The Tiny Factors and Their Large Effects

This is a bit of an oddity, but I thought you might appreciate it. I was reviewing the recording I made at Brasserie Dupont and found this little nugget I'd forgotten about. It is one of the dozens of examples I heard on my trip of a tiny little observation a brewery had made that affected their beer. The more you think about how many ways there are to do things and how every brewery must make hundreds of decisions in the way they set up their equipment, it boggles the mind.

The topic is how to conduct bottle conditioning at the brewery. After bottling, Dupont lets all of their beer rest six to eight weeks. The question is, bottle up or laying down. Answer: laying down. The speaker is head brewer Olivier DeDeycker:
“It’s mostly important for us to initiate secondary fermentation in this way. If we start the secondary fermentation like so [here he makes the gesture of an upright bottle], we have a totally different beer. The yeast multiplies very differently. Not the same. It seems to be only a small thing, but the impact on the taste is really big. We made different trials, and the conclusion was that we need to continue like this. It’s very difficult to manage [on the bottling line], difficult to automatize. Actually, we put the bottles by hand [on their side] in crates. Next month we have a robot who will put the bottles lying down. We had to wait a long time to be able to buy it.”
I recorded this in November, so presumably Brasserie Dupont, a brewery that was until a few years back using a mid-19th century mash tun, now has a robot to lay its bottles down for secondary fermentation. Modern technology put to strangely antiquated ends.

Jeff Alworth4 Comments