Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Brewing in 1960’s Canada – fermentation

I’ve been asking myself one question as I plod through “Brewing in Canada”. Will I make it all the way through or get distracted by some new shiny thing? My enthusiasm and attention are still intact, so perhaps I will.

We’ve got as far as fermentation in the brewing process:

“Fermentation: The wort is now moved to the fermenting vessels, and yeast, the jealously guarded central mystery of the ancient brewer's art, is added on the way. It is the yeast, these living, single-cell plants, which takes the sugar in the wort and breaks it down to carbon dioxide and alcohol.

There are many kinds of yeast, but that used in making beer is the Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. The brewer uses two types of this yeast, and depending on which is chosen, he produces ale or lager. One yeast type which rises to the top of the liquid at the completion of fermentation is used in brewing ale and stout. The other, which drops to the bottom of the brewing vessel, is used in brewing lager.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, page 32.

I don’t there were any surprises for us there. Pretty basic stuff, really. Were they really always top-fermenting beers labelled as Ale? It wouldn’t surprise me if they were bottom-fermented at breweries whose main focus was Lager.

This tells us a couple of things:

“In all modern breweries, elaborate precautions are taken to ensure that the yeast remains pure and unchanged. Through the use of pure yeast culture plants a particular beer flavor can be maintained year after year.

During the fermentation, which usually lasts seven days, the yeast may multiply tenfold, and in the open tank fermenters used for brewing ale a creamy, frothy head may be seen on top of the brew. When the fermentation is over the yeast is removed — by skimming off when it is a top fermentation (ale) or by pumping off the beer when it is a bottom fermentation (lager). Now, for the first time, the liquid is called beer.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, pages 32 - 33.

Namely that brewers used pure yeast cultures. Something that even today isn’t always the case in Britain. Adnams, as I found out last week when I was at the brewery, pitch two strains, both of which are needed to get the right flavour profile and the right degree of attenuation.

Seven days doesn’t sound right for either top- or bottom-fermentation. It’s too long for an Ale and too short for a Lager. If they were fermenting it at the right temperature. A week implies it was being fermented quite warm.

Finally something about the Canadian tax system:

“It is at the end of fermentation that the Canadian government makes its "excise dip" to determine the number of gallons on which taxes must be paid. The beer still has some weeks to go before it reaches the market, but the taxes must be paid immediately.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, page 33.

This looks like the US system – a flat rate based solely on quantity, not on strength.

The system is still in use, but with a sliding scale for the first 75,000 hl.:

Excise Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. E-14)

•    170. (1) There shall be imposed, levied and collected on every hectolitre of beer or malt liquor the duties of excise set out in Part II of the schedule, which duties shall be paid to the collector as provided in this Act.
•    Marginal note:Wastage allowance
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where beer or malt liquor is produced by a person licensed under section 168 to carry on the trade or business of a brewer, an allowance prescribed by the regulations shall be made for loss in production based on the duty assessed on the beer or malt liquor produced, but the allowance shall not exceed five per cent thereof.
Marginal note:Reduced rates — production
•    170.1 (1) With respect to the first 75,000 hectolitres of beer and malt liquor brewed in Canada per year by a licensed brewer and any person related or associated with the brewer, there shall be imposed, levied and collected on each of those hectolitres the duties of excise set out in Part II.1 of the schedule, which duties shall be paid to the collector as provided in this Act, and section 170 does not apply to those hectolitres.

These are the duty rates which currently apply:

•    1. On the first 2,000 hectolitres of beer and malt liquor brewed in Canada,
o    (a) if it contains more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $3.122 per hectolitre;
o    (b) if it contains more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume but not more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $1.561 per hectolitre; and
o    (c) if it contains not more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $0.2591 per hectolitre.
•    2. On the next 3,000 hectolitres of beer and malt liquor brewed in Canada,
o    (a) if it contains more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $6.244 per hectolitre;
o    (b) if it contains more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume but not more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $3.122 per hectolitre; and
o    (c) if it contains not more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $0.5182 per hectolitre.
•    3. On the next 10,000 hectolitres of beer and malt liquor brewed in Canada,
o    (a) if it contains more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $12.488 per hectolitre;
o    (b) if it contains more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume but not more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $6.244 per hectolitre; and
o    (c) if it contains not more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $1.0364 per hectolitre.
•    4. On the next 35,000 hectolitres of beer and malt liquor brewed in Canada,
o    (a) if it contains more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $21.854 per hectolitre;
o    (b) if it contains more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume but not more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $10.927 per hectolitre; and
o    (c) if it contains not more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $1.8137 per hectolitre.
•    5. On the next 25,000 hectolitres of beer and malt liquor brewed in Canada,
o    (a) if it contains more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $26.537 per hectolitre;
o    (b) if it contains more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume but not more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $13.269 per hectolitre; and
o    (c) if it contains not more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $2.2024 per hectolitre.

