Brewing Process

We attach great value to tradition and taste – and this we achieve by careful selection of our ingredients. Experienced master brewers painstakingly ensure that our traditional recipes are strictly followed. Although produced in state-of-the-art production systems, the actual brewing process is carried out according to the old German purity law which has remained in force since the year 1516, and today counts as the oldest, still valid regulation for foodstuffs in the world. This law was imposed in order to prevent bread grains, such as oats being used for brewing.  

At Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu the quality of our products is constantly controlled and maintained at a consistent high level to guarantee top-grade beers. See for yourself! Take part in a tour of our brewery with a subsequent beer tasting session and find out which of our beer products is your personal favourite.

Not only is the technology of brewing decisive for the quality of beer. Only best hops, selected malt and a pure yeast strain guarantee the top quality of our beer which is brewed from untreated, original ingredients. 

Our brewing water a raw material of exceptional quality. It must be unpolluted and soft. Our water ranks among the best in the world – par with the Pilsner water – and is pumped untreated straight from the forest springs to the brewing house. In the extraction area of our springs there is practically no outer influence which could harm the water.

Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu is the beer made from the famous Black Forest spring water.

Malt is made from barley, wheat, spelt or rye. In the malt house the grain is germinated by adding water and then dried in a kiln. 

  

Hops are said to be the “soul of the beer”.  They give the beer its pleasantly bitter taste, improve its durability and stabilise the froth. The largest hop growing region in the world is Hallertau in Bavaria. There are bitter and aromatic varieties of hops. We use almost exclusively the high-quality aromatic variety of hops which are grown in the special hop-growing areas of Hallertau, Spalt and Tettnang. We are the only brewery in the world to have a special technology with which we can process natural hops using automated equipment.

Yeast triggers the fermenting process of the wort and converts the malt sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide. 

Bottom-fermented beers are produced by adding bottom-fermented yeast (saccharomyces carlsbergensis). Top-fermented beers require top-fermented yeast (saccharomyces cerevisiae).

Beer brewing has always been a particular art in its own right. A sophisticated process with which we in Alpirsbach combine a century-old traditional craft with modern brewing technology, to produce first-class beer. 

It all starts with the malt

The first requirement for good beer is good barley, and for Weißbier (wheat beer) a special kind of brewing wheat is also required. These are grains which germinate particularly well. The freshly harvested corn is malted at the malting plant.  Here the barley is first washed, sorted and then soaked for three days in large containers. The water wakens the grains to a new life. They are then left to germinate in special germinating boxes.

After a week the interior of the corn has become soft and soluble and a germ bud slowly starts to grow out of it. If the corn was allowed to continue germinating a new plant would develop.  But the maltster now intervenes and dries the so-called green malt at temperatures of around 85 to 100 degrees Celsius. This process is called kiln-drying. The higher the temperature during this process, the darker the malt becomes.

The lautered wort then flows into the wort copper where it is boiled for one or two hours so that it evaporates slightly. Then the hops are added. The hops give the subsequent beer its pleasantly bitter taste and the characteristic fine aroma. They also help to preserve the beer and moreover have a favourable influence on the “head” of the beer.  The wort is then quickly cooled down to around 5 degrees and sent down to the fermenting cellar. 

Here the yeast is added which immediately triggers the fermentation. In this process the sugar is converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide. After a week the main fermentation stage is completed and the yeast can be drawn off. After a thorough clean the yeast is used again. Because it consists of high-grade protein and a high concentration of vitamins, yeast is also appreciated in food production

Top-fermenting or bottom-fermenting 

refers to the way in which beer is brewed. The difference lies in the type of yeast and the temperature of fermentation. The top-fermenting method is the older of the two, because it is carried out at higher temperatures (usually between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius), which, before the invention of the refrigerating machine by Carl von Linde in the year 1873, were easier to acquire. 

The term “top-fermenting” is derived from the nature of these yeast strains to rise towards the end of the process to the surface of the young beer where it can then be strained off and harvested. 

Bottom-fermenting yeast requires comparatively lower temperatures and sinks to the floor of the tank after fermentation. The use of such yeast was formerly only possible in areas where sufficient quantities of ice could be produced in the winter and stored to ensure adequate cooling in the warmer half of the year. With the invention of the refrigerating machine the victory march of bottom-fermenting beer types began. Even today however there are still a great many beer specialities which are brewed using the top-fermenting method, including Koelsch (beer from Cologne), Altbier (a speciality from the Düsseldorf area), Berliner Weiße (Berlin white beer) and also our Weizenbier (wheat beer).

Beer does not develop just by itself. 
            It needs a pinch of magic and 
                        certain things which nobody quite understands 
                                                                      (Fritz Maytag)

The young beer is now taken to the storage cellar and left to condition or mature – this can take up to three months, depending on the type of beer. In the storage cellar three things happen: firstly the flavour of the beer develops and the remaining sugar content is almost completely digested. Secondly the carbon dioxide produced is bound inside the liquid which gives the young beer its sparkling character. Thirdly, the remaining yeast and solids settle to the floor: the beer becomes clear. 

Finally, the finished product is filtered once again and filled into bottles or barrels. Through the catering industry and trade it finds its way to the glass of the beer lover.