October 12, 2021
Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh – Our Recipe For Success
Written by Rachel Gyarmati
With a new month comes a new Monthly Seasonal Brew here in the Bier Hall. This month’s brew is our Festbier which is an amber lager. Its spicy finish comes from the hops used during brewing. Festbier is a great way to bring in Fall.
No matter what location you drink our bier from, there is one thing that remains constant: our process.
We take pride in brewing our bier on-site; it allows us to showcase our heritage and to give our customers bier at its very best. Join us as we go behind the scenes in our brewing process.
What makes our bier so special is that it’s brewed in the tradition of Reinheitsgebot. This law for brewing was created in 1516 to regulate brewing. Over 500 years later, it is a delicious and popular style of bier.
The medieval law states that bier brewed in Bavaria should only contain barley, water, yeast, and hops. One may think that having few ingredients limits the colors, tones, and flavors a bier can carry; however, the possibilities are endless.
Trust the Process
When making our world-famous lager, we put our trust into a recipe that has produced great bier for centuries. Although we can’t give away all our secrets, here are the steps we take to deliver you a crisp and delectable Lager.
Step One: Milling
Only the finest grain through steeping, germinating, and kilning is used to make our bier. No matter the grain that is used, the milling process remains the same. Grain is crushed to open each kernel and expose the starch layers. This prepares it for the next step, which is making mash.
Step Two: Mash Conversion
This is where the magic begins. The crushed grain, exposing the starch layers, from the previous step are steeped in hot water for about an hour in the Mash kettle. This activates the enzymes in our malt and converts the starch into fermentable sugars.
This mixture of grain and water becomes a porridge consistency which is known as mash. The mash is steeped for about an hour, though the time can fluctuate depending on the bier being made.
Step Three: Lautering
The term Lautering is German in origin and means to rinse or purify. It is where we separate the liquid from the grain husk.
Mash from the previous step is moved into the Lauter kettle with the sole purpose of getting fermentable sugars from it. The step is vital, as it’s pivotal in giving each batch of our bier consistent flavor. A cycle of lautering lasts 60 to 90 minutes.
Step Four: The Boil
The boil is exactly what it sounds like. The wort (formerly mash) is boiled at a high temperature to stabilize the proteins released in the mash. The wort will be boiled for 60 to 120 minutes depending on the flavors that are to be brought out.
Step Five: Wort Transfer
Once the wort has boiled, it is transferred to the whirlpool inside the brewery, where due to centrifugal force, separates the trube (solid particles) from the liquid in the wort.
Step Six: Cooling and Yeast Pitching
The yeast is added to the fermenters as the wort is being cooled into it. For a lager, the wort is cooled to between 45 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit so that the yeast can maintain and take on desired flavors.
Step Seven: Fermentation
Fermentation is the process where the sugars are being converted into Carbon dioxide and alcohol. That fluctuation is what will set the alcohol content for whatever bier is fermenting.
This step takes longer than most; the time depends on the type of lager being made.
Step Eight: Cellaring
Our final step to the perfect lager is cellaring. Once the bier has gone through fermentation, it then goes through cellaring, or aging. During this time, yeast in the bier will eat at the sugars that are left. This absorption of sugars is what will set the flavor of the bier you drink.
The time that bier is in this final phase depends on the type of bier we want to brew.
Not following the recipe to exact detail can be disastrous. It can change the color, clarity, and taste of the bier. An entire batch of our brew can be ruined by not following instructions exactly.
For that reason, immense trust is placed on our Brew Master and their team to oversee the production of our beloved brew.
Get Your Bier Here
In a time where we are more conscious about where our food and beverages come from, we find it fun to pull the curtain back some. Although our bier is no longer made in a cave in Munich as it was in the 1500s, it does have a lot of the same ingredients.
Knowing exactly when to rinse mash and how long to cellar the final product is an art that our team has perfected over time.
Our bier pairs beautifully with any of our menu items no matter the season and is a great way to celebrate any occasion.
We also would like to take this opportunity to remind you that each month we celebrate the tapping of a new seasonal brew on the first Wednesday. The tapping is a fun ceremony with all the bells and whistles you’ve come to know and love in our celebrations.
We thank raise a stein to you with a mighty Prost! What’s your favorite bier here at Hofbräuhaus? Let us know by tagging us on your social media!