This is a big change from the system in place at the start of the 20th century, when tax was levied on malt, not beer.

Next time we’ll be in the cellar.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Adnams beers in 1890

I’m getting on with trudging through the muddy field of Adnams brewing records while I retain my enthusiasm. You never know how long it will last.

Their beers, in terms of styles brewed, aren’t a million miles away from those of London. Mild Ale, Pale Ale, Old Ale and Stout. You’ve probably spotted the big omission: Porter. That doesn’t surprise me as Porter was rapidly going out of fashion in the provinces. It was only in London that the style retained considerable popularity.

There are a couple of irritations with these particular records. The lack of a fermentation record being the biggest. Despite there being a place for it in the form. Just too damn lazy to fill it out.

At least the mashing details are recorded. Two mashes, then two sparges, if you’re interested. First mash with a strike heat of around 160º F, second at 180º F. The volume of water is much large for the first, so I doubt the second is a complete mash, more like some sort of underlet mash. Sparges at 160º F and 170º F. The volume of water is much larger for the sparges, around 27 barrels, while the two mashes between them were only 8 to 10 barrels.

I suppose I should get on with the beer details. Great to see an AK in there to add to my collection.

Here’s the table:

Adnams beers in 1890
Date Beer Style OG lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl hops
26th Mar SS Stout 1062.6 6.00 1.67 Altmark and Sussex
2nd Apr XX Mild Ale 1043.8 10.00 1.80 Altmark and Sussex
3rd Apr Tally Ho Old Ale 1082.5 11.05 4.16 Boornants?, Worcester and Burgundy
8th Apr XXXX Mild Ale 1059.8 9.29 2.39 Burgundy and Sussex
9th Apr SS Stout 1065.4 7.10 2.02 Altmark and Sussex
15th Apr XXXX Mild Ale 1061.5 7.86 2.06 Skinner Kent and Bavarians
17th Apr PA Pale Ale 1058.2 14.29 3.70 Worcester and Kent
21st Apr AK Pale Ale 1047.1 10.91 2.20 Worcester and Kent
23rd Apr Tally Ho Old Ale 1085.9 11.05 4.38 Worcester, Kent and Burgundy
30th Apr XX Mild Ale 1044.3 10.00 1.83 Altmark and Skinner
1st May PA Pale Ale 1060.4 14.29 3.81 Worcester and Kent
6th May XXXX Mild Ale 1060.4 7.86 2.00 Hants, Skinner and Bavarian
14th May AK Pale Ale 1046.5 10.91 2.20 Clifford Kent, Worcester
15th May SS Stout 1064.3 5.81 1.65 Altmark and Sussex
5th Jun Tally Ho Old Ale 1086.4 11.05 4.50 Worcester, Kent and Burgundy
15th Aug SS Stout 1061.5 7.32 2.26 Altmark, Clifford and Re, P.
Adnams brewing records held at the brewery.

They’re an odd set. Why? Because some have the gravity I would expect, while others are way off.

XX is very weak for an 1890’s Mild Ale. Even X Ale I’d expect to be at least 1050º. Adnams XXXX is only about the strength of a London X Ale. The Stout is very weak by London standards. Closer to a Porter, in fact.

