Beyond hops, malt, yeast and water
Germany is a proud beer country. Production and consumption have a long tradition here, which is reflected, for example, in the often-cited purity law. But beyond these regulations, a field of interesting beer drinks has developed. As good as the purity law sounds, it not only ensures quality, but also severely restricts the spectrum of beer drinks. Why should a beer to which other ingredients are added be worse per se?
We developed “bitter sweet”. Unfortunately, there is no known German word that combines the supposed contrast between sweet and bitter. Because it is more than just the combination of two tastes or words in one word. It’s about love and pain, as countless songs in bittersweet harmonies sing about.
Since music is such an important source of inspiration for us when working in the Innovation Lab, we would like to take this opportunity to refer to our unique MILK. Notify Spotify playlist. A list of collected works that all have one thing in common: taste not only in the music, but even in the title of the song, album or in the name of the artist. Enjoy your meal with this feast for the ears!
But now back to the topic: fruit beer! A little sweet and a little bitter.
Good beer even without the Purity Law
In other countries like Belgium there are traditional beers like Lambic, which have nothing to do with the Purity Law or with bad beer. We have been inspired by this tradition and generally by fruit beers in order to produce a beer drink with little alcohol but a lot of flavor.
We’re not brewing something for the first time, but so far we’ve been talking about Met or Ginger Bug . Beer is still a new field for us and we use a brewing set for our first attempts. It contains all the important utensils and all essential raw materials except for beetroot and apples, which give our beer that special something. For us, and as always with alcohol, it’s about fermentation More specifically, about the conversion of Sugar in alcohol. In the case of beer, they come from malted grain and in the case of fruit beer they also come from fruit.
The way of the beer
The first step in beer production, both large and small, is mashing. Here we want to extract the sugar from the malt, which is later converted into alcohol. With us, sugar also comes from apples. We juice fresh apples, we heat the juice (4 liters) obtained to 72 degrees and stir in the malt grist. This step in the process is also called mashing in . For the next 60 minutes we boil out the sugar at a temperature between 65 and 69 degrees. Finally, we heat the mash to 78 degrees, this process is also called mashing. In the next step we separate the resulting wort from the malt, for this we pour everything through a coarse sieve. The smell and taste of the wort is sweet and has a strong malt taste. In order to remove as much sugar from the malt as possible, we boil 3 liters of water.
We rinse the malt through with the so-called “pouring”, which has a temperature of 78 degrees. The malt lies firmly in the sieve and thus forms a natural filter, through which the water gradually seeps through. We now add the hops to the wort. This step is also called “boiling the hops”. The hops are in pressed pellets and have a very aromatic smell. We divide the hops into three parts and add the first part after 10 minutes of cooking time and the other two parts after 50 minutes of cooking time.
After 60 minutes of boiling time, we quickly cool the wort down, this is done in a large ice water bath. The cooled, cloudy wort looks a bit unsavory. Will this be a tasty beer? – Appearance and taste are in any case not dependent parameters and Ugly Delicious is therefore a fixed term.
In the next step, we sterilize the fermentation balloon and the funnel for filling. We then fill the wort into the fermentation balloon and add the yeast. It looks like dry yeast when baking cakes, but it’s a special brewer’s yeast because we neither brew nor bake. Whereby baking and brewing are historically closely linked. Incidentally, Lambic is fermented spontaneously and made without added yeast. This process is more complex and difficult to control, so we rely on brewer’s yeast.
After we have added the yeast to the wort, we swing the fermentation balloon vigorously. We close the fermentation balloon with a stopper in which a fermentation tube (airlock) is inserted. Over the next few days the yeast will multiply and convert sugar into alcohol, and it will bubble vigorously during this process. This creates CO₂, which can escape through the fermentation bung. The CO₂ can get out, but no air or foreign yeast can get in.
One beer – three flavors
Fermentation is complete after about two weeks. We draw off the beer with the help of a beer pump and divide the liquid into three parts. The first part remains pure dark apple beer, the second part is stretched to the same extent with apple juice and the third part is also stretched to the same extent with beetroot juice. In this way we reduce the alcohol content and bring a different taste to the beer.
Apple beer (natural)
Apple beer (+ apple juice)
Beetroot – apple beer (+ beetroot juice)
We fill the beer in 0.33 long-neck bottles. In order for the yeast to produce carbonic acid in the beer during bottle maturation, we have to give the yeast feed. In that case, feed equals sugar. We only add the sugar to natural apple beer that has already fermented. Adding fresh apple juice and beetroot juice to the straight beers should bring in enough natural sugar for optimal carbonation. We close the beer bottles with commercially available crown caps and let it mature for four weeks at room temperature. Then we store it in the refrigerator.