Sunday, 31 May 2009

Pure beer

"Pure beer" is a concept that's been around for a while. But what exactly is "pure beer"? Beer without sugar?

I can remember some within CAMRA arguing that only beer brewed from malt and hops alone should be classified as Real Ale. Thankfully their crazy idea wasn't adopted. It would have left almost no Real Ale in Britain.

In the aftermath of the 1880 Free Mash Tun Act, there was a "Pure Beer" movement. Its aim was to re-establish a Reinheitsgebot in Britain. They even managed to get a bill to that effect into parliament. However it was never enacted and the movement petered out. (I plan returning to this movement at some point soon).

This letter sent to The Times in the 1880's demonstrates the public concern about the purity of their beer, but also ignorance about how it was brewed. The most revealing assertion in the letter is that sugar was employed "to meet the requirements of the public taste ".


MR. E. R. MORITZ, chemist to the Country Brewers' Society, sends the following letter to the Times :—

Sir,—I observe in your report of "Briant v. Faulkner," tried on Tuesday before Mr. Justice Kay, that the interesting features in the case consisted in the facts disclosed about brewing and the judge's observations on the ingredients used at the present day in the manufacture of beer. Mr. Justice Kay observed that instead of beer being nowadays brewed from good and wholesome malt and hops, chemical processes were used for extracting beer from what was called invert sugar ; and he went on to comment in severe terms upon the sulphuric acid and gypsum employed in the process in question. As a matter of fact, however, beer is not extracted from invert sugar, and the process referred to consists in the preparation from cane sugar of invert sugar, which some brewers find it advantageous to mix in small proportions with their malt worts. Sulphuric acid certainly plays a part in the conversion of the sugar, but none of it, as such, is permitted to remain in the sugar, and consequently none can enter the beer; indeed, by conversion into gypsum the acid is, to all practical purposes, removed, and against the minute quantity of gypsum which may escape separation there cannot possibly be the minutest objection. It occurs naturally in the celebrated well waters of Burton, and it is in no inconsiderable degree responsible for the delicacy and flavour of the popular ales brewed in that district.

With regard to the use of sugar in brewing, it cannot be too frequently insisted upon that its employment is adopted simply to meet the requirements of the public taste in certain districts, and not with the object, which some persons would have us believe, of putting extra profits into the brewers' pockets. Nor must it be forgotten that our malts are by no means invariably "good and wholesome," and that intermixture with sugar solutions of good quality is productive of a sounder, purer, and more wholesome beer than that obtainable from the bulk of our malts when used alone.

Persons with any leanings towards so-called "pure beer" would do well to refer to Mr. Goschen's remarks to a deputation of hop and barley growers which waited on him on April 5 last year. Mr. Goschen pointed out that during the course of the prosecutions for beer dilution, so many of which took place about that time, the beer samples had been generally tested for deleterious substances by the Government chemists at Somerset House, and that not a single sample was found to contain any. Yet some of these beers had assuredly been in part brewed from that invert sugar which Mr. Justice Kay so severely denounces. Indeed, the pure beer cry, like so many of the agitations against brewers, is almost exclusively supported by privileged and irresponsible utterances, which, when critically examined, as was the case on April 5 last year, are found unsound and devoid of proper foundation."
"The Chemical Trade Journal" by Davis, 1888, page 179

Let me know if you're getting bored with sugar. It won't stop me writing about it, but it may make you feel better.

The end of adulteration (but not watering)

Someone asked the other day about how long watering and adulteration continued to be practised. I think I've found the answer.

Increased control by local authorities had finally put an end to poisonous adulteration.

"Beer adulteration had also practically ceased to exist by 1880, except for innocuous dilution. Fables continued to circulate, particularly at temperance meetings, about the poisonous ingredients allegedly used by brewers - a speaker in 1883 made the unsupported statement that 245,000 cwt of 'chemicals' were annually used in British breweries, and a few years later a book purporting to be a serious study of drinks and drinking habits stated that bitternesss in beer was produced by strychnine, absinthe, and nux vomica, and intoxication by belladonna, opium, henbane, and picric acid. In fact, cocculus indicus was last reported in 1864 and grains of paradise in 1878, and only rarely after this were old adulterations such as 'heading', capsicum, and liquorice discovered by public analysts as isolated curiosities. Narcotics disappeared from beer with the vigilance of local habits: by the closing decades of the century people no longer wanted to be stupefied and had turned away from porter and 'hard beer' towards lighter, less alcoholic varieties. Dilution remained the outstanding problem, and a seemingly intractable one: as late as 1900 one in five samples was watered, and a great many of these salted in order to restore lost flavour and, no doubt, increase thirst."
"Plenty and want: a social history of food in England from 1815 to the present day" by John Burnett, 3rd edition, 1989, pages 234 - 235.

Though stopping the watering of beer was more problematic:

"In many areas the newly appointed Public Analysts began to examine random samples and prosecute offfenders: in 1873 the PA for North Staffordshire found twenty-six out of eighty-nine random samples of beer adulterated, six with poisonous cocculus indicus. When the Inland Revenue Act 1880 restored the duty on beer, the Excise Department became more active in testing for adulteration by publicans, and in effect a concordat developed by which the Excise concentrated on dilution and the Public Analysts on other additions. . . the proportion of samples reported by Public Analysts as adulterated was comparatively small - 9.3 per cent in 1877 but falling quickly to between 2 per cent and 5 per cent up to 1914, though with occasional high variations (1892 16.8 per cent, 1900 8.8 per cent). The results of the Excise test for added water were very different, however - 78 per cent in 1880, 29 per cent in 1890 and still 15 per cent at the end of the century: the persistent rumours in late Victorian England that the workers' beer was watered had real foundation."
"Liquid pleasures: a social history of drinks in modern Britain", by John Burnett, published by
Routledge, 1999, ISBN 0415131812, page 123.

There you have it. Adulteration with poisons was a thing of the past by 1880. Watering survived much longer. At the risk of offending any publicans reading this, does watering still go on? Or is British beer already watery enough?

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Brewing with sugar

I told you it was sugar week.

I'd never realised there were so many different ways of adding sugar to the wort. I'd sort of assumed it was always added in the copper.


Sugar and syrup are used in large quantities, and by many brewers, for all descriptions of ales, porters and stouts, but like raw grain more as adjuncts to than as substitutes for malt. In 1847 sugar was first allowed to be used in brewing, and in 1874 all kinds of sugar and syrup were so allowed; under the head of statistics will be seen how this privilege has been used. The proportion used in any brewing varies greatly, ranging from 5 to 40 per cent. of the entire weight of mashing materials. Brewing with sugar requires far less labour than the ordinary malt brewing does, for the sugar is so easily and so quickly dissolved, either by condensed steam, by hot water, or by hot wort. Some have recommended that when cane sugar is used it should be introduced into the mash-tun with the other materials, in which case it would partly undergo conversion to a directly fermentable sugar, but if there were no other objection there would be the loss in draining to be considered. Often the sugar meets the malt wort in the underback; either it is placed in this vessel in the dry state or it is first dissolved ; in either case the mixed wort is pumped into the copper as a whole. Frequently, however, the sugar, dry or in solution, is let direct into the copper; sometimes a platform or cage holding it is suspended in the boiling wort until the sugar is dissolved. Other brewers add the sugar at a later stage, namely, in the hop-back, where the boiling wort on its way to the cooler dissolves the sugar or mixes itself with the sugar solution. It is preferable that the malt and sugar worts should at least meet in the copper, for thorough boiling of the saccharine material has a beneficial effect, and is a safeguard against its impurities. Moreover, by being so boiled together the two kinds of wort get thoroughly mixed together and with the hop extract, so that a perfect and equable solution is obtained; but if the sugar is placed in the hop- back these advantages may not occur, or may only partially occur, and a sticky wort may pass through the coolers and over the refrigerator, rendering the cleaning of these vessels more difficult. If the sugar wort does not meet the other wort until the fermenting vessels are reached, a preliminary boiling of the sugar wort should certainly have taken place, and even then there will be the difficulty of mixing the two kinds of wort in the fermenting vessels to be considered."
"A study of the history and of the art of brewing" by J. A. Nettleton, 1883, page 39

When were specialist brewing sugars first developed? I'm wondering about that one. Earlier that 1884, in any case. That''s the year of the Garton's advert above.

Adulteration - the penalties

I'm back on the topic of adulteration. Remember how widespread it appeared to be in the mid-19th century? Well here's what publicans were risking.

