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Doebbeling uses exact science when brewing

Brett Doebbeling will have two kegs of his India Pale Ale batch brewed at Third Street Brewery of Cold Spring, which will be sold to the public at Zorbaz in Detroit Lakes. The two kegs should be ready for sale around the end of September. BRIAN WIERIMA/TRIBUNE

Not many think of the time and effort which goes into making the cold mug of beer they bring up to their lips after a hard day’s work.

But to make that beer as refreshing as one needs it to be, they need to appreciate the exact science to turn a bunch of grains, oats, hops and yeast into that amber concoction which pleases millions around the world.

For Brett Doebbeling, learning the brewing process has been a journey of appreciating the art of making the perfect beer.

“I love it,” Doebbeling said. “It’s great when you get to the end result and your friends say, ‘It’s the best beer I’ve ever had.’

“Then it’s all worth it.”

So far in Doebbeling’s fledgling beer-brewing career, it’s been a satisfying and successful endeavor.

In the two and a half years since he started making his own brews, Doebbeling is 2-for-2 in winning beer contests he has entered.

The latest was his victory in the Northwest Water Carnival Home Brewing Contest, held at Zorbaz last month.

Doebbeling’s award was better than money, even.

His India Pale Ale brew that won the title will be served at Zorbaz, with the Third Street Brewing Company out of Cold Spring making two kegs of it.

It should be ready on tap at Zorbaz near the end of September or the beginning of October.

“Luckily, when I was told about the contest at Zorbaz, I had a batch ready,” Doebbeling said. “It takes a long time to plan and to make it. It’s a great deal to get my name out there.

“I’ve been going 100 miles per hour since winning. My ultimate goal is to eventually set up my own brewery and taproom.”

But Doebbeling started his beer brewing career much like everyone else – from scratch.

It began when his mother bought him a beer-brewing kit, which didn’t exactly turn out like the beer one has sitting in their fridge now.

“That went down the drain,” Doebbeling laughed. “In fact, I am so precise and exact when I’m brewing, that in the two and half years I’ve been brewing, I’ve made about 250 batches.

“Out of those, about 175 have been dumped out. I’m a real perfectionist when it comes to brewing.”

That shows from the set-up he has out in his insulated garage in Wadena. His brewing set-up includes 15.5 gallon kegs that have the tops taken off, for use as boiling kettles.

He has his own ventilating and electrical heating system, as well as larger mash kettles, freezers and CO2 tanks for his kegs.

The total cost of his set-up currently is between $8,000-9,000.

In other words, it’s much closer to an obsession and potential career than a hobby.

“I’m out in the garage every night when the kids (Mya and Abigal) go to bed, or I’m in front of the computer designing recipes. Or I’m cleaning the equipment, since that is one of the most important aspects of brewing,” Doebbeling said. “When I started, I would be out in the garage until 3 a.m. and looking on my phone for calculations for brews. My wife, Ashley, thought I was having an affair and texting that late at night.”

But to make a good brew, precision is needed.

Everything from using the correct temperatures to boiling time, to the kind and amount of ingredients used determines the color and taste of a beer.

All that determines alcohol content or the type of beer it, such as lager, stout or ale – among others.

Currently, Doebbeling owns a dry-wall business, but would eventually like to open The Disgruntled Brewing Company, which would feature a taproom and growlers for sale.

He does not sell any of his beer, since it’s illegal to do so. So for now, he just lets friends and family enjoy his work.

“Before I make any money off of it, I want to brew some of the best beer in the world,” he said.

So next time you’re sitting on the barstool and happen to see a Disgruntled Brewing Company beer, enjoy and go bottoms up.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.