A Small Brewery Leaves a Big Impression#
by Michaela Schölnberger
Kindly made available by Unternehmen/Anton_Paar_GmbH April 2017, based on an earlier entry in the Paar-Blog
A beautiful estate built in 1880 is located beside the Forsby river in Malmgård, near Pernaja, in the South of Finland. At first glance, the well-kept property looks like a museum. However, there are even more exciting things to discover: The estate’s former cowshed has been converted into a craft brewery, which has been providing a great taste experience since 2009.
Tuomas Markkula, brewmaster, founder and CEO of the Malmgård brewery, has been brewing selected beer specialties on the historic estate since 2009. The grains for the brewery’s diverse products are home-grown; the water comes from the estate’s own spring. The 15 different varieties of beer, such as Malmgård Dinkel, Blond Ale, Belge, X-Porter and also cider, are brewed using local ingredients without additives – using power provided by their own hydropower plant. Each year, 3500 hectoliters of beer are produced in single shifts. The brewery focuses on the local market; only a small amount is exported, mainly to Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Estonia. The top-fermented beer that follows British brewing tradition enjoys great popularity and high-quality processing: The demand for the beer specialties brewed in Malmgård is greater than the volume of beer produced.
Brewing art and analysis#
Precise measurements and analyses during beer production are not only important for big breweries, but also for small craft breweries such as Malmgård. They are essential in order to comply with regulations and to guarantee consistent product quality for customers as well as the best possible taste. For this reason, Tuomas Markkula decided to purchase the Craft2Craft package from Anton Paar. Since then, the DMA 35 portable density meter, the Alex 500 alcohol and extract meter and the CboxQC At-line portable measuring device for dissolved carbon dioxide and dissolved oxygen have been in daily use.
In Finland the taxation of beverages is determined by their alcohol content. Therefore, alcohol determination is required by law and has to be as precise as possible. In supermarkets only beverages with a maximum of 4.7 %v/v alcohol content are allowed to be sold. Beverages that exceed this value are exclusively sold via the government’s commercial monopoly “Alko” and are also on offer in restaurants. That is the case for “Emmer Tripel”, Malmgård’s beer with an incredibly high alcohol content of 8.3 %v/v. Moreover, samples of new products have to be sent in for testing before they are introduced to the market. If the product is rejected because of the sample’s composition, the brewery is confronted with a long lead time. Therefore, it is also important for craft brewers to have highly accurate but affordable measuring instruments.
Internal measuring instruments provide independence#
Tuomas Markkula’s craft brewery in Malmgård benefits from its measuring devices. To be able to conduct precise measurements on their own makes them independent of external testing laboratories. Now Tuomas only sends in yeast samples or samples from a new product for testing. He can analyze all other important quality parameters, including pH value and temperature, directly in the brewery. Having their own measuring devices enables the brewery team to compare their results with the ones from external testing labs. Furthermore, they can detect deviations early in the production process and are able to adapt the process accordingly to ensure the quality of the end product. Additionally, the brewery saves valuable time as the measuring instruments determine when the appropriate carbon dioxide content is reached and the beer is ready to be bottled. Shelf life and flavor could also be significantly improved.
The craft brewery in Malmgård benefits from the Craft2Craft package from Anton Paar by saving time during production, being independent of external testing labs and more flexible when it comes to the adaption of production methods. The portable DMA 35 determines extract content in beer wort, Alex 500 is employed for extract and alcohol measurements and CboxQC At-line measures dissolved CO2 and O2.
If you follow the example of Tuomas and introduce five to ten beer types per year, investing in the Craft2Craft package is definitely worth it!