Brewing – first and foremost – is a science. It is a craft honed through empirical observations and repeated procedure. Brewing is not just about coming up with ideas, but being able to translate those ideas into a set of ingredients and procedures that will lead to the initial idea being realized.
Over the past several weeks, I have been familiarizing myself with our new Pilot Brewery – a 10-gallon Sabco Brew Magic System. Most of the initial beers to come off this system will be ones that I have brewed numerous times before – recipes that I trust – so that I can begin to understand how this system behaves. Repeatability and predictability are both key.
For a product with only four ingredients (water, barley, yeast, hops), there are an unbelievable amount of variables (e.g., fermentation temperature, mineral content of brewing water, grains used, type of hops, amount of hops, mash temperature…the list, really, is endless) that impact the beer which ends up in your glass. One of the biggest advantages of having a pilot system, then, is to be able to produce a smaller volume and begin to tweak certain variables. For example, what would Tumblewheat taste like with Amarillo hops? What would happen if we added melanoidin malt to Bearpaw Brown? What would coffee ale heavily dosed with espresso be like? Having a pilot system allows us to carry out more of our ideas to fruition. My goal, at this point, is to know the system so intimately that the beer will match the intent.
I’m really looking forward to getting some of these initial brews into the hands of the Altitude faithful. Perhaps unsurprisingly to those who know me, the first several batches will be either: 1) heavy on hops, or 2) Belgian-inspired. The pages of my idea notebook are being rapidly filled with ideas for future projects – stay tuned.
Managers Note: Altitude will be tapping the first brews off our new pilot system May 4th at 11 a.m. – join us as we rotate through many of Jared’s beers all day long.