Development and renewal 1900-1972

The brewery’s output was increased slowly but steadily – from 900 hl in the early 1850s to more than 2,300 hl in 1875. In 1895 the monastery brewery produced 6,000 hl of beer. Today the output is more than 100,000 hl per year.

In view of this continuous expansion, the shortage of space on the geographically limited site quickly became an ongoing issue. Under Father Augustin Engl, a new malthouse was therefore constructed on the mountain’s eastern slope in 1906/1907. The modern steel-reinforced concrete structure also served as a retaining wall, creating the large terrace of today’s Bräustüberl that we all know. New filling plants followed in 1925 and 1958.

New malthouse, 1906/07

Construction workers in front of the malthouse, 1906.

Father Willibald Mathäser wrote about the construction of the malthouse in his Andechs chronicle:

“Soon after the death of the long-time prior, Father Magnus Sattler, Andechs was faced with something entirely unexpected: The eastern side of the Holy Mountain threatened to slide. The authorities demanded the construction of retaining walls. Father Augustin Engl, the prior at the time, was at a loss until abbot Gregor Danner said, short and to the point: “We are not going to build any walls, we are putting up a building. Nothing can slide after that.”

The new malthouse on the eastern slope of the Heilige Berg (undated photo from the Andechs Monastery archive).

So it was done. A highly modern, seven-storey steel-reinforced concrete structure for a new malthouse was built on the eastern slope of the Holy Mountain in 1906/07 – one of the first industrial buildings in the Bavarian upland to be built with steel-reinforced concrete, constructed by Wayss und Freytag A.G. from Munich.

Since then, the monastery’s eastern side has been dominated by the multi-storey malthouse in the baroque art nouveau style. It was operated until 1984. Today it is a technical-architectural monument.

Dedication of new storage barrels in the spring of 1907

Undated photo from the Andechs Monastery archive

In the old monastery brewery, the finished beer was kept in large storage barrels. These storage barrels had a volume of 27 or 28 hl.
The matured beer was subsequently decanted into smaller barrels. The storage barrels had to be lined with pitch from time to time. To do so, the large barrels were rolled to the brewery’s pitch works, where hot pitch was poured into them and they were rolled back and forth in the yard until the pitch was evenly distributed. The freshly pitch-lined storage barrels were rolled back to the cellar and filled with fresh beer.
It is possible that the three monks at the table in the middle are the former “braxator”, Brother Stephan Hebel and his two “socii”, Brother Ämilian Dempf and Brother Bruno Lackner, but this has not been resolved with certainty.
There is a sign on the door of the Bräustüberl pointing out the opening hours in effect at the time: “On Sundays and holidays, the Bräustüberl opens after the 10 o’clock service.”

Transportation of beer barrels by rail, around 1920

Undated photo from the Andechs Monastery archive, early 1920s

Rail transport of beer barrels into the underground storage cellar of the old monastery brewery – in the background on the right in the photo. The rails went as far as today’s old brewhouse.

The Benedictine monk on the right in the photo with the light-coloured brewer’s apron is the long-term master brewer Brother Aemilian Dempf. He was already listed in the monastery’s catalogue in 1886 as “socius braxatoris” – assistant and employee of the master brewer – under his given first name Antonius. As Ämilian Dempf, he remained so from 1887 to 1919. From 1920 until his death on 22 April 1925, he guided the fate of the monastery brewery on the Holy Mountain in Andechs as “braxator” – master brewer.

Brother Oswald Eser, brewer starting in 1927

Master brewer Brother Oswald Eser

Brother Oswald Eser, here in an undated photo from the monastery’s archive, shown in the monastery brewery’s malthouse, was listed in the monastery’s catalogue as an employee or assistant of the master brewer from 1927 to 1953, with only a few brief interruptions.

With Brother Oswald, the last Benedictine to date took over the office of master brewer in 1954. He had a Brother as his assistant until 1967. From then on, more and more secular employees, both women and men, were engaged in the brewery.

