Ever wonder how beer is made? In celebration of Mad Scientist’s fifth birthday, we went inside the Hungarian craft brewery to watch the process from start to finish. Check it out for yourself in our latest video!
recently featured Mad Scientist in our video, Exploring Budapest: District X. Three ex-homebrewers in their mid-twenties, the folks behind Mad Scientist have
been working tirelessly since 2016 to bring alternative beers and meads to the thirsty
populace of Budapest.
Today, Mad Scientist is located in the sprawling campus of an old 20th-century brewery whose emblem, Hungarian King Matthias, can still be spotted watching the bustling activity from above.
the world of beer, everything begins with the milling of whole-grain malt, which
is stored here in huge 25-kilo bags, and looks like a rough powder when it is
Tamás Szalai, Brand Manager at Mad Scientist, demonstrates the look and feel of the malt throughout this process, dipping his hands in the bag and letting it run through his fingers.
Just through the next door are the giant vats called brew kettles, where the milled malt is mixed with very hot water, stirred and mashed together with a long paddle. As we peek around the brewery, we see two newer vats to one side, and Tamás explains that Mad Scientist is in the process of expanding. These new vats will allow the brewery to brew their beer faster, in larger batches and more efficiently.
Once the process of mixing and mashing is over, it's time for the beer to be transferred for cooling. The cooling process takes around 1-1.5 hours, and a digital system installed on the wall lets us track the progress of each beer in real time. Altogether, the brewing and brewing process will take five to eight hours.
"There are all sorts of beers being brewed here at any one time, and some of them need to be kept apart," says Tamás. Behind a series of glass windows, we can see another room beyond. This is Mad X, a mixed-fermentation branch of the brewery where traditional sour beers are brewed away from the rest of the beers.
"The yeast particles used in these processes are highly contagious," Tamás explains, "and they can infiltrate the normal beers. It takes a month before you would see the results of this, meaning all of our beers would be ruined". We remain safely on the other side of the glass throughout the tour.
Mad Scientist has always been known for coming up with unique flavour profiles for customers to sample, and their recent Team Series project goes one step further. "Any staff member could pick their own recipe, as well as any additional flavours and ingredients," says Tamás, "and got to make their own batch of beer, and have their face printed on the label. This way, everyone could experience the beer-brewing process".
In another corner of the brewery, we find old spirit barrels, including gin, cognac, scotch, port wine and bourbon whiskey imported from Kentucky. The use of spirit barrels for ageing beer is only 20-25 years old, but imparts special flavour to dark and heavy beers with high alcohol content.
Once the beers have been brewed, cooled and canned, it's time for the colourful labels we've come to know and love from Mad Scientist. Run names like Liquid Cocaine, Tokyo Lemonade and Midlife Chris are just a few examples, and the exotic artwork which accompanies each name always pops out at us from the store shelf.
A giant conveyer prepares the beers for labelling, funnelling each can onto the conveyer belt where it is washed, and a giant roller attaches the label. At the end of the process is quality control, where a designated worker checks each can for imperfections, before boxing them up for distribution.
With all this finished, there's nothing left but to head to Mad Scientist's outdoor terrace and enjoy a fresh, crisp craft beer. Egészségedre!
District X. Maglódi út 47