What is Bauernhaus?
Our Bauernhaus Biers were created to invoke the feel and flavor of an old-world brewery in the countryside of Germany hundreds of years ago. Our brewing and bottling process is designed to enhance the Earthy, funky and pleasantly tart characters that would have naturally been part of the brewing process before modern refrigeration and chemical sanitation. But it’s also important to us to preserve the banana, wheat and clove character of the Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen and Weizenbock biers of Germany. In doing so, we hope we’ve preserved the history of these ubiquitous biers by presenting how they would have tasted hundreds of years ago.
The biers of Belgium and Northern France have really come to stand for farmhouse bier in the international beer world. Of course bier has been made for thousands of years in nearly every corner of the Earth. And for a few centuries would have been made on farms in virtually every country, some large and full of resources and others small resourceful. All of the biers in our Bauernhaus series represent our impression of those flavorful and refreshing biers. We use our modern technology to apply consistency from batch to batch but find our art in embracing the natural inconsistencies of wild yeast and bacteria fermentations.
For all of these biers, we brew with a modified decoction mash. The extra heating process would more closely resemble the direct fire mashtuns of those old German farmhouse breweries. Caramelization of the sugars and an extended mash give our biers a deep, rich character and a light, clean mouthfeel. A rolling boil for 90-120 minutes increases the caramelization and depth of flavor. We do use primarily German malt but also use white wheat from here in the United States.
These biers all ferment twice in two separate stages.
The first stage ferments with a German ale yeast strain that is traditional to dark and light wheat biers. This yeast eats the sugar in the bier down to 5-6P of residual sugar.
After about a week we transfer the bier to the bottle for the second fermentation stage.
Stage two ferments exclusively in the bottle by the addition of naturally-occurring wild yeast and souring bacteria that we cultivated from the air here in downtown New Braunfels. We never sent it to a lab to get it analyzed and catalogued. For us, that takes some of the art and mystery out of the process. And, of course, the old farmhouses never had that luxury so it didn’t seem to fit with our concept.
We’re now experimenting with laying the bottles on their side for this second stage of fermentation in the bottle. It’s more likely that this is how the biers would have been treated in the original farmhouses so we are exploring how that affects the final flavor. This second stage of fermentation is the longest and is what gives their bier the Bauenhaus flavor. We’ve gotten the tart and slightly funky flavors we want within the first 2-3 weeks, which is when we’ll send it out to stores and make it available in our taproom. We release these biers when they’re young because each presents a great palate of flavors focused on the tart acidity of a young wild fermentation. We also embrace the fact that flavors in the bottle will continue to develop as each of the players in a wild fermentation gets a chance to express themselves. Cellered properly, these biers will continue to dry out and express more prominent funky, Earthy tones over the next few years.
All Baeurnhaus Biers are available in 750ml bottles from independent bottleshops to HEB and Whole Foods Market in Austin. Limited kegs are also available.
Current releases are Blondine-farmhouse Hefeweizen. and Uber-farmhouse Weizenbock. Early 2016 we’ll release Schwartz-farmhouse dunkelweizen and Hopfenstopfen-farmhouse Citra dry-hopped hefeweizen.
Late Spring 2016 we release Spatjar-farmhouse amber lager.