Podcast Episode 160: Brick West’s Sam Milne Takes an Exacting Approach to Pilsner and Gose

Brick West in Spokane, Washington, has quickly made a mark with its fastidious approach to brewing classic German styles. Head brewer Sam Milne shares insights on the ingredients, process, and technical considerations that make their beers so compelling.

Jamie Bogner Nov 9, 2020

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Brick West head brewer Sam Milne is fanatical about process and technique, and it’s this love of fine tuning small details that stoked his love of brewing lagers years ago. After moving up the ranks at Kulshan Brewing in Bellingham, Washington, he received a full scholarship from the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation to study at the World Academy of Brewing at the Siebel Institute (Chicago) and Doemans Academy (Munich)—an experience that cemented this passion for lagers. He then returned to the states to join and help launch Brick West. They’ve thrown out the typical modern playbook and focused intently on German-style beers like pilsner, helles, hefeweizen, and gose (along with a smattering of West Coast IPAs that nod to their proximity to hops-growing regions in Yakima to their west and Idaho to their east).

In this conversation, Milne gets into the details that make their beers interesting despite their simplicity, such as:

  • deriving complexity from simple malt bills
  • carefully tuning mash protocols to achieve finishing gravities that will accentuate the best character of the beer
  • pH-testing mash conversion at each step, so as not to linger longer than necessary
  • managing whirlpool temperatures to achieve proper aroma and bitterness
  • cone-to-cone pitching for lower yeast stress
  • kräusening and spunding for quality carbonation
  • and avoiding pumps, to minimize oxygen pickup through the brewing and packaging process

Milne’s respect for tradition is paramount, but he pairs that with a tinkerer’s mentality of always finding small ways to make things a little better. This episode explores those small things that can have big impact on finished beers.

This episode is brought to you by:

G&D
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BSG
BSG is partnering with Leopold Bros. to bring a new line of small-batch, handmade malts to brewers and distillers. Leopold Bros. is a family owned floor malting operation and distillery and 2020 James Beard Award Finalist, located in Denver, Colorado. Since brothers Scott and Todd Leopold first opened their doors in 1999, they have created everything from classic unfiltered lagers to a number of spirits, including a wide array of whiskey styles. Learn more about the upcoming malt line by going online to BSGCraftbrewing.com, or contact BSG at 1.800.374.2739

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Five Star Chemicals & Supply Inc. is your leading provider of cleaning, sanitizing and adjunct chemicals for breweries, throughout North America and internationally. All products have been formulated with safety, equipment material, and quality in mind. Interested in trying our products? Contact [email protected] to inquire about a free Craft Brew Sample Pack and only pay the shipping. Cheers to Beer!

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ABS Commercial is excited to be a part of today’s Podcast! ABS is a full brewery outfitter offering brewhouses, tanks, keg washers and small parts. ABS wanted to do something fun for the craft beer industry, so they are giving away an ABS Keg Viking Keg Washer LIVE on December 5th, which happens to be national repeal day. To enter, go to www.abs-commercial.com, click on “Keg Viking” page and fill out the contest form for your chance to win!

Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].

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