Episode 187: Mari and Will Kemper of Chuckanut Brewery Approach Lagers with Scientific Precision and Creative Spark
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Mari and Will Kemper love lagers, but the locals haven’t always loved their lagers back. When they returned to the Pacific Northwest and opened the doors to Chuckanut Brewery in 2009, craft fans at the time wondered why they didn’t just make IPAs like everyone else. But they had a focus and determination to brew the finest quality craft lagers they could (despite their small size), and 24 GABF medals later, their approach has been validated many times over.
In this episode, they discuss:
- Building a brewhouse and developing the ideal process for lager brewing
- Optimizing the mashing routine for full attenuation
- Treating lager with sensitivity and reducing stresses throughout the brewing process by reducing transfers
- Taking a size-specific approach to brewing and fermentation
- Asymetric boil heating and better whirlpooling
- Producing great lagers in cylindroconical usnitanks
- Middle cropping yeast
- Extremely slow crashing with automated tank temperature control
- Lager filtration
- Spunding and finishing lagers
A former chemical engineer in his days before brewing, Will Kemper tackles brewing problems with an analytical gaze, dissecting and understanding the purpose before building a process. Here, he offers a glimpse into that clever problem solving approach. The locals today love and embrace their lagers, and a new generation of lager brewers has trained under the Kempers' tutelage. But the Kempers aren't resting on their laurels—there's more lager to brew, and more minds to change.
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