Time for another table to show you what I mean:

Whitbread beers in 1890
Date Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl Pitch temp
19th Jul XK Ale 1069.0 1019.0 6.61 72.45% 8.02 2.46 60º
19th Jul X Mild 1060.9 1015.0 6.08 75.39% 8.02 2.18 60º
20th Oct FA Pale Ale 1054.8 1012.0 5.67 78.12% 11.01 2.73 57º
16th Jul 2PA Pale Ale 1055.4 1010.0 6.01 81.95% 11.69 2.99 57º
16th Jul PA Pale Ale 1060.1 1013.0 6.23 78.37% 11.69 3.25 57º
7th Nov KK Stock Ale 1075.3 1026.0 6.53 65.49% 14.27 4.88 57º
10th Mar 2KKK Stock Ale 1078.7 1029.0 6.57 63.14% 13.99 5.13 57º
10th Nov KKK Stock Ale 1085.6 1030.0 7.35 64.95% 14.16 5.76 57º
25th Jan P Porter 1057.1 1012.0 5.96 78.97% 9.74 2.07 60.5º
29th Jan SS Stout 1083.1 1025.0 7.69 69.92% 10.63 4.76 57º
29th Jan SSS Stout 1095.6 1037.0 7.75 61.28% 10.63 5.47 57º
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/056 and LMA/4453/D/09/084.

Adnams SS is barely stronger than Whitbread Porter. Yet Tally Ho is stronger than any of Whitbread’s Stock Ales and the PAs have almost identical gravities.

There’s something really, really fascinating in this set of Adnams records. Which is another piece in a particularly puzzling puzzle: when did Mild turn to the dark side? Something like this appears in most logs:

Judging by its position in the record, it looks like it was being added in the copper. It’s added to all the beers except PA and AK, the beers you would expect to be quite pale. Obviously it’s intended to darken the colour of the finished beer. I think this is some of the earliest evidence I have of Mild being deliberately darkened.

I doubt it was enough to turn the Milds dark brown, but enough to make them noticeably darker than the Pale Ales. Like I said, fascinating stuff.

I’ve 100 years of their records, so lots more to come.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Trains and boats and planes

Planes, train and bus, really. And probably a few taxis. Walking, too, obviously.

My travel is all booked up for my Southern sojourn. Not done the hotels yet. I'll leave that stress fest to look forward to next weekend.

This is my itenerary:

Friday 10th April Houston
Saturday 11th April Houston
Sunday 12th April Birmingham
Monday 13th April Birmingham
Tuesday 14th April Atlanta
Wednesday 15th April Atlanta
Thursday 16th April Asheville
Friday 17th April Asheville
Saturday 18th April Houston

Asheville wasn't in my original plan. Which was based on practicality. But after a tempting invitation, practicality sought the window and left.

Several new states for me. Probably not including sober.

I always leave some time for social interaction. Or finding an excuse to drink in pubs, as Dolores claims. If you live in one of these towns, don't carry concealed weapons, like beer and want to buy me one, get in touch. We can meet up and I can drone on at you about beer history until your eyes bleed. Literally. It's happened before.

The whole point, obviously, is to shamelessly tart my shef durvre:

*The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer

German brewing in the 1970’s – hops

Are you getting confused? I am. That’s what happens when you try to compose three long series simultaneously. Am I in 1930’s America or 1960’s Canada today? Neither. I’m back in 1970’s Germany.

Hops. Now there’s a topic that should attract some attention. People are obsessed with the things nowadays. That’s why I’m getting so interested in barley varieties. Which I really should write about, given the things I’ve discovered recently. Maybe next week.

“Table VIII gives the average analytical values for different German hop varieties, analysed by the method of Wöllmer. These hop varieties are used not only in German breweries but also in many foreign breweries. The well-known aroma-hops, Tettnang, Spalt, Hallertau middle-early and Hersbruck show contents of alpha-acids in the range 5.6-6.0%. The so-called bitter hops (hops with high resin content such as Brewers Gold, Northern Brewer and Record) have a-acids contents in the range 8.3-10.6 % and can be distinguished from the aroma hops by the ratio of a-acids to B-resins, which is lower than 1:1 for the bitter hops. The variety Record shows the same level of cohumulone content as aroma hops, whereas Northern Brewer and Brewers Gold give distinctly higher values. There is, however, no relation between the humulone contents of these varieties.

Table VIII also shows the essential oil contents of the different German hop varieties. The total oil content ranges between 0.88-1.15% in aroma hops and between 1.42-2.15% in bitter hops; in accordance with this, bitter hops contain more myrcene than aroma hops. The different hop varieties can also be distinguished according to their content of 2-methylbutyl-isobutyrate; this ranges between 1.76-1.97% in bitter-hops, whereas pure aroma hops contain only 0.05-0.56%. The high content of posthumulene-1 and posthumulene-2 is characteristic of the variety Hersbruck and is used to identify this variety.”
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 83, Issue 1, March-April 1977, page 73.