The 1830 Beer Act was very specific as to what would happen to anyone selling watered or adulterated beer.

". . . and if any person so licensed as aforesaid shall knowingly sell any beer, ale, or porter made otherwise than from malt and hops, or shall mix or cause to be mixed any drugs or other pernicious ingredients with any beer sold in his house or premises, or shall fraudulently dilute or in any way adulterate any such beer, such offender shall for the first offence forfeit any sum not less than ten pounds nor more than twenty pounds, as the justices before whom such offender shall be convicted of such offence shall adjudge ; and for the second such offence such offender shall be adjudged to be disqualified from selling beer, ale, or porter by retail for the term of two years, or to forfeit any sum of money not less than twenty pounds nor more than fifty pounds, at the discretion of the justices before whom such offender shall be adjudged guilty of such second offence ; and if any offender convicted of such offence as last aforesaid shall during such term of two years sell any beer, ale, or porter by retail, either in the house and premises mentioned in the licence of such offender, or in any other place, he shall forfeit any sum not less twenty-five pounds nor more than fifty pounds, and shall be subject to a like penalty at any and every house or place where he shall commit such offence ; and if any person shall at any time, during any term in which it shall not be lawful for beer to be sold by retail on the premises of any offender, sell any beer by retail on such premises, knowing that it was not lawful to be sold, such offender shall forfeit any sum not less than ten pounds nor more than twenty pounds, as the convicting justices shall adjudge."
"A collection of statutes connected with the general administration of the law", 1836, pages 910-911
To put the minimum 10 quid fine into context, remember that a pint of beer only cost 3d to 4d at the annual rent of a beerhouse was just 2 pounds. Ten pounds was a substantial sum. Anyone caught twice, risked losing his licence for two years. Yet despite these harsh punishments, adulteration was still rife. There must have been an awful lot of money in it.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Amsterdam Pub Guide - new edition

Just in time for the city's summer season rush, I've released an updated version of my Amsterdam Pub Guide. The second-best book about Amsterdam's pubs ever written. (In case you're wondering, number one is "Amsterdamse Kroegen Encyclopedie". That covers all 1,200-odd of the city's pubs, but is ten years out of date.)

The Amsterdam Pub Guide is invaluable for anyone visiting the city. Unless they don't like beer. Though there is the stuff about architecture. And public transport. There are maps, too.

Eighty-two pubs and three beer shops are covered. Address, opening times, beers sold, nearest public transport - everything you need to know to plan your perfect Amsterdam pub crawl is included. As an extra bonus, there are features on the breweries of Amsterdam, past and present.

If you're purchasing just one guide to Amsterdam pubs this year, it has to be this one. Available both as a pdf and in printed form.

Buy the Amsterdam Pub Guide now!

Brewing sugar again

It's sugar week here at Barclay Perkins. A bit weird, coming from someone who hasn't eaten any for almost 40 years. But here I am, doing my bit to restore brewing sugar to its rightful place. Right at the heart of British brewing.

For many years, I shared the general prejudice against the use of sugar. Why? Because I didn't know any better. As I've learned more about brewing, it's become clear that sugar isn't some nasty, cheap ingredient, but a valuable weapon in the brewer's arsenal.

Yet sugar's role in British brewing has largely been ignored or glossed over. Homebrew recipes for British styles are usually all malt, despite very few commercial beers being made that way. Why is that? Is it just some subliminal effect of the Reinheitsgebot that has turned homebrewers against sugar? And surely the Brewers' Association's definition of a traditional brewer doesn't help:

"A brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands) or has at least 50% of it’s volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor."

Time for a table. One that shows the steady presence of suger in postwar British brewing:

Around 15% was the average amount of sugar in grists. That's very similar to what I've seen in brewing records. It must be true.

Now where can I find out more about the composition of proprietary brewing sugars?

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Aaaaaah . . . . . there's so much

I've started preparing for my trip to London next. Annoyingly, I'll be a day too early for the launch of Pete Brown's "Hops and Glory". Damn.

As part of my preparations, I've been browsing the catalogue of The London Metropolitan Archives. Guess what I've found? Brewing records from another nine breweries. Namely:

  • Truman's Burton Brewery
  • Russells Gravesend Brewery
  • C N Kidd and Son Limited, Steam Brewery, Hythe Street, Dartford, Kent
  • Noakes and Co Ltd, Black Eagle Brewery, Whites Grounds, Bermondsey
  • Hodgson's Kingston Brewery Co Ltd, Kingston Brewery, Brook Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey
  • Camden Brewery Co Ltd, Camden Brewery, Hawley Crescent, Camden Town
  • St Paul's Brewery, Bedford
  • Charles Beasley, Plumstead
  • H and G Simonds, Reading

Crazy, eh? I haven't finished going through the other breweries yet. Then there are the malt and hop records from Truman, Courage lager brewing records and all manner of other good stuff I want to look at. I sometimes wonder if I'll ever finish.

Beer house opening times

There' s a long history of central government regulating pub hours in Britain. Not that such laws have ever been popular with the drinking public.

These are the opening times for beer houses (those pubs not licensed to sell spirits) set in 1836. My modern standards, they're pretty liberal, allowing beers housed to open for 18 hours a day. Except on Sunday and religious holidays.

"XIV. That no person licensed to sell beer by retail under this act shall have or keep his house open for the sale of beer, nor shall sell or retail, nor shall suffer any beer to be drank or consumed, in or at such house, at any time before the hour of four of the clock in the morning nor after ten of the clock in the evening of any day in the week, nor at any time between the hours of ten of the clock in the forenoon and one of the clock in the afternoon, nor at any time between the hours of three and five of the clock in the afternoon, on any Sunday, Good Friday, Christmas Day, or any day appointed for a public fast or thanksgiving; and if any such person shall keep his house open for selling beer, or shall sell or retail beer, at any time after the hour of ten of the clock in the evening or before the hour of four of the clock ¡n the morning of any day, or between the hours of ten of the clock in the forenoon and one of the clock in the afternoon, or between the hours of three and five of the clock in the afternoon, on any Sunday, Good Friday, Christmas Day. or any day appointed for a public fast or thanksgiving, such person shall forfeit the sum of forty shillings for every offence ; and every separate sale shall be deemed a separate offence."
"A collection of statutes connected with the general administration of the law' 1836, page 911

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1955 Whitbread Best Ale

The last Mild in the current series. Boo hoo.

Whitbread - Best Ale - 1955

We've seen the Whitbread Best Ale from 1950. Here is the same beer but 5 years on. What do we notice about this one? The numbers are pretty much same with the color being just a bit darker.

Very similar to the 1950 edition. They use mostly their own malt so the rules that I applied last time to choosing your own malts apply to here. You'll notice that the crystal is the same which is right around 75L or so. Same percentage of the final grist also. The biggest difference you'll see is the amount of sugar they use. In 1950 they used only 6% sugar, here, in 1955 they use over 14% most of it being the dark No. 3. This should give a little less attenuation but have a lot more of that dark fruity character.

This is the first time I've seen such old hops used in such quantity. You'll notice these are form 1947...thats 8 bloody years old. Even under the best possible conditions there would be massive degradation. Even though there are only 8BU this should have a good amount of grassy
hop character from the amount of 'greens' that go into this beer.

Tasting Notes
Dark stone fruits, sultanas with a marked caramel flavor. Definite biscuits, lots of hay and some tannins on the palate with a sweeter finish that doesn't dry out completely.

London beer

More randomness. This time the topic is London beer. Which, according to Charles Knight, meant "the brown stout".

The genuine London beer (although we learn from the ' Brewers' Annual' that there are only three brewers in London—Reid, Meux, and Courage—who do not brew pale ale, and that there are a few who brew nothing else) is the brown stout. It is the perfection—the ideal of the "berry-brown ale" and the "nut-brown ale" of the old songs.
"London" by Charles Knight, 1842, page 13

Funnily enough, I've been going through Courage's WW I logs. Slow as I am, it was a while before I noticed there were no logs for Pale Ale. So more than 50 years later, they still weren't brewing a Pale Ale. Very unusual. Reid, on the other hand, did brew Pale Ale in 1839. Maybe they discontinued it.

Note the mention of "nut-brown ale" in reference to Porter, not Brown Ale. In case you were wondering, "nut brown" doesn't refer to the use of nuts in a beer or any such nonsense. The phrase is just a quote from an old song.

