I have always said what I love the most about this “Beer world” it is that all the people I have known until now: Have the same passion and love about beer and they like to share it. Apparently, the more we give to the world, the more we receive. On November 6th, 2016 we brewed a venezuelan-german beer, Mr. Udo Messen and me. Demonstrating once again that borders only exist in our minds.
The story behind this brewing process is just wonderful and I love to be able to share it with you. Everything started on 2015, when I was planning my trip to Germany. I decided to make a contact through my social networks with people related to the beer world, among them was Mr. Udo – who kindly told me: “Emily, please when you come to Germany just let me know”. When I arrived I wrote him, but for those things of the life, destiny or whatever, we could never be planned the perfect day to make a beer together. The opportunity did not arise at the moment. I thought he lived in Hamburg and it was really far away from the place I used to live. At the end, I told myself, if it’s meant to be it will be. And at the end, it was worth it!. On November 2nd I traveled to visit some friends and when I was waiting at the train station, I looked up at the map and one of the nearby stations coincided with the address that Mr. Udo had given me long time ago – and it was not in Hamburg. I could not believe it and immediately I wrote him. He replied me that on Sunday would be an excellent day and he could even pick me up. Then he picked me up and we started our brewing early in the morning. My parents always told me, “Emily, please don’t talk to strangers” but it is something I love to do. I must confess, the day before I was a little bit afraid. The fact of being in another country, a different language and going to the house of a person I didn’t know, just terrified me, but my desire to make the beer was stronger than my fear. At the end was one of the best experiences of my life and I thank to Mr. Udo and his family for welcoming me in their house and for or all.
The map of the central station.
His control room and his small but large craftbrewery.
Udo Messen began to make beers during a professional crisis, in one of those moments you don’t understand what’s going on and nevertheless you will be victorious. He told me his wife helped a lot and one day she asked him – after looked at him so depressed – “Udo, what is something you’ve always wanted to do? – I think it is a question we should ask ourselves all the time, not only when we are in crisis-. His answer was: Make beer !. They bought all the ingredients and that’s how he started. He calls himself “Trashhunter” because he collects materials that are no longer used to improve his microbrewery. Creativity plays a fundamental role, cause even a car wiper motor can be use it, definitely, his intelligence and creativity has no limits. He wrote his own book, just for people who make beer as a hobby – you can get it on Amazon, I leave the link below-. I must confess I still not been able to read the book because my German is not so advanced but I will be able to do it as soon as possible. He created a group on facebook for “hobby brewers” and through this page, they make some beers together, taste them and something that I love the most it is sometimes everyone makes the same recipe on their houses and then they do a tasting session and find differences between each of them.
And as he says: He already left his legacy to the world, he has his own book and he appeared in the newspaper.
Yes, I am lucky!
He gave me one of his book and a beer of 0.7 lt Marteau Gaulois or hammer beer, from 2014. With a lot of body, bitterness, high sweetness and with 11% of alcohol.
In the last picture, I use a refractometer, which allows me to measure the number of sugars in the wort and calculate its density.
That day we brewed a Stout beer. Stout beers are dark or with a strong black color, it has a high body and because of the wide variety of malts, the taste is roasted. We made a variant of a Stout which is also called Oatmeal Stout due to the oat we added, so Mr. Udo decided the name would be “Emily Oat”. We started with the grinding of the malt, then we made the maceration, cooking and fermentation process. We used a special recipe, created by Udo, and three types of malts: Wiener Malz, Caraffa Spezial type II and British Amber malt. We use a yeast for high fermentation or ale type, called “Danstar Belle Saison”, it is a yeast from Belgium. The final result was a beer with a 6% of alcohol and 70 EBC of color. The cleaning – the most boring but a really important job- was done by Mr. Udo the next day because the time was not enough-. And the bottling process too.
When you came from working in the industrial brewery and then you make a craft beer, you always ask yourself: How should I achieve this step of the process if I don’t have this equipment or I don’t have this technology? And it turns out that creativity is unlimited. He designed, for example, his own system for control all the process with sensors.
I love that the wort boiling has a chimney also designed by him and his own controlled cooling system.
While we were brewing, we spent the day tasting 5 beers he had on his own reserve, we tasted all of them, we identified it’s characteristics and he told me the story behind each one. An unforgettable day, definitely.
Mr. Udo told me a little bit about the German beer culture too. Among those stories, we talk about the typical glass of Dortmund City: Stößchens, its capacity can be 0.8 lt or 0,1 lt. It was used for people would like to drink a fresh beer quickly while they were waiting for the train and then it became popular.
At the end, we just had to try the beer we made. I traveled in December again. And in my opinion it was really good, the body was balanced, you could perceive the flavor of the malts, the bitterness was perfect and also had a sweet touch: It was a Stout beer!. I was able to share it with some friends in Germany and with my family in Venezuela and I received positive comments.
Now we can say: The objectives were fulfilled!
Anyway, November 6th, 2016, was one of the best days of my life and I will never forget it.
Thank you very much to Mr. Udo for everything.
PS: He hadn’t spoken Spanish for the last 30 years and we could understand each other very well. We communicated all the day in Spanish, German and English. Definitely, a 100% cultural exchange.
And to finish … The brewing tips:
- Cooling is a fundamental stage in the brewing process, but shouldn’t be done abruptly. Must be: Once the process is finished, it must pass through a rotapool, which allows the temperature to drop a little bit and also all the proteins of high molecular weight and other residues go to the bottom (clarification) – we do not want them in our fermentation nor in the final product. Then proceed to the cooling process until reaching 12 ° C or 20 ° C depending on the type of beer. We make it in this way because we don’t want the yeast to receive a thermal shock in the fermentation process.
- The first stage of the brewing process is the maceration and as we know the wort willl be ready when all the sugars have been split. We must make a color test with iodo to check it.
Here is the link of the book Hobbybrauer. You can get it on Amazon: