the difference is in the decoction.

Greetings, loyal KBC beer followers!  Amber here, ready to give you another look into the Kalispell Brewing Company world.  As the newest member of the KBC family, and a transfer student of the wine world to the beer world, I have a lot to learn about beer.  So I thought I would take you along on my journey into infinite beer knowledge. It’s going to be great!

Day one.

On my very first day of work I was lucky enough to end the day with a private beer tasting with not just one, but two KBC brewmasters!  I was assured by Maggie that “this never happens.”  I got the chance to sit down with both Cole and Tyler and hear all their thoughts behind the beer and the beer making process. How awesome is that? Let me just tell you, I was not disappointed.

Private tasting time.

Private tasting time.

What I found most intriguing about the whole experience was Cole’s tangents about the history of the German beer making process. As mentioned in my last blog, I am a self proclaimed history nerd, and love when I find a fellow history buff.  It’s always the stories behind a process that gets me.  This is how first began to learn about the decoction brewin process.

Lets get technical. 

Decoction is defined as a technique that involves removing a portion of the mash, boiling it, then returning it to the mash to raise its temperature.  

Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that over the years, technology has simplified this process.  The most basic mash procedure is a single infusion in which hot water is mixed with the grain and allowed to stand for about an hour.  But new and easy does not always mean better, more delicious beer.

The challenging task for brewers back in the day was the big job of heating water, mash, and wort.  The original vessels used to brew were made of wood, which holds water just fine, but heating was an issue.  In the earliest times, heated rocks were dropped into the mash or boil to raise the temperature. Later on, brewers with a small kettle could remove some of the mash, boil it, and return it to the rest of the batch to raise the temperature.

That’s how traditional German decoction got it’s start!  It is rare now, because it takes a lot more time and energy, but it adds layers of rich caramel flavor that you can’t get from a one step mash process.

Tradition doesn’t suck. 

Here at KBC, we use this decoction process to brew our lagers. We believe that the time and energy involved in decoction is totally worth it. It’s what makes us and our beer so special. We never compromise on quality, taste or ingredients.

If we can’t make it right, we won’t make it.

Brewers Cole and Tyler working hard...

Brewers Cole and Tyler testing the fruits of their labor.

When you sit down with Cole to chat about brewing, you really get a sense of the attention to detail and passion that he executes in each and every step of the process, and better yet, you can taste the love in the beer. That’s not something you can get just anywhere. The difference is definitely in the decoction. 

Come try a carefully decocted German lager today at Kalispell Brewing Company to see what I’m talking about!