Guinness is a respectable enough drink, but we must say that the ascendancy it has gained in many coffeehouses and taverns of London is anything but creditable to the taste of their frequenters. Its sub-acidity and soda-water briskness, when compared with the balmy character of London bottled stout from a crack brewery, are like the strained and shallow efforts of a professed joker compared with the unctuous, full-bodied wit of Shakspere. As for the mum of Brunswick, which enjoys a traditional reputation on this side of the water, because it has had the good luck to be shut out by high duties, and has thus escaped detection, it is a villanous compound, somewhat of the colour and consistence of tar — a thing to be eaten with a knife and fork.
"London" by Charles Knight, 1842, page 14
This is a rare mention of the actual taste of Stout. If I read it correctly, it says Guinness was pretty tart and highly conditioned.

It is among the Osmanli, and the Arabs, and the multiform sects of Hindustan, that we are to look for the real triumph of London beer. In the country last mentioned it is true the high-hopped pale ale of Hodgson, Bass, and others famous in that line, appears to be in greater demand; yet the genuine brown stout will be found in a respectable minority. Probably, too, a minute examination would show that it is only at the tiffins of the Europeans that Hodgson's beer is most run upon, and that the dusky natives do more affect the generous liquor that comes nearer to their own complexion. In the tropical climates of the West, among the fiery aristocracy of Barbadoes, the shrewd hard-headed book-keepers of Jamaica, the alternate votaries of the gaming-table and the languishing Quadroons of New Orleans, bottled porter reigns supreme.
"London" by Charles Knight, 1842, page 15
The emphasis on IPA often leads people to forget that large quantities of Porter were exported to India, too. That Porter was preferred in the West Indies is no surprise. Stout still has a following in Jamaica and Barbados.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Brewing sugar

They were very concerned about costs during WW I. That's great for me, because the price of each ingredient is right there in the brewing logs.

That's how I noticed something counterintuitive. That sugar was sometimes more expensive than malt. Brewers weren't necessarily being cheapskates when they used a proportion of sugar in their grists.

Here's an example. This is a PA brewed by Whitbread on February 2nd 1917:

72 quarters malt total cost 4,574/-, cost per quarter 65.34/-
20 quarters No. 1 invert sugar cost 1,496/-, cost per quarter* 68/-

This Mild brewed June 7th 1918 is more extreme:

140 quarters malt total cost 12,250/-, cost per quarter 87.5/-
33 quarters No. 3 invert sugar cost 4,059/-, cost per quarter 123/-

Caramel was an even crazier price: 140/- per quarter

I've got a question for you home brewers. Do any of you ever use sugar in British-style beers? And if so, what type of sugar? Is it possible to buy proper brewing invert sugar?

I ask this because it seems that sugar was a vital part of all the recipes from 1880 to 1960 that I've seen. Especially darker beers. Mild was always coloured by No. 3 invert sugar and/or caramel. It's rare to see any dark malts in the the grist. I'm wondering how possible it is to make certain styles authentically without the right sugar.

*I'm taking 224 pounds of sugar as being the equivalent of a quarter of malt.

Mobile brewery

I'd heard of the brewing ships constructed during WW II, but this takes mobile brewing one step further. Given the conditions under which it was brewed, I doubt it tasted that great. The soldiers must have been glad to get any beer at all, out in the jungle.

Running Beer
The sight of mobile canteens for the Forces are not uncommon, but one learns that Lord Louis Mountbatten has gone further and has instituted mobile breweries as part of the equipment of his forward combat units on the Burma border. The apparatus is said to fit on a 15 cwt. truck - surely a feat of ingenuity when one recalls the size and complexity of even the small experimental brewing plants staged at the Brewers' Exhibition just before the war - and includes a boiler for the liquor, mash tun, copper, cooler and fermenting vessels. Three days are taken in the process, and the beer keeps for only 12 hours, but the results are said to be good notwithstanding a temperature of 95º in the shade. The only missing feature seems to be the Excise officer.
'Brewing Trade Review 1944" page 10.

Monday, 25 May 2009


OK, this really the end of the French. But I couldn't ignore instructions for brewing Hoegaarden, could I?

Note that no yeast is added.

E. — Bière De Hougaerde : —
1° Première trempe à l'eau froide en été, à l'eau tiède en hiver.
2° Extraction par les paniers et soutirage de ce qui est entre les fonds.
3° Envoi dans une cuve d'attente.
4° Deuxième trempe à l'eau bouillante.
5° Extraction comme pour la première et réunion des deux trempes dans une chaudière, où l'on porte à l'ébulli- lion.
6° Troisième trempe à l'eau bouillante.
7° Brassage.
8° Repos de trois quarts d'heure.
9° Soutirage dans la reverdoire.
10° Enlèvement de la drèche qui est portée dans un bac d'attente.
11° Nettoyage de la cuve-matière.
12° On replace la drèche dans celte cuve et on verse, dessus les deux premières trempes bouillantes.
13° Pendant la filtration de ces, on fait bouillir la troisième avec le houblon pendant une heure et demie à deux heures et on l'envoie aux bacs refroidissoirs.
14° Le moût des deux premières trempes est envoyé aux refroidissoirs.
15° Les moûts refroidis sont réunis dans la guilloire.
16° Entonnage sans levûre.

Cette bière se consomme pendant qu'elle fermente encore, et nous partageons entièrement l'avis de l'auteur belge, qui la regarde comme malsaine, ainsi que la bière de Louvain. Celte réflexion s'applique, du reste, à la plupart des bières fromentacées de Belgique.

"Guide theorique et pratique du fabricant d'alcools et du distillateur", by Nicolas Basset, published by Librairie du Dictionnnaire des arts et manufactures, 1870, page 636.

The recipe for Bière De Hougaerde is given as

2 parts wheat
5 to 6 parts air-dried barley malt
1 to 1.5 parts oats

Sunday, 24 May 2009

No time to argue

You may have noticed a lack of foaming rage on my part in recent weeks. No, I haven't mellowed. I just haven't time to argue.

Most people would be happy struggling to finish one book. I'm working simultaneously on four. Crazy? Pretty obviously it is. But that won't stop me. June's Mini Book is ready to send to the publisher and I've another secret project that's as good as done. Just the cover to go. Yes, this Spring is a busy time at Kilderkin. (That's my publishing arm. I had considered a publishing leg, too, but settled on just an arm.)

All of which has kept me away from those fermenters of anger and argument called beer forums. No bad thing then, being busy.

The beers of Louvain

Yesterday's post was such a success, I've decided to continue my support of the French language on the web. Vive la Résistance!

Is it me or is this method of mashing incredibly complicated? I'm not sure about some of the vocab. Does "cuve d'attente" mean underback? And what's a "chaudière à farine"? Step 10 sounds awfully like underletting. And "cuve-reverdoire". What is that?

Bières Blanches De Louvain was the name for these beers. Peeterman was a specific type of Bières Blanches.

B. — Bières De Louvain.
— Les matières mélangées sont partagées en deux portions, l'une, des trois cinquièmes de la masse pour la cuve-matière, l'autre des deux cinquièmes pour la chaudière à farine. Ordre du travail : —

