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When he and his two brothers founded Jack’s Abby Brewing in Framingham, Massachusetts in 2011, Jack Hendler thought their craft brewery making only lagers might grow to brew 3000 bbl of beer per year in the first decade. Fast forward to 2018, where they’ll finish the year around the 50,000 bbl mark, and lagers are a bona fide trend with Jack’s Abby as one of the leaders of the charge. In this episode, Jack discusses the ins and outs of their lager brewing techniques, from yeast management to spunding, recipe design, ingredient selection, designing lager recipes for barrel-aging, and more.
“I think recipe formulation is a bit overrated,” says Hendler. “There’s only four ingredients, and unless you’re trying to brew a Helles with roasted barley, you’re probably going to be close, plus or minus 3% of one malt versus another malt or one hop versus another hop. You can make great beer as long as you’re in the ballpark on the recipe. It really comes down to process, and for us, our process is what makes us unique. I don’t care about telling people what we put in our beer—what our recipe is—because I know there’s not a lot of people who are going to try to replicate what we do, because what we do is really hard.”