Author Topic: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts  (Read 3204 times)

Offline AmandaK

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Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« on: April 23, 2016, 01:58:42 PM »
So we won a scale up at KC Bier Co, a local German-style brewery with amazing German biers. We brewed 15BBL of Schwarzbier. Naturally, I asked a ton of questions.



Their system is a Specialized Mechanical system with a Mash Kettle, Lauter tun, and whirlpool. They follow the Reinheitsgebot (in fact, they are having a 500th Anniversary party for it today) mostly to the letter. I say mostly because they dry hop a couple of special release beers.

Here's some tidbits I found interesting:
  • They don't check the mash pH anymore, but assume that it is around 5.4.
  • Knockout pH for most biers is 5.0-4.9.
  • The final beer pH for many of their lagers is about 4.1-4.2, which is lower than what I aim for.
  • The final beer pH for their hefeweizen is 3.9.
  • When asked what it the most important distinction for brewing German biers, the head brewer insisted on a very loose mash.
  • They exclusively use "the Andechs strain" from BSI and pitch a metric ton of it. 4 full 1/2BBL kegs, harvested off the cone of another fully fermented bier, is pitched into a 60BBL fermenter. We pitched a full 1/2BBL keg of 2nd generation yeast ("the best yeast generation") into the 15 BBL fermenter above.
  • Brewing on a pro system was surprisingly easy. I sure it had to do with our brewer being very professional and knowledgeable more than anything.

They let me take home a bit of their yeast, about 300mL worth. I put it in a starter and DANG look at that krausen!  :o Awesome.

I'm brewing another Pilsner tomorrow with the tips they gave me.  8)

Also, I really, really want a density meter. Too bad they're $2.5k.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2016, 02:03:48 PM »
That is really awesome, Amanda! Do they adjust pH in/after the boil, out of curiosity?
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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2016, 02:12:03 PM »
Sounds like a lot of fun

  • They exclusively use "the Andechs strain" from BSI and pitch a metric ton of it. 4 full 1/2BBL kegs, harvested off the cone of another fully fermented bier, is pitched into a 60BBL fermenter. We pitched a full 1/2BBL keg of 2nd generation yeast ("the best yeast generation") into the 15 BBL fermenter above.

Did they measure the DO?  If so, do you know what they target?
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2016, 02:49:48 PM »
That is really awesome, Amanda! Do they adjust pH in/after the boil, out of curiosity?

I asked the same question and was told that they couldn't do anything about it. I'd assume that is Reinheisgebot related.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2016, 02:53:41 PM »
Sounds like a lot of fun

  • They exclusively use "the Andechs strain" from BSI and pitch a metric ton of it. 4 full 1/2BBL kegs, harvested off the cone of another fully fermented bier, is pitched into a 60BBL fermenter. We pitched a full 1/2BBL keg of 2nd generation yeast ("the best yeast generation") into the 15 BBL fermenter above.

Did they measure the DO?  If so, do you know what they target?
They are actually getting a DO meter on Tuesday, because they are in the process of installing a bottling line and new kegging line. They took some readings with the sales rep before the purchase.

I was told the DO at current keg packaging is 9 ppb. (Yes, billion.) I understand that is very low, especially since they keg by hand at the moment. I would imagine it is so low because they cap the fermenters with 1-1.5 Plato to go and naturally carbonate. Of course, take everything I say with a grain of salt because DO is way out of my wheelhouse.
Amanda Burkemper
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2016, 03:09:11 PM »
That is really awesome, Amanda! Do they adjust pH in/after the boil, out of curiosity?

I asked the same question and was told that they couldn't do anything about it. I'd assume that is Reinheisgebot related.


Cool, thanks. That had to be a good time.
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Offline wobdee

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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2016, 03:18:34 PM »
Sounds like a great time. Interesting that they are just now purchasing a DO meter. What do they use to oxygenate their wort prior to pitching yeast?

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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2016, 03:48:01 PM »
Any insight into their mash schedule? Do they step mash?

Do you know what base malt(s) they use?
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Offline narvin

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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2016, 03:55:06 PM »
Nice!  Was there any acid malt in the grist?
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Offline Alewyfe

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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2016, 04:29:41 PM »
Curious....what is a density meter used for in the brewery?
« Last Edit: April 23, 2016, 04:40:19 PM by Alewyfe »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2016, 04:41:14 PM »
That is really awesome, Amanda! Do they adjust pH in/after the boil, out of curiosity?

I asked the same question and was told that they couldn't do anything about it. I'd assume that is Reinheisgebot related.

You had a great day, I can tell!

As far as dropping pH, they could use Sauergut and be RHG compliant. Natural lactic acid is allowed. Some bigger breweries have bio-reactors to generate the Sauergut and have it on hand. I have read that Victory has a Rolec bio-reactor at the new brewery, and they are German trained brewers. The acid used for acidualted malt is from Sauergut as I understand it. Smaller breweries without a bio-reactor can use the acid malt instread.

As far as a loose mash, been doing that for our German lagers. I read a long time back that they mash loose so that it is easier to pump back and forth for decoctions with the slurry pumps.

let us know how the beer turns out!

Edit - How many Generaltions do they go with the Augusteiner yeast?

Edit 2 - thanks for sharing.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2016, 04:57:22 PM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline denny

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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2016, 04:53:19 PM »
Curious....what is a density meter used for in the brewery?

I think they're talking about a dissolved oxygen meter.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2016, 04:53:36 PM »
I asked the same question and was told that they couldn't do anything about it. I'd assume that is Reinheisgebot related.

Actually they can. Sauergut is used fairly widely in German breweries for pH reduction. Those breweries have an onsite sour fermenter that is typically dosed regularly with fresh sweet wort to keep their lacto going. The sauergut is drawn off and used, as needed in their process. This is Reinheitsgebot compliant.

PS: I'm holding a Fruhlingsfest party tonight at my house and also celebrating the 500th anny. Put on your Lederhosen and Dirndls and make it to my house!
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Offline Alewyfe

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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2016, 05:00:02 PM »
Curious....what is a density meter used for in the brewery?

I think they're talking about a dissolved oxygen meter.
That would make sense. I couldn't comprehend what a density meter might tell you that a hydrometer couldn't.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Brewed at KC Bier Co yesterday... some thoughts
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2016, 05:02:47 PM »
Density meter can measure wort density more precisely than with refraction.