1° Chauffagc de l'eau dans une chaudière.
2° Introduction d'eau froide dans la cuve-matière, les trois septièmes de son volume. Addition et empâtage des matières.
3° Addition d'eau froide pour remplir la cuve et brassage énergique.
4° Enlèvement du liquide à l'aide des paniers coniques à filtrer et transport dans la chaudière à farine.
5° Deuxième trempe, comme la première, avec de l'eau dégourdie.
6° Extraction aux paniers et soutirage du liquide d'entre les fonds.
7° Envoi à la chaudière à farine, sous laquelle le feu est allumé.
8° Troisième trempe, avec l'eau bouillante de la première chaudière, brassage comme pour la première trempe, extraction aux paniers et envoi à la chaudière à farine de la portion du liquide qui est encore blanchâtre.
9° Le reste et le soutirage sont envoyés à une cuve d'attente ou de clarification.
10° Quatrième trempe à l'eau bouillante par le faux fond, brassage et repos d'une demi-heure.
11° Soutirage et réunion au bac d'attente.
12° Cinquième trempe, comme la précédente.
13° Soutirage dans la cuve-reverdoire.
14° Sixième trempe, un peu plus courte.
15° Le moût du bac d'attente et une partie de celui de la cinquième trempe (de la reverdoire) sont portés dans la chaudière à cuire, où on le chauffe ; on y ajoute tout le houblon quand le liquide est prêt à bouillir.
16° Soutirage de la sixième trempe dans la reverdoire, avec ce qui reste de la cinquième.
17° Transport de la drèche sur le faux fond de la cuve d'attente, où elle est bien étalée.
18° Pendant ce temps, la chaudière à farine, qui a réuni les deux premières trempes et une partie de la troisième et sous laquelle on a allumé le feu, a reçu les deux cinquièmes du mélange farineux. Brassage continu jusqu'à l'ébullition qui doit durer une heure en moyenne.
19° Eulèvement du liquide à la bassine et aux paniers et transport sur la drèche placée dans la cuve d'attente.
20° Addition sur le résidu de la chaudière à farine de la liqueur de la cuve-reverdoire (sixième trempe et partie de la cinquième).
21° Mise en ébullition et brassage.
22° Nettoyage de la réverdoire.
23° Soutirage du moût de la cuve d'attente ou de clarification, par le fond, et transport à la cuve-reverdoire et de là aux bacs refroidissoirs. C'est le premier moût.
24° Brassage dans la chaudière à farine. Ebullition de cinq quarts d'heure.
25° Repos d'une demi-heure.
26° Passage du liquide et clarification sur la cuve à clarification où est la drèche.
27° Ce deuxième moût est envoyé aux bacs refroidissoirs.
28° On fait, dans la chaudière à farine, une trempe de petite bière avec les trois quarts de son volume d'eau chaude. Brassage de deux heures. On transvase la totalité du contenu de la chaudière à farine dans la cuve de clarification.
29° Le moût Itoublonné, qui a bouilli pendant deux heures (15°), est laissé en repos pendant quelques instants, puis on l'envoie aux bacs rofroidissoirs.
30° La trempe de petite bière (28°) subit une ébullition de deux heures sur le résidu du houblon, puis elle est envoyée aux bacs refroidissoirs.
31° Réunion de tous les moûts dans la guilloire, sauf celui de la petite bière, lorsqu'ils sont refroidis entre +22 et +28 degrés, selon la saison.
32° Addition de la levure (3,5 à 4 litres par 1 000 litres) aussitôt qu'il y a du moût dans la guilloire.
33° Mélange de la levure lorsque les liquides sont réunis.
34° Entonnage.
35° La fermentation se fait en tonnes, debout sur fond; le fond supérieur est percé pour l'écoulement de la levure et l'ouillage. Mise en consommation aussitôt que le mouvement a cessé'.

Le produit ne se conserve pas. Nous ne croyons pas devoir nous arrêter à faire voir les inconséquences de cette marche, qui présente plutôt un tohu-bohu de pratiques mal comprises qu'une méthode véritable. On doit regarder cette bière comme une boisson malsaine. M. Lacambre avait perfectionné ce travail en y apportant un peu d'ordre et de clarté. La base de sa méthode consistait à traiter séparément le malt dans la cuve-matière et le froment dans la chaudière à farine, où la matière était sacharifiée par l'infusion diastatique de la cuve- matière. Les épuisements, la clarification 'et les autres opérations se rapprochaient le plus possible de la marche vulgaire, tout en présentant une application plus sage des principes de la brasserie. On doit avouer que les consommateurs, fidèles à leurs habitudes routinières, prétendaient que cette bière n'avait pas le goût de la véritable bière de Louvain, ce que l'auteur attribue à l'emploi du malt touraillé, an moins pour ce qui concerne la peeterman.

Travail de la peeterman.
— La peeterman est une bière essentiellement dextrinée, liés-grasse à la bouche, par conséquent, et celte propriété est encore augmentée par l'addition des matières gélatineuses à la cuisson. Il est clair, après ce qui a été exposé précédemment, qu'on ne peut la regarder comme une bière conservable.

Le travail est à peu près le même que celui de la bière de Louvain. M. Lacambre signale les différences suivantes:
1° La première infusion de la chaudière à farine subit trois à quatre heures d'ébullition au lieu d'une heure.
2° La troisième et la quatrième trempe servent à préparer la deuxième infusion de la chaudière à farine et non pas la décoction du houblon.
3° Celte deuxième infusion, après avoir bouilli comme la première, pendant trois à quatre heures, est clarifiée et réunie à la première.
4° Le moût est cuit pendant quatre à cinq heures avec le houblon et des matières gélatineuses. On le refroidit et on le met en fermentation comme la louvain, mais sa fermentation est un peu plus longue. On fait de la bière de ménage avec les trempes d'épuisement.

"Guide theorique et pratique du fabricant d'alcools et du distillateur", by Nicolas Basset, published by Librairie du Dictionnnaire des arts et manufactures, 1870, pages 632-635.

I think that's enough French for the time being.

Here's a couple of recipes.:

Bières Blanches De Louvain
raw wheat 2000 kg
air-dried barley malt 900 kg
oats 400 kg
total 3300 kg
finished beer 147.4 hl

Bières Blanches De Louvain
raw wheat 4500 kg
air-dried barley malt 2600 kg
total 7100 kg
Aalst hops old 50 kg
finished beer 304 hl
OG 6.25 Baumé (1045º)

raw wheat 6500 kg
air-dried barley malt 1400 kg
oats 100 kg
total 8000 kg
Aalst hops 65 kg
finished beer 130 hl

"Guide theorique et pratique du fabricant d'alcools et du distillateur", by Nicolas Basset, published by Librairie du Dictionnnaire des arts et manufactures, 1870, pages 638-639.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

London chop houses in 1855

Here's another random quote. This is from a mid-19th century American tourist in London. He proves Zythophile's assertion that no-one can spell Allsopp correctly.

One of the features of London is the "chop house," restaurant, or eating house. On the windows are painted these words : "Hot joints from twelve to eight," "chops and steaks" — "Alsops pale ale," — "XXX brown-stout," &c. When Nature cries out that she "abhors a vacuum," you can step into one of these houses and order a "chop" or a "steak" — you need not mention mutton chop, for the English know no other, and the chances are that you will get for about twenty-five cents a good and substantial dinner, with a pot of ale into the bargain; not forgetting a mouthful or two of Stilton or Cheshire cheese. These chop-houses are convenient to the stranger when engaged in sight seeing. They are all over town, but chiefly in the "city," as the business part of London is called.
"A Wall-Street Bear in Europe", by Samuel Young, 1855, page 176.

Bière de mars, Lambic, Faro

Hey, I've been looking for more about Peeterman, but found this, too. About Brussels beer. In French.

Now there's a reason I'm leaving it in French. The web is far too anglophone. This is my bit to even things up. That I don't have to bother translating it is just a happy side effect.

Remember the Booth passage about pharo. Where he said it was the stronger than lambic? This text disagrees. Bière de mars, Faro, Lambic. That's the three subtypes of Brussels beer in ascending order of strength. Sounds more like it.

A. — Bières De Bruxelles.
— En fait, c'est habituellement avec le même brassin que se préparent le lambick, le faro et la bière de mars.

Le lambiek est la bière forte fabriquée avec les premières trempes ; la bière de mars est la petite bière, préparée avec les dernières trempes, et le faro est la bière moyenne, résultant de la réunion de toutes les trempes.

Ordre du travail. —
1° Introduction de parties égnles d'eau froide et d'eau bouillante dans la cuve-matière jusqu'à 4 ou 5 centimètres au-dessus du faux fond.
2° Addition de la balle de froment qu'on répartit sur le faux fond.
3° Introduction de la matière farineuse.
4° Addition par le faux fond d'eau à +-50 degrés, puis d'eau à 90 degrés de manière à remplir la cuve.
5° Brassage et mélange exact.
6° Ou jette de la balle de froment sur la surface.
7° Introduction, jusqu'au faux fond de paniers coniques faisant fonction de filtres.
8° Enlèvement'du liquide des paniers, qu'on porte à la chaudière.
9° Soutirage du liquide d'entre les fonds et réunion avec le précédent.
10° On allume le feu sous la chaudière.
11° Seconde trempe à l'eau bouillante.
12° Extraction de celte trempe et réunion avec la première.
13° Ébullition pendant vingt minutes.
14° Relevage de la matière dans la cuve et addition de balle de froment, d'abord sur le pourtour des parois, ensuite sur le milieu.
15° Retour du moût qui a bouilli et léger brassage.
16° Soutirage par le faux fond.
17° A mesure que la filtration s'opère et que le liquide coule dans le réservoir, on ajoute le reste du moût dans la cuve-matière.
18° Nettoyage de lu chaudière.
19° Introduction, dans celte chaudière, du liquide et du houblon, et ébullition pendant six heures. Cette mise en ébullition doit être accompagnée d'agitation et de brassage, pour éviter que la matière s'attache au fond et brûle.