Now isn’t that handy – a way to determine if hops are aroma or bittering without looking at alpha-acid content. Just check the 2-methylbutyl-isobutyrate level.

Here’s the table:

TABLE VIII. Bittering Substances (Wollmer Method) a-acid and Essential Oil Composition for Different German Hop Varieties (1974 Crop).
Variety Tettnang Spalt Hallertau middle early Hersbruck late hop Record Northern Brewer Brewers Gold
Total resins 17.1 17.7 17.4 17.6 19.9 21.9 19.2
a-Acids (%) 5.8 6 5.6 5.7 9.3 10.6 8.3
B-Fraction (%) 9.7 9.5 9.4 9.7 8.5 8.2 8.3
a-Acid: B-fraction 1 : 1.66 1 : 1.58 1 : 1.68 1 : 1.70 1 : 0.91 1 : 0.77 1 : 1.00
a-Acid composition
Cohumulone (%) 22.5 18.1 19.3 19.9 25.5 42.9
Adhumulone (%) 17 15.7 15.2 19.5 15.6 15.9
Humulone (%) 60.5 65.4 65.5 60.5 58.3 4.11
Total oil (% DM) 0.87 0.88 1.15 1.01 1.8 2.12 1.42
Oil composition
Myrcene (%) 24.0 21.7 20.2 21.5 24.1 34.5 36.9
B-caryophyllene (%) 5.7 6.2 8.7 8.1 9.8 8 7.6
Farnesene (%) 11.4 11.2 + + + + +
Humulcne(%) 21.3 20.5 331 126 31.9 22.1 194
Posthumulene 1 (%) 1.53 1.66 1.35 7.9 0.86 0.94 1.79
Posthumulene 2 (%) 0.55 0.55 0.39 6.4 0.34 0.29 0.32
2-MethyIbutylisobutyrate(%) 0.05 0.06 0.56 0.44 1.76 1.82 1.97
Methyl-n-octyl-ketone (%) 0.28 0.57 0.3 0.15 0.11 0.11 0.03
Linalool (%) 0.65 0.51 0.6 0.53 0.25 0.27 0.28

You’ve probably noticed that all the hop varieties in the table are still kicking around today, unlike the barley varieties we saw earlier. Why is it that barley varieties come and go within a decade, but hop varieties hang around for centuries? Could it be connected with the more direct contact between hop growers and brewers? With barley, there’s the maltster inbetween. And, as I’ve discovered recently, barley varieties are bred with the farmer rather than the brewer in mind. The emphasis is on yield per acre rather than flavour or performance in the brewhouse.

The next paragraph is frustrating and quite handy at the same time:

“All these hop varieties are used in breweries but it is unfortunate that no exact information exists on the proportions of each variety that are used in the copper as cones or as powdered products or as extracts. It is believed that, calculating the quantities of hops on the basis of their a-acid contents, 35-40% of the hops needed in West Germany are used as hop cones or as hops ground in the brewery, that half of the rest is sold as commercial hop powder and half as extract. Since in the future the whirlpool will find a wider distribution in breweries, it is expected that more and more hop products will replace the use of hop cones. The average rates in Germany, expressed as g/hl a-acids in the wort, are relatively high, e.g.

Light lager beer  (11.5% Plato) = 6-8 g/hl
Export beer  (12.5% Plato) = 8-12 g/hl
Pilsener beer  (12.0% Plato) = 12-18 g/hl
'Altbier'  (12.0% Plato) = 12-16 g/hl
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 83, Issue 1, March-April 1977, pages 73 - 74.

So they’ve no idea how the hops were actually used. At least the author is honest. Then again, it does give hopping rates. Unfortunately in form I’ve no other statistics for.

Anyone who has looked closely at a modern German beer label will know how widely used hop oils are. Annoyingly widely, as they often leave a nasty, coarse bitterness which is perfect for ruining a delicate Lager. But everywhere in the world there’s been a move away from cone hops. Many modern breweries are physically unable to handle them.

