De 7 Deugden is a very small brewery on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Technically it’s not much more than a large garage with a tasting room and a little shop. Thanks to Groupon I was able to procure a Brewing Workshop for 5 people for about € 100, instead of over double that.
The brewery, although a very small one, is one that I really like. I only tasted two beers from their selection before. While they were interesting enough, I mostly like them for what they are instead of what they produce. The place is run by a brewer and some loosely associated people that usually have trouble finding a job otherwise. Think of people with autism and other inhibiting factors on the job market. Also, apart from the power bill and quite a bit of water, they try hard to lower their carbon footprint by reusing all waters, giving the draff to a local farm and such.
The workshop was, unfortunately, not only for us five. There also was a second group of 10 (!). 16 people in total to do a one man job seemed like a bit much, but fortunately for us, the other group was kind of weird and apart from one or two guys they couldn’t care less about craft beer or brewing itself. They were more the Heineken kind of people.
Still, 600% job coverage is quite much and during large parts of the day there was enough time for chats with the brewer and just hanging around, since the brewing process consists mostly of waiting. Waiting for the waters to warm up, waiting for the steeping, the boiling, the cooling.
De 7 Deugden, which means The 7 Virtues, is named so since they have seven staple beers in production (wit, dubbel, trippel, stout, peppered ale, brown ale and a kardamom spiced ale). We brewed the cilantro/koriander infused white beer.
When we arrived when the brewer, Garmt Haakma, was crushing the barley and wheat and after a short introduction we spent some time putting the grains in the boiling pot and cleaning up after it to get most of the dust and grains away. Mice are plentiful in such a rural area.
After that the pot was programmed for extracting as much sugar as possible at set temperatures and our job was to keep stirring when necessary. The pot had it’s own stirring system, but that doesn’t touch the outsides enough and doesn’t spread the temperature evenly.
After that everything was pumped to the second pot for filtration and we cleaned the first pot. The next step to get everything back in the first pot and start the boil for about 75 minutes. Cleaning the second pot. After boiling back to the second pot to filter out the hops and koriander seeds, and cleaning the first. The cooling and to the fermenter. Especially the filtering process took very long since that can not be pumped and is done by gravity alone. One bucket at a time.
After that we had, of course, a wee tasting. An especially wee tasting for me, since I was driving us back home. More on that in the next post!