Cette première qualité de moût formera le lambick. Pour cela, après l'ébullition, on suit ainsi le traitement.
20° Mise au bac à houblon et filtration.
21° Refroidissement.
22° Mise en guilloire vers +14 à +16 degrés, ou +10 à + 12 degrés selon la saison.
23° Entonnage immédiat sans levure. Fermentation (rès-lente, qui ne se termine qu'en dix-huit mois ou deux ans. Ouillage convenable.

Travail de la bière de mars. — Lorsque le premier moût destiné à faire le lambick est dans la chaudière avec le houblon, on a porté à l'ébullition, dans une autre chaudière, l'eau de la troisième trempe, on y a lavé les paniers filtres et cette eau est envoyée à la cuve-matière. Brassage très-court. Repos d'une demi-heure. Soutirage par le faux fond. Quatrième trempe, comme la troisième. Réunion des liquides de ces deux trempes dans la seconde chaudière avec le résidu de houblon du lambick. Refroidissement. Entonnage comme pour le lambick. Travail de fermentation identique.

Travail du faro. On réunit le moût de lambick et le moût de bière de mars, et l'on entonne le produit mélangé. Ou bien encore on coupe le lambick fermenté avec de la bière de mars fermentée séparément.

"Guide theorique et pratique du fabricant d'alcools et du distillateur", by Nicolas Basset, published by Librairie du Dictionnnaire des arts et manufactures, 1870, pages 631-632.

As a special treat, I have translated the recipes:

bière de mars and lambic
wheat 680 kg
malt 660 kg
total 1340 kg
Aalst hops (lambic) 39 kg
Aalst Hops (bière de mars) 19kg
lambic 34.5 hl
bière de mars 34.5 hl

(The bière de mars and lambic were party-gyled)

wheat 1760 kg
malt 1672 kg
total 3432 kg
hops 92 kg
faro 98.4 hl

"Guide theorique et pratique du fabricant d'alcools et du distillateur", by Nicolas Basset, published by Librairie du Dictionnnaire des arts et manufactures, 1870, pages 637-638.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Random statistics: mid-19th-century Austria

Time for some numbers for no apparent reason. A completely random set of figures I found in the course of a wander across the web. I'm only publishing them here because I don't want to lose them. Does that make sense?

The numbers concern population, number of breweries and beer production for Austria. Or, to be more precise, the Austrian half of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

That was fun, wasn't it?

Illicit Brewing of Beer

In a quiet moment yesterday evening I began flicking through a random old trade magazine. As you do. "Brewing Trade Review 1947" it was. One of my purchases from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling auction. Within 5 minutes I'd found half a dozen items I could post about. Or use in The Book.

I've chosen for your delectation an odd tale of illicit brewing. There's one thing I don't quite understand. How, during the war, could they get hold of brewing materials without the authorities knowing?

Lancaster Assizes
28th May, 1947
R. v. Houghton

Illicit Brewing of Beer

Mrs. Margaret A. Houghton, of Lulworth Avenue, Preston, was sent to prison for six months in the second division, and here son, Mr. Bernard Houghton, was sent to prison for 12 months, after they had pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the Customs and Excise of £4,520 in beer duty.

Mr. J. Robertson Crichton represented the prosecution and Mr. E. Rowson, K.C., represented the defendants.

Mr. Crichton said that Mrs. Houghton bought the Falcon Inn, Preston, which was a home-berwing house, in 1939. In August 1942, the house was not paying very well and a secret brewing plant was set up in the domestic quarters of the inn. In 1946 the inn was sold to a Mr. G.W. Shawcross, who discovered the secret plant and reported the matter to the Customs and Excise authorities. It was estimated that the equivalent of 350 barrels, or 12,600 gallons, of beer had been brewed secretly. The son, who joined the Army in 1939, was invalided out with a weak heart in 1941 and assisted his mother in the business.

Mr. Rowson said that when Mrs. Houghton took over the Falcon Inn she had no experience in the trade before. She had sold the inn for £6,000 and had paid off a mortgage of £3,200. What was left she was quite prepared to pay to the Treasury.

Mr. Justice Stable, passing sentence, said it was distressing to see a lady of Mrs. Houghton's age (67) in such a position, but he could not possibly let the matter pass.

"Brewing Trade Review 1947", page 478.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

A brewing fairy tale

I just stumbled across this story, told in Parliament in 1851. I found it amusing. But, if you've read any of my jokes, you'll know that I'm easily amused.

It was part of a debate about transportation. Not transport, but transportation: shipping convicts to Australia. I would explain. I would. But pressing prior engagements and all that.

Once upon a time—no matter when—and in a place—no matter where—there lived an old rogue of a brewer, who, from neglect and mismanagement, had a large quantity of very bad beer on his hands. It was about as sour as vinegar, and totally unfit for home consumption or domestic use; in fact, it was something worse than useless, entailing only trouble and expense on its unfortunate owner. What to do the old brewer knew not; so he consulted his friends and retainers. They generally agreed that the best thing would be to send it abroad—just the thing for the colonies. Ah ! said the brewer, 1 have for a long time shipped large quantities under the name of single X ale, but the buyers have found out they have had a bad bargain, though I sold the article dirt-cheap. I then doctored it up a bit, changed the name to XX, and raised the price, to make my customers believe they were getting something of the right sort; but some of them denounced the trick, grumbled sadly, and complained that I had made bad worse. As a last resource, I altered the colour, clarified the liquor, popped in a little sugar, and again changed the name to XXX, so that the people might believe they were getting a real genuine article—true malt and hops; and to make all sure, by way of experiment, I sent my ale to a new market. I knew the people of the Cape manufactured shocking bad wine, so I thought they would not be over particular in taking a little bad beer. Confound the fellows! you wouldn't believe what a row they kicked up. They roared out as though they were going to be poisoned, and would not even allow the liquor to be landed; so I was obliged to ship it off to the old market, where the people have become so accustomed to the ale, bad as it is, that, goodnatured souls ! they will swallow anything; and besides, between ourselves, I have a first-rate agent there who passes it off admirably; but my last accounts, I am sorry to say, advise me that my customers even there are getting sick of it, and if so, my trade is done up. What am I to do ? One man, more honest than the rest, said, " Why, old gentleman, you must take more pains in the manufacture of your beer; and if a little should still spoil on your hands, you must, bear the loss and inconvenience yourself, and not pour your trash down the throats of others."
Parliamentary papers, Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons, Published by HMSO, 1851, page 84.

Makes a change from Booth though, doesn't it?

Hours of Closing

Shouting at the TV is one of my hobbies. Especially, but not exclusively, if there's something on that's beer-related. The passage today reminds me of just such a throbbing temple moment.

QI was the programme. That Stephen Fry mocks the belief in myths of the contestants made it all that more galling from hiim to be talking absolute bollocks. The topic was DORA (Defence of the Realm Act). DORA was a whole bunch of draconian legislation, part of which lumbered Britain with pubs closing in the afternoon. Fry wildly incorrectly said (though I'm sure it was just a script he was reading) that DORA introduced the first pub closing times. No it effing didn't. Not even close.

Funnily enough, I remember covering pub closing times in school history. Legislation regulating the opening (and closing) times of pubs was enacted in the 19th century.

The following is taken from The Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act 1874. These opening times remained in force until WW I.

Hours of Closing.

3. Hour of closing premises licensed for sale of intoxicating liquors,.] All premises in which intoxicating liquors are sold by retail shall be closed as follows (that is to say,)

(1) If situate within the metropolitan district—
  • (a) On Saturday night from midnight until one o'clock in the afternoon on the Sunday ; and
  • (b) On Sunday night from eleven o'clock until five o'clock on the following morning ; and
  • (c) On all other days from half-an-hour after midnight until five o'clock on the same morning; and

(2) If situate beyond the metropolitan district and in the metropolitan police district or in a town or in a populous place as defined by this Act;

  • (a) On Saturday night from eleven o'clock until half- an-hour after noon on the following Sunday : and
  • (b) On Sunday night from ten o'clock until six. o'clock on the following morning ; and
  • (c) On the nights of all other days from eleven o'clock until six o'clock on the following morning ; and

(3) If situate elsewhere than in the metropolitan district or the metropolitan police district or such town or populous place as aforesaid,—

  • (a) On Saturday night from ten o'clock until half-an-hour after noon on the following Sunday ; and
  • (b) On Sunday night from ten o'clock until six o'clock on the following morning ; and
  • (c) On the nights of all other days from ten o'clock until six o'clock on the following morning.

