Brewers’ Spotlight: Brewing with Kettle Redi®
Kettle Redi® is a new light-stable bittering product from HAAS® and BarthHaas designed to help solve an age-old brewing challenge—and address modern-age logistical concerns. We recently sat down with Alfredo Almeida, Director of International Sales, and Dr. Phil Chou, Director of Brewing Solutions, to talk about Kettle Redi® and customers’ experiences with it.
Can you give us a little background? What drove the development of Kettle Redi®?
Dr. Phil Chou: It’s a pretty common problem—when you take a beer outside in the sun or expose it to light, pretty rapidly it starts getting this off aroma. The technical term is “light-struck” flavor, but people here in the U.S. typically describe it as “skunky.”
Brewers discovered that the problem was caused by the hop bitter acids. Traditionally, there are few different ways to deal with the issue. When you serve your beer, you can add lime to it to mask the flavor. When you package it, you can use dark glass bottles or cans. Or you can take the more scientific-based approach, where you modify the hop bittering compounds to inhibit that light-struck or skunking reaction.
This is a naturally occurring issue? And this has been going on since the dawn of brewing?
Phil: Yeah, this has been a pretty long-standing issue, and why brewers started using brown bottles. Green bottles don’t help. Flint glass, clear glass doesn’t work either. Or you can cover the flint glass or green glass bottles with secondary packaging that keeps them protected from light…but still that doesn’t help when you pour the beer out into a cup or glass. As soon as you expose it to light, that light-struck reaction is fairly rapid.
So, what makes Kettle Redi® unique?
Alfredo Almeida: Kettle Redi® is a great product that helps our customers avoid light-stuck flavors in their beer, while ensuring supply chain availability and maintaining a consistently great product. At the same time, Kettle Redi® has also helped brewers improve their hop utilization – the bittering yield. For some brewers in our early trials, it was definitely a happy surprise.
One brewer, Lincoln Jhones Rodrigues, [the head brewer at Cervejaria Bamboa in Campo Grande, Brazil] was describing his experience to me. He said that not only was Kettle Redi® easier to dose than what he normally uses, but it’s also more efficient. He said, “I am so happy about Kettle Redi®!”
Really, what makes Kettle Redi® more efficient?
Phil: Well, there are a few reasons, actually. The bittering compound is the same that is traditionally used to avoid that light-struck flavor, but the way that we formulate Kettle Redi® uses less beta acids. That’s a compound that’s actually fairly useless in the brewing process because it just precipitates out as you brew the beer. Since Kettle Redi® has less beta acids, you’re not paying for something that’s just going to fall out of your beer anyway.
The other differentiator is the hop oil content in Kettle Redi® is higher than you typically find. Now you have the chance to introduce a kettle hop flavor when you use Kettle Redi®, if you want to. So, you’re getting more bang for your buck, because you have a lot of beta acid that’s going away—which means, you’re not paying for stuff you’re not using—plus Kettle Redi® has more hop oil, so greater flavor potential in your beer.
Which is interesting, as more people become accustomed to big, hop flavors.
Alfredo: Well, yes, that’s true, but much of the world still loves light lagers, and that style of beer simply can’t mask the light-struck flavor the way that, say, an IPA can. In Brazil, in Argentina, in Venezuela…light lagers are still what people drink.
It’s also interesting to think about this in the context of our time: inflation, supply chain issues.
Phil: Absolutely, Just increasing hop utilization, in general, that’s moving more to the front of every brewer’s mind. It’s more bang for your buck from an ingredient standpoint—you’re getting higher amounts of this bitterness per, say, gram of material with Kettle Redi® versus other products out there. So you can use your ingredients more efficiently, and get great, light-stable bitterness.
Alfredo: And again, ease of use is important too. Kettle Redi® is incredibly flowable when slightly heated, so you measure it, it pours quickly and it disperses through the wort easily. Less beta, less product precipitating…
Phil: It is really important. When I was brewing commercially, even a little time savings, or a little thing that made my life easier, was very much appreciated because it adds up over the brewer’s day.
Alfredo: It’s true, Lincoln at Cervejaria Bamboa is so amazed by Kettle Redi®—he said, “I have nothing to complain about. I’m very happy having this product.” He’s really excited about our new Kettle Redi® product.
To learn more about Kettle Redi®, visit our new product page. To give Kettle Redi a try, contact your HAAS representative, or your favorite HAAS distribution partner. And, please, let us know what you think!