Brewing is our craft, and has been for nearly 1,000 years. Of course, high-tech has also come into brewing, but the basic brewing process remains unchanged. It isn't enough to brew a good beer. It has to be an outstanding beer of a consistently high quality. Therefore we have set for ourselves the highest standard of quality: Premium Bavaricum. That not only requires constant concentration by the brewmasters, it also means that all the components for beer production are subjected to constant quality control. Each day we have 300 hands working on just that. From brewmaster to storage facility worker to secretary, they all ensure that only the quality that fulfills our standard leaves our house. And you can taste it!
First we make the beer mash from barley/wheat malt and brewing water. This is clarified - freed from its solid components. This results in the wort, the basic component of beer. In the mash house we bring the wort to a boil and add hops. This requires great artistry on the part of the brewer, because this process determines how the beer will taste.
After brewing, the solid hops and protein components are removed from the wort, which is then cooled to 10 degrees Celsius, before the cultured yeast is added. The wort then ferments for one week, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. When it is finished we have so-called new or green beer.
In our storage cellars, 15 metres beneath the monastery garden, we give the beer an opportunity to recover from the rigors of being brewed - complete serenity for the maturing process. After about thirty days the immature green beer has developed into - no, not an old beer - but a mature, gloriously fresh Weihenstephaner beer.
Now it is freed of impurities, such as protein and yeast, in our state-of-the-art filter system (of course, this step is skipped for our naturally cloudy wheaten beer specialities) until it is ready for bottling.
After the beer has passed through the bottling cellar, where the bottles are labelled and packaged - and where the pallets of barrels and bottles are stacked up fully automatically. It is finally ready for you, the beer connoisseur.
After having read these lines you will surely agree that the brewing of beer is a combination of craft and art. Or you’ll realise that fact at the latest when you enjoy your next cool glass of Weihenstephan beer. Prost!
To achieve the quality standard “Premium Bavaricum” the continuous quality control systems of the Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan use the so-called multistage monitoring system. That means that we take samples according to a prescribed system from incoming raw materials to finished beer. For the most part these samples are analysed at the Bavarian Control and Testing Centre at Weihenstephan. In addition we also have special sampling done by the Chairs for Brewing Technology of the Technical University of Munich, which are located at Weihenstephan. At Chair I for the Technology of Brewing, a tasting process includes final quality control for each batch filled. Colour, aroma, consistency of the foam and, of course, the taste of the beer are tested by beer experts and their incorruptible senses. Another “Premium Bavaricum” is achieved only after they have given their OK. Then we know that all our employees have once again done a first-class job. After all, it takes the experience, skill and passion of each and every one of them to guarantee that we achieve our standards of quality.
Naturally only the best hops are good enough for us, and we find them north of Weihenstephan in Hallertau. Here in the largest hop-growing area in the world, hundreds of years of experience have taught the growers the complicated art of cultivating hops. Our brewmasters travel there to judge in person the freshly harvested hop umbels and to decide whether they meet the standards of Weihenstephan.
“Malt is the soul of beer” is a saying among brewers. Its quality and type determine almost all the characteristics of the ‘barley-water’: colour, aroma and taste. Our first-class grain comes from Bavarian cultivation and it is processed into first-class brewer’s malt in first-class malt factories according to our specifications. However before the brewer’s malt reaches the brewery, it is of course checked again - by experts of the Bavarian Control and Testing Centre at Weihenstephan.
Not all water is suitable for brewing. It has to be soft - containing only small amounts of salts, gypsum and calcium - and must be of drinking-water quality. Our brewing water, which we get from deep wells in a marsh landscape, fulfils these requirements, even before it reaches the brewery. Nevertheless, the water quality is monitored strictly. After all we are well aware of our responsibility to our customers.
We culture our top-fermenting and bottom-fermenting yeast in our brewery’s own systems. That way we can be sure that we always have fresh, pure-culture yeast of the highest quality. The yeast strains from which we grow our brewing yeast are stored in the yeast bank at the Technical University of Weihenstephan where they are monitored constantly. After all, we don’t want to leave anything to chance.