Such premises wherever situate shall, save as hereinafter mentioned, be closed on Sunday afternoon from three or half-past two according as the hour of opening shall be one o'clock in the afternoon or half-an-hour after noon until six o'clock.

Such premises wherever situate shall be closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday, and on the days preceding Christmas Day and Good Friday respectively, as if Christmas Day and Good Friday were respectively Sunday, and the preceding days were respectively Saturday, but this provision shall not alter the hours during which such premises shall be closed on Sunday when Christmas Day immediately precedes or succeeds Sunday.

"The Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act, 1872, 1874" by James Paterson, 1889, pages 148-149.

Hours of closing. That's exactly what it felt like. Hours of closing and just a few minutes of opening. Note that the crappy Sunday opening hours that were the bane of my younger years dated not from WW I but the 1870's.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Mum or Mumme

Mumme is another of those old German beer styles which comes with a variety of spellings. Annoying, isn't it? Not quite as bad as Koyt or Broyhan.

Still more from David Booth. Though he admits at the start of this section that his knowledge of Mumme is second-hand. So not 100% reliable as a source.

"Mum is seldom mentioned in this country, except in the Excise Laws, where it appears loaded with an importation-duty, amounting to a prohibition. It is a German manufacture, and particularly of Brunswick. It seems also, from the same Excise Laws, that a sort of beer, by the name of Mum, had, at one time, been made in Ireland; but whether or riot any beverage now exists there under that denomination, we have not been able to learn. This must, however, have been an imitation, for the designation is undoubtedly German: and there, too, it must have been of early origin; for there they say, doubtfully, that Mumme is a sort of beer, so called after Christian Mummen, its inventor.

At Brunswick, where it is chiefly manufactured, and from whence it is exported to various parts of Europe and even Asia, they brew two kinds of Mum: the Stadtmumme, or common liquor for home consumption, being distinguished, by its inferior strength, from the Schiffmumme, which is fitted for exportation. From the German recipes for its manufacture, the Schiffmumme ought to be a very powerful liquid. It is described by Adelung as " thick, strong, and of a dark brown colour;" qualities which it must necessarily possess, if, as is said, a barrel of the worts contains the extract of more than a quarter of grain. It is probable, however, that the two qualities spoken of are drawn from the same goods; as is the case, in many parts of this country, with regard to strong and table beer. The proportions of the mash are stated thus:

7 bushels of wheaten malt;
1 bushel of oatmeal;
and 1 bushel of beans.

These quantities of grain, when ground, are brewed with a hogshead of hot water (?); anil the worts are directed to be boiled until a third of the liquid is evaporated.

The mass of ingredients which the Brunswick Receipt (said to be preserved in the Archives of the Town-house) proposes to be put into the cask, " after it is tunned and in a working state," is enormous: " the inner rind of fir, three pounds; tops of fir and birch, each one pound; carduus benedictus, three handfuls; flowers of rosa solis, one handful or two; burnet, betony, marjoram, avens, pennyroyal, wild thyme, of each a handful and a half; of elder-flowers, two handfuls, or more; seeds of cardamom, bruised, thirty ounces; barberries, bruised, one ounce.—Put the herbs and seeds into the vessel when the liquor has wrought a while; and, after they are added, let the liquor work over the vessel as little may be ; then fill it up. Lastly, when it is stopped, put into the hogshead ten new- laid eggs, unbroken or cracked; stop it up close, and drink it at two years' end."

It were useless to attempt any commentary upon such a farrago of materials. The Herb-ale of our ancestors was nothing to this. Doubtless the modern Brewers of Brunswick have improved in their trade, as well as those of this country; but still this absurd and almost libellous description of their method of brewing runs the round of the British Cyclopaedias ; and we have not, hitherto, been favoured with any other. Those scientific works generally subjoin (we know not on what authority) the following remark: " Our English Brewers use cardamom, ginger, and sassafras, instead of the inner rind of fir; and add also walnut-rinds, madder, red sanders, and elecampane."

This surely cannot be ! We are not acquainted with any manufactory, either in Great Britain or Ireland, where such a liquor is brewed. Indeed, it could never have been legally done, under the cognisance of the Excise."
"The Art of Brewing", by David Booth, 1834, Part IV pages 49-50.
I think that's enough of Booth. Unless I can't find anything else to write about in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Brewing in Leuven in the 1830's

I know. This horse is nearly dead. But beating it is such fun. Yes, it's another of David Booth's little treatises on continental brewing again.

As you would expect of Belgium, the brewing method is slightly eccentric. They used air-dried rather than kiln-dried malt, which makes Pieterman a Weissbier by the naming convention of the day, despite being 100% barley. This type of beer used to be brewed all the way from Belgium to Berlin. Now it's usually only found in Belgium and Berlin.

Booth uses delightful understatement when he says of Belgian brewers "they are no ardent lovers of cleanliness". What A polite why of saying they're filthy bastards.


The beer of Louvaine is famed throughout the Netherlands, and its sale constitutes the principal portion of the trade of the place. The city contains twenty-four Brewers, some of whom manufacture three hundred barrels a-week.

In malting, they follow the worst possible plan. They have no kiln, nor do they ever use any fuel in drying the malt. Whatever be the season, it is done by the air alone, hi large lofty attics, which form a part of every brewhouse, and are made use of solely for that purpose. In the cold winter months, they, of necessity, are unable to malt. They make use of no malt, except what is made from barley; which always remains very tough, and is never separated from its dust. In general, they are no ardent lovers of cleanliness.

The plant, with a few exceptions, is similar to that of an English brewhouse. They not only employ two coppers, but also two mash-tuns. The coppers are near to each other, and on a level with the tuns. There are five separate coolers, by which they are enabled to divide the worts, so as to make strong beer, table beer, and small beer, from the same gyle. The strong beer is of two kinds, Pieterman, and White Beer. The former is brown-coloured, pretty strong, and has a mixed taste of bitter and sweet: the other is sweeter, but much weaker; and both are not only turbid, but, in the utmost sense of the word. We shall begin with an account of


They take, first, seven quarters and a half of barley-malt, and seven and a half of raw wheat, finely ground and mixed together, and fill them into eighteen large sacks. Then they take seven quarters of finely-ground raw wheat, and fill them into sixteen small sacks. From these materials, they produce forty barrels of strong Pieterman, thirty-five barrels of table beer, and twelve barrels of small beer, by the following management :—

The mash-tun No. I is half filled with cold water, into which are put the eighteen large sacks of grain; and when the whole is well mashed, as much additional cold water is let on, through the trunk, as fills the tun to within tvo inches of the top. Several wicker baskets are now pressed down among the goods; and the cold worts are thus got out, by means of brass pails, and put into the copper No. 1. Cold liquor is turned twice upon the goods in succession, and taken out in the same manner, to be carried to the copper No. 1; by which means it is now half-full.

The mash-tun No. 1, with the goods, is now filled to the brim with boiling liquor from the copper No. 2. After mashing some time, the heat of the goods being 108 degrees, the wort is got out, as before, by means of baskets, and likewise carried to the copper No. 1. Into this copper, also, the sixteen small sacks of finely ground wheat are now emptied, which fill the copper to the brim; and a fire is immediately lighted under it.

Boiling liquor is turned a second time on the goods in No.l, from the copper No. 2; and, after mashing, the wort is taken out and put temporarily into the mash-tun No. 2. A third mash of boiling water is now made of the goods in the mash- tun No. 1, raising the heat to 182 degrees. By this mash the copper No. 2 is emptied; and immediately receives the wort which was stored in the mash-tun No. 2, by which it is half filled. Twelve pounds of hops are added to this copper, which is then covered.

From the mash-tun No. 1 the last hot wort is exhausted, in the same way as before, and put (for a time) into casks prepared for receiving it; and then the goods are all turned out of the mash-tun No.l, into the mash-tun No. 2, which had been previously washed and accommodated with a false bottom. Hitherto, of course, the worts have been all turbid, without having acquired any sweet taste.

