We talked to Peter Rowen from Brouwerij Noordt about the “finger in the air” approach to decision making, the importance of yeast cell counting for brewers and getting it right with Oculyze.
Oculyze: Tell us a bit about Brouwerij Noordt
Peter Rouwen: We’re a small craft brewery in Rotterdam, we’re in the dead center of Rotterdam. We’re situated on the river Rotte, after which the city is (approximately) named after. We are producing an amount of three to three and a half thousand Hectoliters a year, we have a 2,000 liter brew house and our beer is mostly sold through bars in the neighborhood, so we’re a very local brewery. We have some customers in other cities, but the core business is the bars here in Rotterdam.
Oculyze: What was your process, in terms of yeast cell counting, before Oculyze?
Peter Rouwen: I studied brewery technology in Ghent in Belgium. In 2010 I started my study and from that time I learned to count the yeast, but, in practice, in breweries it’s very difficult because you need a good laboratory, and you need knowledge and your personnel needs knowledge. So it was always a wish for me to start counting yeast but it was very difficult to organize that and to make it a quality issue.
Oculyze: Are you saving and growing your own yeast?
Peter Rouwen: With yeast we do just about about anything. We have yeast from America, Jasper yeast, we stock our own yeast, North yeast, and we have dry yeast and sometimes we grow it ourselves. It depends on which beer we make. But yeast takes a very important place here in the brewery.
Oculyze: Does yeast monitoring with Oculyze help with your creative process?
Peter Rouwen: We monitor yeast very closely and it’s a big part in our creativity with beers. Almost every beer has his own yeast. Not all, but most beers we make have their own yeast and sometimes two yeasts together – sometimes we take two kinds of yeast and mix them together to get the right result.
Oculyze: What have been the most positive impacts of using Oculyze in your brewery?
Peter Rouwen: We make a few beers here for which it is very important how many yeast cells there are in every milliliter and until we had Oculyze we didn’t know if we were on the right track. And now we know we’re on the right track.
One of the beers that we are developing these days is a 0.5 beer and for a 0.5 beer it is very important to have the right amount of yeast in your wort. And thanks to Oculyze we know now exactly what we’re doing and that is why we can evolve this beer even better because we know what we’re doing. Before we didn’t know what we were doing. It was just a matter of finger in the air and look what happened.
Oculyze: What, would you say, is specific to Dutch brewing? What should a novice expect?
Peter Rouwen: I think bock beer is, in the last 30 to 40 years, is a real specialty from Holland. Originally the beer is from Einbeck, in Germany, but I think we made it a Dutch specialty because we have so many breweries who brew this special beer that’s always in the autumn. It’s a low yeast fermenting beer, very cold fermenting, so even then it’s very, very important to know how many yeast cells you have in your beer. And with low fermenting that’s always the problem – if you have enough yeast cells to start with.
Oculyze: Which are your go-to Brouwerij Noordt beers and why?
Peter Rouwen: One of my favorite beers is bock beer because every year we brew a few batches…. but, also, it’s a sort of a parameter for where we stand as brewers. We always lookat our bock beer – is it better? is it evolved? is it is it cleaner? And that is one of our brewery parameters for the brewers.
Oculyze: And, finally, what’s next? What do you have in store for your customers in the near future?
Peter Rouwen: Right now we’re brewing a beer that’s exactly made the same as champagne with the same techniques and also with yeast and with the liquor at the end to get the CO2 very fine dissolved in the fluid, and that is what we’re brewing right now. And we made a very special heavy porter from 10% that is evolving in barrels from a local whiskey maker.
So that’s the two beers that are very new for our customers.
Many thanks, Peter Rouwen and Brouwerij Noordt!
If you’re interested in finding out how you can use our technology to control fermentation and monitor your yeast, save work hours and improve the cost-efficiency of your business, drop us a line at [email protected] or check out our product page: Oculyze BB 2.0 (Better Brewing) Yeast Cell Counter App + Hardware
Also, you can now get access to a fully functional demo account to test your yeast via our Web App. Completely free of charge and with no commitment to purchase.