That pilsener and Alt are the most heavily hopped is pretty obvious to anyone who has tasted German beer. I’d be very interested to see what hopping rates are like today. My guess would be that the rate for Pilsener has dropped considerably.

I’ve just discovered a wonderful table of all the world’s hop varieties in Briggs. I’ll doubtless be pestering you with that soon.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Adnams and the Local Veto Bill

There will be a lot more about Adnams in the weeks to come. I've got a lovely collection of snaps of their brewing records. It would be a shame not to start using them.

But I'll begin with a random newspaper article:

A meeting of Licensed Victuallers of Lowestoft and neighbourhood was held at the Greet Eastern Hotel, Lowestoft, on Monday, under the auspices of the Lowestoft and East Suffolk Licensed Victallers' Association, of which Mr. B. Riden is the secretary. Captain E. M. U. Adnams, the Brewery, Southwold, occupied the chair, and amongst others present were - Mr. J. J. Dunne (solicitor of the National Trade Defence Association), and about 150 representatives of the trade from all parts of North Suffolk.

The CHAIRMAN said he did not anticipate that the Local Veto Bill wonld pass, but it was impossible to disguise the dangers which confronted them. The temperance reformers for years had been strengthening their forces against the licensing trade, and their undisguised desire was entire suppression, In their own interests, publicans should band themselves together to resist the assault. It was proposed to amalgamate the several Trade Protection Associations in North Suffolk. They had held meetings on the subject at Southwold, Beccles, and elsewhere, and it was to be seen whether the publicans of Lowsetoft were in favour of the proposal. He was entirely in sympathy with it himself, and he believed that if the members of the trade were banded together in the Division of North Suffolk, under one Association, they would be able to offer a very substantial support to any political candidate who would be prepared to champion their cause. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. DUNNE dealt at length with the Local Veto Bill, which he arged, would be mischievous, would lead to mush illicit drinking, and the establishment of ill-conducted clubs. He maintaised that it was not fair that the trade should be harassed by such legislation, and he confidently relied upon the licensed victuallers of the Lowestoft Division of Suffolk offering all the opposition in their power to the Bill, which they intended, not only to "scotch," but to kill entirely. (Hear, bear.) He directed attention to the project of one Defence Association for the Division, and he was confident that if they were thus banded together, seeing that they must either sink or swim together, they could almost command the seat for North Suffolk. (Applause).

Mr. RICHARD RIDEN read a reply from Mr. H. S. Foster, M.P., in which that gentleman intimated his intention of opposing the second reading of Bills which were antagonistic to the trade, and moved, "That this meeting protests against the Liquor Traffic (Local Control) Bill, and pledges itself to prevent the passing of the same."

Mr. H. STEBBINGS seconded, and the resolution was carried unanimously. The proposals for the amalgamation of the Association were ultimately adopted."
The Ipswich Journal - Saturday 18 March 1893, page 8.

The Local Veto Bill would have allowed a vote on closing pubs in a district. It was one of temperance campaigners' attempts to set off a rolling prohibition of all alcohol. This bill failed, though the Temperance (Scotland) Act of just after WWI did allow for such votes in Scotland. Some areas did initially go dry, but the hoped for snowball effect never materialised and after a while nowhere new voted for it. Thankfully, they were never daft enough to introduce similar legislation for England.

Here, as promised are some Adnams beers from a little later:

Adnams beers in 1913
Date Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
17th Jun BS Stout 1055.0 1014.0 5.42 74.55% 5.81 1.12
18th Jun BLB Pale Ale 1044.0 1007.0 4.89 84.09% 8.29 1.22
19th Jun Tally Ho Old Ale 1081.0 1025.0 7.41 69.14% 8.00 2.25
20th Jun XX Mild Ale 1039.0 1008.0 4.10 79.49% 5.12 0.66
21st Jun X Mild Ale 1033.0 1005.5 3.64 83.33% 4.86 0.54
23rd Jun XX Mild Ale 1039.0 1008.0 4.10 79.49% 5.12 0.65
24th Jun BS Stout 1055.0 1014.0 5.42 74.55% 5.81 1.08
25th Jun XX Mild Ale 1039.0 1009.0 3.97 76.92% 5.12 0.65
26th Jun DS Stout 1060.0 1014.0 6.09 76.67% 6.35 1.34
27th Jun XX Mild Ale 1039.0 1007.0 4.23 82.05% 5.12 0.65
28th Jun Tally Ho Old Ale 1081.0 1027.0 7.14 66.67% 8.00 2.29
Adnams brewing records held at the brewery.

