Berlin is so wonderfully diverse and offers interesting excursion options that we, as Berliners, are only gradually discovering. We went on a discovery trip to the Old Malt House of the Schultheiss Brewery.
Anyone who would like to discover the world of malt production and also enjoys walking through disused factory floors should take a guided tour here with TunnelTours. This takes you through old peeled-off doors into the building complex that is still in its original state, where a large part of the machinery can still be seen.
The tour was really super interesting. Not only did I learn a lot about the history of beer, but I also got to know the process of malt production. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a biologist, brewer or similar to understand everything. The explanations are easy to understand and questions are always welcome.
What is a malthouse some will ask. In a malt house, the grain is prepared for the process of brewing beer through the process of malting.
In Berlin – Schöneberg stands the Alte Mälzerei, built by the Schultheiss brewery company in a complex of buildings dating from 1914. Much of the old business is still there. The building complex consists of several buildings, a kiln wing, a threshing floor building, several silos and had a railway connection. Some of the old rails are still there. Some parts of the building are now used by different companies, but one area still houses the remains of the malthouse.
Guided tour of the malthouse
The tour took us into the building, first to the 5th floor. After delivery, the grain was brought up here and cleaned of impurities in several processes. In addition, machines sorted the grain, as not all grain shapes and sizes are used for malt production.
Afterwards we came to the still original rooms for steeping. We were able to see the large kettles in which the grain was steamed. Here the grain was moistened for several days until the water content of the grain was about 40%. This room even still has the old wall and floor tiles.
This brewery had large threshing floors. Here the grain was laid out in thin layers and had to be turned regularly. We were only able to take a brief look inside. Unfortunately, the room was so dark that photography was almost impossible. Nevertheless, the enormous amount of space needed for this process could be seen. Understandably, the operators switched to using germination boxes in the course of modernisation.
In one room there are still the newer germination boxes. They look like huge containers in which the grain has been laid out in somewhat thicker layers to germinate. Within 4-7 days, sprouts form here, which were constantly turned with the help of machines. In this way, the malthouse was able to increase its production.
The final stage of the production process is kilning. Here, the germinated grain is dried. Depending on the temperature and duration, different colour and aroma substances are produced in the grain. These are necessary for a diverse beer production.
For kiln drying, 4 distinctive chimneys were erected in Schöneberg, which still define the image of the plant today. We went into a room below these chimneys. Here you stand on grates and can look into the huge hole of the chimney. I was amazed at the noises in this room. The wind, the built-in vents and the rotating bonnets on the chimneys produce sounds that I would have found very eerie if I had been here alone. It’s good that we were told about the origin of the sounds.
I really enjoyed the visit to the malt house!
The grounds of the Alte Mälzerei are freely accessible, so you can visit the buildings from the outside. If you want to go inside the malthouse, you have to book a guided tour.