From 1954 until his death on 1 September 1983, he is listed in the monastery’s catalogue as “braxator” – master brewer – even though he spent the last years of his life at St. Boniface in Munich.

Sadly he did not experience the completion of the full new construction of the monastery brewery at the foot of the Holy Mountain in 1984.

New brewhouse from 1928/29

View inside the old brewhouse of the Andechs Monastery brewery, located today in the immediate vicinity of the Bräustüberl.

The photo shows the monastery’s brewhouse after the move and the conversion to the brewing process in copper kettles in 1929.

According to records from the late 1970s, the steam-powered brewhouse with a capacity of 1,700 kg of malt produced 92 hl of cast wort.

First lorries in the 1920s

Motorisation of the Andechs Monastery brewery accelerated after World War I. Lay brothers Brother Ottmar and Brother Ulrich standing in front of one of the monastery brewery’s first lorries. The lorry already featured full rubber tyres and a chain drive.

The undated photo, probably from the 1920s, was taken in Kochel by the Andechs Monastery’s librarian, Father Dr Pius Eichinger (deceased in 1939).

The old powerhouse, 1931

The photo taken at the beginning of August 1931 shows the monastery brewery’s old powerhouse. Today the site of the powerhouse is occupied by the Mälzer-Stüberl of the Andechs Bräustüberl. The two people in the middle are employees of the company Linde, the engineer Kratsch and the fitter Hilmer.

Barrel pitch works, 1933

View into the old monastery brewery’s barrel pitch works. Photo from 1933 as indicated by the year on the large storage barrel.

The brewery’s barrel pitch works were located in the southern annex to the Josefihaus. Here the inside of the barrels was lined with pitch. This sealed even the smallest seams so the carbon dioxide in the beer was unable to escape. The Benedictine on the far right in the photo is likely Brother Adelhard Rothmüller. He worked in the monastery brewery’s powerhouse constructed under Father Magnus Sattler in 1896 for half a century until his death in 1951. Third from the right is probably Brother Oswald Eser, one of the master brewer’s assistants at the time.

Fermentation cellar modernisation, 1936

Open fermentation – photo after 1936

In the cellars under today’s Bräustüberl, the wort was fermented in open fermentation tanks for decades. An intense odour regularly welcomed the guests of the Bräustüberl when the krausen formed in the tanks during fermentation. This was retained by the brewers after fermentation. The undated photo shows Brother Ursmar Harrer. It was probably taken after 1936 because, at that time, the old wooden vats in the fermentation cellar were replaced by twelve modern stainless steel tanks with a capacity of 1,150 hl, clearly visible here.

Storage cellar expansion around 1936

The brewery’s storage cellar after 1936

In 1936 the storage cellar was also expanded due to rising demand for the monastery’s beers. The brine-cooled aluminium tanks had a total capacity of 4,900 hl. Brother Ursmar was already involved in these expansions as well. He was born in 1903 in Sornhüll, a small village in today’s district of Eichstätt. After entering St. Boniface, he took his first vows in 1931. From 1935 to 1967, he is listed in the monastery’s catalogue as an assistant or employee of the master brewer. After suffering a fall in the Christmas week of 1967, he transferred to the monastery’s garden where he worked until his death at the end of 1977, together with Brother Thomas Schmidt (deceased in 2019).

New bottling plant in 1955 and expanded fermentation cellar in 1970

View into the subterranean expansion of the fermentation cellar in 1970 with the jacket-cooled stainless steel tanks

Modernisation and expansion measures were necessary again soon after the reopening of the Bräustüberl in 1953. A bottling plant was installed in the Josefihaus in 1955. The boiler house was fully modernised as well, no longer supplying just the brewery but the entire monastery with hot water. Since the demand for the monastery’s beers continued to increase at the end of the 1960s, the fermentation cellar was expanded again in 1970. Four large stainless steel tanks increased the capacity by more than 700 hl. A yeast cellar with eight aluminium tanks was added as well.

Andechs Monastery Emblem