The low gravity of the new Mild Ales is striking. I've never seen such weak Milds before WW I. In fact X and XX look more like beers of the 1920's.

The two Stouts are also pretty weak. Neither would have counted as a Stout in London, BS being about the same gravity as Porter there.

BLB, on the other hand, is classic Light Bitter strength, in the mid-1040's, where you'd expect an AK or its like to be.

Then, just to be weird, there's Tally Ho at a fairly decent gravity.

It's all quite different from what I've seen in London. The hopping rates are also low. It's rarae to see anything with less than a pound per barrel at this date in London.

Lots, lots more to come.

Friday, 23 January 2015

American brewing in the 1930’s - materials

More numbers. Lots of them. It’s happy day for me, if not for you.

I’m really glad to get the numbers below. Why? Because they give the true picture of adjunct use in the USA. And because I’ve similar numbers for the UK. Perfect for a little compare and contrast session.

“The quantities of materials used in 1935 are given in Table II.

Table II
Brewing Materials Used in 1935
cwt. Per cent. on malt.
Malt 15,408,357
Maize and corn products 3,043,224 19.75
Rice 1,247,580 8.1
Sugar and syrups 1,387,273 9
Hops 283,740

The average hop rate, expressed in English measures, would thus be 6.18 lb. per quarter of malt; 4.6 lb. per quarter of all materials; or 0.9 lb. per British barrel.”
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 42, Issue 5, September-October 1936, page 416.

A quick reformatting of the table is probably more useful, as if shows the percentage of malt and adjuncts used:

Brewing Materials Used in 1935
cwt. %
Malt 15,408,357 73.07%
Maize and corn products 3,043,224 14.43%
Rice 1,247,580 5.92%
Sugar and syrups 1,387,273 6.58%
total 21,086,434 100.00%

You may remember that the Wahls reckoned Lagers used about 30% adjuncts. Taken over the industry as a whole, the figure is 27% - not a million miles away from the Wahls’ claim.

How does that compare with the UK? Like this:

Brewing Materials Used in the UK in 1935
cwt. %
malt 8,444,452 79.10%
unmalted corn 10,956 0.10%
rice, maize, etc 587,841 5.51%
sugar 1,631,926 15.29%
total 10,675,175 100.00%
Brewers' Almanack 1955, page 62

Adjunct usage in Britain wasn’t just lower, the forms used differed. The use of rice and corn was four times higher in the US, while less than half the proportion of sugar was used. The pattern is clear. Britain loved sugar, the USA maize.

It makes sense on several levels. Sugar was often used for colouring in Britain. But in the USA, where most beer was very pale, sugar wasn’t needed for this purpose. Maize was widely grown and cheap in the USA, but had to be imported into Britain. Sugar, on the other hand, was produced in the UK from sugar beet.

Now for hopping. Time for another table:

Brewing materials in the UK (cwt)
year malt unmalted corn rice, maize, etc sugar hops bulk barrels lbs hops/ qtr lbs hops/ brl.
1930 10,080,120 25,765 762,633 1,835,238 307,289 24,488,629 7.58 1.41
1931 9,119,236 22,725 688,850 1,698,163 277,406 22,561,497 7.53 1.38
1932 7,115,230 12,586 533,405 1,377,126 219,587 18,864,711 7.59 1.30
1933 7,239,776 12,294 521,151 1,379,965 222,868 18,931,185 7.61 1.32
1934 7,995,574 11,816 547,865 1,543,228 233,419 20,378,879 7.22 1.28
1935 8,444,452 10,956 587,841 1,631,926 248,744 21,598,179 7.27 1.29
1936 8,646,322 10,734 592,734 1,705,418 258,300 22,207,859 7.35 1.30
Brewers' Almanack 1955, page 62

As you probably guessed, hopping rates were considerably higher in the UK, around 1.3 lbs per barrel compared to 0.9 lbs in the USA. But remember that American beer was on average stronger. The hopping rate per quarter is a fairer way to compare the hopping of beers of different strengths: 7.5 lbs per quarter of all materials compared to 4.6 lbs in the USA.

