We’re taking quality assurance to the next level
Notes from Director of Brewing Operations – Jim Mellem
Continuing our efforts down a path to brewing the best beer possible, we’re purchasing another piece of equipment for our final stages (for now) of quality expansion and assurance – a flash pasteurizer.
The goal of our brewery is to bring imaginative and delicious flavors to beer, but also to ensure that customers expectations are met or exceeded, whether they are cellaring their beer or drinking it fresh in our Tasting Room. While we like using exciting ingredients during fermentation and performing exciting processes such as barrel aging our beer, we’re also adding a level of complexity and microbial risk to our finished beer. If we don’t control the microorganisms coming out of our brewery and going into bottles, consumers may get a poor, inconsistent and even unintentionally sour beer in the bottle.
“But I like sour beers!”
So do we. That’s why we started Bruery Terreux® earlier this year. Bruery Terreux is a separate facility in Anaheim that gives us a place to perfect our wildly traditional sour beers, while helping to minimize inadvertent introduction of unwanted microorganisms to our “clean” beers. Hopefully, you’ve already seen a difference.
So, how exactly does a pasteurizer work?
It is actually very similar to how milk is currently pasteurized. We will be using a technique known as flash pasteurization where the beer is immediately heated to 165ºF, held at that temperature for 15 seconds, and then instantly cooled back down to near 32ºF. The goal in this process is to thermally kill any microorganisms that could potentially sour the beer in the bottle over time.
Which beers from The Bruery or Bruery Terreux will be pasteurized?
Very few of our beers will actually go through the pasteurization process. However, many of our beers are aged in used bourbon barrels and many others have interesting ingredients added to them post-fermentation which, despite our quality assurance processes, could contain beer spoilers. We plan to pasteurize only the beers that our quality assurance team deems would benefit from the process.
We do not plan to pasteurize any Bruery Terreux beers, nor do we plan to pasteurize beers such as Jardinier or Mischief®. Some beers, like Black Tuesday®, have alcohol contents that are high enough to protect themselves from most microbial growth. We have an excellent quality assurance team to help us make the judgement on what beers should be pasteurized based on microbial plating of each beer that we brew.
Why start now?
If you’ve been following along with The Bruery’s journey since the beginning, you may recall a statement that we do not pasteurize our beers. At that point in time, pasteurizers were something that conflicted with our goal of making complex beers in the simplest of ways. At this point in The Bruery’s history, simple no longer describes us very well. What is most important to us is constant improvement – both for our beer and for ourselves. Through these past 7 years of education, we have learned that pasteurizers can be an amazing tool for achieving the flavors we desire, and, after much research, we decided that it was an opportunity that we would proudly pursue.
Is this going to affect quality and taste?
We are taking steps to ensure that it will not. Some of our larger craft beer brethren have pasteurizers, and we’ve seen no negative effect on quality, rather, they’ve increased quality and customers’ confidence in their beer. We perform rigorous sensory analysis on every single batch of beer that we brew and this will not change. If we find the beer flavor, aroma or mouthfeel to be negatively impacted, we will not release the beer and will reexamine our processes.
So what will change with The Bruery?
Quite frankly, this will allow us to become more creative with our beers! We have a number of amazing ideas in our heads, but we must be certain that the final product will be bottle stable if we want to follow through with these ideas. Having the ability to pasteurize will allow us to explore a wider range of delicious flavors in our beers and continue to push our beers in new and exciting directions.
Have more questions?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.