During all this time the copper No. 1 (containing the cold and first warm wort, as well as the seven quarters of raw wheat) is roused continually, and heated so very slowly that it requires nearly four hours to bring it to boil. After boiling an hour, the fluid portion of this thick mash is drained out, by means of baskets, and turned upon the goods in the mash-tun No. 2; leaving in this copper, No. 1, merely the cuticles or bran of the wheat. Over these cuticles the wort that was stored in the casks, as above mentioned, is pumped, and then left to boil.

The wort in the mash-tun No. 2, after being stirred a little, at a heat of about 170 degrees, is now run off, and, being very pure and sweet, is, without adding hops, pumped directly into two of the coolers; and the wort from the copper No. 2 (which, after having boiled two hours along with the hops, had been emptied into the mash-tun No. 1, where it had stood three hours and settled pretty clear) is likewise pumped up, but on a separate cooler. The copper No. 2 is now employed in heating liquor.

The wort which was turned upon the wheat-bran, in the copper No. 1, after having boiled two hours, is now drained out with baskets, and turned upon the goods in the mash- tun No. 2; and the copper No. 1 (containing only the wheat- bran) is again filled with boiling water from the copper No. 2. The tun No. 2, after mashing (heat about 175 degrees), is drained of its worts, which, now pure and sweet, are put into the empty mash-tun No. 1. The contents of the copper No. 1, bran and all (having begun to boil), are turned over into the mash-tun No. 2, mashed at a heat of about 180 degrees, and, the worts draining from it pure, are pumped into the copper No. 1. The copper No. 2, instantly after being emptied of its boiling liquor, was filled with the worts that stood in the mash tun No. 1.

Both coppers being now filled with pure worts, are mixed up with hops; twenty-six pounds being put into No. 2, and thirteen pounds into No. 1. They are covered, and, after boiling six hours, are cast into separate coolers.

The whole of the worts are cooled down to 70 degrees before letting them down to the yeast: that portion which was pumped up from the copper No. 1 (about twelve barrels) is reserved for small beer; and the other worts are separated into the requisite proportions of strong beer and table beer, in which the mixture of the worts from the other four coolers is made from the Brewer's taste with regard to strength; he having no saccharometer, or other similar instrument, to direct his judgment.

The forty barrels of strong beer (Pieterman) are let down into a tun with eight-and-a-half gallons of yeast. This yeast is very white, and retains something of the sour taste which is peculiar to all the beer that is brewed at Louvaine. As soon as the worts in the tun have been well mixed with the yeast, they are drawn off into casks, standing on end and holding about a barrel and a half each, in which the fermentation commences and finishes in a period of between forty- four to fifty hours.


The White Beer is brewed nearly in the same manner as the Pieterman, except that the quantity of hops is one-fourth less; neither are they allowed to boil so long with the worts. The whole quantity of grain made use of is the same; but the kinds and mixture are different. The eighteen sacks are filled with two-thirds of barley-malt, one-sixth of raw wheat, and one-sixth of oats, all ground fine; and the sixteen small sacks contain three-fourths of raw wheat, and one-fourth of barley-malt. The brewing consists of one entire gyle, and the quantity produced is eighty-two barrels.
"The Art of Brewing", by David Booth, 1834, chapter IV pages 45-48.

Monday, 18 May 2009

London here I come

It was shocking and disturbing to discover how incomplete the WW I chapter of my book was. Something had to be done. And I don't mean just delaying publishing my Mini Book "War!". Time for another archive trip.

The main purpose is to photograph Barclay Perkins WW I brewing logs. I've a few snaps of them taken with my old camera. Even squinting like a man trying to wear two monocles, I can still make out bugger all. It's been driving me crazy. It makes much more sense to just return to the archive rather than ruin my eyes.

There are other questions, too. Did Barclay Perkins really discontinue their PA in 1917, or did I just neglect to photograph any PA logs? Only one way to find out.

June 3rd. That's when I'll be making my day trip. It's the usual schedule. Catch a flight at 9:30 in Schiphol, hit the archive about 11:30, snap like crazy until 15:00, throw down 7 or 8 pints in the Gunmakers, catch the flight in Stansted at 19:00. A bit tiring, but well doable.

That reminds me. I seem to remember winning a photography competition a few months back. Wasn't the prize beer in a certain well-known Clerkenwell pub? I hope Jeff hasn't forgotten.

Brewing in Vienna in the 1830's

You can probably guess what's coming. More stuff from David Booth. I'm enjoying his descriptions of continental brewing even if you aren't. And me having fun is all that matters. Sorry if that sounds selfish.

The text below is a fascinating insight into brewing techniques in Austria pre-lager. As in Prague, the mash is a type of decoction, but the fermentation is top-fermenting. It can't have been 100% satisfactory, as Viennese brewers were amongst the first to switch to bottom fermentation.


Barley here, which is at present twelve shillings a quarter of 375 pounds, pays no duty when making into malt; but beer is charged ten shillings a barrel in the city, and four shillings in the country. In Vienna, the current price is a guinea per barrel, but a better sort is sold at twenty-seven shillings. The political economist, however, would err in drawing any conclusion from those prices. The money value of commodities of internal consumption in one country cannot be appreciated in another.

The malt is bruised by means of iron rollers; and a quantity of it, amounting to 14.38 English quarters, is put dry into the mash-tun. About 28 barrels of cold water is turned over this malt, which gradually imbibes- the moisture, till, at the close of the maceration (which continues during two hours in summer and four hours in winter), the liquor and the goods appear equally mingled at the surface of the tun. Meanwhile, a square copper, filled with liquor to within three inches of the top, is heating.

Four barrels of the cold wort are now drawn off, by a cock under the false bottom, into the under-back, of which a third of a barrel is put into a vessel and placed in a corner of the cooler: between two and three barrels are required to fill up the copper, and about a barrel remains in the under-back.

When the liquor in the copper, which has been mixed with the cold worts, comes near the boiling point, it forms a very thick frothy head, which is skimmed off and given to the pigs. It is then allowed to boil three quarters of an hour; when, to the amount of 18 or 20 barrels, it is turned over the goods in the mash-tun, leaving merely sufficient to cover the bottom of the copper. The goods are then mashed nearly an hour, and the heat has risen to 104 degrees.

Immediately after the mashing is over, the small quantity of cold wort that remained in the under-back is pumped up into the copper; and the cock of the mash-tun being turned (slowly at first), the pumping is continued while the wort is draining, so that there is never above a barrel at a time in the under-back. The copper being full, the quantity above stated remains in the under-back, and the rest of the wort stands on the goods, wetting them to the height of about a foot above the false bottom. The draining and pumping takes up above an hour.

This second mash (as it is called), now in the copper, on acquiring a certain heat, presents a similar head of froth as the former; which is also skimmed off in the same manner, and used for the same purpose. The copper is not allowed to boil; for at the moment when it arrives at the boiling-point, it is turned upon the goods in the mash-tun, through a trough, and mashed as long a time as the first—that is, an hour. The heat has now increased to 135 degrees.

After being allowed a few minutes to settle, the worts are drained from the mash-tun (when they usually run clear), and pumped into the copper, where they are boiled for half an hour. They have now become perfectly transparent, and are turned again on the goods, with which they are mashed half an hour, when the heat is found to be about 162 degrees.

On first opening the cock after this mashing, eight or ten gallons which are a little foul are returned upon the surface of the goods; when the rest of the worts, running off pure, are pumped up to the copper, as much as it will hold: and as, by the frequent boilings, the quantity has been lessened, the under-back is enabled to hold the remainder of the worts, so that the goods remain dry.

The wort in the copper is now boiled for half an hour, when as much is run off upon the goods as allows it to receive what was left in the under-back. The copper is then allowed to boil a quarter of an hour longer; after which its whole contents are turned upon the goods, and it is charged anew, half full, with cold liquor, for a subsequent sparge. The goods are now mashed, for the last time, during half an hour; and (the heat being about 180 degrees) are allowed to stand an hour longer before draining.

The cock of the mash-tun is now turned; and the liquor in the copper (having become very hot) being wholly run off into a vessel kept for the purpose, the pumping of the worts from the under-back is instantly commenced. Forty-eight pounds of hops are put into the copper, and the pumping continued until it is full: the under-back holds the remainder of the runnings from the mash-tun. When the goods are drained dry, a grey slimy substance is found on their surface; which being taken off, and the grains a little loosened, the hot liquor preserved in the vessel above mentioned (and which yet retains the heat of 132 or 133 degrees) is sprinkled over the goods. This sparge necessarily remains in the tun until room is made for it in the copper.