Here’s a nice table of that information:

Hopping rates in 1935
USA UK % difference
lbs / brl 0.9 1.29 43.33%
lbs / qtr 4.6 7.27 58.04%
Brewers' Almanack 1955, page 62
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 42, Issue 5, September-October 1936, page 416.

Next time we’ll be looking at taxes and other costs.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Brewing in Canada in the 1960’s – mashing and boiling

We’re still ambling along the winding country lanes of Canadian brewing. This time it’s dead exciting as we’re starting to look at the brewing process itself.

We begin with mashing. It’s a bit lacking in specifics – like temperatures or mashing techniques – but it does tell us something.

“Mashing: In the mashing process, the malt enzymes break down the starch to sugar, and the complex proteins of the malt to simpler nitrogen compounds. The mashing takes place in a large round tank called a "mash mixer" or "mash tun", and requires careful temperature control. Sometimes at this point, depending on the type of beer desired, the malt is supplemented by starch from other cereals such as corn, wheat or rice.

Lautering: When mashing is finished the mash is transferred to a draining or "lautering" vessel, usually cylindrical, with a slotted false bottom 2" or 3" above the true bottom. The liquid extract drains through the false bottom and is run off to the brew kettle. Water is "sparged" or sprayed through the grains to wash out as much of the extract as possible.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, page 30.

My guess is that in many cases the adjunct weren’t added to the main mash but that during a cereal mash before the main mash began. That’s what you have to do if you’re using non-gelatinised adjuncts like corn grits, which were very popular in North America.

You can see that they were using continental-style brewhouses with a mash tun, a lauter tun and a copper rather than British-style brewhouses with just a mash tun and a copper.

This happens the world over:

“The "spent grains" are then removed and sold, for they are in great demand by farmers for cattle feed. They are either dried and placed in bags or sold wet.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, page 30.

Though I’ve only heard of British breweries selling the grains wet.

Now boiling:

“Boiling and Hopping: The liquid in the brew kettle is called "wort". It is not yet beer. The brew kettle, a huge cauldron holding up to 15,000 or 20,000 gallons and made of shiny copper or stainless steel, is probably the most striking sight in a brewery. It is fitted with coils or a jacketed bottom for steam heating and is designed to boil the wort under carefully controlled conditions.

During the boil, which usually lasts about two hours, the green, aromatic hops are added. (Hops are the flowers of a climbing plant; in Canada they are grown in British Columbia.) The hop resins contribute flavor, aroma and bitterness to the brew. Boiling serves to concentrate the wort to the desired specific gravity, to sterilize it and to obtain the desired extract from the hops. Undesirable protein substances which have survived the journey from the mash tun are destroyed, leaving the wort pure and sterile.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, pages 30 and 32.

If those are US barrels, that’s between 500 and 650 barrels. If they’re imperial barrels, 400 to 550. Approximately. Whichever is the case, that’s brewing on quite a scale.

Two hours seems a long time for the boil. I wouldn’t have expected more than 90 minutes.

“Hop Separation and Cooling: After the beer has taken on the flavor of the hops they must be removed. The wort is passed through a "hop jack" or separator to remove both the hops and a large amount of the protein which was precipitated during the boil. This protein is known by the short and expressive name of "trub".

The wort itself proceeds from the hop jack to the "hot wort tank", where most of the remaining trub is removed by settling. The wort is then cooled, usually in a deceptively simple looking apparatus called a "plate cooler". As the wort and a coolant flow past each other on opposite sides of stainless steel plates the temperature of the wort drops from boiling to about 50°F. — a drop of more than 150°F. — in a few seconds.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, page 32.

Surely that’s a hop back rather than a hop jack. Just looked it up. It seems “hop jack” is the North American term for hop back. I wonder how that name came about? Is it a corruption of hop back?

The hot wort tank seems to be fulfilling one job of a cooler – for settling out gunk from the wort. Though “tank” implies something deeper than a shallow cooler. With the efficiency of the plate cooler in dropping the wort temperature quickly, the hot wort tank didn’t really need to cool the wort, so from that point of view could be as deep as you liked. Though one advantage of having a shallow vessel like a cooler was that the muck would settle out more quickly.

You can probably guess what’s coming next: fermentation.