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High Gravity Brewing "Miracle"

An important detail that can make the difference between great beer and mediocre beer revolves around gravity. High gravity brewing is a term you may have heard. It refers to a modern method of saving money and increasing production by brewing a high gravity wort and then diluting the finished product to achieve the right level of alcohol. This method saves the brewer from tying up his kettles and tanks with normal gravity beer. At the end, he can just add 50% water and voilá, the 8% beer has become 4%.

Before you think the idea is ingenious, let me point out that a traditional brewer like Göller would never do this because the final product is inferior to a beer brewed at the normal gravity. There are many reasons for this. For one, the technical difficulties are actually quite enormous. In order for the water to blend smoothly into the beer it must have the exact same chemical makeup as the original water used for brewing. It must also be de-oxygenated to prevent the beer from spoiling. The process of de-oxygenation happens naturally to water during fermentation, but it must be accomplished unnaturally if added at the end. Very often a complete de-oxygenation of the water can only be achieved with the help of added chemicals to the water. The result is a less than natural beer.

Another reason that a traditional brewer will not use High Gravity brewing to make a low gravity beer is that the beer will not have good foam retention. As is well known, high gravity beers usually have less foam than a low gravity beer. Even when water is added to a high gravity beer, the beer will unfortunately keep its low foam status. For traditional-minded Germans a good, tall head is too important for a beer to be sacrificed.

There are other quality problems with diluted beer such as poor mouthfeel & color distortion. In order to correct for these, special malts need to be added such as dextrin malts, and who knows what other tricks and additives. At a certain point, it makes no sense to produce an inferior beer for a little savings. Let's stick to the natural beer like Göller.

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