Tim Hampson's Beer Blog

The quest for the perfect beer

Making room in the bar for the standout Veltins

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Standing out on the bar

Veltins Brewery is brewed in Sauerland, a rural hilly area in the north-west Germany. Close to the industrial Ruhr and the major cities of Dusseldorf and Dortmund, its Pilsner, at 4.8 per cent ABV, is the fifth most popular beer in Germany and the brewer would like to make it the number one imported speciality German beer in Britain.

Founded in 1824, the family firm’s watch words are freshness and quality, both attributes which are in abundance in its non-pasteurised draught beer, which can now be found in some pubs in Britain. Deals have been done with regional brewers Osset, Butcombe, Robinsons, Purity, wholesaler James Clay and M&B for 50 All Bar One pubs in the London area. This now sees Veltins Pilsner in 300 plus pubs and the company hopes to double that within the next two years. And once it has established this bridgehead it would then target the off trade.

The beer is being sold on its authenticity and provenance. It uses the natural water from its own spring which is located in a mountain by the side of the brewery

Quality drives the success of the beer

One of the firm’s ambitions is to produce the best quality beer in harmony with the environment. And this is reflected in the brewery’s modern and environmentally sensitive production process. To this end the brewery has invested more than €20 million investment in a hi-tech and visually, alluring bottle recycling plant. Almost without human intervention thousands of bottles, which in Germany are returnable, are automatically taken out of crates and separated into fast moving lines dedicated to individual brewers. The bottles are then repackaged back into crates either for use by Veltins or returned to their owners.

One interesting aspect of the brewery, (and possibly unique) is its fermentation process. After boiling with hops in four brewing kettles, the hopped wort begins its fermentation in what are called floating tanks, of which the brewery has 15.  Here the wort is mixed with yeast, encouraging a build up of natural carbon dioxide. After 24 hours, 80 per cent of the fermenting liquid is run off into the main fermentation tanks, while the remaining fermenting wort is mixed with fresh hopped wort. This is repeated for four days until the tanks are emptied and cleaned. The brewer says the process is ideal for removing unwanted flavours from the beer and that one bottle of its Pilsner could be made up of 200 different brews.

The beer is then fermented for fermented for 48 hours, and then cooled to minus 2C, a process which takes five days, before being lagered for four weeks.

The brewery sponsors the FC Schalke football team in the Bundesliga, and the Porsche racing team. There is a sporting chance it should be a success here too

In the UK the beer is available in 50 litre kegs or packs of 12 0.33 litre bottles and Vertical Drinks is the agent.


Steve Holt Vertical Drinks Ltd Tel: 07831 581171 e-mail: steveholtavc@aol.com

Written by timhampson

October 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm

2 Responses

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  1. It’s a pity that such bland beers overshadow the really good beers that Germany has to offer. Veltins is well made with a vague hop aroma, but it lacks the intense bitterness a proper Pilsner should have. Is it much better than standard British cooking lager — without a doubt yes it is. Does it deserve to be hyped as a speciality beer? In my view, no.

    As for being environmentally sensitive, Veltins would do better to use a standard returnable bottle rather than the custom bottle they use, which undermines the whole deposit system.


    October 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by robsterowski, Tim Hampson. Tim Hampson said: Making room in the bar for the standout Veltins: http://wp.me/p10OR9-5t […]

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