On 26 October 2021, we had the pleasure of welcoming the reigning Bavarian Beer Queen Sarah Jäger accompanied by Wolfgang Rasel, owner of Schlossbrauerei Naabeck, to IREKS and giving them an insight into the production and variety of our IREKS malts.
Sarah Jäger has been in office as Bavarian Beer Queen since May 2021. The Upper Palatinate native, who works full-time at the Schlossbrauerei Naabeck, is currently also training to become a beer sommelier and takes every opportunity to learn more about beer and its ingredients. Together with Mr Rasel, she had the opportunity to get to know our value-added chain from grain kernel to malt kernel as well as our variety of IREKS malts.
After the welcoming by our Managing Partner Hans Albert Ruckdeschel and his wife Margit Ruckdeschel, the Managing Directors Stefan Soiné and Stephan Bergler as well as the Commercial Manager of the malt division Robert Sprinzl and Sales Manager Kay-Tassilo Pauli, the guests were given an overview of the fields of activity of the IREKS Group as well as a presentation of our malt locations. Furthermore, technical topics such as this year’s harvest or the causes of gushing were being discussed.
Then, guided by Robert Sprinzl, our guests embarked on a company tour from grain to malt kernel, starting at our grain acceptance point: A first sample is already taken when the grain is delivered. Only when the quality of the grain has been confirmed is it accepted, cleaned and stored according to variety, protein content and region of origin. Depending on customer specifications, our master maltsters select the appropriate grain to achieve the desired malt properties and send the grain from the storage silo to our steeping house, where it can absorb water for one day and begin to germinate during another day in the flat-bottom steeping floor.
As the path of the green malt, our company tour next took us from the steeping house to one of our germination/kiln-drying floors. Carrying out the two processes, germination and kiln-drying, in a combined floor comes with hygienic advantages, reduces the transport distance of the grains and thus the risk of damage. During the germination process, the malt is turned regularly and samples are analysed daily, with the help of which the malt master decides whether and how much water to add. During this phase, radicle and seed leaf as well as the enzymes form in the green malt. Then the malt is dried at low temperatures and kiln-dried, i.e. heat is added to reduce the water content in the grain and – depending on the desired type of malt – to obtain the desired colour. Finally, the seedlings are removed and the malt is cleaned.
Our way led us further to the malt laboratory, where samples are analysed and tests are carried out throughout the process. Our guests were able to get to know three important analyses in more detail. Unique in the malt industry is our ultra trace analysis laboratory, where we can test grain and malt for the slightest traces of heavy metals, pesticides, mycotoxins and even nitrosamines. This enables us to detect up to 1 gram in 1,000 tonnes of the raw material. We also check the gushing effect of every batch produced using the modified Carlsberg test, and we use protein gel electrophoresis to randomly check varietal purity. A short insight into our brewhouse and the baking ingredients production rounded off the tour.
After a light snack, our guests were invited to taste different malts at the malt dispenser wall and convince themselves of the great variety. After all, we not only produce base malts, but also refine malts into speciality varieties such as sour, caramel or roasted malts. As a farewell gift, we gave Bavarian beer queen Sarah Jäger this variety to take home with her. Many thanks for the visit!