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Behind the Scenes: Unknown Variable

Brewhouse Grant

This Cohesion collaboration has been a long time coming. We’ve known Eric since Cerebral’s early days and have abundant respect and appreciation for Cohesion. Eventually, our mutual love of lager was bound to bring us together.

Cohesion crafts perfectly executed traditional Czech lagers while we brew modern interpretations of classic styles. To bring our two worlds together, we decided to make a traditional Czech lager with one experimental ingredient.

Whole cone hops

Whole cone hops being dumped into mash tun

Mash with whole cone hops

Our first challenge was figuring out how to execute a decoction mash on our system. In a nutshell, decoction mashing involves removing part of your mash, boiling it, and then returning it to the mash tun. It’s a traditional technique that creates specific malt characteristics and flavors. Our new Cru brewhouse is a beautiful upgrade from our original, but it wasn’t designed for this. With Eric’s guidance, we found a method: we manually transferred mash into buckets that were dumped into the kettle to boil. An external pump moved it back into the mash tun, and the rakes mixed everything together. It’s always an accomplishment to explore new (to us) techniques.

Brewer pumping wort back to mash tun from kettle

Pumping wort from kettle to mash tun

Brewer checking mash ph

The grain bill is 100% Troubadour Maltings Super Pevec Pilsner Malt and we hopped exclusively with Czech Saaz. We diverged from tradition by using a new thiolized yeast strain from Omega to ferment the beer. Whole cone Saaz in the mash built more thiol precursors for the yeast, and we couldn’t be more surprised with the results. After weeks in the foeder, this yeast transformed an old-world hop into something intensely fruity. We’re getting notes of Guava, Papaya, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Brewer Filling Puncheons

In the interest of additional experimentation, we decided to fill two Grenache puncheons with this lager. We’re not sure what to expect, but we’ll be eagerly waiting to see how these barrels develop.

Collaborating with friends in the industry is one of our favorite things to do – simply because blending different perspectives always yields unique and interesting beers. It’s a pleasure to taste the product of our combined efforts and learn something new from each other along the way.

Sightglass on barrel transfer

Spraying down puncheons