty well and have respect for each other’s contributions. That certainly helps with those difficult times, when everybody gets the best. Eventually, container shortages will be managed.
On the other hand, climate change and other trends will affect all businesses sooner or later, so we must all constantly adapt to those changes and restructure our processes.
If you want to brew a great beer with BestMalz, of course, you get it. We will make sure you get BestMalz in the US.
[00:59:19] TT: Great response. I read an article. Grant, you may have seen this. The overall challenges of the market—and I could be wrong here—the article stated that there were only two manufacturers of the actual new shipping containers, and they were both out of China.
That being said, with the shortage of containers, a container’s not one way. It’s fluid throughout the entire world. There are only so many of them floating around right now. If there’s more and more need for containers in the limited manufacturing companies that produce these things, it puts a real strain on it.
[00:59:55] GL: Almost like a currency, really. It’s just supply and demand.
[00:59:58] TT: Yeah. Then, the ports obviously are completely backed up. It’s not like they can build an expansion on their facility in a week or two. It’s just a lot of things all at once, but putting a strain on it.
I would say that BestMalz has done a fantastic job along with our other import providers or import partners if you will.
Another shout out to our procurement group, as Jessica mentioned. Our two groups work very closely together. We’ve had some challenges, but just that open line of communication and the history of our two businesses together has really helped mitigate the challenges there.
Last question. What beer or other beverage are you currently enjoying? It’s interesting. I’ve mentioned this before. We’ve had brewers that don’t drink a lot of beer. They’re brewing it all the time, and they prefer whiskey, or they drink wine. What do you join these days?
[01:00:50] JG: At all, I don’t drink wine, whiskey, or something. I really just drink beer. After a long day of work like today, I’m not in the mood for experimental beer types, to be honest, so craft beer is something I really enjoy, Bitburger Pits. Bitburger is a brewery here in Germany that brews great traditional beer, which makes me feel at home because I grew up in North Germany. Traditionally, we drink a lot of Pilsner beer, an expert there.
Bitburger is one of the breweries here in the South that create a great Pilsner beer. They are also customers, so it’s a win-win situation for everybody.
[01:01:32] GL: It’s interesting you mentioned Bitburger. It’s one of my favorite imports. Here in the US, you can get it. I can get at my grocery store in a 4-pack of what we call tallboys, 16-ounce cans. I love it.
Correct me if I’m wrong here, but doesn’t Bitburger have their own Hops that are secretive? Do they use their own hops?
[01:01:53] JG: I heard about it, but I’m not sure about that. It wouldn’t be surprising because they have the best brewmasters and they have a huge laboratory. They are pretty far advanced in every single step in the brewery. I’m a huge fan, as you can tell.
[01:02:12] GL: You may not have heard about this. I don’t know if it traveled back that way, but Sierra Nevada is one of our legendary, very large craft brewers here in the States. For the past number of years—this relates to Munich malt—they do an Oktoberfest collaboration with a German brewery. They change it up every year. I believe last year, they did a collaboration with Bitburger. It was killer. It was such a good beer.
I’m thinking it’s their yeast. Bitburger has their own house of yeast. That’s what it is, not Hops. It’s their yeast.
[01:02:45] JG: Yeast is pretty normal in German breweries in that they’re propagating their own yeast.
[01:02:50] GL: Yeah. I guess they’ve just had a classic German lager strain and how it’s so long
that over the generations, it’s become Bitburger strain which is really cool.
[01:03:02] JG: This is so cool. In Munich, there’s […]. You can study brewing there, and they have a yeast bank. I would love to go there and just look around all those yeast types that they have and that they are collecting and saving for the future, which is crazy.
[01:03:23] GL: Yeah. Some of the craft breweries here have even got them sent from that yeast bank over here for certain ones. I’m here in Central Texas, and there’s a pretty strong German brewing tradition here in Central Texas, so it’s pretty neat how everything travels.
[01:03:40] TT: Jessica, thanks so much for joining us. I know it’s late in your time. I think it’s, what, 7:45 PM? Go get yourself a Bitburger. I really appreciate your patience and jumping in. You’ve been a wealth of knowledge.
[01:03:53] JG: Thanks for having me, guys.
[01:03:54] TT: Thanks again to Teri Fahrendorf, Malt Innovation Center Manager with Great Western Malt. Jessica, thank you again, and Betsy Roberts from Briess, the Malting Quality Manager, talking about Munich. It’s been just an awesome episode with a wealth of information.
For those listening out there, hit subscribe on whatever portal you use for the podcast. We’d love to have you back very soon. We’ve got some interesting shows coming up. Grant, thanks, buddy. As always. We’ll chat with you here very soon.
[01:04:22] GL: All right. Have a good one.
[01:04:23] TT: Thanks, everyone.