After the worts with the hops have boiled an hour and a quarter, part of them are cast; but before they are thrown into the cooler, the twelve gallons of cold wort which stood in one corner of it, as formerly mentioned, is spread over the bottom. The cock of the mash-tun is now opened; and the worts from the sparge, as well as what were left in the under- back, are pumped up to the copper, which is thereby filled; and the hops of the first wort being returned, the whole is boiled an hour and a half. The hops have been thus boiled with worts during two hours and three quarters: the second worts are cast, and the brewing is finished. Nevertheless, another sparge of cold water is passed through the goods, the produce of which is carried to the distillery which is connected with every brewhouse. The quantity of beer made is 34 barrels.

When the two worts are cooled to a heat of between 86 and 90 degrees, they are let down into a large tun, and well mixed with sixty pounds of yeast. In a short time, usually about an hour, the surface mantles, and then the beer is immediately cleansed into casks of twenty-five gallons each. These casks are placed on stillions in the cellar. The fermentation (ober-gahrung) in those casks begins instantly; a thick white froth is thrown out from the bung-holes into the stillions ; and along with this froth, a quantity of beer is also thrown out, which is collected, and put into a separate vessel to continue its fermentation : this is called Hop-Beer. Twelve hours afterwards, if the fermentation is perfect, this froth becomes yeasty; and the working out of yeast continues about five hours, when it begins to fall down. " We let it do so," says our informant, " till the smell of the cask is no longer offensive ; and then fill it up with the hop-beer, formerly mentioned, which by this time has become tolerably clear. Some Brewers fill up their casks at a much earlier period, never allowing the beer to fall down ; but we have found it advisable to follow the plan here pointed out. After filling up, the casks work out that stiff and good yeast which we employ for the next brewing; and we keep them always full ever after, until they cease entirely to work, which usually happens in forty-eight hours after cleansing: at which time we send it out to the publicans, retaining only a cask or two of the brewing; and we have seldom any more of it in our cellars three days after the beginning of the fermentation."
"The Art of Brewing", by David Booth, 1834, Part IV pages 35-37.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Influencing enemies and making people

Being described as "having anger management issues" genuinely shocked me. But disconnection from reality is nothing new. I'm still surprised by the fat, old bastard I see waddling out of the shower every morning.

A twisted, crazy man spouting green bile from a subterranean lair? No. No. That's not me. Is it? You'd let me know if that's what I'd become. Wouldn't you? Probably not. I wouldn't, if one of my mates went mental.

You'll never guess what I've been doing today. You really won't. I couldn't have guessed it in the days when I had no children and the night was my ox cart.

I've mentioned "War! 1.2". The original, holy as St Peter, manuscript was regularly punctuated by "!!!!!! LOOK IN SEVENTY ROLLING YEARS !!!!". That told me my research was far from done.

"Seventy Rolling Years" is a remarkable book. The author worked in the brewing industry from 1888 to 1958. The last half at Whitbread.

(See Andrew. I can write one complete, sensible paragraph.)

Reading "Seventy Rolling Years". That's what I was doing that you never would have guessed if I didn't say. In case I was being too subtle. The Carlisle State Scheme, in particular. Nevile was part of that.

Beer on the rates. Every workingman's dream.

I work.

"War! 1.2" will be delayed for a while. Especially if I go to London in June. BP WW I. That's all I have to say. I won't have to squint at my crappy old photos no more.

Brewing in Prague in the 1830's

You guessed it. I'm still working my way through David Booth's "The Art of Brewing" The section on continental brewing really is fascinating. It's taught me loads. Assuming it's accurate, of course.

Today it's the turn of Prague. I remember reading years ago in a piece by, I think, Michael Jackson, that the dark beer of Prague had been top-fermented until the 1890's. Don't know how true that is. But it's no surprise that 60 years earlier, a decade before the first Pilsener was brewed, that Prague beer was top-fermented. What did come as more of a surprise was that they employed a decoction mash. I'd always assumed that was something else Groll The first brewer at Pilsner Urquell) brought with him from Bavaria. Assumptions. What dangerous things they are. I should have learned by now never to assume anything.

The lagering in ice cellars. That was a surprise, too. Prague beer was made by a strange hybrid of top- and bottom-fermentation brewing techniques. A bit like Alt, I suppose. Yet another oddity I'm sure someone will try to recreate sometime.


The city of Prague has been famed for its breweries from time immemorial. These constitute the chief support of a great proportion of its inhabitants; and the beer, next to that of Bavaria, is accounted to be the best in Germany. The mode of brewing is very similar to that which is practised at Munich, except in the fermentation, which is of the opposite kind. The Brewers in the city draw one hundred gallons of beer from the quarter of malt, while those of the suburbs make ten to twelve gallons more; and, notwithstanding, the beer of the latter has a more agreeable taste than that of the former. The mash-tun and the copper are each square, or nearly so, like those at Munich; and the following is the general mode of manipulation : —

The liquor being first boiled in the copper, a certain quantity is let down into the mash-tun, where it stands until it is cooled down to 115 degrees. Others think it sufficiently low at 117 or even at' 122 degrees; and some add cold water, to accelerate the cooling. When judged at the proper heat, 14.2 quarters of ground malt are put into the tun; and immediately the mashing commences, which is continued nearly an hour. During the mashing, as much boiling liquor is turned on from the copper as raises the heat of the mash to 138 degrees with some brewers, and from 142 to 147 degrees with others.

Instantly after mashing, the copper, being emptied, is filled, with goods from the mash-tun; of which, it being so small as to contain only about one half, the remainder is allowed to stand in the tun. As soon as the goods in the copper begin to boil, they are returned upon the mash-tun, and well mixed, raising the tun to the heat of 153 or 154 degrees.

After this second mash, they proceed, in the same way, to fill the copper again with goods ; which when brought to the boiling heat, are also turned over upon the goods in the tun to be again mashed, which third mashing leaves the goods in the tun at the heat of 165 degrees. The copper is now charged with goods for the last time, allowed to boil for a quarter of an hour, and turned on and mashed as before. The heat of the tun is now 176 degrees.

The goods are now allowed to stand an hour; and the copper is charged with liquor, part of which is used in washing casks and other utensils. The tap-tree (which passes through the false, and plugs a hole in the real, bottom) is then loosened, and the wort is allowed to run, what we should call full cock, into the under-back, for the purpose of getting out any goods that may have found their way between the bottoms. After the worts begin to run pure, the tap is again shut, and the thick worts that have been drawn off are carried to the copper, and added to a portion of liquor which the copper had been allowed to retain. When this mixture has boiled for a quarter of an hour, it is turned upon the goods still standing in the mash-tun; but, in doing so, great care is taken that the goods be not stirred, lest they should be rendered turbid. By this new addition, the heat at the fluid surface of the mash-tun, for the under part is not disturbed, is increased to 183 degrees.

A small quantity of worts, about two-thirds of a barrel, the remnant of the runnings above mentioned, stands in the under-back. This is now put into the emptied copper, along with 35 pounds of good hops. When these hops have boiled, in this small portion of worts, for three quarters of an hour, half of them are taken out, and set aside for the second copper of worts; the remaining half being left for the first: for the copper is so small, that it cannot boil more than half of the worts standing in the mash-tun.

The worts are now drained from the tun ; and the first and second copper being boiled, each an hour, are taken to the coolers. When the second copper is cast, liquor is again heated, and turned, boiling, over the goods, without mashing. After draining from the mash-tun, this sparge is boiled, along with the hops of the two preceding worts, for an hour and a half, and then cast into a separate cooler. Another sparge is sometimes put on the goods, which is made into vinegar.

After being cooled down to 68 degrees (in some breweries only to 72), all the three worts are mixed together in a large gyle-tun, with 24 pounds of good yeast. Immediately after the addition of the yeast, the whole, being thoroughly roused, is drawn off into separate casks, each containing about 48 gallons, in which the wort ferments, and throws out yeast from the bung-holes. This tumultuary fermentation continues three or four days; and in three or four days more it becomes bright, and fitted for removal to the store-cellars of the retailers.

The beer-vaults of Prague, of which every publican Las one, are of the very best kind. The floor of each is covered with a deep mass of ice, which never melts; and upon this mass the beer is placed, when received from the brewer. After it has lain from four to six weeks on its icy bed, it is fit for drinking, and is served out to the customers in that chilly state."
"The Art of Brewing", by David Booth, 1834, Part III pages 31-33.

There's loads more of this stuff in case you think I'm nearly done. Hope. That would probably have been a more accurate verb to use than think.